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Shiseido Company, Ltd. (株式会社資生堂 Kabushiki-gaisha Shiseidō?) (TYO: 4911) is a major Japanese hair care and cosmetics producer and the oldest cosmetics company in the world.



Arinobu Fukuhara, former head pharmacist to the Japanese Imperial Navy, established the Shiseido Pharmacy in 1872. After a visit to the United States and Europe, Arinobu added a soda fountain to the store. This later grew into the Shiseido Parlour restaurant business, and eventually led to the introduction in Japan of ice cream.

Shiseido was the first cosmetic line to introduce flesh tone and color correcting face powders. Until that time, all Japanese face powders were white. Shiseido also developed the softening lotion, a lightweight liquid of toner-like consistency. The oldest softening lotion is named Eudermine, which is still marketed and sold at all Shiseido counters. The softening lotion was developed in response to lead poisoning, as the Japanese women used makeup based on white lead. In 1923, the company began expanding its store-base; it now has approximately 25,000 outlets. In 1927, a joint stock company was formed.

In 1957, Shiseido began sales in Taiwan, closely followed by Singapore and Hong Kong. In 1962, Shiseido expanded to Hawaii; in 1965, it established Shiseido Cosmetics America. European sales began with Italy in 1968 and Oceania with New Zealand in 1971.

In North America and Europe, Shiseido products are sold in major department stores, pharmacies and Asian retailers.

One time partner Laneige (AmorePacific) of South Korea (1964) is now a rival in the marketplace.

Current skincare products

The current skincare products developed and produced by Shiseido include "Pureness", "The Skincare", "Benefiance", "Bio-Performance", "Suncare", and the newest line, "White Lucent". Each of these lines of skincare products include make-up removers, cleansers, softeners (toner-like liquids) and moisturizers. Some of these lines, however, have other products that other lines do not have. Shiseido has recently also developed a line of skincare specially formulated for men.

The line labeled "Pureness" is targeted toward younger consumers, often with oilier skin types and was introduced in 1995. This line also includes a weekly scrub and a blemish targeting gel. The containers made for this line are primarily plastic bottles and tubes and are light blue in colour. Pureness products contain natural botanicals like palo azul, rosemary extract, and peony root extract which provide antibacterial and anti-inflamamatory relief and sebum regulation.

"The Skincare" is for all skin types, but targets women in their 30s, and is therefore more hydrating than the Pureness line. Uniquely, this line carries two eye creams. These containers are light pink to pearly white in colour and are made of glass and/or plastic. The Skincare line was introduced in 1997 and replaced the Vital Perfection skincare line. The Skincare line was recently updated and repackaged.

"Benefiance" was introduced in 1996 and is formulated for mature and dry skin types, another step up from "The Skincare". Most of their containers are glass and are beige in colour. Recent additions to the Benefiance line include a reforumlated anti wrinkle eye cream which also treats dark circles, and a retinol face mask.

"Bio-Performance" has more targeted products—predominantly, its eye cream is one of the most popular products in this line and is greatly effective in preventing fine lines and dark circles around the eyes. The Bio-Performance Advanced Super Revitalizer and Advanced Super Restoring Cream are two of Shiseido's most popular anti-aging creams. The Bio-Performance line was introduced in 1987 following the synthesis of hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate). Shiseido was the first to formulate and synthesize hyaluronic acid and owns the patent rights; therefore all cosmetic lines must use sodium hyaluronate rather than hyaluronic acid on their ingredient lists. Product containers are sleek and modern. Recent additions to the Bio-Performance line include a Refining Essence and Super Exfoliating Discs.

"Suncare" products include sun protection, self-tanners, and makeup. Sun protection products range from SPF 18 to 55 and provide broad spectrum sun protection against UVB and UVA rays. All Shiseido suncare products are endorsed by the American Cancer Society.

"White Lucent" is used to lighten the appearance of skin discoloration due to sun exposure. This line replaced the popular UV White skincare line, which is one of the most popular skincare lines in Asia. Contrary to popular belief, the term whitening refers to a brightening of the skin tone, not a lightening of skin tone. This product line relies on Japanese botanicals and vitamin C esters to brighten the skin tone, reduce the appearance of sun damage, and promote skin clarity. Because the "White Lucent" line does not contain an actual bleaching agent, it is one of the few lines of skin brightening products that has not been affected by new US laws prohibiting the production and distribution of skin bleaching agents.

Shiseido also markets a line of men's skincare products including shaving cream, face wash which doubles as shaving foam, aftershave lotion, moisturizers, anti-wrinkle creams, eye products, and self tanners.


Shiseido produces a line of cosmetics simply called "Maquillage" that provide a full range of products including lip products, powder eye shadows, eye liner pencils, mascara, fluid and compact foundations, concealers, and powder blush. Their hydro powder eye shadows which have a creamy texture are among Allure magazine's top beauty picks.

Other brands and subsidiaries

In addition to producing products under the Shiseido brand, Shiseido also has several other subsidiaries and brands.

  • Beauté Prestige International, based in Paris, France, produces perfumes under the Jean-Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, and Narciso Rodriguez brands. It also distributes fragrances and men's skincare under the John Varvatos brand.
  • Aupres is a line of prestige cosmetics and skincare products made and sold exclusively in China, designed for the needs of Chinese women.
  • Serge Lutens

Until recently, Shiseido also owned ZIRH International, a New York City-based producer of men's skincare and fragrance products under the ZIRH and Corduroy brands. In September 2007, Shiseido sold ZIRH back to an investment group owned by Brian Robinson, the former president of ZIRH. Shiseido continues to own and manufacture the John Varvatos fragrance and skincare brand, and transferred distribution of the John Varvatos brand to their Beauté Prestige International subsidiary.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shiseido". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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