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Raw Material Development

Concept of Raw Material Development

Shiseido improves the quality of raw materials for all cosmetics with Shiseido’s original strict evaluation.

Shiseido’s 4 policies in raw material development

  • To develop raw materials with new functions necessary to realize consumer satisfaction
  • To develop raw materials that consumer can use without worry
  • To develop environmentally-friendly raw materials
  • To search for raw materials all across the world and to develop the most suitable raw materials for developing their functions

Raw material development outline

While working on the development of useful new raw materials from the basic research phase, Shiseido searches for “valuable raw materials” from among the many raw materials around the world and develops cosmetics raw materials with new functions that can be realized only by Shiseido. The evaluation technology to confirm the quality of the raw materials developed in this way and stability in the products is an important research area supporting raw material development.
For our products, we combine only those raw materials that comply with laws and regulations in the countries where the products are sold, as well as that are origin-conscious and environmentally-friendly. By doing so, Shiseido is working on the development of raw materials so that the consumers may actually experience and be satisfied with their effects.

Examples of Raw Material Development


Over the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of people with dry skin due to changes in the office environment, etc., and thus the need for a high moisturizing effect in cosmetics is rising. When we think about the moisturizing effect of cosmetics, the “moisturizing ingredient”, which captures and retains the skin’s moisture, and the “oil”, which does not only form a thin layer on the surface of the skin and prevent moisture from evaporating but also enhances the capability to blend into the skin, are important. However, if a large amount of moisturizing ingredient is combined in lotion, the skin becomes sticky and the lotion does not blend into the skin very well, and if a large amount of oil is combined, it is difficult to maintain the skin’s translucence. Therefore, a high moisturizing effect like that in moisturizer was difficult to achieve. So, Shiseido worked on the development of a completely new raw material with both the functions of a “moisturizing ingredient” and “oil” and successfully developed “Aquainpool”. Patents for Aquainpool have been obtained in countries and regions such as Japan, the United States, Europe, China, South Korea, and Taiwan. Aquainpool has been applied in various Shiseido cosmetics as an ingredient that is soluble in both water and oil.

Excellent features of Aquainpool

  • High moisturizing effect
    • Same moisture level as glycerin which is an ingredient with the highest moisturizing effect
    • Synergistically increases the moisturizing effect when used together with glycerin
  • Non-sticky and blends into the skin very well
  • Excellent in preventing skin roughness
  • Does not make lotion bubbly since Aquainpool does not have a surface-active function

Micro Aqua Ball

Thickener is one of the important components of cosmetics. Thickeners improve the texture when the cosmetic product is applied to the skin or prevent dripping by adding thickness to or making gel state. However, the traditional thickeners did not have the capability to thicken formulations that contain a large amount of alcohol or weakly acidic formulations into transparent gel.

Therefore, Shiseido focused on the superfine gel particles called microgel. Shiseido successfully developed a new thickener, “Micro Aqua Ball,” comprised of superfine microgel particles about 1/100th the size of the conventional microgel particles, based on the original method of manufacturing nano-size microgel particles. Micro Aqua Ball enables the development of transparent gels containing a large amount of alcohol, which was difficult to be achieved before. The Micro Aqua Balls are now used in many of our products.

Thickening process (image)

Shiseido has been promoting a basic research regarding the thickening mechanism of this Micro Aqua Ball and elucidated that friction among the microgel particles produces the thickening effect. Due to this, it was found that refreshing and dewy texture, unlike the sticky texture of existing thickeners (string-shaped polymeric thickeners), can be achieved. Patents for Micro Aqua Ball as an innovative thickener breaking down the traditional concept of cosmetics were obtained in countries and regions such as Japan, China, South Korea, and Taiwan, etc. and the wider use of Micro Aqua Ball in the future is expected.

Transparent gel turns into liquid the moment it is taken on the palm.

Fit Polymer

“Fit Polymer” has been combined into the UNO FOG BAR. With regard to the basic polymer structure, acrylic polymer was selected based on the following conditions: the degree of film strength was high, molecular structure was easy to be designed, and the polymer could evenly dissolve in the solvent (liquid solution) without becoming unclear. Furthermore, regarding monomers which are the basic units that make up polymers, those with suitable glass transition point for maintaining liquidity even at room temperature have been selected in order to provide surface adhesion as well as flexibility and fixing capability. Together with this basic structure, a cross-linking moiety that forms a three-dimensional net-like structure to enhance adhesion and film strength, as well as a hydrophilic moiety that increases solubility in water, were introduced.

Molecular design for next generation hair styling agent (Image diagram)

Styling features achieved by Fit Polymer

  • Moderate adhesion on film surface that enables users to freely and repeatedly arrange or restyle hair without stickiness in the same manner as memo pads that can be adhered and removed easily
  • A flexible, thin film with fixing capability that does not put stress (weight) on the hair
  • Easy to wash hair due to the introduction of a hydrophilic group
Styling features achieved by Fit Polymer
Hair restyling capability through adhesive and removable function

Optical Technology

The secret of the foundation’s beautiful finish is an innovative powder technology that even adopts optical technology.

Looking at objects is nothing more than simply looking at the light released from the objects. Therefore, the effective control of light is important to show beauty elements such as translucence and resilience/gloss. Shiseido has attained a beautiful finish by introducing optical technology into powder development over the years.

Red color penetration powder that transmits red light

When the particle diameters of spherical powders are adjusted to be same, we know that it causes wavelength dependency in optical transparency. Thus, a red color penetration powder where all the titanium dioxide is spherical was developed. Shiseido successfully created a powder that blocks the short wavelength light that highlights uneven tone and that is highly transparent to the long wavelength light (red light) related to skin translucence. When this red color penetration powder is combined in foundation, it becomes possible to only allow red light to penetrate inside of the skin, and the foundation produces the skin with more translucent finish than that produced with conventional foundation that blocks all visible light wavelengths.

Properties of red color penetration powder
Principle of foundation with red color penetration powder

Reflector board powder that corrects contours

When the skin sags, shadows are created and contours are highlighted. The reflector board powder developed by Shiseido prevents shadows by reflecting light upward like a reflector board used in photo shooting and produces youthful and resilient skin.
Patents have been obtained for this technology in countries and regions such as Japan, the United States, China, South Korea, and Taiwan. The advanced level and innovativeness of the technology are recognized.

Reflector board powder
Reflector board powder

Powder Surface Treatment Technology

Shiseido’s original surface treatment technology of powder has enabled various functions to be added to cosmetics.

Technology that alters the physical properties on the surface of the powder is called surface treatment technology. This technology can realize various functions such as the improvement of the color production and dispersibility of powder and reduction of the smell change. Shiseido has until now developed various functional powders by applying surface treatment technology.

Skincare powder

The “skincare powder” launched in 2001, is a compound powder of zinc oxide coated with thin silica film. The innovative ingredient that prevents skin roughness was developed based on a new concept to absorb and inhibit the enzyme urokinase that triggers the development of rough skin. Patents have been acquired for this technology in countries and regions such as Japan, the United States, Europe, China, South Korea, and Taiwan. In addition, this technology received the Best Research Paper Award at the 2002 Congress of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC).

Skincare powder

pH-responsive powder

Shiseido developed a pH-responsive treating agent that changes the powder from hydrophobic to hydrophilic under alkaline conditions and that is the surface-treated titanium oxide powders with UV protection function. Since the treating agent contains a functional group of carboxylic acid (-COOH), the powder demonstrates hydrophobicity under acidity and hydrophilicity under alkalinity as the hydrogen atoms dissociate. As a result, even though there is high hydrophobicity (= water resistance) during use of sunscreen products (acidity-neutral), the powder becomes hydrophilic during washing (alkalinity), and can be easily washed away. The results of this research received the Top Award in the Applied Research (Oral) Category in the 2008 Congress of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) held in Barcelona. The IFSCC Congress is recognized as the world’s most authoritative meeting in the cosmetic science technology field.

pH-responsive powder