Shiseido's new cosmetics collection will change how you look at makeup

Shiseido's new cosmetics collection will change how you look at makeup

What's your texture?

Text: Renée Batchelor

We know makeup from its categories — be it lipsticks, foundations or brow products. Find out how Japanese powerhouse Shiseido has reinvented the wheel with a cosmetics collection categorised by texture

Powders, Gels, Inks and Dews. Remember those four categories, because come September, you'll be looking at your makeup in a completely different way. Shiseido, the skincare and makeup powerhouse that is over 145 years old has reinvented its makeup collection, completely removing everything from its previous line-up and replacing it with over a hundred new SKUs. And not only has this overhaul been done at one go for its point makeup — its bases and foundations will be revamped next year — it has also categorised all its makeup by texture.

Instead of grouping them by facial feature as most brands do — think eyes, lips, nails — it has chosen to focus on textures, going back to the fundamentals of appreciating makeup as a form of creative expression. Says Jill Scalamandre, the president of Shiseido makeup centre of excellence,"The focal point of the range isn't simply the extraordinary colours or its incredible performance, but the unique, sensorial textures." Add Patrick Ta, a celebrity makeup artist and the brand's newly minted international global colour artist, "Whether it's a glossy lip or a matte eyeshadow, texture is critical because it creates depth and dimension. For example, simply switching the finish can instantly transform a lip and add an element of artistry without much effort."


It has also chosen a slew of interesting new faces to front its new line, including actress and dancer Sonoya Mizuno of Crazy Rich Asians fame, makeup pro Kara Yoshimoto Bua, multimedia artist YiZhou, and singer Banks. And while these gorgeous women are the faces fronting the line in stunning, new ad campaigns, it has also tapped on makeup professionals to aid in both the development and promotion of the new range. Both Ta and Korean makeup artist and APAC ambassador Pony, were in Tokyo, Japan in early August to conduct makeup masterclasses and speak with the press, including Buro 24/7 Singapore. Says Ta, "Shiseido has such a rich heritage and there is so much to tap into as a makeup artist. The brand also has a history of supporting emerging talent from many disciplines, which is really encouraging for artists with a strong creative vision like myself. I'm especially excited to show my followers and celebrity clients how they can use the new Shiseido makeup range to express themselves through colour and texture."

Patrick Ta

The revamp starts at the most basic level with a redesign of the packaging. A team of engineers, led by Shiseido's design architect Mao Komai, have fused modernity with iconic symbols — like the lacquered red line that is on each sleek, black product. Explains Komai."[The line] symbolises the life force that flows through nature, as as well as bold individualised beauty." The products are all slim and uobtrusive, fitting neatly into the palm of ones hand and slipping easily into purses. Echoing the black and red colour scheme, even the brushes – objects of beauty in themselves — have black handles and black or red bristles, with the signature thin, red line running through each. The makeup is what Shiseido terms 'luxe tech' a combination of luxury and technology, which is what the modern makeup and skincare user demands today.


The four textures that the brand has developed all the products under represent a kind of return to sensorialism. Makeup after all is about hands on exploration and experimentation, and what better way to test this out then with multi-use, versatile products. The textures are all lightweight, yet impactful. Explains Ta, "A lot of other brands have really strong pigment that feels very heavy on the skin. These products have such impactful pigment yet they still feel lightweight and look natural on your skin; it doesn't look like layers on your face. It looks like your face is just blessed."

The smallest category is Dews, as it has just one product the Aura Dew, a face, eye and lip highlighter that recreates the effect of light. Ta says, "Under the sunlight, this is really impactful." The Gels category, meanwhile, is all about combining high-impact finishes with a featherweight feel. The VisionAiry Gel Lipsticks in particular a crowd pleaser because of its feel good texture and bold colour, making it perfect for the everywoman. Ta says "This is a great product as it is so moisturising thanks to a 50 percent water content, but yet adds a good dose of colour to the lips."

Aura Dews

The Powder category is all about breathable, buildable and blendable formulas that seem to float or melt on the skin. Two of the stars are the Minimalist WhippedPowder blush and the ModernMatte Powder Lipsticks. The blush has a truly unique mousse-like texture, but once applied — just a tiny pinch will do — and it settles nicely on the skin with a soft, powdery finish. Says Ta "I love how the colour on the cheeks look like it has melted onto the skin. I prefer to put it on the back of my thumb first and play with the colour first. It's super airy, light and cloudy." The lipsticks solve the conundrum of how to make a matte texture palatable, by giving users the comfort of a balm. Says Gail Boyé, the senior vice president of global product development at Shiseido, "It is almost like airbrushing your lips, but with the convenience and seamless glide of a stick." The custom angular bullet of this lipstick — perfect for creating precise, solid lines on the lip contours —is an apt reflection of the innovation behind this makeup. Ta himself loves matte lipsticks as he says they "photograph well and do not distort the lip shape."

Finally, the Inks is the biggest category in trems of product offerings. Riffing off the art of Japanese calligraphy, you can expect eye products like ArchLiner Ink and a mascara in waterproof and normal formulas, as well as a new category, the KajalInk Artist. The latter is a three-in-one chubby pencil in bold shades like pure white and turquoise that can be used as a shadow, liner and even on the brows. A makeup artist that did our face at the event, even used a brown shade, Teahouse, to intensify our brows and add a touch of dimension. 

Shiseido makeup has taken a bold and decisive step with the revamp of its cosmetic collection and the impact can already be seen in the way that women and makeup artists are approaching it — with excitement and anticipation. At the media launch the buzz was palpable, as people rushed to swatch the makeup on their skin, and listened to every word that Ta and Pony had to say about the collection. Beneath the new packaging and clever names, the innovative textures, creative colours and feel-good formulas are something we can't wait to get our hands on. 

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