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The History of Shiseido

If you’re a regular Cityline viewer or follower my twitter contests and stories, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the Shiseido brand. Not as well-known as say Clinique or Estée Lauder in North America or Europe, Shiseido is in fact, the fourth largest cosmetics company in the world. It is renowned for its quality and science throughout Asia, boasting dozens of research and development centers and labs. Many top hotel chains in Asia proudly offer Shiseido toiletries in their deluxe rooms as a sign of ultimate quality and respect for their guests.

The reason Shiseido flies under the beauty radar is due to its rich Japanese history. It is considered in bad taste to be boastful or talk about oneself too much in Japan. So Shiseido tends to whisper in its ads and politely smile when you walk past its department store counters. Sadly, many of its innovations and skincare advances get lost in the competitive beauty marketing environment in the Western World. Other brands are much more aggressive in their advertising.

Shiseido began in 1872 as a Western-style pharmacy in the heart of Tokyo. It quickly became known for its cosmetic technology and commitment to high-quality ingredients. Trained beauty professionals would take the time to counsel customers not only on the best products for their skin, but the techniques to get the best results from the formulas.

See the gallery and timeline below for some highlights of Shiseido’s history:

Here’s a little insider timeline to showcase some of Shiseido’s rich history and cosmetic breakthroughs.

  • 1872: Arinobu Fukuhara establishes Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy in Ginza, Tokyo
  • 1888: Shiseido introduces Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste
  • 1897: Enters the cosmetic arena with Eudermine, a softening lotion that delivers immediate moisture and improves your skin’s own moisturizing power. It remains a best-seller today.
  • 1915: Sets “Hanatsubaki” (Camellia) as the company trademark
  • 1916: Opens a cosmetics shop at 11 Takekawa-cho (now Ginza 7-chrome). Unveils a design department and testing room.
  • 1917: Introduces Seven Colours Face Powder
  • 1918: Launches a cold cream product.
  • 1923: Begins building a network of chain stores for Shiseido cosmetics.
  • 1927: Changes limited partnership to joint-stock company Shiseido Co., Ltd; Shinzo Fukuhara becomes becomes the first president
  • 1931: Exports Rose Cosmetics to Southeast Asian countries; starts a full-fledged international business
  • 1932: Releases De Luxe
  • 1934: Miss Shiseido promotional campaign begins
  • 1937: Inaugurates the Camellia Club and commemorative gift program (runs through 2003)
  • 1937: Develops new Shiseido-style facial treatment and specialty products
  • 1939: The Shiseido research and development lab is completed in Japan
  • 1949: The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • 1953: Establishes Shiseido Institute of Beauty Sciences
  • 1956: Opens Shiseido Beauty Salon in Shibuya, Tokyo
  • 1961: Conducts first ever makeup campaign “Candy Tone”
  • 1962: Establishes Shiseido of Hawaii, the company’s first overseas investment
  • 1963: Begins selling its products in Italy, its first export to Europe
  • 1965: Shiseido Cosmetics America Ltd is established.
  • 1966: Conducts “Beloved by the Sun” campaign and the first overseas shoot in Hawaii
  • 1968: Opens the Shiseido Research Labs in Yokohama (renamed Shiseido Research Center in 2000)
  • 1975: Launches “Shiseido – The Ginza”
  • 1984: Starts the commercial production of the exclusive ingredient “bio-hyaluronic acid”
  • 1985: Hosts “The Art of Beauty” Exhibition in New York City chronicling 113 years of Shiseido advertising
  • 1989: Collaborates with Harvard University to establish the world’s first dermatological research center
  • 1995: Establishes Shiseido International
  • 1997: Marks the 100th anniversary of Eudermine
  • 2000: Builds a new ultra high-tech research center
  • 2004: Sponsors “Global Beauty Consultant Competition” to identify the best beauty experts in the world
  • 2005: Unveils new corporate message: “This moment. This life. Beautifully.”
  • 2007: Celebrity makeup artist Dick Page signs on a Creative Director of Makeup. He’s worked with Kate Moss, Bjork, Emma Stone, Marc Jacobs and Karlie Kloss.
  • 2006: Opens the “Life Quality Beauty Centre” Therapy Makeup Institute
  • 2011: Opens a spectacular new flagship store “Shiseido The Ginza”
  • 2015: Signs a multi-year partnership with the Canadian Synchronized Swimming Team
  • 2015: Launches the first sunscreen that gets stronger when wet.


  • Reply
    Maria V.
    April 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I was really impressed! What a must read story!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    We love these products!!

  • Reply
    Marie Evans
    April 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    It seems like these products speak for themselves.Quality always does.

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