Event Space: Shiseido Celebrates 140 Years Thursday 17 May, 2012

It’s hard to believe Shiseido has been around for 140 years. And with such an illustrious past! I actually wasn’t wise to Shiseido’s complete background, but I got a schooling when the beauty brand turned a Soho location into a chic pop-up museum about all things Shiseido to celebrate its 140th birthday. At this “Wishes […]

It’s hard to believe Shiseido has been around for 140 years. And with such an illustrious past! I actually wasn’t wise to Shiseido’s complete background, but I got a schooling when the beauty brand turned a Soho location into a chic pop-up museum about all things Shiseido to celebrate its 140th birthday. At this “Wishes for the World” gallery (more on that name later), I came into contact with an interactive timeline of the company’s past and future. Some of it’s beginnings struck me as magnificent; sometimes we forget that what we have now didn’t always exist. For starters, in 1917 Shiseido launched Hydrogen Peroxide Water, a tonic that combined cucumber extract with loofah, quince and hydrogen peroxide to brighten skin. At that point, “skin brightening” didn’t exist—and Shiseido became a pioneer of the movement.

Apparently, 1917 was a good year for Shiseido innovation—that year also saw the introduction of Rainbow Face Powder. At the time, Japanese women only wore white face powder. But with the advent of Rainbow Face Powder, launched in seven different shades, women were able to match their powder to their skin tone. Can you imagine if we only had one face powder hue from which to choose today? Yikes.

My other favorite part of Shiseido’s history: In 1937, the brand launched Hanatsubaki Magazine, a complimentary lifestyle, beauty and fashion magazine that was distributed to Carmellia Club members (this was an exclusive club for loyal Shiseido customers). It’s hard these days to come across a savvy beauty brand that doesn’t publish some sort of comprehensive magazine or website to complement their products, but when Shiseido came up with the magazine, it was a fairly new idea. And, not surprisingly for a beauty brand that has remained modern despite it’s age, the magazine is still going strong today!

To further celebrate 140 years, Shiseido is re-releasing its very first ever-ever cosmetic product, Eudermine Revitalizing Essence softening lotion, in a limited edition bottle that mimics the original packaging and a box that I’m convinced is meant for display. A little bit about Eudermine: The word means “good skin,” and the product delivers on its name by way of providing immediate moisturization while improving skin’s ability to retain hydration over the long term. Since its launch in 1897, little has changed in the formulation: Amino acids and TMG help gently exfoliate, removing dead skin cells to uncover more even tone and texture, and bio-hyaluronic hyper complex protects skin from environmental stressors while helping skin retain moisture. And it smells like a bouquet of peonies—light and romantic. (P.S.: With this limited edition bottle, you’ll also receive Oil-Control Blotting Papers, which are only available in Japan!)

 Shiseido Wishes for the World Facebook App

At the Shiseido celebration, the company’s future was also on display. Several new launches for makeup are on the horizon (the brand’s creative director, Dick Page, was on hand to chat about the future of makeup), as well as a great one for skin—but I can’t divulge anything just yet! What I can tell you about: Shiseido’s embrace of social media has led to a fanciful Facebook app for its “Wishes for the World” campaign in honor of its birthday. From May until the end of 2012, the company invites you to visit its Facebook page and engage the “Wishes for the World” app, where you can express a personal wish for the world that will hang from a branch on a virtual cherry blossom tree. For every 140 wishes made, Shiseido will plant a Cherry Blossom tree in New York City in collaboration with the New York Restoration Project. At the gallery, a wall lined with hanging traditional wishing wooden plates from Japan boasted the virtual wishing tree—when I got home, I made my wish as soon as I could. Cherry Blossom trees in NYC? Want!

More limited edition goodies will be released later in the year, but for now, visit Shiseido for the limited edition Eudermine Revitalizing Essence while supplies last.

Happy 140th, Shiseido!

Karie L. Frost Signature

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