Vedic Inspired Beauty

Ancient science reimagined into scent — Alanna Quin and Madeleine Whitter founded Ayu under a warm Indian sky in 2014. Having been awakened to the healing potential of Ayurveda years earlier, both women were drawn to study the traditional remedies that blended wild beauty and functional benefits together. What began as one delicately curated perfume has unfurled into an exotic beauty range infused with an abundance of sacred flowers, herbs, resins and plant oils. Each bottle infused with their rich Vedic knowledge to balance the mind, body & spirit.


Alanna and Madeleine intuitively formulate every Ayu offering, collaborating with artisan perfume distilleries and hand-blending locally in their native land Australia. Their synergistic pairing is inspired by more than a decade in the fashion and wellness space. Alanna’s PR background featured an array of contemporary labels and lifestyle brands and Madeleine has previous clinical experience as a health practitioner & Ayurvedic consultant. A symphony of notes weaved together by friendship and a sensorial pilgrimage to the flower fields of Kannauj.

Ayurveda, what does it mean and can you tell us how you have translated it’s practice into creating the Ayu?
Ayurveda is one of the worlds’ oldest holistic and most fascinating healing systems, developed over 3,000 years ago in India. It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit. Ayurvedic philosophy maintains that people are born with a specific constitution, which is called the Prakruti. The Prakruti, established at conception, is viewed as a unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the way each person functions.  Ayurveda teaches that three qualities, called doshas, form important characteristics of the prakruti, or constitution. These doshas are called vata, pitta, and kapha, and they all have a specific impact on bodily functions. The main underlying concept of Ayurveda is all about prevention rather than waiting for illness to occur.
Ayurveda uses a whole range of tools such as diet, herbal treatments, exercise and scent to help balance the bodily systems. Scents are really powerful as they travel to the olfactory bulb in the limbic system of the brain that affects the control of emotions and memory. Smell is the most primitive of the senses, triggering a strong connection between memories, emotions, and instincts. When blending our perfumes, we always work with scent notes that help positively influence emotions in some way; to help ground, uplift and calm.

You started out by creating your oils first and foremost and Souq was your first fragrance, how has the range and business grown since Souq was born ?

We’re very much a heart-led, intuitive brand and we’ve never set out with a specific goal or plan. Ayu has grown really organically for Madeleine and I, from our first perfume – being our beloved Souq, through to expanding on our perfume range into other categories including body oils, face mists, hair oil, candles, and incense. We’re lucky to be stocked in some of our favourite contemporary boutiques through to major stores both in Australia and around the world. We’ve never set out to become the biggest or the best, we just want to bring other people the joy that we experience when we discover a new scent and the benefits it brings. We’ve got some really exciting projects and dream collaborations in the pipeline that we’ve been quietly working on behind the scenes. We’re also bringing out some beautiful new products over the coming months.


Is there a particular part of the process of creation that you love the most and look forward to?

We bring out scents that we ourselves love – there’s no specific set plan with these things, it’s a very intuitive process. When we stumble across a scent that we’ve discovered (usually while traveling) we get super excited and want everyone to experience the same reaction we get. Launching a new product for us is the pinnacle of it all, it’s like giving birth!

The Ayu was born in India in 2014, can you tell us your favourite memory from your travels to India and why India is so special to you ?

We’ve had so many incredible experiences in our various trips to India that it’s hard to pinpoint one. We’ve met some incredible people along the way that we now call life long friends. Shooting one of our campaigns in Leh in 2019 was a pretty incredible experience for us; the landscape is like being on another planet it’s so surreal, the high altitude is harsh and the people are just beautiful. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to go back and explore more of.


How do you own your morning / do you have any morning rituals to get you going for the day ?

I meditate every morning, the benefits for my scatty mind are really noticeable and if I miss a day I really do notice it. I always tongue scrape and do nasya as well (apply medicated oil inside of each nostril), followed by abhyanga (self massage) – our body oils are perfect for this, especially gently warmed before applying. I NEVER leave the house without perfume on, I feel naked if I don’t wear it.

What star sign are you and how does your sign influence your personality?

I’m a Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp baby so I’m a bit of a walking contradiction! I’m super determined and hard working but also get quite restless – although I love my routine I need to break it regularly to travel and see the world. I’m pretty optimistic, loyal and very curious. I’m as much an introvert as I am an extrovert depending on my mood and also a homebody as much as I love being with friends.

What is the best piece of advice or a mantra you have been given that you would like to share with THE UPSIDERS reading ?

Follow your curiosity – life is too short to wonder.

Alanna Quin, Co-Founder of The Ayu