This storied Italian cosmetics brand is actually available in Singapore
Under the Tuscan sun
Not many beauty brands can boast of having a 400 year history. But Santa Maria Novella, which was born out of the province of Florence, Italy is one of them. The brand was started circa 1200 by Dominican monks, who prepared medicines, balms and ointments for their convent's infirmary. Fast forward 400 years, the brand is going strong, having found the balance between tradition and technology — a space where many brands seem to falter. You'll still see 'ancient preparations' like mints, aromatic vinegar (used to prevent the spread of diseases) and lavendar bath salts, but also an expanded skincare and fragrance range for more modern tastes. Santa Maria Novella is probably best known for its old-fashioned (in a good way) looking soaps that have the kind of pastoral scenes and classic fonts that harken to a different, simpler and perhaps more beautiful era. These make perfect gifts as it brings back the joy of simply unwrapping, smelling and then indulging in these fragranced soaps.
Today the brand continues to use raw materials of the highest quality. At the same time, it still employs the artisanal procedures used by the Dominican friars back in the day. For example, perfumes are all packaged and sealed by hand. To meet with the demands of production, the brand has however adopted modern technology and cutting-edge machinery, without comprimising on the delight that its traditional-looking products have to offer.
Surprisingly, the brand retails here in Colony Clothing, where it has a cosy store-in-store concept. Some of the products to pick up should you head there include the Acqua Di Rosa Rose Water. This centuries-old preparation uses Rosa centifolia (or May rose) to tone and refresh the face and doesn't contain alcohol. Gentlemen are not excluded from the exquisite offerings like the Acqua Di Colonia Tabacco Toscano, a rich fragrance that takes inspiration from a Tuscan cigar with a bouquet of woody Oriental and smoky vanilla notes. There are also body products to sample, like the Olio Cosmetico. A dry, vitamin, cosmetic body oil, this helps restructure, invigorate and elasticise the skin and is perfect for our hot weather, as it sinks it immediately.
Available at its store-within-store concept in Colony Clothing, #01-37 UE Square,