Top page > KASEI-JIN > File.3 Yukari Sakazaki

Creating new “make-up theory” and converting into a long line of products


I have been involved in product development and R&D in the Make-up Development Laboratory ever since joining the company in 1992. 
Product development is research conducted in response to requests from product planning supervisors of Group companies.  My main task here is to formulate new products based on planning concepts.  Over the years, my research has help send numerous make-up products to store shelves.
And conversely, R&D generates topics needed for laboratories to propose technologies to Group companies.  Here, I have produced technologies for new powders, new sensations on the skin, and new concepts while predicting what consumers’ needs will be several years down the road.

In 2009, I was dispatched to study at Lund University in Sweden, which is internationally renowned in the field of surface chemistry.  There, I engaged in basic research for one year and eight months.  The knowledge on the “surface chemistry of powders” that I acquired at Lund University is proving extremely valuable to me now in my work to make better cosmetics. 
After returning to Japan, I have served as head of the Make-up Development Laboratory, an organization comprised of 14 members, since 2011.  At the laboratory I am managing product development for base make-up, point make-up, and sunscreen as well as R&D management.
And, although this is an irregular duty that is only required during certain times, I also take charge of collaboration with the H2O Plus company as a leader of joint products with overseas Group companies.
In product development, I have successfully translated two new formulations into products.
“Solid W/O Formulation” is a cake-like product made by solidifying liquid foundation.  Here, I succeeded in improving the foundation’s usability and portability while maintaining the moist sensation of the liquid type.
“Silicon Gel Formulation” is used in products that hide pores and give skin smoothness.
And in R&D, I announced a “theory for revitalizing lost skin texture” at the 2000 Berlin Congress of the IFSCC (International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists).  Specifically, this was research on attaining the impression of bright, youthful skin by artificially regenerating skin texture that is lost due to age. The researched technology was adopted as the main finishing concept in POLA’s AUGHA make-up series.  A paper summarizing the technology received the Best Paper Award at the 12th meeting of the SCCJ (Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan).
In 2004, I delivered a presentation on “Development of Make-Up Ingredients Using Optical Effects of Red Light” at the IFSCC’s 2004 Orlando Congress.  This presentation described how red light best covers skin imperfections (such as blemishes and wrinkles) and featured research to develop a well curb-shaped powder that effectively shows this red light.  The researched technology was adopted as the main finishing concept in POLA’s “The Make B.A” make-up series.  A paper I wrote summarizing the technology received the Best Paper Award at the 14th meeting of the SCCJ (the Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan).
In all forms of research, establishing a research “story” and technical theories are the most difficult stages.  One literally wrestles with these problems from morning to night, and then, suddenly, something seemingly insignificant produces an inspiration. 
For example, in my attempt to establish a theory for revitalizing skin texture, I suddenly got a hint from something I happened to see on TV.  As I was watching a show describing a photographic trick for making a Christmas tree to appear twinkle in photographs, I thought, “This is it!”
The trick involved photographing the tree through an acrylic sheet that had been gouged in a grid pattern.  The light from the light bulbs, which should have appeared as individual points, was dispersed by the gouges and thus gave a twinkling appearance.  Taking a hint from this dispersal of light, the next day I conducted a test in the laboratory using grid-like markings to represent skin texture.  As I expected, light was dispersed nicely in the case of well textured skin. 
My research on a theory for beautiful skin presentation using red light was sparked by a mistaken material delivery by an ingredient manufacturer.
At the time, I was promoting three separate R&D projects that were not coordinated: research on color, research on methods for hiding skin imperfections, and research on interestingly shaped powders.  In our R&D on powders, we were attempting to create a straw-shaped powder through a process of trial and error.  One time, a representative of our ingredients manufacturer eagerly brought to us a straw-shaped powder prototype that, by chance, had a differently shaped powder mixed into it.  I had been entirely focused on the straw shape and was not even considering anything else, but when I saw the different shape, suddenly all three of my distinctly different research projects come together in my mind.   I thought it was possible that skin would look beautiful if we used powders having complex and special shapes made to be red.
At the moment I thought “This is it!” I could picture everything in my mind―the entire research process, the arrival point for this research, product concepts, and even myself explaining products to customers.  I love such breakthrough moments that seem to be a “revelation from God.”  They are the reason that I cannot stop being a researcher.
My motto is “If you have time to find a reason why something is impossible, then you have time to think of ways to make it possible.”
It’s a simple motto, but I like it because I find saying “it can’t be done,” “it’s impossible,” or “it’s unattainable” to be very frustrating.
When I was in charge of research, I knew instinctively when I created a sample or received data that “this is no good” or “this is OK.”  However, now, as head of the laboratory, I can only analogically infer the status of individual research activities from member’s statements or documents.  In the end, there are many phenomena that only the direct maker of a thing can sense.  Even so, I feel that the most difficult task is to make various judgments and issue instructions.
Under such circumstances, I gain motivation from the joy we all feel when members struggle to overcome challenges and accomplish their tasks.  And I am probably most pleased when my staff members tell me, “It was your advice that led to my success.”
I think what a researcher needs is “creativity” and “imagination.”
Customers, planners, manufacturing personnel, packaging personnel, advertising personnel, materials manufacturers... You have to look at your research from a variety of perspectives and think, “If I were in such and such position, I would want this to happen.”  And you must constantly change the content and course of your research as you imagine what these various people will say.

Since becoming laboratory head, the one thing I feel most keenly is the need for communication skills.  I believe the keys to managing my laboratory center on how to take in the thoughts and opinions of laboratory members and how to effectively collaborate with other concerned divisions.
Even now, I proudly display on my desk a stirring rod bearing my name that I used as a researcher.
In years past, it was customary for researchers to make stirring rods out of the kadomatsu bamboo that was displayed by the company during the New Year holidays.  My stirring rod was given to me by an older employee.
Right now I am not so directly involved in day-to-day research duties.  To be honest, I miss working in the laboratory, as there are still many topics that I would like to pursue.  If I think back, I feel some regret.  I think, “I should have done that” or “that approach was a bit of a failure.”  So it is my dream to be able to say one day that “I have done everything I want to do.”
I may be being a bit too self-centered here, but my goal is “to spend my life contributing to the company as a researcher and to produce products that are truly valued by the public.”
However, even if I cannot be directly involved in research, I intend to work in ways that keep in contact with research as a laboratory manager.

Next →
File.4 Praduct Development
Daisuke Yamashita


Website policy  |  Handling of personal information  |  Site map