20 Asian-Owned Beauty Brands to Support Now and Always
Your beauty routine would look very different without Asian-owned beauty brands. Many of today's trends and products have roots in these countries' ancient rituals or are inspired by K- and J-beauty innovations, but they're often appropriated or adopted by Western society without proper credit. Think glass skin, cushion foundation, gua sha massages, and even layering skincare products or doing a nightly double cleanse.
With the influx of hate crimes directed toward AAPI people throughout COVID-19, and the systemic racism that has historically been present in the beauty industry, there is no better time than now to lend support to the community. In the case of the beauty industry, it's as simple as purchasing products from Asian-owned brands and businesses.
To honor the Asian-American creators and entrepreneurs who have been at the forefront of innovation in the beauty industry, we've highlighted 20 AAPI-owned brands to support now — and always.
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Influencer and NY-licensed esthetician Erica Choi hatched her skincare brand Superegg in late 2020. The formulas center around the skincare benefits of eggs and their historic use in Asian beauty rituals, as well as their symbolism of birth. However, there aren't any actual eggs in Choi's products. Instead, she's sourced vegan ingredients that match the egg's nutritional value.
Editor's Pick: The Sound Renewal Moisturizer has a gel-cream texture that absorbs quickly into skin, leaving it soft, bouncy, and glowy. It's packed with squalane and vitamin B5 to restore and retain moisture, along with PHA acids to gently exfoliate for a smoother and brighter complexion. Bonus: the sleek oval shell packaging is extremely photogenic.
To shop: $60; superegg.nyc
For Fiona Co Chan, the best part about going out is putting on your makeup. The anticipation, rush, and excitement of a night out with friends is the inspiration behind Youthforia, her clean makeup brand. All of the formulas are created to not mess up your skin if you fall asleep in them, utilizing plant-based ingredients and synthetics that aren't derived from fossil fuels.
Editor's Pick: This tube might look like a clear lip oil, but the BYO Blush is actually a buildable, dewy-finish blush that adjusts to your skin's pH level for a color that's uniquely yours.
To shop: $36; youthforia.co
Editorial nail artist Jin Soon Choi is a staple backstage at New York Fashion Week and her NYC salon locations are always booked. Beauty editors swear by Choi's namesake nail polish collection for its on-trend shades and long-wear formula that stays chip-free and shiny for days.
Editor's Pick: Who doesn't need some extra joy after this past year? Daisy is a colorful glitter polish that's guaranteed to be an instant mood-booster.
To shop: $18; jinsoon.com
Insert Name Here
Insert Name Here was born out of founders Sharon Pak and Jordyn Wynn's friendship. The pair met while working at ColourPop, hit it off, and the rest, as they say, is history. If you follow any beauty accounts on Instagram or TikTok, chances are you're familiar with the brand's clip-in ponytails and wave iron.
Editor's Pick: You've seen the Insert Waves Here wave iron all over TikTok for good reason. The hot tool is a one-step method of getting the loose beachy waves of your dreams. The hot plates are coated with tourmaline ceramic glaze to prevent heat damage to your hair.
To shop: $72; inhhair.com
Then I Met You
Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho created Then I Met You based off the Korean concept of Jeong, "a deep feeling of empathy and affection that one can develop for people, places, and things."
Editor's Pick: The award-winning Living Cleansing Balm is one of Then I Met You's first and most popular products. It has a sorbet-like texture that glides onto skin, melting away sunscreen, makeup, dirt, and oil, and boasts an antioxidant-rich formula.
To shop: $38; sokoglam.com
OG beauty YouTuber Michelle Phan created EM Cosmetics after co-founding IPSY. All of EM's products fuse high-pigment makeup with skincare ingredients for a long-lasting, second-skin finish.
Editor's Pick: The Heaven's Glow Radiant Veil Blush combines golden, pink, and copper pearly pigments leaving skin with a soft wash of color and an ethereal glow.
To shop: $34; emcosmetics.com
Founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee built the K-beauty-inspired Glow Recipe around fruits that also happen to have skincare benefits. The clean, efficacious formulas and IG-worthy colorful packaging are why the brand quickly grew to become a cult-favorite among skincare enthusiasts and a best-seller at Sephora.
Editor's Pick: Glow Recipe recently expanded into body care and brought along some if its most-popular franchises with it. Take the Watermelon Glow AHA Pink Dream Body Cream for example. Along with moisturizing watermelon seed butter, the lightweight lotion contains gently exfoliating PHA acids for smoother skin and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.
To shop: $28; sephora.com
Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
Aesthetician and skincare expert Alicia Yoon started Peach & Lily after years of dealing with eczema and problematic skin, which led her to really dissect the labels of every skincare product to prevent further irritating her skin. The brand specializes in K-beauty and is largely inspired by Korean skincare ideals.
Editor's Pick: The Glass Skin Refining Serum helps refine pores, hydrate, brighten, and firm, to get you closer to the Korean "glass skin" paradigm.
To shop: $39; ulta.com
As a Korean American adopted by a white family, makeup artist and MBA graduate Emilie H. Rudman didn't feel like she saw herself on TV or in campaigns, so she set out to create a brand that celebrates people who look like her. Emilie Heathe's products are high-performing clean formulas that also incorporates ingredients tied to Rudman's Korean heritage. The brand started off with nail polish and has since expanded into other makeup categories such as lips and brows.
Editor's Pick: Full Up is Emilie Heathe's first brow product and latest launch. The universal powder fills in brows for a fuller, fluffier finish and adheres onto hairs for a long-wear finish. A precise applicator allows for perfect application.
To shop: $38; emilieheathe.com
Ju Rhyu wasn't familiar with the magic of pimple patches until she moved to Seoul for a work assignment. After discovering how effective the patches were for her breakouts, she wanted to bring them stateside. So, she launched Hero Cosmetics, which now offers patches for various types of pimples as well as skincare products for acne-prone skin.
Editor's Pick: The Might Patch Invisible+ is ultra-thin with flat edges, making it perfect for daytime wear or layering makeup over top of it.
To shop: $18/39; amazon.com
Live Tinted is a line of multipurpose color sticks, highlighters, and balms made with all skin tones in mind. Deepica Matyala founded the brand based off her personal experiences as a South Asian woman in the beauty industry, and with the intention to change the narrative within Indian culture that lighter skin is more beautiful. Live Tinted first started as an online community where people came together to share their stories about overcoming colorism in the beauty sphere.
Editor's Pick: This Huestick shade is inspired by the hack of neutralizing dark circles with red lipstick, but it also looks amazing as a blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick. The demi-matte formula is infused with hydrating ingredients for a smooth, never-cakey finish.
To shop: $24; livetinted.com
Tower 28 is the brainchild of Amy Liu, who wanted to create a makeup line that allows people with sensitive skin to have fun with makeup, too. After dealing with embarrassing eczema flare ups throughout her career in the beauty industry, Liu ventured out on her own to create clean formulas that come in beachy shades and colorful packaging.
Editor's Pick: In its two years of existence, Tower 28's products have already racked up loyal, devote followings. The ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss is great for anyone looking for a subtle touch of color with a side of non-sticky shine. The hydrating ingredients keep lips soft and smooth.
To shop: $14; sephora.com
Very Good Light and Pretty Boys author David Yi founded Good Light in 2021. Yi hopes to further challenge the binary boundaries of the beauty industry with the gender-neutral brand, and pays homage to his Korean heritage with the products' ingredients.
Editor's Pick: The Cosmic Dew Water Cleanser starts off as a gel cleanser and turns into a milky foam as you massage it into damp skin. Yi paid careful attention to the formula, incorporating hydrating, anti-inflammatory ingredients to support all skin types.
To shop: $18; goodlight.world
Veteran New York Times beauty columnist and author Bee Shapiro started Ellis Brooklyn in a desire to make clean fragrances with complex scent stories that conjure up memories and/or emotions. The brand's fragrances are vegan and cruelty-free, follows IFRA testing rules, housed in glass bottles, and shipped carbon-neutral whenever possible.
Editor's Pick: Since launching last summer, Salt has quickly become a fan-favorite Ellis Brooklyn scent. The blend of ylang ylang, Tahitian tiare, and ambergris evoke the smell of salty skin during a hot sunny afternoon at the beach.
To shop: $105; sephora.com
The impetus of Kulfi Beauty started when beauty industry veteran Priyanka Ganjoo discovered that makeup can be a joyful vehicle of self-expression and not just a means to cover up what Western society considers imperfections. The brand is a celebration of South Asian beauty and aims to empower this community through storytelling on its Kulfi Bites blog.
Editor's Pick: Kulfi launched during the pandemic with Underlined, a kajal liner inspired by the ones of Ganjoo's youth. The formula offers smudge-proof, high-pigment color, but goes on creamy thanks to a mix of soothing aloe vera extract and antioxidant vitamin E.
To shop: $20 each; kulfibeauty.com
Patrick Ta is a makeup artist known for giving celebs like Shay Mitchell and Gigi Hadid an otherworldly glow. The first-generation Vietnamese-American started his eponymous line in 2019 with products inspired by what he keeps in his kit.
Editor's Pick: The Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Bronzer Duo is a one-stop shop to a sculpted, defined makeup look. Ta created the palettes to ease the confusion of choosing complimentary contour and bronzer shades.
To shop: $38; sephora.com
Priscilla Tsai turned her acne struggles into Cocokind, a wildy successful skincare line that's also extremely affordable. The brand's formulas are centered around superfruits and plant-based innovations like bakuchiol. You can find the products at your local Target and Whole Foods.
Editor's Pick: This mineral sunscreen feels weightless on skin and leaves a minimal (if none) white cast. Bonus: it also offers blue light protection against your electronic devices.
To shop: $24; cocokind.com
Sundays Studio is a New York City nail salon founded by Amy Ling Lin. It's known for its relaxing experience, thanks to Ling Lin incorporating wellness elements like guided meditation into services. If you're not in NYC, you can still get the Sundays experience at home with its collection of 45+ nail polish shades. The long-wear, glossy formula stays fresh with wear and doesn't contain 10 controversial chemicals known to be in nail polish.
Editor's Pick: The salon's in-house nail polish line has a number of best-sellers, but this sky blue shade embodies the collective optimism going into summer 2021.
To shop: $18; dearsundays.com
Tatcha is a expansive skincare brand founded by Vicky Tsai. The products are all modern takes on ancient Japanese beauty rituals. Its known for a handful of products, namely its Dewy Skin Cream and Water Cream, which are both best sellers at Sephora.
Editor's Pick: Now, this is one product that lives up to its name. The cult-favorite moisturizer leaves skin hydrated, glowy, and plump.
To shop: $68; sephora.com