May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and one of our favorite ways to honor the AAPI community is not only through supporting great businesses, but by learning more about the stories behind them.
Love fashion and beauty? Keep scrolling to discover some of our favorite AAPI-founded skincare, makeup, hair and style brands out there. You may even be surprised to find out that many of the great businesses you already love are AAPI-owned!
If you love sporting glowing, flawless skin, Besoma has to be on your radar. The skincare brand was founded by Channimol Kea, originally from Cambodia, and includes products for every step of your skincare routine, from misting and moisturizing to masks, SPFs, oils, rollers and cushion foundation. If you’re new to the brand, we think that their GG Original Serum is a great place to start.
Dippin Daisy’s has quickly risen to become one of the fastest-growing swimwear brands out there, so you may be surprised to know that founder Elaine Tran didn’t originally set out to be an entrepreneur. She was actually a chemistry major in college, aiming to pursue a career in science. However, when her mother passed away, Elaine took over her mom’s bikini store—and the rest is history. They have some of the cutest and most coveted suits around, and it’s no surprise that the world is obsessed.
(via Dippin Daisy’s)
Saffron isn’t just one of skincare’s biggest trending ingredients in 2022—it’s also the key ingredient in House of M Beauty’s luxurious products. Founded by Anne Nguyen Oliver, a Vietnamese immigrant, the brand focuses on simple, multipurpose products that leave skin radiant and renewed with a blend of antioxidants and vitamin C.
(via House of M Beauty)
Rael is a groundbreaking brand designed to revolutionize period care—from sanitary products to skincare, bodycare, reusable period products and even heat pads for cramping and pain. It was founded by Yanghee Paik, originally from Seoul, South Korea, with the mission of giving every woman access to high-performing, quality and environmentally friendly period care. They’ve got some phenomenal products that are perfect for anyone who has to put up with their period every month.
Siblings Vivek, Manita and Ankush Agarwal grew up in India before they relocated to the United States and created Aroha Oils. Their products utilize Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system with roots in the Indian subcontinent, with Himalayan superherbs to create natural skincare that’s actually natural. They also specialize in what they call “slow skincare,” with the knowledge that when it comes to long-term skin health, there are no quick fixes.
(via Aroha Oils)
Seed Phytonutrients is a brand dedicated to making the best products possible for the hair, body and face using nutrient-rich seed oils and extracts. It was refounded by Karika Patel, a first-generation Indian American, whose family’s beauty manufacturing business was involved with Seed Phytonutrients from its inception. She actually purchased the brand from L’Oreal, with the goal of making great products that are sustainable and clean, containing only the best and most necessary ingredients.
(via Seed Phytonutrients)
Also read about: Expert Explains the Differences Between Toners, Serums and Essences
Created by founder Anisha Khanna, Sonäge’s skincare products for the face and body are designed to change the way we treat ourselves with ageless beauty. Inspired by Anisha’s Indian upbringing, the products use superfood, natural plant-based ingredients including tulsi, turmeric and saffron to target concerns from acne and wrinkles to dark spots, dryness, sensitivity and more. Whether you want a clean and dewy facial complexion or to tighten and smooth certain areas of the body, they have you covered.
AVRE is a footwear brand that’s as focused on sustainability as it is on creating shoes that look and feel great. It was co-created by Julie Kuo, a second-generation Asian American and immigrant from Taiwan, with an emphasis on environmentalism and empowerment. AVRE uses recycled plastic bottles in their comfortable and on-trend sneakers for women, without making any sacrifices.
Makeup lovers know that having great brushes is just as important as having high-quality cosmetics, and rèphr sets out to be the best brushes and makeup accessories out there. It all started when Tom Shen, a former senior consultant at IBM, and Kenny Leung, previously a business strategist at Facebook, launched rèphr on Kickstarter in June 2019, with every single product developed based on direct feedback from users. It’s no wonder their business is thriving today, and beloved by so many customers around the country.
Aerangis is a unique home fragrance brand actually inspired by founder Alicia Tsai’s memories of her childhood in Taiwan. When she was young, her grandfather grew Aerangis orchids, and as an adult, she set out to recreate not just the scent, but the warm, comforting nostalgia of those moments, through her gorgeously scented candles. They use scent to help us all rekindle our most cherished memories, as well as create new ones—and we think that’s a powerful thing.
Also read about: These Candles Smell Like Spring
From a young age, Sonia Parvaneh knew she belonged in the fashion industry. At the age of 18, she moved to L.A. and began working as a stylist before she learned how to create her own garments and forged a path as a designer, and then created NIA the Brand in 2020. It’s grown exponentially in that time to become a go-to destination for modern, cool-girl fashion to suit any woman’s style, whether you love tomboyish or totally feminine looks.
(via NIA the Brand)
RANAVAT is a skincare and haircare brand that’s adaptogenic as well as Ayurvedic, using strategically-selected botanicals to heal the body and hair from the outside in. It was created by Michelle Ranavat, a first-generation Indian American raised in Wisconsin, who used knowledge from her two engineering degrees and more than six years of pharmaceutical work, as well as her South Asian heritage, to create products to turn care for the body into an act of self-care.
When Sadaf Kherani founded Bohēme, she wasn’t setting out to make any old candle company. Inspired by Sadaf’s love of travel, Bohēme’s luxurious candles and scented matches are as much about smelling great as they are about telling stories, with fragrances inspired by unique locations around the world. The Goa candle, inspired by the state in India, is a standout, while also alluding to Sadaf’s South Asian roots.
When a brand blows up with just a single product, you know it has to be good. It was created by Melissa Medvedich, who grew up in a Chinese household and was fascinated by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother’s skincare regimen. As an adult, she incorporated what she learned in Supernal’s launch product, their iconic Cosmic Glow Oil, using high-quality botanicals for phenomenal skin. Today, the brand also has an Illumine Restorative Oil Serum for treating dry and sensitive skin.
Julianne Goldmark was just 14 years old when she launched Emi Jay hair accessories, creating the brand as a way to express her individuality at school, in spite of having to wear a uniform every day. It’s developed a lot over the years, and today, we don’t know if there’s a brand out there that makes cuter hair accessories than Emi Jay. Whether you’re looking for hair bands, scrunchies or huge claw clips, Emi Jay covers all hair accessorizing needs.
(via Emi Jay)
Why is it that women are expected to hide their shapewear? Pinsy is a brand that aims to do something entirely different with shapewear you’ll want to show off. It was created by Ratchel Pinlac, who grew up in Hawaii as the daughter of Filipino immigrants, to show the world that shapewear can be gorgeous enough to be worn as outerwear, and that there’s no reason to keep it a secret.
(via Pinsy Shapewear)
If you’ve ever had to miss out on the latest beauty and skincare trends because of your super sensitive skin, Tower 28 was designed just for you. Their products are free of every known skin irritant, creating products that are clean and inclusive, yet super fun. The brand was created by Chinese American founder Amy Liu, who herself has suffered from sensitive skin and eczema for her entire adult life. Its products will make your skin glow, without any irritation.
(via Tower 28)
L’Oeuf Poché is a women’s fashion brand with feminine and delicate styles made with active women in mind. It was created by Ami Hongo, who grew up in Tokyo before relocating to the U.S. at 10, as a brand to introduce more stylish tennis wear to the masses. The brand is known for its sleek and minimalistic, yet super cute, designs, which are all made for easy movement and being on the go.
(via L’Oeuf Poché)
State Cashmere is a brand that’s intrinsically tied to the roots of its founder, Hao Rong. He was actually raised in Inner Mongolia, China, where 70% of the world’s cashmere supply is produced. He came from generations of shepherds and grew up watching his family raise cashmere goats, before graduating from Columbia University and setting out to create a more sustainable and contemporary cashmere brand, with techniques and supplies from his homeland. The result is gorgeous, high-quality products that cost less while doing more for the environment.
(via State Cashmere)
Love getting beauty inspo from TikTok? Click HERE to discover all of our favorite makeup products that blew up on the app in April.