Indeed, it is hard to imagine what a little red bottle from Japanese brand Shiseido has in common with Harvard.

Back since 1989, Shiseido together with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, started researching on the skin’s immune function. The result: a Neuro Immuno Cutaneous Endocrine (NICE) theory, which was ranked as one of the ‘Top 50 scientific discoveries’ in 1993.


Fast forward 20 years later, this little red bottle contains the patented “Ultimune Complex” that helps to regulate skin immunity and was derived from the consistent research by this collaboration.

The new Shiseido Ultimune has celebrated its first anniversary of launch, and in conjunction with this milestone, a new product for the eye “Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate” has been introduced (the first product was a concentrate for the face).

Clearly, the sale of Ultimune range is successful which spurs subsequent products in the range. Do you think the tie-up with Harvard helped in terms of marketing and gaining product awareness?

Here are some other brands that tap on renown academia for research. Let’s see if you could remember or recognise these relationships. 

Dior Capture Totale – Stanford University


This anti-aging skincare line was incepted after Dior‘s partnership with Stanford University on the research of stemcells. With the research from Stanford, Dior “revolutionised” the beauty industry with anti-aging products that not only target the epidermis, but also the deeper level of dermis which is most difficult to repair.

The Living Proof – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


The Living Proof was started in 2004 by an Institute Professor of MIT, Dr Robert Langer. He teamed up with VC firm Polaris Partners and utilising technology originated from MIT, The Living Proof hair care products were born. One of the ingredients used in Living Proof’s shampoo, the volumizing Polyalkylaminoester-1 (PBAE), was developed from a library of tens of thousands of polymers that Dr Langer – who is a pioneer of tissue engineering and drug delivery – as well as his colleagues organized.

PS: For review of The Living Proof hair care products, please click here. This is definitely a partnership that works!

SkinCeuticals – Duke University 


SkinCeuticals products were conceptualised based on a combination of antioxidant ingredients developed and patented by Dr Sheldon R. Pinnell. Dr Pinnell, who passed away in 2013,  was a professor of Dermatology and distinguished member of Duke University. Dr. Pinnell’s skin science research garnered him several patents, with the most important one on “A Stable Solution of L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).” The formulation standards in this study are now known as the Duke Antioxidant patent, which has been a key force of SkinCeuticals skincare range.


Back to the Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate,  I don’t intend to do a full-fledged review because based on my experience with Shiseido skincare, the observable effect takes a bit of time. Just some quick notes:

Texture: Gel-like fluid with a light scent. Absorbs quickly.

Ingredients: Alcohol denat is the 2nd ingredient in the list. Not suitable for sensitive skin types or those sensitive to alcohol in skincare products. Also contains fragrance.

Initial thoughts: The serum is hydrating and lightweight, so it is suitable for oilier skin types. I have yet to seen stronger/better skin tone yet. The difference between the Eye Concentrate versus the Power Infusing Concentrate is not great but I would suggest those who are interested to check out the Eye Concentrate, which is lighter weight and does not list alcohol denat as second ingredient (it was listed as the fourth). The concentrate could be used before your regular serum to improve efficacy of your skincare regime.

The Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate costs S$105 for 30ml, whilst the new Power Infusing Eye Concentrate is priced at S$98, 15ml.

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