January 22, 2010

Beauty News: Shiseido to Buy Bare Escentuals

In all my years of collecting Bare Escentuals I’ve come to associate the brand with Leslie Blodgett’s face. This has become something very important to me because I honestly can’t associate many brands with faces, it somehow makes the makeup experience more personal as if Leslie is my best friend, telling me all about the new makeup coming out from season to season.

Leslie and her company, Bare Escentuals, is joining forces with Shiseido.

Have a jump to learn the beauty news.

Shiseido, Japan’s largest cosmetics company, has agreed to buy Bare Escentuals for $1.7 billion. In my experience not alot of people take note how huge Shiseido is. You go to your local Shiseido counter to purchase posh cosmetics but what you may not realize is Shiseido produces a slew of other brands available under the Shiseido name that are exclusive to Japan and certain Asian countries. Actually, much as we think of Covergirl as a drugstore brand, Shiseido is in fact thought of in drugstore terms as well since they produce a slew of inexpensive face care, cleansers, and makeup items that you may have never laid eyes on since it lives outside the realms of the US.

So indeed Shiseido has 1.7 billion dollars to spare, it’s probably chump change for them.

I do find it intriguing that they chose Bare Escentuals as a lead in for their brand to move forward in a fast growing natural ingredient cosmetic market, GO green makeup! Although Shiseido holds it’s own in the Asian market the idea of BE and Shiseido strikes me as somewhat odd. However, as I see it things will pretty much be business as usual for BE and I doubt that Shiseido will influence the brand so much  that you won’t recognize it.  I do believe much of the creative marketing behind it flows from Leslie, this is her baby after all.

From what I understand Shiseido hopes to strengthen their presence within the US market which to me is understandable because as I mentioned above the average makeup user associates the Shiseido name with a posh, high end counter cosmetic and nothing outside of that.

1.7 billion dollars may seem like alot of money but in terms of popularity within the US market, Bare Escentuals holds it’s own against Shiseido and takes in about a more in revenue. There is much to gain from this merger for Shiseido but one wonders what BE will get out of it.

I look forward to seeing how BE evolves or if any changes will take place when the move is finally in place.

What do you think of the Bare Escentuals Shiseido deal?

Anything interesting about it for you?

Do you think BE might change because of it? Pricing wise? Product wise?

Do share!

Leslie has already addressed BE fans in a letter on the BE site if you’d like to read it visit bareescentuals.com

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment


  • Sasha

    I saw that in the WSJ yesterday and thought it was an interesting pairing. I’ve always thought of Shiseido as “high end” and don’t quite think of BE that way… I think of BE as an “everywoman” brand. I’m not sure that it’s a good match IMHO.

    • the Muse

      hey sasha!

      It kinda stinks that we are not privy to the lower end of Shiseido in the states but there are mounds of lovely items available in Japan and throughout Asia that are cheaper in price than our lonely one counter here in the US 😀

      I agree BE does have the image of the girl next door in some ways. It’s an interesting pairing. I honestly don’t think much will change after this deal goes through, I guess it’s simply a matter of one company taking another under it’s wing.

  • Shiya

    I love this news! I hope shiseido will make BE a lot more user friendly and less messy. Shiseido has been doing really well about this!

    • the Muse

      hi shiya I dunno how much influence Shiseido will have on BE in regards to marketing and such but I’d be curious to see how things change if they do at all. 😀 and totally understand, loose powders are sometimes the dickens to work with!

  • kira

    hopefully shiseido will move some BE products to asia…it’s hard to get your hands on those from that one lonely sephora we have in hong kong 🙁

    • the Muse

      hey kira I was thinking the same this could be a global venture for BE now that Shiseido has taken a bit of the reigns we shall see!

    • Ceriene


      Only one Sephora in a big city Hong Kong… it’s blasphemous!

  • aretha

    shiseido is definitely a very interesting brand. you’ll be surprised at the amount of excellent drugstore products they produce if you visit a drugstore in japan! (ie matsumoto kiyoshi)

    i am interested to see how it influences BE though. 😛 thankfully even after shiseido bought over NARS, francois remains the driving force behind the brand. so hopefully it will also be the same here! i do hope they do something about the packaging and formula though. X out the bismuth oxychloride (which irritates my skin!) and make a more user + travel friendly packaging!

  • Kellie

    I have had virtually zero problems dealing with BE since I started poking 3-4 holes in the sticker that you normally remove. So now only a small controlled amount of loose powder comes out at a time. No more mess!! And I use tons less product. It lasts forever!

  • suz

    wicked news…it will be interesting how and if bare escentuals will change and what kind of changes it will bring to us who love bare escentuals. I hope it gets better and not turn for the worst. Japan has a ton of knowledge when it comes to cosmetic..so I am confident in them!

    • the Muse

      i agree suz I am curious if it’ll be any change at all or none. I doubt it’ll be for the worst as it’s two great brands so anything changed would be for the better if there is any change to begin with 😀

      I am as well 🙂

  • Suzanne

    My first reaction is Not Happy but that’s because I don’t want anyone messing with my precious BE or darling Leslie. I’m a little overly-obsessed with Bare Escentuals and can’t really judge logically, so I am trusting that Leslie is making the best choice for the company. She should know, right?

    • the Muse

      Suzanne I think it’ll be a ok. I don’t imagine that Leslie would have gone into it without considering all the options 🙂 plus I always see Leslie as very involved with the company so I imagine this won’t change much if anything at all 🙂

  • Li

    I believe that Shiseido is trying to make mineral foundation more mainstream in Asia (to compete w/ bb creams as base makeup that can benefit the skin). I heard that Shiseido will launch pressed mineral foundation (in addition to loose powder version) under the Integrate line in Feb. So maybe it is part of Shiseido’s plan to take BE’s formulation, improve it and make it more user-friendly.

    • the Muse

      I gotta say li I dunno of minerals would ever win over the bb market but one can never tell considering most Asian skin is oily! so it may be popular as hell. Mmm interesting! Integrate mineral powder, that should be very curious to see. It’s possibly but I doubt BE will change much here!

  • Sasha

    Also, the article in WSJ said that Shiseido chose BE due to BE’s online marketing savvy…. or something like that.

    • the Muse

      interesting sasha. I never really noticed BE being large in the online marketing scheme of themes! but compared to shisedio I’d say yes!

  • Mollie

    Ugh, seriously?

    I loooove the quality of Shiseido’s products… but they are infamous for conducting animal testing. Sometimes, if I really must use a product, then I can overlook it. But my aunt is a MUA who used to work for them in Japan and she was privy to some of their practices in the lab (because she wanted to know for sure if they condoned testing).

    Sorry… don’t mean to be the stick in the mud, but I loved that BE was its own company and never animal tested (why would they have needed to, ya know, their ingredients were practically inert).

    But when it comes down to it, nearly every cosmetic ingredient has been animal tested with the exception of very basic things like jojoba oil and stuff like that. Le sigh.

    I always do this lol… I’m like the little hippie of this blog following!

  • Ashley

    I absolutely love Shiseido but I hate Bare Escentuals. I doubt we’ll be seeing any change in ingredients or formulas. Or maybe they’ll just repackage everything & make it cuter! I have a lot of confidence with Shiseido or atleast their Japanese skin care & cosmetic lines. The stuff we get here in North America just isn’t cutting it.

    • the Muse

      Ashley I don’t dig base products from BE myself but really like the color stuff 😀 I agree doubt we’ll see anything change really. NOT at all! I doubt we’ll have see the sub brands in the US, terrible shame really we miss out!

  • Katherine

    I love Buxom lipglosses and the twist up lipsticks but really don’t care for anything else from BE. I do love Shiseido, but am very surprised by this news! I think that Shiseido won’t mess with the BE products that are good (don’t fix what ain’t broke!), but I think they’ll do a good job and might improve the line.

    • the Muse

      katherine I have a love/hate with buxom. like the brush applicators but not the sponge, believe there is a difference between these two one is full color and one a gloss can’t recall but yea anyway…ha….did you try the new buxom lip balms?

      I doubt they’ll do too much to the line or at least as I see it they won’t be ya never know!

  • Ceriene

    I adore Shiseido. It’s one of those really affordable, versatile brands, that is unknowingly also one of the tycoons in the make-up industry.

    Hoping they’ll bring more BE to Asia. Sephora is hard to come by here, and even then, they overprice it like burning. 🙁

    • the Muse

      ceriene truly in the US it’s virtually unknown how popular abrand Shiseido really is! I hope so too! I hate how jacked up prices are abroad sigh!

  • Tina Matuchniak

    I couldn’t agree with you more–Leslie IS the face of BE. I’m not sure I see the acquisition as a “natural” marketing wise. A little disappointed, actually. I enjoyed supporting an “American” product. Thank you for the thoughtful blog. Clearly, you are not “just a pretty face” 😉

    • the Muse

      hey tina I always think of leslie when I think of BE 😀 That’s actually very true, BE is very American isn’t it? In some aspects this could be a good thing as it opens BE’s market to International sales but I can understand it being one of the few all American brands, very true.

      Aw thank YOU that’s VERY flattering particularly the pretty face part hehe you’re too KIND! *hugs*

  • Lisa

    Money talks. Money walks. Things always change when a new owner sweeps in. Look at Philosophy, which in my opinion changed for the better, although their pricing turned me off finally. Lauder owns everything else. Hard for the little guy to hold their own in this day and age. Let’s hope it just improves things! We love BE for what it offers now.

    • the Muse

      I doubt it Lisa. I think it’ll stay the same imho. Philosophy has changed for the better, I agree. I really hadn’t noticed the pricing being too drastically different but product and quality is way nicer. I doubt you’ll see little to no change no worries 🙂

  • Jennifer

    I am actually happy about the purchase. A brand that I want to like, but breaks me out and I find boring at times, may get a makeover. I hope the price point doesn’t increase.Thanks for the info. I wish I could afford Shiseido here in the states. I have been told it is a drugstore product in other countries. Is this true? How can we sell it at Neimans and another country sell it for so much less at the drugstore?Thanks 🙂

  • Hana

    I really really hope that if Shiseido is trying to get their name out there more in America they bring over some of their drugstore lines. I’d especially love to be able to buy the Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner more easily. <3

    I doubt Shiseido will change the actual makeup from Bare Escentuals, since it's already very nice.

    • the Muse

      i wish hana but I doubt we’ll EVER see that.

      I don’t think Shiseido will have much say in how BE does business. I think the realms of the deal will prob have leslie and her own marketing team do much of the pricing/packaging/ideas/etc…as can’t see Leslie as agreeing to anything else as I think BE is her baby! I know I’d feel that way, heck I feel that way about Musings, no money in the world could make me change what I do hear or how I do it and I imagine it’s the same for leslie and this deal :_D

  • Comrade_Garlic

    I don’t think BE will change. When Nars was bought by Shiseido, the concept and identity didn’t change. Shiseido is one of the largest cosmetic company worldwide. They own many brands that are sold in the US, like Joico. I’m sure it’s much needed capital and access to labortories and factories that BE didn’t have before. This is really a good thing.

    • the Muse

      me either Comrade! I think so too. I think it’ll create more worldwide exposure 🙂 which for a brand, is always a good thing right?

  • Zangy

    i think that’s a great idea. BE could be messy. but then again, will BE’s prices go up since Shiseido is taking over..??
    oh, well, i love shiseido, anyway; great idea!

    • the Muse

      hey zangy I think it’ll be a good merger 😀 Not sure but I don’t see that happening anytime soon 🙂


    I guess I just don’t understand it – the merger.
    Great blog post though!

    • the Muse

      thanks stephanie. Simply means that Shiseido purchased BE 🙂 BE now belongs to Shiseido 🙂