Research & Development
Technical Development Center, Hair Care Product Development
(joined the company in 2017)
She joined the company in 2017 and is in charge of developing hair color products. Despite her young age as a new graduate, she incorporated her original research results to help develop "LUCIDO Speedy Color Rinse," a hair dye for gray hair. She has been inherently curious since childhood and loves conducting experiments. She makes strenuous efforts each day as she dedicates her work to hair color.
- --What made you decide to become a researcher and enter the cosmetics industry?
I enjoyed receiving unexpected results as I conducted experiments during my lectures in university. That's why I chose a Japanese sake-related laboratory that is renowned for putting a lot of effort into conducting experiments. Malted rice (or koji in Japanese) is the raw material used to make Japanese sake, and there is a component in malted rice that is used for beautiful skin. The research I conducted was on that component.
I by no means had a strong interest in researching cosmetics before I was assigned to work at the laboratory. However, the research I conducted on that beautiful skin component allowed me to grasp the attractiveness of cosmetics. Cosmetics have an appeal that allows people to enjoy their daily routine and enrich their lives. It was that kind of "beauty" that I wanted to pursue in my professional career, and so I decided to become a cosmetics researcher.
- --There are so many other cosmetics manufacturers out there. What made you choose Mandom?
When I was job hunting, there was one phrase on Mandom's recruitment website that really touched me. It said, "We are looking for passionate challengers!" Those words really conveyed the company's passion, and I still remember the sense of excitement I felt thinking "This is the company I want to try many things at!"
When I actually visited the head office to attend Mandom's company information session, all of the employees had a certain glow about them that conveyed the feeling that each and every one of them took great pride in their work. That made me want to work passionately together with them, and that's why I chose this company.
- --What kind of work are you currently involved in?
Right now I'm in charge of hair coloring products content development. I design "tones" which is the main function of hair coloring, and I also design formulas for reducing damage to hair and the scalp.
I was also interested in skin care—a field that would allow me to utilize the research I conducted while in university. However, I wanted to challenge a new field of research, and since I didn't have any knowledge about hair coloring, I applied for the Hair Care Product Development .
- --Have you ever lost your bearings or encountered difficulty while taking on challenges in that unfamiliar environment?
Around six months after I joined the company, a senior coworker of mine said "Let's try designing a tone" to me. Of course, I had zero experience creating colors, and although I tried mimicking what I saw them do, the color I created was far from what our original aim was.
My senior coworker kept giving me advice, but I struggled to develop the color for days on end. And after a long process of trial and error, I finally succeeded in creating an ideal color.
That color was commercialized as the hair dye for gray hair "LUCIDO Speedy Color Rinse" (released in August 2018). This was the product that applies "Basic Blue 124," one of the basic dyes that has the characteristic of "dyeing hair, not so much the skin" which was originally discovered by Mandom. As a newly hired employee in her first year at the company, I never thought that I would be part of such major development work, and the experience has become very precious to me.
- --So that was your first time being involved in research to produce a product for commercialization.
Taking part in research to develop a product and seeing that product on store shelves. That was a feeling I had never experienced before. After the product was launched, I immediately ran to a store to take a picture of it to send to my parents.
Research means repeating experiments and trials over and over again, and there are many cases of failure and times when you receive unexpected results. To be honest, there are even times when I get depressed and think, "Why isn't it working?" But those moments are only temporary, and no matter how many times I fail, I think about the inspiration of creating a product that will be on store shelves and used by consumers. And it's that inspiration that motivates me to continue my research.
- --How are your relationships with your seniors? And what is the workplace atmosphere like?
My senior colleagues and I are very close, and being able to freely consult with them is very reassuring for me. When I hit a wall in my research, they give me enlightening advice like, "Why not try approaching it from this angle?" and "Try consulting with ***. They might be able to give you a hint."
There's also a great deal of cross-departmental collaboration going on such as between the marketing and planning departments. We thoroughly gather information on consumer wants (needs) and trends from those departments and utilize them in our research and development. The vertical relationship I have with my seniors and the horizontal relationship across all departments all come together so the entire company can hold many discussions to create a single product. That sense of unity is something I really love about Mandom.
- --What kind of things do you place the most importance on as a researcher?
Always thinking from the consumer's perspective. No matter how great a product you develop from a researcher's standpoint, if that product isn't needed by consumers, then it will never fulfill the true meaning of "Dedication to Service (Oyakudachi)" (dedication to service) that Mandom advocates. I remember there was one time when I personally felt good about a prototype I was working on, but when I proposed it to my seniors and the staff at the planning department, there were a lot of areas for improvement pointed out to me. This was because my prototype lacked consideration from a consumer's perspective.
That experience taught me to always keep the consumer's wants in mind, and so the thing I place the most importance on now is developing products that will satisfy and please our customers.
- --What are your goals for the future?
Right now, I want to master researching hair coloring and come up with good products. That's all I'm thinking about. There are a lot of consumers out there who struggle with the issue of and conception that coloring your hair greatly damages your hair and scalp. That is why I want to develop a hair coloring product that is friendlier to hair than any other product before.
- --Lastly, what message would you give to other younger individuals who are aspiring to become researchers in the future?
Within Mandom's New MISSION Framework there's a phrase that says, "Challenge, Change, Innovation." This is by no means just an ideal, but rather something that I strongly feel is achievable after joining the company. At Mandom, my seniors always listen to me when I have new ideas or proposals, and the entire company has an underlying structure that supports that. If you are passionate and have a spirit for challenging new things, then working at Mandom will allow you to demonstrate that to its fullest extent. This is the message I want to give them.
(Information as of March 2019.)