Rainbow Face Powder, 1917 Rainbow Face Powder, 1917 Rainbow Face Powder ad, 1917 Rainbow Face Powder ad, 1926 Rainbow Face Powder poster, 1925


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Bringing Color to Japanese Life: Shiseido’s Rainbow Face Powder

Shiseido introduced Rainbow Face Powder in 1917, at a time when Japanese women had almost never worn anything but white face powder. The idea of face powder with seven colors was revolutionary, when many still felt that the ideal complexion was that of a porcelain doll.

The product was based on the breakthrough idea of applying face powder using seven colors, including white, yellow, flesh, rose, peony, green and purple to match each person’s skin tone.

The container was octagonal, with the front covered by white satin to provide a lavish, upscale look. Original and bold, the product gave fashionable women a chance to break free of the classic Japanese kimono look. At the same time, the powder was reputed to have become popular among the geisha of the time as a means of “projecting an appealing image under the lights.”