from the Kanebo website :
Cosmetics from Silk
Kanebo was established as a cotton trading company in 1887 at Kanegafuchi in Tokyo. In 1908, business was expanded to include manufacture and trade in silk.
In 1936, Kanebo introduced its first cosmetic product "SAVON DE SOIE", a silk-based soap. This name will always be remembered in the company's history as the first step towards the Kanebo cosmetics business of today.
A highly prized textile and a source of female fascination since ancient times,silk is more than beautiful. It is a powerful, extremely useful material with incredible potential. Originating from a skin manufacturing company, Kanebo was one of the first to realise that silk could be effectively used in cosmetics. This gave birth in 1936 to Kanebo's first cosmetic product, SAVON DE SOIE, a top-quality soap made from oils extracted from the chrysalis of the silkworm.
Silk can be transformed into many forms, such as powders, films or gels, but in order to do this the fibroin must first be dissolved in water. Fibroin, however, is not naturally water soluble, so a special treatment is required. Thanks to its long experience with silk spinning processes, Kanebo was the first in the world to develop the technology for dissolving silk in water, which opened silk to a great variety of applications.
In 1977, Kanebo succeeded in producing the industry's first silk powder made from aqueous fibroin solution. Using this powder in a compound, Kanebo launched the world's first powder cake that could be used with a sponge. Kanebo now uses silk as a basic component in a wide range of products, from skin care and makeup to hair care.
Silk Fibroin has many superior properties. It absorbs and dissipates moisture well, allows air to pass freely, has a unique lustre, blocks ultraviolet rays, is easily dyed, water resistant and neutralises acids. Because these characteristics of silk have the power to protect and care for the skin, preventing ageing and protecting skin health, much research has been done on silk's possible cosmetic applications. Kanebo's research has resulted in many silk-based new materials.