My toner situation is divided into 2 clear categories.

Iiiiiiiiiiin the red corner we have those punchy decongesting hard working exfoliaters.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiin the blue corner, we have the silky smoothing,  skin prep-soothers.

In the latter group, Santa Maria Novella’s Acqua de Rose up a champion. Definitely up-there in the hall of greats for me.

I use it in the mornings after cleansing and after my chosen acid toner in the evening. I’ve even decanted some into a Muji spray bottle and used it as a facial spritz on long flights or on hot days. I’ve tried a lot of rose waters in my time but this one is the only one that I would repurchase. It is soothing, uplifting, simple, effective at removing residual cleanser and missed bits of muck – not to mention beautifully presented.



Santa Maria Novella’s Acqua de Rose is part of a centuries old tradition. Its story began in 1221 when the Dominican monks in Firenze began to study and experiment with officinal herbs and in 1621, they opened their pharmacy to the public. They have been dispensing their preparations to the world ever since.

Acqua di Rose is alcohol free, antiseptic and really refreshing to use as a toner or a light fragrance. The scent is more of an honest rose than many skincare interpretations out there – hence its timeless appeal.

Its main drawback is its availability, rather unavailability. I’ve not come across an online retailer in the UK yet. There is a boutique in Chelsea that is well known among Santa Maria Novella fans. However, if you are in east London, there is a sort of secret stockist tucked away behind the main thoroughfares, on Old Nichol Street. In fact a visit to HOSTEM’s new digs is well worth it – even if you are just there to buy a big old bottle of rose water.  It costs £22.00 for a massive 250ml glass bottle, that will look great in your bathroom and it will last you quite some time!

| Links for the curious | 

Santa Maria Novella’s pharmacy in Firenze is quite breathtaking!

Take a looks at Hostem’s new home in Old Nichol St