From Film to Makeup: The Creative Shift that Helped Save Fujifilm


10 years ago, Fujifilm did something… strange. They started making cosmetics. But looking back now, not only does the decision make total scientific sense for a film company, it may have been one of the major reasons Fujifilm was able to survive the digital revolution.

The whole story is told in this fascinating Nippon article from 2013, which explains the many ways making film and making cosmetics coincide.

The same antioxidant research required to prevent color fading of film due to UV light can be applied to skin—not to prevent color fading of course, but to prevent the aging of skin. Collagen makes up about half of the materials in film, and is also a major component of skin. And Fuji’s years of experience understanding light and color came in very handy as well.

“We spent many years pursuing beautiful skin in our film imaging business,” senior research manager Nakamura Yoshisada told Nipon, “and our accumulated technologies and perspective came in handy in our cosmetics efforts, too.”

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We’ve talked a lot in the past about Fujifilm’s philosophy of “Kaizen,” literally translated to “change good.” But while constant firmware updates and experimenting with new cameras and technologies all point to the Kaizen philosophy, Fuji’s foray into cosmetics might be the best example the company has to offer.

In fact, the company was called Fuji Photo Film until 2006. By the time the newly-minted Fujifilm Advanced Research Laboratories helped the company enter the cosmetics world, they had rebranded to just be Fujifilm… change good, right?

“Fujifilm has a history of pioneering challenging, uncharted fields, as we have done in our cosmetics development,” Nakamura told Nipon in closing. “Businesses have life-spans, technology does not.”

To read the full article and find out the many, myriad ways film development and makeup development inform one another, click here.