Posts Tagged 'Japan'

Cosmetic Engineering

I was an organizer for the 2009 Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference which showcases and explores many cutting-edge technologies and scientific areas of growth. One of the seminars I attended discussed nanotechnology, focusing on the self replication aspects, and uses as a chemical vector to treat illnesses.

However, what really caught my attention was the application of nanotech in everyday cosmetics. Highly engineered materials are holding eyelashes, and adding colour (and whatever else makeup is used for) of the many, many attractive women I interact with in my everyday life (many). Have you ever wondered how some products give you 10x the lashes versus their leading competitors? The answer lies in good engineering… and nano-tubes, amphilic compounds, and a hilarious amount of other chemicals.

An example of nanotech in makeup, the infamous buckyball makes an appearance in recent facial creams. Its properties include deflecting UV rays (an invisible spectrum of sunlight which causes skin cancer – making you ugly) and absorbing free radicals (molecules which are highly reactive causing damage to organisms – making you ugly) which are harnessed to create a state-of-the-art product.

So who are the best cosmetic engineers?

European and American brands such as MAC and Revlon, are among the most well known, however, these companies invest millions towards marketing to the masses, and pulling in celebrity endorsements. Even with a large budget for clinical research, the turn around time to leverage new technologies may be much slower for large caps due to the red-tape chaos of large organizations and their investors. These companies are also run as corporations, where cost cutting is the norm.

I’m not saying these companies don’t make good cosmetics, but take a look at some Japanese products. Many of these companies concentrate on research and development, letting their products speak for themselves. The Japanese are also highly focused on innovation, and technology, not to mention their efforts in health and environment. They’ve taken over the electronic and automobile industries in the past, and it looks like the cosmetic market may be a new area to watch for Japanese dominance.

Check out the brands Ayura, Gatsby, Kanebo, Lunasol, RMK, Shiseido, Shu Uemura, and SUQQU to name a few.