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Matsushita Hits It Big with Latest Nanocare Model (December 8, 2006)

An image of "nanoe ions" flowing from the dryer (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.)
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s latest model in the Nanocare series of hair dryers has been making waves since its release in July 2006. At nearly ¥20,000 ($167 at ¥120 to the dollar), the Nanocare dryer costs considerably more than its rivals, most of which have negative-ion capabilities and are priced around ¥3,000 ($25). But thanks to its "nanoe ion" generator, which reduces frizz and makes hair strong and lustrous, it has become a hot seller. The product appears to have won the hearts not just of the women consumers it originally targeted but of men as well, especially those concerned about hair loss.

Removes Oily Buildup
The Nanocare EH5441, of which 110,000 units were sold in the first three months after its release, is equipped with a device that uses electricity to break down airborne moisture into micro droplets, which are delivered together with a stream of hot air. The minute droplets have a radius of 18 nanometers (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter) and contain minus ions. When they are sprayed on the head, oil that has built up on the scalp is loosened, making it easier to wash away. A subsequent shampoo leaves users feeling refreshed and reportedly makes hair lustrous and supple.

Matsushita originally used the "nanoe ion" label on an air purifier that it marketed in 2003. The technology not only eliminated indoor odors but had anti-bacterial properties as well, and the air purifier was a big seller. The company began looking into other applications and eventually found that the ions are also good for the skin and hair. This led to its use in hair dryers.

The Nanocare EH5441 (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.)

Big Hit Among Men Too
Over the past few years, the domestic market for hair dryers has hovered between 4.3 and 4.6 million units annually, with no expectations of further growth. At the same time, a price war has unfolded among manufacturers, pushing prices at major appliance chains down to low levels.

Matsushita seems to have hit upon a device that may beat this trend by winning not only women but also men, who have traditionally shown little interest in these products. Ordinary hair dryers can cause hair to become too dry and frayed at the ends, but the "nanoe ion" dryer helps the ends to retain moisture, and women appreciate that this keeps their hair smooth and silky. But it is not only women who are attracted by this product. The company says a number of men have sent messages describing how they no longer have problems with an oily scalp and other benefits of the new "nanoe ion" dryer.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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