Japan focus: Our top stories featuring Japan’s cosmetics industry

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan. ©GettyImages
We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan. ©GettyImages
We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan, featuring Shiseido’s new IoT skin care system, a merger between Japan’s major drugstore players, Kao’s new research on RNA and more.

1 – Smart skin care: Shiseido unveils subscription-based personalised beauty service

Shiseido has launched a new personalised skin care system​, which combines an intelligent smartphone app and a dedicated product dispenser to provide optimal skin care tailored to current conditions.

Optune is Shiseido’s first subscription-based service and costs ¥10,000 ($92) a month. This will give users access to a dedicated application that uses an original algorithm to analyse skin, environmental and sleep data.

The Optune service is currently only available in Japan, but may expand abroad depending on its local success, said the company.

Shiseido added that a key motivation behind the establishment of this service was to cater to users that have to juggle hectic lifestyles: “In recent years, there are more and more women seeking a balance between work and home life, and an increasing number of them cannot spend time on daily skincare.”

2 – It takes two: Japan’s major drugstore players talk plans for merger

Japanese drugstore chain Sugi Holdings has announced it is in talks with rival Cocokara Fine to merge operations in a bid to boost their competitiveness​.

In a statement released by Sugi Holdings, the company said the alliance with Cocokara Fine would allow them to become Japan’s top drugstore chain by pooling their resources and know-how.

The company said it made a formal proposal to Cocokara Fine last April and it plans to work towards a basic merger agreement by July 31.

While the ageing population in Japan is causing the drugstore market to expand, the aggressive openings have intensified competition, said Sugi Holdings.

The company added that new retail channels, such as e-commerce had also affected sales.

3 – Kao develops non-invasive RNA monitoring method after discovering its presence in sebum

The Bioscience Laboratory of Kao Corporation has claimed to have developed a new, non-invasive method of measuring human RNA after researchers discovered its presence in sebum.

Kao researchers found they were able to extract RNA by taking a sebum sample with oil blotting film. Previously, analysing RNA expression in the skin would require a highly invasive biopsy of the skin.

The research claimed that the new method was capable of analysing up to 10,000 molecules of human RNA

The company had recently presented this research at the 118th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Dermatological Association.

“Given the ease with which sebum can be extracted, this method makes it possible to screen RNA expression information on the skin in a simple but highly precise manner,”​ said Kao.

4 – What are the prospects for microbiome skin care in Asia?

At the recent Cosmetics Design Summit we caught up with Asian industry expert Nicole Fall to find out about the types of opportunities for microbiome skin care brands​ in the region.

Fall is the founder of market intelligence company Asian Consumer Intelligence / Five by Fifty, which closely monitors all the trends in the beauty and personal care space throughout the region.

As Fall points out in this interview, which was filmed at the recent Cosmetics Design Summit on Microbiome Skin Care Innovation, the market for microbiome skin care is still very small, but she believes that the culture for this type of product already exists and that it has the potential to grow.

5 – SK-II partners with Katie Couric to present new international docu-series Timelines

Global prestige skin care name, SK-II, announces its collaboration with award-winning investigative journalist, Katie Couric, to create and launch its docu-series entitled Timelines.

Inspired by its goal to #ChangeDestiny, the Japanese anti-ageing led brand revealed its new venture at the 2019 Cannes Lions festival.

Through the docu-series, Timelines, Katie Couric explores the pressures that young women from around the globe face regarding conforming to particular timelines defined by both their families and wider society.

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