Shiseido Wants to Make J-Beauty Happen

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Two years ago, Ms. Inoue and her team began sketching out a plan for the global innovation center, which includes a museum, skin diagnostic “beauty bar,” restaurant and a research and development facility (these are usually “far from the city,” she said, somewhere quiet, calm and green”).

At the beauty bar, visitors will be able to participate in clinical-seeming tests, like one in which a technician runs a roller-ball-tipped sensor over the face, analyzes the data and recommends products and procedures.

Shiseido is testing new products, like “second skin,” a patented cream that tightens skin, smooths irregularities and peels off like a Band-Aid; and Optune, a contraption that purports to analyze a user’s mood, health and skin quality, then factors in the weather, and pulls from five cartridges to dispense a customized product, like an espresso machine.

Last year, to attract more millennials, the company overhauled its Shiseido makeup line, axing almost 100 products. “We conducted a lot of surveys,” Ms. Inoue said. “Compared to people in their 40s and 50s, the customers in their 20s and 30s have a different lifestyle. They also have a lot of doubt. They’re not confident.”

“So we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can make them confident and support their life,” Ms. Inoue said. “They have many important events ahead, and they don’t want to fail — a job interview, a serious boyfriend.”

She was speaking of women but said Shiseido is also “investigating men’s physiology and their needs, their lifestyle, who they want to become.” The company first came out with a men’s line in 1959.

“We realized men are also really concerned with how others see them,” Ms. Inoue said. “Impression is very important.”

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