We tried Shiseido’s IoT skincare system Optune and here’s what we think

Nov 14, 2018 · 5 min read

Technology is rapidly defining skin and anti-aging care and nowhere is this more apparent than with the recent innovations of Japan’s number one cosmetics producer.

In 2017, Shiseido caused a huge sensation when they announced their creation of a personalized IoT skincare system called “Optune”. Optune is a set of devices with a dedicated smartphone app that analyses one’s skin through an algorithm. It pulls this data along with the user’s external environment like the weather and body condition such as mental health and menstrual cycle. From these information, Optune produces the optimal serum and moisturizer that is precisely suited for the user’s skin on that particular day.

IoT skincare system “Optune”

Inside are five set cartridges which contain three serums and two moisturisers. These were specifically selected to match the user’s attributes based from a diagnosis made at the time of purchase. Optune alters the amount and balances the combination of each element to suit the user’s skin condition for each day. It is capable of over 1,000 different combinations.

Optune Trial

We at Beautytech.jp were lucky enough to get the chance to try the test release of Optune’s β-version and incorporate it in our routines.

We can easily tell how Optune produces different variations just by feeling the serums by hand. We observed how the texture changes every day and how varying amounts of the three main serums inside the device were combined.

The mixture of naturally-scented moisturisers also varied depending on the time of day. In the morning, it adds in SPF20/PA++ for battling UV rays. At night, the moisturiser comes with a lavender scent to induce sleep and is configured to better maintain moisture throughout the night.

Price structure

To use Optune, one needs to buy the five cartridges which costs 2,800 yen each excluding tax. The device is rented from Shiseido for free but after three months, the user needs to pay a basic monthly fee of 900 yen for maintenance and support and data tuning costs. The cartridge replenishments are charged separately. According to Shiseido, they adopted a rental system so that users are guaranteed to have access to the latest version of the device.

In Shiseido’s test-selling of Optune on their beauty website last March, it exceeded 10 times the forecasted sales (unpublished). Shiseido said that they will continue improving the product based on the their buyers’ feedback with the goal of selling the device at an early date.

Simply putting out your hand on a device that will dispense a personalised serum and moisturiser fine-tuned to one’s needs undoubtedly offers convenience like nothing else can in the market. It’s likely to see high demand from people who lead busy lifestyles or those who engage in child-rearing. The app is currently focused on skin measurement and calendar functionality. However, if it can eventually manage to analyse the changes in skin over a time period, it can act as a good representation of skincare effectiveness and become a motivation to maintain a skincare routine.

On the other hand, it doesn’t deal with particular personal preferences yet, for example, if the person wants to use a larger amount or if he/she would like to change the lightness or richness of the serum. Addressing these needs is remains a “future assignment” for now.

Wearable facelifter

Aside from Optune, we also got to try YA-MAN’s wearable beauty device for the face called MediLift. YA-MAN is a company that specialises in manufacturing beauty devices for the face and body.

YA-MAN’s MediLift

According to YA-MAN, there are over 30 different muscles in the face. Not all of those muscles are used and this causes some muscles to weaken with age. Not all of these muscles though need to be put into shape. Some of these muscles, if trained up, end up becoming flabby and may also produce wrinkles. This is where MediLift comes in. MediLift is a facemask that lifts the lower half of the face. It uses EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) technology to release appropriate wavelengths for each muscle that needs to be trained and without disturbing the other ones. By using low frequency vibrations to sustain a stimulus to these muscles, face muscles will be trained which results to an overall tightening of the skin.

The mask is made of medical grade silicone and designed to fit firmly on the face and skin. By aligning it with the position of the eyes, nose, and mouth, the EMS electrodes will be properly positioned to work on the required muscles.

We tested its auto-mode feature for ten minutes and our face felt a slight fatigue, although pleasant, similar to the effects of face yoga. We could also feel a slight tightening of the face. Since the mask is hands-free, it allows the user to simultaneously work on other tasks. It is also easy to keep the device clean. Just remove the controller from the mask and wash the mask with water. The device can also be used while applying a facial sheet mask giving way to a more efficient beauty routine.

If MediLift will be able to have interactive app functions in the near future, the appeal of the product would likely grow even more. The app can calculate and display results numerically or indicate its use at the proper time.

After trying out Shiseido’s Optune and YA-MAN’s MedLift, it just became more apparent to us that the era or automated skincare has arrived. The evolution of technology is allowing products to customise themselves to each individual, pushing towards more and more personalisation in beauty and skincare. Thanks to these products, the “correct” beauty routine calculated based on data, is now available right at our fingertips.

Text: Christine Roque
Original Text (Japanese): Lina Ono


BeautyTech.jp is a digital magazine in Japan that overviews and analyzes current movements of beauty industry focusing on technology and digital marketing.


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BeautyTech.jp is a digital magazine in Japan that overviews and analyzes current movements of beauty industry focusing on technology and digital marketing.


BeautyTech.jp is a digital magazine in Japan that overviews and analyzes current movements of beauty industry focusing on technology and digital marketing.

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