Shiseido Launches First “Personalized Customization Service” in China!

7 min readDec 19, 2023

Located in the prime area of Shanghai’s financial CBD, with the first store of Le Bon Marché Shanghai, Shanghai L+MALL in Lujiazui Center welcomes another iconic first store in China, the IPSA ULX Customization Research Center.

On December 15th, IPSA, a brand under Shiseido, officially launched its personalized customization service at the first ULX Customization Research Center in China. This project marks Shiseido China’s first personalized customization service, and it can be said that Shiseido, rooted in the Chinese market for over 40 years, is once again leading the trend in skincare.

IPSA Introduces a New Experience of “Customized Skincare”

In August of last year, Shanghai took the lead in encouraging cosmetic companies to explore small-batch, diverse, and highly flexible production models. Two months later, the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) explicitly initiated a pilot program for personalized cosmetic services. Since the beginning of this year, several leading beauty companies have launched personalized customization services, making 2023 the year of customized cosmetics.

Similar to tailor-made clothing, the creation of a customized skincare product involves the use of skin analysis instruments to “measure” the skin and rely on personalized skin data as a foundation.

At the IPSA ULX Customization Research Center, consumers first undergo the “ULX Skin Testing,” which examines more than 20 skin dimensions using the exclusive IPSALYZER skin analysis device. By utilizing visual data technology to accurately understand the skin’s needs, IPSA matches consumers with ingredient formulas that suit their skin type, resulting in the exclusive IPSA Ultimate Me Cream.

In fact, consumers may already be familiar with the prototype of the IPSA Ultimate Me Cream, which has gained recognition in the high-end beauty industry since its launch in December of last year, securing the position of the second-best new product. As the culmination of the brand’s anti-aging technology, IPSA Ultimate Me Cream incorporates several innovative ingredients and techniques. Launching a personalized customization service based on the anti-aging properties of the IPSA Ultimate Me Cream is driven by the fact that anti-aging is one of the core demands of consumers, and anti-aging skincare has already become a multi-billion-yuan market.

On the other hand, Shiseido, which is at the forefront of anti-aging research, has been recognized as a versatile player in the field due to its application of various research achievements, such as retinol and collagen, to its brands. Moreover, more than a decade ago, Shiseido began researching regenerative medicine and discovered a correlation between increased expression of the DHCR7 gene (cholesterol synthesis enzyme) and skin epidermal regeneration through the study of the medical beauty project W-PRP.

Based on this research, IPSA exclusively developed the GN3 compound for the IPSA Ultimate Me Cream, incorporating Shiseido Group’s flagship ingredient, retinol derivatives, and two plant extracts. This compound has the ability to autonomously generate three major anti-aging proteins: collagen, keratin, and sericin.

It is reported that the personalized customization service offered at the IPSA ULX Customization Research Center introduces the individually tailored “IPSA Ultimate Me Cream,” which not only inherits the classic anti-aging ingredient GN3 from the black crystal cream but also blends in the rare ingredient extract of cornflower, which promotes the production of Type IV and Type VII collagen, reshaping the deep structural network of the skin and combating skin aging. Moreover, based on the skin characteristics of each individual, more core ingredients will be matched through data analysis, fulfilling the precise anti-aging needs of consumers.

In simple terms, these two core ingredients are the soul of the product, but they are not limited to the fixed recommendations of pre-set products. It is through this approach that IPSA Ultimate Me Cream achieves comprehensive anti-aging effects from the root, while also providing each consumer with a customized, high-potency anti-aging cream.

It is worth mentioning that according to the “Provisions for the Innovative Development of the Cosmetics Industry in Pudong New Area, Shanghai” issued by Shanghai in August of last year, local companies in Shanghai can choose to provide on-site packaging and packaging services or entrust local cosmetic manufacturing companies to produce products based on personalized consumer demands.

For IPSA, the second approach is adopted. After consumers experience the skin testing service at the IPSA ULX Customization Research Center, the brand will provide the matched ingredient formula to the back-end, and the customized production will take place on a dedicated production line at Shiseido’s factory in China. Approximately two weeks later, a “IPSA Ultimate Me Cream” bearing the consumer’s personalized name and tailored to their skin will be delivered to the consumer.

“Born for Customized Skincare”

As we all know, Chinese consumers have become increasingly knowledgeable about beauty and are no longer passively accepting brand claims at face value. They actively discern and think about the ingredients and efficacy of brands through various channels, and they have a high pursuit of quality and personalization.

This change in awareness and demand has also given rise to the market for customized cosmetics. Several years ago, top beauty companies at home and abroad began exploring personalized cosmetics. However, early personalized customization mostly focused on surface-level aspects such as engraving services and creative packaging. Consumers, however, desire precise skincare solutions.

Recognizing this pain point, Shiseido, at the 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in 2022, unveiled the global debut of IPSA’s customized skincare concept.

Since its establishment in 1986, IPSA has always believed that everyone’s skin is unique and has adhered to the concept of customized skincare. Over the past 30 years, IPSA has conducted skin diagnosis and research based on over 10 million skin data samples.

It is understood that the IPSA Ultimate Me Cream represents IPSA’s skincare theory of “fully unleashing individual skin characteristics and revealing natural beauty.” Since its introduction in 1987, IPSA Ultimate Me Cream has gone through nine generations and corresponds to 12 formulations. In addition, there are four advanced anti-aging black crystal creams, demonstrating the concept of personalized skincare based on individual skin needs.

IPSA’s professional expertise in the field of customized skincare is widely recognized in the industry. As China’s market for customized cosmetics opens up, with optimizations in product registration, testing, sample retention, and sales management, personalized customization has undergone a qualitative transformation. IPSA’s personalized customization service no longer remains superficial or limited to fixed recommendations for preset products.

IPSA states that the personalized service launched by the IPSA ULX Customization Research Center will match the formula and ingredient components more precisely and individually based on the on-site skin test data of consumers. This conveys the brand’s commitment to unlocking the inherent beauty potential of every woman.

For IPSA, being at the forefront of the market and revolutionizing traditional personalized customization is the result of the brand’s exploration over more than 30 years, as well as the strong foundation provided by Shiseido China’s extensive research and production capabilities.

It is understood that Shiseido was one of the first international cosmetics companies to establish manufacturing facilities and research centers in China. As early as 2001, Shiseido (China) Research & Development Center Co., Ltd. was established. Since then, with a focus on new trends and demands in the local market, Shiseido has continuously increased investments in research and production, meeting the diverse and personalized beauty needs of Chinese consumers.

Whether as the first international cosmetics group to enter the Chinese market or through the establishment of the Ziyue Fund, a specialized investment fund with a scale of 1 billion yuan focused on local innovation, Shiseido’s continuous investment highlights its commitment to building its second-largest global research center in China and its long-term presence in the Chinese market.

Undoubtedly, Shiseido’s innovative capabilities tailored for the Chinese market serve as a powerful support for brands like IPSA to constantly innovate and efficiently respond to consumer demands.

Shiseido is once again leading the way when investing for Chinese market

Earlier this year, Shiseido China’s President and CEO, Umetsu Toshinobu, clearly stated, “Shiseido China’s investment actions are rooted in the specific needs of the Chinese domestic market and consumers.”

Just as Shiseido’s Chinese name is derived from the “Book of Changes” (Yijing) in China, with the phrase “zhi zai kun yuan, wan wu zi sheng” meaning “the ultimate of the supreme ultimate gives birth to all things,” it is evident that Shiseido’s belief is deeply rooted in the Chinese market.

Over the past 40 years since entering China, Shiseido has consistently practiced the development concept of “in China, for China” through tangible actions. Whether it is the successive development of exclusive brands tailored for Chinese women or the localization of production and research and development, China has always been one of Shiseido’s most valued markets.

This time, the global debut of IPSA’s first “ULX Customization Research Center” in the Chinese market not only aligns with Shiseido’s vision of becoming a “personal beauty and skincare health company” but also reflects their thinking of being rooted in China and leading the future of “beauty power.”

For companies, personalized customization plays a differentiating and value-adding role in the competition of homogeneous products. However, it is undeniable that this is still a high threshold race. The previous notice issued by the National Medical Products Administration clearly stated that pilot companies for personalized customization should be selected based on their strong production and research capabilities, well-established production quality management systems, and good reputation in the cosmetics industry.

Currently, there are only a few companies that meet these conditions. The widespread popularity of personalized customized cosmetics and the booming market still rely on leading companies to take the lead, continuously explore and practice, in order to form replicable and scalable experiences and practices.

With the joint efforts of Shiseido Group and its leading companies and brands such as IPSA, skincare is gradually transitioning from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to highly precise customization. More importantly, through the opportunity of personalized customization, these leading companies will also lead the industry into a multidimensional competition based on research and development, expertise, and service.