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Shiseido Debuts Beauty Subscription Plan

For $92 a month, the Japanese cosmetics company will offer customised skincare service by way of a smartphone app that analyses customers' complexions.
Shiseido's Optune service | Source: Shiseido news release
By
  • Bloomberg

TOKYO, Japan — Shiseido Co. is making it easier for customers to benefit from — and pay for — perfect skin.

For 10,000 yen ($92) a month, subscribers will be able to access the Japanese cosmetics maker’s custom-designed skincare service, called Optune. Using a smartphone app that analyses skin and a dispenser with five serum-and-lotion cartridges, Shiseido says its product will deliver the most appropriate skincare formula for women.

Shiseido is the latest beauty products provider to embrace technology in the $440 billion global industry. Last year, France’s L’Oréal bought a company called ModiFace, which develops software that lets consumers use augmented reality to see how they would look with different types of blushes and eye shadows.

Optune targets women facing “the dilemma of valuing skincare but struggling to find the time to find the perfect formula,” Shigekazu Sugiyama, president of Shiseido Japan, said at a news conference in Tokyo. Shiseido’s research shows that the more hectic the lifestyle, the greater the fluctuation seen in skin complexion, he said.

Optune’s cylindrical device mixes and dispenses a personalised formula twice a day, with as many as 80,000 different combinations. The product’s software, available as an iPhone app, takes photos of the user’s face in order to detect skin complexions. The data is analysed together with sleep rhythms and menstrual cycles, as well as external factors such as weather and air pollution, in order to tell the machine the right mix of serums and lotions.

That will help to take the guesswork out of choosing the right skincare formula each time, Shiseido said. Sales for the monthly skincare line start Monday, the Tokyo-based company said.

The Optune service is available in Japan, and depending on its success, may be expanded abroad, Sugiyama said, adding that it will be more challenging to serve the needs of a greater variety of skin complexions.

By Mei Futonaka with assistance from Lisa Du; editors: Kana Nishizawa, Reed Stevenson and Jeff Sutherland.

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