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Shiseido's latest inspiration -- Japan's culinary arts

Millennials can now feed their skin with white jelly mushrooms, loquats

Shiseido's new Waso skincare lineup

TOKYO -- It is no secret that the key to healthy skin is to eat well. Japanese beauty giant Shiseido is now offering a similar solution -- an organic skincare line inspired by the philosophy behind washoku, Japan's traditional dietary culture.

The range, called Waso, has eight items -- lotions, a polisher, moisturizers and a cleanser. They are formulated using natural Japanese ingredients like white jelly mushroom extract, carrot cells, loquat cells, soy and honey that, Shiseido says, help reduce the appearance of pores and prevent dryness.

Waso products officially go on sale in Japan in October, but Shiseido is already selling them online in Asia and the U.S.

The company describes the lineup as "food for the skin." It was designed to make the most of natural ingredients -- the same philosophy behind washoku -- but to treat the needs of the epidermis.

It is also a response to the desires of today's cosmetics buyers. "Young females," a Shiseido spokesman said, "put a lot of value in high-quality, organic skincare."

Said Shiseido CEO Masahiko Uotani, "Japanese taste is highly valued abroad, and this will be the big selling point."

South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are among the Asian countries where Waso is already on sale. The products are "on the way" to China as well, the spokesman said.

Shiseido expects tech-savvy millennials who use their smartphones to search for just the right organic skincare products to be Waso's main customers. The cosmetics maker plans to launch a social media campaign and an official smartphone-optimized website next month.

The colorful packaging uses distinct shapes intended to be "more photogenic when our young users share photos on social media like Instagram," a spokesman said.

Asia has the world's largest number of smartphone users. According to the GSMA trade group, the number of mobile subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to advance from 2.7 billion at the end of last year to 3.1 billion in 2020, accounting for two-thirds of global growth. 

Still, however Instagram-worthy the products may be, affordability remains an important factor for young users -- and Shiseido is known for high prices.

The Shiseido spokesman said the company has taken this factor into consideration. "For the new lineup," he said, "we have set the price in a more affordable range for younger women."

The cleanser sells for $28, the lotion for $30 and moisturizers for $38.

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