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Launch of Curél face care in the UK and USA, strengthening the brand's global strategy

In October 2019 Kao Corporation (Michitaka Sawada, President) will be launching the Curél face care range in the United Kingdom and United States. Curél is positioned as one of the strategic global brands (G11) in the cosmetics business of the Kao group.
The launch is expected to grow the brand and strengthen its position in both Japan and overseas by extending thoroughly researched Curél technologies for the care of dry, sensitive skin.


Background and aims of the launch

Curél first launched in 1984 in the United States as a hand and body cream brand for dry skin. Kao acquired the brand fourteen years later, in 1998. Kao researchers had discovered that skin sensitivity caused by dryness could be partly explained by a lack of ceramide in the skin. In a new lineup of body care items released in Japan in 1999, Kao applied a proprietary ceramide care technology to protect and supplement the functions of ceramide as a new hallmark Curél approach. Curél face care quickly followed a year later. With the releases of the new homegrown additions to the brand lineup, Curél was setting itself apart as Japanese-developed skincare brand targeting dry, sensitive skin of the face, scalp, and body. The 20th anniversary of the first Curél launch in Japan was celebrated this year. With its extensive lineup of items formulated to answer the needs of dry, sensitive skin, Curél enjoys strong support and continuous growth as Japan's top-selling brand in the sensitive-skin face care category.*1
Kao launched the Curél brand in the Asia-Pacific region in 2009, starting in Hong Kong and then expanding to other countries and regions. In the decade since, Curél has become the popular choice for customers throughout Asia seeking care for dry, sensitive skin.
Distribution of the Japan-formulated face care items from Curél is now to expand into the United Kingdom and United States. Kao seeks to strengthen the global strategy for the brand and expand the number of customers in the sensitive skin care market worldwide.
In the UK, the face care line will initially be sold from around a hundred Boots stores and the Boots online shop. The USA launch, likewise, will start from around four hundred Ulta Beauty stores and the Ulta online shop. Kao marketers will be spreading awareness of the Curél brand through influencers and online campaigns, and enticing new customers to brick-and-mortar and online shops.

  • * 1 According to an Intage SRI survey of the sensitive-skin face care market between March 2018 and February 2019, based on the total value of sales per brand.

Items to be introduced*2

Curél products:
- Makeup Cleansing Gel
- Foaming Facial Wash
- Moisture Facial Lotion Enrich
- Moisture Eye Zone Essence
- Moisture Facial Milk
- Intensive Moisture Facial Cream
- Trial Kit Enrich

  • * 2 The names differ from those of the same products sold in Japan.

Main retail outlets:

UK: Boots stores and
US: Ulta Beauty stores and
Boots is a leading health and beauty retailer in the UK
Ulta Beauty is an American one-stop beauty store chain combining sales of beauty care items with salon facilities

About Curél

The Curél skincare brand provides total care for dry, sensitive skin of the face, body, and scalp. Curél concentrates Kao's expertise in dermatology and restores the functions of ceramide as a vital skin ingredient that protects the skin from sensitivity caused by dryness. Low levels of ceramide in skin weaken the barrier functions that protect the skin from external stimuli, leading to problems such as roughness and chapping. Curél moisturizes the skin by protecting and supplementing ceramide. Regular application supports the barrier functions that protect the skin from dryness and other external stimuli and maintains a hydrated skin less prone to roughness.

Global Portfolio "G11"

In May 2018 Kao Corporation drew up a "New Global Portfolio" as a pillar for the group's growth strategy in cosmetics. Eleven strategic brands (G11) were selected from five cosmetics businesses (Kanebo Cosmetics, Sofina, Curél, Équipe and Molton Brown) to strengthen Kao's global cosmetic business. By fusing firm evidence with a sensuous beauty that engages all five of the senses in its own unique way, Kao seeks to further differentiate these brands and accelerate their exposure in Japan, Asia, and Europe.


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