Geisha makeup enters the modern cosmetics market

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Japan

Geisha makeup is meeting the modern cosmetics industry and
returning to the Japanese market with the launch of one of the most
expensive lipsticks in the world.

Extracted from orange safflower, beni is the natural compound that Geisha women would have once used to return the fire to their lips. Recreated for the modern consumer​ Isehan-Honten is now recreating the lip product for the modern Japanese consumer, according to the Daily Telegraph. Beni is entirely natural and therefore is perfectly on trend although its price tag may prevent it from becoming a mass market hit. Tradition comes at a price​ Women attracted by the allure and sophistication of the geisha world will have to pay between 70,000 and 300,000 yen ($665 -$2,850) for a pot holding less than a third of an ounce. The price is partly explained by the demanding way in which beni is harvested and then processed which bears little relation to modern high yield farming techniques. From flower to lips​ Safflower must be hand-picked before sunrise during July in Japan's Yamagata mountains before being soaked and steamed to form beni. Water is then added by a formulator who creates different shades of red by varying the quantity of water used. Isehan-Honten is now packaging beni for the modern if rather well heeled consumer in ornate, lacquered cases designed by Japanese artists. Beni returns to the beauty market after nearly disappearing in the 1950s with the arrival of American lipsticks.

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