Min­i­mal­ist ap­proach

Ja­panese brand Shu Ue­mura lets women ex­press them­selves through its in­no­va­tive skin­care and cos­met­ics.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION - By S. INDRAMALAR

Ja­panese brand Shu Ue­mura lets women ex­press them­selves through its in­no­va­tive skin­care and cos­met­ics.

USE as lit­tle make-up as you pos­si­bly can. Com­ing from a lead­ing cos­met­ics com­pany, this piece of ad­vice seems odd but Ja­panese beauty brand Shu Ue­mura firmly be­lieves that all a woman needs is just a “touch” of make-up. This was the credo of cos­me­tol­o­gist and make-up artist Shu Ue­mura who founded Shu Ue­mura Cos­met­ics in 1965.

His out­look on beauty was unique and ahead of his time. His pas­sion for na­ture, art and sci­ence trans­lated into ev­ery as­pect of the cos­met­ics brand.

For Ue­mura, prod­ucts were not merely for pur­chase; they had to re­late to ev­ery sin­gle cus­tomer. And of­ten, they looked so good they could al­most be works of art.

He passed away in 2007, but his phi­los­o­phy and spirit re­main the guid­ing force be­hind the brand.

“This man was a pi­o­neer and free spirit. He was al­ways ex­plor­ing, look­ing for new ex­pe­ri­ences. He used to say: ‘ Never stop think­ing, im­prov­ing and in­no­vat­ing.’ If some­thing had been done al­ready, he was not in­ter­ested. He wanted to cre­ate ... be ahead of trends. That’s what we strive to main­tain. We want to keep

One of the lat­est in the Shu Ue­mura skin­care line, the Depsea Hy­dra­bil­ity range. Shu Ue­mura fresh, young and in­no­va­tive,” said Stephan Bezy, gen­eral man­ager of Shu Umuera World­wide in a re­cent in­ter­view at the Shu Ue­mura head of­fice in Tokyo.

“Shu Ue­mura rep­re­sents free­dom for women. The free­dom for them to be more con­fi­dent and ex­press their in­di­vid­u­al­ity. Shu Ue­mura doesn’t sell a pre-de­fined type of beauty. We try to rep­re­sent ev­ery woman which is why we have so many colours.”

It’s hardly sur­pris­ing that the brand is well­known for its many eye and lip colours. There are no less than 100 shades of eye colour and 150 shades of lip colour to choose from. And, there is also an ex­haus­tive range of false eye­lashes which the brand is now so fa­mous for. What this rep­re­sents, said Bezy, is choice. “Whether you pre­fer a style that is more sub­tle and wear­able, or some­thing more artis­tic, the choice is yours. Shu Ue­mura has all the colours.”

This, he added, is the her­itage of Ue­mura who gained in­ter­na­tional ac­claim when he trans­formed ac­tress Shirley McLaine into a Ja­panese geisha in the 1962 Hollywood block­buster, My Geisha.

The Tokyo-born artist quickly be­came a favourite among top celebri­ties, among them singer Frank Si­na­tra and ac­tor Ed­ward G. Robin­son ( The Ten Com­mand­ments, My Geisha).

Ue­mura first went to Hollywood in 1955 and it was there that he de­vel­oped new ideas on how he could push the bound­aries in the way make-up and beauty were in­ter­preted in Ja­pan. He was in­spired by in­no­va­tions in fashion and beauty, and when he re­turned to Ja­pan in 1964, Ue­mura was brim­ming with fresh ideas. He be­came the first Ja­panese make-up artist to es­tab­lish his own com­pany un­der his own name.

He in­tro­duced Ja­pan to Un­mask, a cleans­ing oil which he brought back from Hollywood. Un­mask was used by stage ac­tors as it was per­fect for re­mov­ing heavy stage make-up.

Later, he ob­tained the li­cence to im­port and man­u­fac­ture the oil in Ja­pan and Un­mask be­came the first oil-based cleanser to be in­tro­duced in the coun­try. This marked a mile­stone in Shu Ue­mura’s his­tory as the oil­based cleanser is now one of the brand’s most iconic prod­ucts.

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