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Santa Maria Novella Aftershave

This is my very first Santa Maria Novella aftershave. This product comes in a variety of scents, however the performance and quality are similar, only the scent will vary. In my case, I chose Melograno, aka Pomegranate.

The cost is not bad at all in reference to other high end brands, $55USD for 100ml.

The quality and presentation are superb, comes in an old fashioned Florentine paperbox.

Now, as for the quality of the product itself, I have to honestly say it's the best I've tried so far. Most alcohol based aftershaves contain, water, alcohol, and the actual scent. (Most high end british at least)
Santa Maria Novella goes on to add glycerine, other oils, including a touch of olive oil, and menthol. Yum :001_tongu

A truely classy Italian product.

For those not too familiar with the brand, I encourage you to see their informative promotional video that Lafco NY has posted on their web site.

http://www.lafcony.com/smn/about.htm
Price
5.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
5.00 star(s)
No Alcohol Burn
1.00 star(s)
Cooling Sensation
4.00 star(s)
Fights Razor Burn
4.00 star(s)
I have the alcohol free version (Emulsione Analcolica). It is fabulous. Although a bit expensive ($60) like most of SMN's products, I feel that it is definitely worth the price. My skin feels wondeful after using it and a little goes a long way.
Price
3.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
5.00 star(s)
No Alcohol Burn
5.00 star(s)
Cooling Sensation
5.00 star(s)
Fights Razor Burn
5.00 star(s)
I'm not a huge user of alcohol-based aftershave splashes, but if more of them were like Santa Maria Novella's, I would be. The lavender splash is actually my favorite aftershave of any type - splash, gel, balm, whatever - and is generally my go-to. While this review is designed to encompass all of the scents, the lavender is the one that most informs my comments and ratings. Now for the breakdown....

Price The biggest shortcoming. Current US MSRP is $55 for a 100ml bottle. You can certainly pay more for a high-end aftershave that doesn't perform nearly as well, but the SMN price is by no means easily affordable either, especially if you want to use it on a daily or regular basis.

Quality It's doubtful the cost to make these concoctions is any more than a sliver of what we're asked to pay for them. Nonetheless, quality is excellent. SMN's splashes are not mere diluted colognes, but are thoughtfully formulated preparations for post-shave facial application. I guess that's a highfalutin way of saying they're very good. (See below for the ingredients list.)

Fights Razor Burn I've never really understood how an aftershave "fights" razor burn. For instance, I would think a high alcohol splash might distract you from razor burn by inducing an even fiercer alcohol burn, whereas a balm might soothe burn by moisturizing and preventing increased irritation that comes with dryness. I will say I find SMN splashes to be simultaneously bracing and soothing, which is a nice combination.

Cooling Sensation SMN splashes deliver a decent-sized hit of menthol, which, while not completely arctic, nevertheless adds a nice cooling kick to finish the shave.

Scent There are six SMN aftershave scents (not including the Emulsione Analcolica, which has its own scent), and they cover a wide range of territory. Some of them are easier to like than others, but none of them are average or boring. They reflect SMN's penchant for making unique, high-quality fragrances. My very brief thoughts on the scents are as follows, and are based on the actual aftershaves, rather than cologne versions of the scents. Of course, YMMV.

Melograno (pomegranate): Sweet and fruity at the opening, loses its fruitiness in the drydown and becomes more powdery sweet. Quite potent in its aftershave formulation.

Russian Cologne: Citrus top notes anchored by musk and civet. It's nice in the opening, but I find the base notes actually disappear (strangely) as it dries down, and the citrus notes become somewhat metallic. In the end, not a favorite of mine, but some people really enjoy it.

Lavender: Easily my favorite in its current formulation (which has changed several times in the last few years - beware). Currently, it is a straightforward, masculine, generally pure lavender, subtly anchored by some well-blended darker notes (tobacco, maybe?). Has decent staying power, but is the most fleeting of the six scents. Note: this is not the same scent as the Imperial Lavender cologne.

Patchouli: A love it or hate it affair. The review posted by theperfectstorm seems to sum it up perfectly: it's an "amazing, dirty, funky patchouli...very animalistic." To that, I would add earthy. It's probably my second favorite of the six, after the lavender. Good staying power without being overpowering.

Sandalwood: A very austere, authoritative - some might say arrogant or overbearing - sandalwood. Not ingratiating in the least. Reminds me a bit of Blenheim Bouquet without the citrus. Personally, I find it off putting.

Vetiver: Grassy with a touch of sweetness at the top. It actually strikes me as the most modern and "cologne like" of all of these scents.

Efficacy The quality of the fragrances notwithstanding, the only reason I am actually willing to pay the asking price for this stuff is because it does the job of an aftershave better than any other product I have found - at least for me. The alcohol cools and disinfects, the alum staunches nicks, the menthol cools some more, and the glycerin, castor oil and olive oil condition the skin. It's damn near perfect.

Moisturizing The SMN aftershaves are some of the most moisturizing alcohol splashes out there, due to their relatively low-alcohol content, as well as the aforementioned olive oil, castor oil and glycerin. You won't mistake them for a balm, but then if you want a balm, get a balm. What I love is how they aren't heavy like a balm, aren't tacky like a gel, and don't dry me out like most splashes do. Only in the most severe winter weather do I feel the need for something more moisturizing than the lavender splash.

Each of the base formulations differ slightly per the scent used (the ingredients are all the same, but the order varies slightly), probably to account for slight differences in the properties of the scent oils used in each of the fragrances. As such, some of the splashes moisturize a bit more, some a bit less. Relatively speaking, lavender seems to be the most conditioning, Russian Cologne the least. Patchouli also struck me as being a bit lower on the moisturizing scale.

No Alcohol Burn If you want burn, look elsewhere. If you've really hacked yourself up, you'll get a little bit of a sting with these, but generally there is no burn to speak of.

Packaging The splashes come in the standard SMN cologne bottle - a basic glass bottle that is pleasing in its shape and easy to hold. The spout has a plastic shaker top, making dispesnsing easy and efficient. As Slickster mentioned, the box is a classic, textured Florentine paper box - very nice. The labels have changed recently. The older label was a paper adhesive label in gold and black, and the cap of the bottle was gold (depicted in the picture included with Slickster's review). The newer labels are a maroon "silkscreen" print directly onto the glass (i.e., no paper label), and the cap is now silver. The labels are replicated on the boxes. All the aftershaves have the same labels and bottles; the scents are identified by a small sticker applied to the back of the bottle and the box.


The ingredients in the lavender afterhsave are as follows:
1. Alcohol
2. Water
3. Olive Oil PEG-8 Esters
4. PEG-40 Hydrogentated Castor Oil
5. Trideceth-9
6. Glycerin
7. Fragrance
8. Lactic Acid
9. Menthol
10. Potassium Alum
11. Linalool
12. D-Limonene
13. Coumarin
14. Benzyl Benzoate
15. Benzyl Salycilate
16. Geraniol
Price
3.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
4.00 star(s)
No Alcohol Burn
4.00 star(s)
Cooling Sensation
4.00 star(s)
Fights Razor Burn
4.00 star(s)
Can't say enough good things about the SMN fragrances. I have visited the store in NYC twice this month, raided the colognes and after shaves, and am now broke (but smell great). I'll defer to Horatio's more in-depth review since he is quite knowledgable about the entire SMN product line.
Price
4.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
1.00 star(s)
No Alcohol Burn
5.00 star(s)
Cooling Sensation
4.00 star(s)
Fights Razor Burn
4.00 star(s)
I have wanted to try SNN but cant seem to find samples. Thanks to Horatio's excellent and thorough review I might take a chance with the Lavendar
Price: Bought the pomegranate from the bay for $36.00. Great deal considering these go for $50+. For the quality, it's worth every penny, even at 50+, hence the high rating. It could go for more as well.

Quality: A1: Just as Clubman was evocative of a $5 hooker (you can see my review), S.M. Novella evokes perhaps a gentleman from an Oscar Wilde play, a Huysmans novel (especially "A Rebours"), or Proust. Very literary.

Fights Razor Burn: Yes.

Cooling Sensation: Mild, but something there. Very pleasant.

Scent: Wonderful complex and pleasant scent. Mix of fruits and flowers.

Efficacy: Yes.

Moisturizing: As far as splashes go, very nice.

No Alcohol Burn: None.
Price
4.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
5.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
5.00 star(s)
No Alcohol Burn
5.00 star(s)
Cooling Sensation
5.00 star(s)
Fights Razor Burn
5.00 star(s)
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