Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is here! It’s the perfect time to celebrate the AAPI community’s presence and influence in beauty, which you can find examples of almost anywhere you look. From pioneering the YouTube beauty space to introducing groundbreaking skincare products and the latest must-try techniques (we’re looking at you, glass skin and 10-step Korean skincare routine), the AAPI community and Asian-owned beauty brands have had an undeniable impact on the industry we know today.
So join us as we honor this rich history—and spotlight a few amazing brands we love—with this roundup of 18 of our current favorite AAPI-founded brands and the leaders behind them. Keep reading below to check out our picks, get product recommendations, and discover new go-tos that will help you celebrate the AAPI community all month long and beyond. (Want a sneak peek? ONE/SIZE, TOWER 28, and HANALEI COMPANY all made the list with products like scalp treatments, sheet masks, sustainable eyeshadows, and more!)
As Korean-Americans, GLOW RECIPE co-founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee grew up with skincare as an integral part of their life—beauty DIYs with their mother and grandmother were routine. One DIY beauty technique involved their grandmother rubbing watermelon rinds on their skin to soothe irritation, which gave them the inspo to create their own fruit-powered skincare line. Now, their juicy products are all over TikTok, giving skincare lovers the plump, glass skin of their dreams. One of their most popular products to date is the Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, a skincare-makeup hybrid that provides an instant all-over glow while fighting skin concerns like hyperpigmentation.
WANDER BEAUTY co-founder Divya Gugnani decided to create the brand to support the everyday beauty needs of the working woman. As a mom of two herself, she wanted to create effortless beauty essentials she and other working women could reach for everyday that would help cut down routine time. Each product is made with clean ingredients and designed to work on-the-go, so you can balance beauty into your busy schedule. We love the Getaway Eye and Face Palette because it’s a 2-in-1 palette that fits right in your day bag—featuring blush, highlighter, and shadows.
Kim van Haaster, co-founder and CEO of BLOOMEFFECTS, created her brand after meeting her husband, a tulip farmer, and moving to the Netherlands. With her love of skincare, having always dreamt of her own brand, and her partner’s sourcing of beautiful royal tulips, they joined forces to create clean, effective “field to face skincare” with an emphasis on glowing skin. If you’re in the market for the ultimate glow-inducing routine, we recommend adding their Glow Set to cart ASAP.
For GLAMNETIC founder, Ann McFerran, it all started when she achieved her dream of going to UCLA and majoring in science as a pre-med student. She quickly realized that the creativity was missing from her life, and that beauty filled that void for her. Ann especially loved lashes, but they were difficult to apply—which inspired her to create no-fuss magnetic lashes that actually worked. Enter: GLAMNETIC. We think the brand’s Liquid Magnetic Liner is genius and should definitely become a staple in your routine.
The first time KIMCHI CHIC BEAUTY’s founder, Kim Chi, dressed in drag was for Halloween. Kim Chi realized that night that makeup was her way of truly expressing herself. This self-discovery is what led her to create KIMCHI CHIC BEAUTY in 2019. Named after the national dish of Korea, the brand houses high-quality products at prices accessible for everyone. The Puff Puff Pass Set & Back Powder is trending right now for a reason—it uses ingredients like rice powder and vitamin E to lock in your makeup with a smooth, shine-free finish. Another brand notable? KIMCHI CHIC BEAUTY is a proud supporter of the Trevor Project and donates 2% to supporting the cause of LGBTQ mental health and suicide prevention.
You may remember the name Deepica Mutyala from that viral 2015 video where she covered her dark circles with red lipstick. Mutyala became an instant hit with the genius, color-correcting technique and because the video was so successful, she was inspired to make more videos sharing her makeup tips. Her success rapidly continued, and eventually, she created the LIVE TINTED Instagram account as a safe space for women of color to share their makeup tips. From this grew her idea to create beauty products for all complexions. Now, one of their best-selling products, the Huestick Multistick, is being used on a variety of skin tones.
MELOWAY MAKEUP co-founders Aiden and Ash Kim are two brothers obsessed with all things beauty. They were inspired to create their own brand to bring a fresh perspective to the industry. As first-generation Korean-Americans and with the love of K-Beauty as their driving force, they set out to formulate innovative products with beneficial ingredients. In comes MELOWAY MAKEUP. The Your Way Mascara is a perfect example of what the brand stands for—featuring an innovative, patent brush and a lash-feed formula made up of keratin amino acids, argan oil, and red algae extract.
YOUTH FORIA was launched by Fiona Co Chan in 2021. The brand grew from the idea that the best part of wearing makeup is going out to see friends, which sometimes meant coming home late and sleeping in said makeup. Chan wanted to create makeup that was good for your skin to sleep in. So, she tested her new products by sleeping in them. She found that makeup should be an extension of skincare, which means it should have ingredients that are good for your skin. Enter their best-selling product: the BYO Blush. The chemical reaction pH blush reacts to the skin’s natural pH to provide the perfect, natural flush, while also visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines. Legend has it that Chan slept in the product for two months and woke up with better skin.
CONTENTLY founder Jungyun Lee scoured the Earth from East to West for the perfect blend of ingredients to transform the hair and scalp. Then, in 2021, he officially launched the clean, natural hair and scalp care brand’s debut range of formulas designed to protect every hair type. One of the hallmarks of the formulas is that they contain less water than your average hair care products, meaning they’re packed with more nutrients for max hair care benefits. If you’re just getting started with the brand, we suggest the CONTENTLY After All! Scalp Soothing Care Treatment, a unique serum infused with a probiotics complex and ginger extract to soothe and detoxify the scalp and hair.
Patrick Starrr needs no introduction, but humor us for a minute. The YouTube beauty icon has long championed self-expression and inclusivity (two values we share here at IPSY), and he infuses that ethos throughout his must-try beauty brand, ONE/SIZE. We love everything we’ve tried—no surprise there—but we especially love the ONE/SIZE Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder in Translucent and Dark/Deep, which has established a reputation as the gold standard for flawless setting powders and is coming to May’s Glam Bag X.
Founder Jennifer Yen created PURLISSE BEAUTY after a stint in Hollywood (and the makeup chair) that left her with irritated skin, looking for a gentler option. With collections featuring ingredients like blue lotus and green tea, the brand reinvents time-honored Asian beauty rituals into high-performing, modern products that empower individuals to embrace their beauty. Try the PURLISSE Perfect Glow BB Concealer, a weightless, hydrating, and multitasking concealer that perfects your complexion while looking completely skin-like; it’s landing in Glam Bags this May!
REVEL NAIL co-founder and CEO Phon Malone comes from one of the brand’s two founding families. Born in Vietnam before coming to the U.S. as a refugee and being adopted, Malone leveraged his background in product development and manufacturing in the nail industry to help create the must-try nail brand. Though their dip powders are among some of the brand’s most popular products, we also recommend the REVEL NAIL Revel Mates Lacquer in Blowout, a soft periwinkle shade with long-lasting hold and a chip-free finish. If you’re lucky, you may even score it in your May Glam Bag.
For executive vice president of SATURDAY SKIN, Sidney Beck, it all started with a vision to share Korean skincare secrets in an approachable way. After working in the beauty industry for over 20 years, she sought to reimagine the traditional approach to beauty and create a collection that harnessed the power of superfruits, superfoods, and science that was simple enough for someone new to K-Beauty. The SATURDAY SKIN Rise + Shine Gentle Cleanser is a perfect example: This dermatologist-tested soft, whipped cleanser (which is featured in May’s Glam Bag X) is easy to use and feels mild on the skin, but it leaves skin looking fresh and revitalized thanks to the apple and peach extracts in the formula.
President and CEO Anisha Khanna has been at the helm of SONÄGE SKINCARE since 2014, helping to revamp the brand and make their formulations EWG VERIFIED™ safe and nontoxic. SONÄGE SKINCARE works with scientists in Europe and Los Angeles to balance modern skincare science with the healing powers of Mother Nature, resulting in a completely spa-grade experience. Our current obsession is the SONÄGE SKINCARE Baby Frioz Mini Icy Globes in Lilac, a facial tool that helps stimulate blood circulation, depuff, reduce the look of breakouts, and more—an experience so luxe, we knew we had to include it in May’s Glam Bag X.
Raise your hand if you can’t get enough K-Beauty. *Raises both hands*. This Korean American–owned brand was founded by Theresa and Lawrence Kim over 45 years ago, who eventually went on to open a Los Angeles location in 1988. Since then, the brand has become known for sourcing ingredients from all over the world to create high-quality, affordable products that are unbeatable in their adorable and whimsical designs. Want a rec for where to start? Grab THE CRÈME SHOP Sheet Mask Duo in Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Fusion Sheet Mask (coming to May’s Glam Bag) and THE CRÈME SHOP Turmeric & Matcha Fusion Sheet Mask (coming to May Add-Ons) to infuse your complexion with a one-two hit of antioxidants and vitamins.
THREE SHIPS was created by chemical engineer Laura Burget and Asian American business grad Connie Lo with the goal of delivering natural, effective skincare products that didn’t break the bank (and what more could you really ask for, right?). One of our top picks from the brand is coming to May’s Glam Bag: the THREE SHIPS Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C Serum, a powerhouse serum that uses tremella mushrooms—a natural source of hyaluronic acid that replenish moisture in the skin—and Kakadu plum, which contains more vitamin C than oranges to brighten and plump the skin.
From PURLISSE BEAUTY founder Jennifer Yen also comes YENSA BEAUTY, a brand rooted in superfood traditions and Asian rituals. Yen was inspired by her mother, who followed a 2,000-year-old practice called zuo yue zi, where a new mother takes a month’s rest after childbirth to heal her body by integrating superfoods in her routine. One of Ipsters’ all-time faves from YENSA BEAUTY is a May Glam Bag product: the YENSA BEAUTY Pink Lotus Peptide Renewal Eye Cream, an anti-aging eye cream that uses antioxidant-rich pink lotus extract and firming peptides to help brighten and smooth tired skin.
Having sensitive skin herself, Amy Liu founded TOWER 28 to deliver clean makeup options to those with easily irritated skin. Offering a wide range of non-toxic formulas and calming ingredients, TOWER 28 proves that #ItsOkayToBeSensitive when you’ve got amazing options like the TOWER 28 ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly in Cashew to choose from. This gloss is made with apricot oil and raspberry seed oil to nourish your lips so you can look and feel good.
Let’s put it this way: If ACEOLOGY majored in masks (which they basically do), the brand would get an A+. The woman behind the brand is Joanne Zhong, and she created ACEOLOGY with the aim of making skincare solutions easy to use and understand, simplifying your beauty routine with proven technologies, potent ingredients, and transformative results. Tip: If you’re looking to round out your mask lineup, the ACEOLOGY Overnight Lip Mask is the one you want.
Vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable, and clean brand AROMATICA was the first Korean brand to receive U.S. EWG VERIFIED™ certification, ushering in a new era of safer cosmetic ingredients in Korea. Already impressed? We’re right there with you. The brand harnesses botanical formulas that call to all the clean-beauty lovers out there, and the AROMATICA Reviving Rose Infusion Cream Cleanser happens to be one of our favorite moisturizing cleansers on the market.
Founder Jangwon Lee created plant-based brand BENTON to restore, revive, and reinvigorate your complexion with better-for-you ingredients. From carrot face oils to aloe masks, BENTON offers rooted-in-nature formulas that help even sensitive-skin types look their best. Case in point: the BENTON Deep Green Tea Cleansing Foam, which foams up to gently remove impurities while it balances your skin.
When you really need to take some PTO but don’t have the time, HANALEI’s island-inspired products might just do the trick. Founded by Alice Kim, the brand hails from the North Shore of Kauai and draws on Hawaii's lush landscape and native botanicals to create products with island ingredients like kukui oil, aloe, and papaya. Our go-to nourishing eye cream is the HANALEI COMPANY Kona Peptide Eye Cream, which is made with a special complex of Hawaiian super-botanicals to restore your skin.
Eunju Shin created LOGICALLY, SKIN to bring logic to your skincare. The brand believes that biochemical and scientific principles (logic) should be the basis of your beauty routine, so all of its formulas take the skin’s complex structure into consideration. Introduce this Korean brand to your skincare ritual with the LOGICALLY, SKIN Wrinkle Target Eye Cream, a balm-like eye cream that melts gently into your skin to help reduce fine lines and lift the look of your eyes.
MAMONDE is where flowers meet skincare. This Korean brand focuses on the hidden benefits of flowers and channels the energy behind the blossoming of buds into skincare products that revitalize your skin. Our must-try for this brand is the MAMONDE Rose Water Toner, which is formulated with 90.97% rose water (instead of regular water) for added hydration and skin-soothing benefits.
It’s not always easy to find vegan beauty options that deliver pigment and payoff, but SERAPHINE BOTANICALS, from founder Sylvia Phann, does just that—and then some. Added bonus: This botanically infused skincare and color-cosmetics brand manufactures all of their products in small batches to ensure the process is sustainable and as waste-resistant as possible. It’s a brand you can feel good about using and supporting, and the SERAPHINE BOTANICALS Sakura + Sage - Vegan Eyeshadow & Blush Palette is a great place to start. This palette of six shadows and two blushes is formulated with evening primrose, cherry blossom, and rosemary to soothe and hydrate the skin.
VITABRID C12 started as a bio-tech company before expanding into the world of skincare. Once there, the brand took one of skincare’s most notoriously unstable ingredients—vitamin C—and stabilized it. This new form of vitamin C was dubbed Vitabrid CG, a highly effective form of vitamin C that released deep into the layers of the skin for over 12 hours after application. To see this beauty innovation at work, look no further than the VITABRID C12 FACE Brightening Powder, which can be mixed in with other products to create your own custom skincare cocktail.
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