May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and one way to celebrate these communities is by shopping AAPI-founded beauty brands all year round. Beauty practices in Asia have been influencing global beauty trends for decades, but despite that, Anti-Asian rhetoric has continuously been perpetuated in the industry, especially since March 2022.
Given the rise in hate over the last two years, you can show your love by shopping AAPI-owned and founded businesses. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of some of our favorite AAPI beauty brands.
Amy Liu launched Tower 28 as a response to the lack of products for sensitive skin. We love their SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray for a midday refresher, and their ShineOn Lip Jelly is a bestseller for a reason.
Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Spray
Co-founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang were inspired by Korean beauty products when they created Glow Recipe. Their Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is a popular favorite, and we love putting the Watermelon Glow Niamicide Dew Drops on before makeup.
Courtesy of brand
Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
This mask racked up a massive waiting list before it was even released. From its watermelon-scented formula to its promise of giving you clearer skin, it’s easy to see why so many swear by this Glow Recipe product.
Founders Alice Lin Glover and Marie Kouadio Amouzane met at work and realized they shared a love for skin care. Together, they launched EADEM as a blog which grew into a brand. Their Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum is a fan-favorite.
In 2017, beauty influencer Liah Yoo decided to create a brand that focused on products that worked for simple routines to make skincare available for everyone. Now, Krave Beauty’s Great Barrier products are super popular, and they offer both the serum and body lotion in their Barrier Friends Forever Bundle.
Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta’s namesake brand does not disappoint. We love the Double-Take Creme & Powder Blush Duo and Major Brow Lamination Gel.
Cirque Colors was created in 2012 by Annie Pham to develop nail polish colors that were different from those already available in the market. A couple of the brand’s best selling products are Halcyon and Rothko Red, a thermal polish that changes colors with temperature.
Deepica Mutyala went viral in 2015 for a beauty hack video in which she used red lipstick on her her under eye circles. That eventually led to the creation of Live Tinted and the Huestick, a four-in-one product that can be used as a color corrector as well as a blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick.
Priyanka Ganjoo of Kulfi Beatuy has spoken out about how her inspiration behind the creation of her brand came from feeling like there weren’t enough products geared towards her community. Their Underlined Set bundles all of the five shades of Kajal eyeliner that they currently have available, including a blue one!
Velour was created when Mabel Lee found herself wanting to fill a void in the false lash industry and create higher-end products. You can find their sets broken down between collections, volume or eye shape on their website, or take their lash quiz to figure out what may work best for you.
Mango People Cosmetics
Mango People was founder Sravya Kalyanapu’s answer to a lack of gentle cosmetics especially geared towards people of color. Their incredibly popular Multi Stick comes in a variety of colors to match all skin tones.
Celebrity hairstylist Josh Liu’s best known work is Ariana Grande’s famed ponytail, but if you’ve been looking for a high-quality, sustainable alternative for hair ties, look no further than his flagship product, The Hairtie.
Emily Rudman created Emilie Heathe as a response to a lack of representation both in her personal life and the beauty industry. Currently, one of the best-selling products on the brand’s website is their nail polish Emilie Heathe x The Batman™ Collection but we also love their As If Lipstick.
Creator Julianne Goldmark launched Emi Jay at age 14 along with her mother, and the product that put the brand in the spotlight was the original knotted hair tie. The brand has grown and evolved over the years, and now they offer a variety of other products, including their gorgeous Big Effing Clip (that can be customized!).
David Yi is the creator and co-founder behind the skincare brand Good Light, intent on promoting a more inclusive culture around beauty. If you’re unsure on where to start building a daily regimen, look no further than their Metamorphosis Skincare Set.
After moving to Hawaii, Alice Kim set out to create a brand that specializes in gentle products that celebrate native botanicals. We recommend trying their Charcoal Powder Face Cleanser, or their SPF 15 Hawaiian Kukui Lip Balms.
RANAVAT is a modern interpretation of beauty practices used by Indian royalty, and founder Michelle Ranavat’s intent behind the brand was to encourage everyone to reprioritize self-care. Their Brightening Saffron Serum is not only beloved, but also vegan and cruelty-free!
After leaving behind an unfulfilling career in corporate America, creator Vicky Tsai began to study natural Japanese ingredients after a life-changing visit to Kyoto. Now, Tatcha is widely known, and their Camellia Cleansing Oil is a fan favorite.
Peach & Lily
Alicia Yoon is an expert in Korean beauty and the founder of Peach & Lily. Aside from curating a selection of K-beauty products, the brand also launched their own collection, which includes their popular Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment.
Created by Fiona Co Chan, Youthforia is a makeup brand committed to not using fossil fuels, both for the sake of the planet and our skins. Try their Y2K Bundle for a blush and gloss combo that is sure to make you look fresh faced.
Soko Glam & Then I Met You
Charlotte and David Cho co-founded Soko Glam in 2012 as a way to bring more information about Korean beauty to the west. There, you can find a variety of curated products for sale. Charlotte also created her own brand, Then I Met You, and The Giving Essence has since become a best seller on both websites.
Kaja Beauty, created by Memebox’s founder Hyungseok Dino Ha, launched in 2018 as a Sephora exclusive and remains the only K-Beauty makeup brand available with the retailer. Their adorable packaging is definitely a selling point, seeing as we can’t get over their Cheeky Stamp blushes!
Co-founded by Ju Rhyu, Hero Cosmetics was her answer to bringing South Korean acne patches into the US markets. The Mighty Patch was so successful, that the company expanded into a broader line of skincare.
Priscilla Tsai’s mission when creating cocokind was to have an affordable brand that focused on sustainability and simple but quality ingredients. Their Ceramide Barrier Serum is meant to replace all your other hydrating serums, and the reviews seem to agree.
Created by beauty influencer Patrick Starr, One/Size is committed to creating inclusive products that promote individuality and self-expression. Their award winning Point Made Liquid Eyeliner is by far the most beloved product.
Co-founders Lillian Tung and Laura Schubert created Fur to meet a demand for products to help care for our body hair (or lack thereof). Their Fur Oil helps combat ingrown hair, and is still their most popular product.
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