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Shiseido Makeup’s Makeover: A Modern Aesthetic, and Artificial Intelligence

As part of its revamp to modernise its 146-year-old heritage, Shiseido has re-centred itself in the world’s largest makeup market: the US of A.

In a press statement, the Japanese label announced that it has launched a Makeup Center of Excellence (MCoE) focused on “infusing the revolutionary [makeup] range with colours and textures that evoke emotion” in New York City.

To have an even better sense of consumer demand and market trends, Shiseido has also recently acquired digital make-up experience platform Giaran. Driven by artificial intelligence, and data analytics, the interactive online site allows users to try on make-up virtually and get recommendations to the colours most suited to their skin tone and features.

The brand has also overhauled its packaging and textures to appeal to a sophisticated crowd. With a matte black finish accented with a bold streak of red, the aesthetic is both rooted in Japanese simplicity and a sharp modernity.

Shiseido Maru Fude

Shiseido brushes

And Shiseido makeup products – 19 items in 132 shades – are now categorised into textures: Dews, Gels, Powders, Inks.

Illustrating the versatility of the items, (a must in this day and age of ever-creative social media beauty stars), each of the categories can be used on the lips, eyes and face.

Next, the label worked on getting the most relevant faces to front its brand.

Sonoya Mizuno, a dancer, model (and more recently, part of the supporting cast of Crazy Rich Asians), adds a dynamism to Shiseido’s advertisements.

Sonoya Mizuno

Sonoya Mizuno

Celebrity makeup artists Patrick Ta (Global Color Artist), and social media superstar Pony (APAC Ambassador, main picture) also add relevance to the brand.


Yoshiaki Okabe rose through the ranks from that of a sales representative at Shiseido counters in Ginza and Nihonbashi to Chief Brand Officer. Today, he plays a key role in advising on the Shiseido makeup range, and managing the growth of the skincare category worldwide. He shares why beauty products from a traditional Japanese beauty label are still relevant in a market that hungers for newness.

As the number three market in the world after the US and China, Japan is a critical player in the global beauty space. The simplicity of Japanese beauty rituals – a refinement – sets it apart. While there are generally fewer steps in the average Japanese beauty routine, there is greater intention and methodology behind each product and application technique.

The goal of J-Beauty is to celebrate individuality and bring positive qualities from inside, like strength and beauty, to the surface. While there is a sophisticated simplicity in the way we approach beauty and aesthetics, there is also an unrivalled attention to detail. K-Beauty is known for its fun, cute packaging and of-the-moment formulas and colours. In Japan, beauty is not thought of as expendable – everything is considered. Japanese Beauty is about creating products that are timeless, efficacious and luxurious.

Japan has always influenced the world in terms of its beauty, fashion, architecture, art and food. Some of the increase in awareness could be attributed to the prominence of fashion designers such as Rei Kawakubo, and the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. We look forwarding to leading the J-Beauty movement.

Photos: Shiseido

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