Cella Milano

FOUNDED 1899 IN MILAN | A TALE SPANNING 120 YEARS

At the end of the 19th century, Milan was a throbbing hub of activity: fashionable cafés, theatres and electric lights outlined a dynamic and lively city, home to clean-shaven men with handlebar moustaches and women who always styled their hair to be wavy. A business dedicated to beauty opened here: Cella.

LOMBARDIA

REGION OF ITALY

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Cella Milano 1899.

They offered everything required to satisfy the new aesthetic needs, including soaps, scents, hair lacquer and brilliantine. Barbershops were opening everywhere, and shaving became an important social event, an opportunity to meet and talk about hot topics, politics and sports. Barbershops were places of rituals and social interaction.

In Italy, Cella master soap-makers aimed to achieve a top-quality product. They selected the best ingredients and slowly cooked them in a steam boiler, then seasoned the soap for a few weeks to concentrate it. This unique soap-manufacturing process is the perfect result of truly dedicated soap-makers striving for excellence. Cella was awarded a gold medal at the universal exhibition in Milan in 1906 and the Grand Cross for industrial achievements in 1908: it had become a leading company in the Italian toiletries and perfumery world.

The Cella Shaving Soap Cream soon became popular among professionals barbers of the time. Its super-concentrated formula (defined as “extra extra super-pure”) made it stand out from other similar products. It guaranteed a better yield and its outstanding hydrating properties greatly softened facial hair, making it easier to cut and protecting the razor’s blade at the same time. The weekly appointment with the barber’s was a commitment no man would ever fail to honour. Men chatted and exchanged news (sometimes confidential) or spoke about work and planned business. There was a deep trust in barbers, confidants and masters of elegance.

Safety razors became popular after World War I because this great invention was essential for soldiers - long facial hair made gas masks ineffective. Over 3.5 million US soldiers were equipped with the new safety razor and disposable blades. It was a turning point - the shaving ritual, born in barbershops, moved to home bathrooms, where it became a private, daily ritual. Cella was there when this was happening and rode the wave of change.

They asked their designers to create a box that stood out from the many products for sale. The result was a brightly coloured package, featuring a man with a cloud of foamy white cream on his face. The true master-stroke was to show the man in his pyjamas, officially declaring that shaving was a private ritual, a morning routine carried out in the bathroom at home, a tradition that continues to this day. This is how the image of our product was born - Mr Felice [Mr Happy], our smiling vintage icon, still features prominently on our packages.

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Cella Milano

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