The Best Asian-American Beauty Brands to Discover This AAPI Month (and Love All Year Long)
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and while we believe in shopping great Asian-American-owned brands every month of the year, now is the perfect time to discover new favorites.
Not sure where to start with beauty brands? We're constantly trying all of the latest and greatest brands to help you take the guesswork out of the shopping experience. Just keep scrolling to find out more about our favorite AAPI-owned and -founded brands, and the great people behind them.
Butter & Me
Vivian Wong started experimenting with homemade self-care products in 2013, seeking eczema remedies for her husband's eczema, and her creativity eventually culminated in the creation of Butter & Me. The skincare and bath brand is all about great soaps, lotion bars, lip products and more that cut out fillers, focusing on the best active ingredients for minimalism in plastic-free, sustainable packaging.
(via Butter & Me)
Also read about: Butter & Me's Minimalist Skincare Will Make You AND Your Skin Happy
Botanical Republic founder Hannah Kim actually worked in green technology and natural supplements before moving into the skincare space. As a Korean-American, she spent most of her life sticking to an intensive, 10-step skincare routine—and when that stopped working for her, she turned to natural skincare products, and never looked back. However, with most products being quite pricey, she began formulating her own skincare, which eventually led to the creation of Botanical Republic, with a focus on using only the most sustainable plant-based ingredients, and using hydrosol in place of water.
(via Botanical Republic)
selfmade is a "psychodermatology" personal care brand like nothing we've seen before, blending beauty rituals with emotional well-being to craft their unique products, and it all starts with founder Stephanie Lee. The brand was particularly inspired by her own mental health struggles and growing up as a first-generation Vietnamese-Chinese-American, and every product is developed to be clean and multi-use, with help from BIPOC mental health experts and a Gen Z junior advisory board.
Beauty starts from the inside out, which is why Jenn Chung created the edible skincare brand, embody. Jenn immigrated to the U.S. with her mom when she was just 1 year old. When she struggled with acne as a teen, her mother suggested holistic treatments, and as she got older, she realized just how important it was to focus on internal health for an external glow. embody launched the world's first retinol gummy in 2020, supplementing and even replacing topical beauty products, making it fun, convenient and ultra tasty to enhance your skin.
Shrankhla Holocek's family's relationship with Ayurvedic healing goes back more than five millennia, which is all channeled into her fabulous skincare brand, UMA Oils. The Uma family estate in India has actually farmed and crafted fine essential oil for centuries, and the brand brings those oils directly to customers in the form of great skin and body oil products for everything from anti-aging and wellness to brightening and clarifying skin.
(via UMA Oils)
August is a period product company that does things differently, thanks to founders (and best friends) Nick Jain and Nadya Okamoto. The TikTok-viral brand emphasizes period positivity with sustainable, tax-free custom period care subscriptions, made with gender inclusivity and empowerment in mind. Their pads, tampons and liners are 100% organic and biodegradable, as well as being hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, extra soft and super absorbent.
When it comes to clean menstrual care products, South Korea is way ahead of the game, and Rael is an L.A.-made brand founded by three Korean-American women to help get the U.S. up to speed. According to CEO and founder Yanghee Paik, 30% of the South Korean period care market consists of clean products, compared to America's 10%, which is why Rael pushes for thoughtful, safe and healthy personal care products, and making them accessible to all who menstruate.
When breast cancer survivor Sherry Jhawar set out to buy the ideal aluminum-free deodorant, she couldn't find anything that suited her needs, which is precisely why she created nez. Along with co-founder Allison Statter, she developed an innovative new great-smelling deodorant without any aluminum salts, parabens or baking soda, creating three occasion-based blends that fight odor, without any harmful junk.
With its thick, plaque-grabbing filaments, Cocofloss truly is unlike any other dental floss brand we've tried, and it's all thanks to sisters and founders, Cat and Chrystle Cu. Unlike other floss, which is smooth and simply glides between teeth, Cocofloss actually removes the bacteria and plaque that gets stuck between teeth, causing odor and tooth decay. The duo's parents were also born and raised in the Philippines, and Chrystle's work with the nonprofit Philos Health provides medical and dental care to people in rural communities there.
Redmint is a unique beauty and wellness brand developed by founder Helina Fan, who had a successful career in finance and tax law but struggled with burnout and health issues before finding healing in traditional Chinese medicine. In 2020, she opened up the first Redmint Sanctuaries in San Franciso, offering everything from gua sha and acupuncture to sound therapy, and you can purchase her soothing products traditional Chinese medicine products for the face, body and hair online.
Some skincare brands simply don't cater to the needs of melanated skin, but SHAYDE Beauty is not one of them. Shay Paresh is the brand's founder and CEO, who created SHAYDE after her own struggles dealing with acne scars and pigmentation, and discovering that nearly half of Americans of color were not having their needs met by the industry. From their brightening serum and night cream to their overnight mask, each and every item in the lineup is made with melanin-rich skin in mind.
(via SHAYDE Beauty)
I Dew Care
When Dino Ha developed I Dew Care, he sought out to make skincare fun, with bright and beautiful packaging and great scents that get your attention, and amazing, hard-working formulas to get you hooked. The K-beauty brand is meant to be for men, women and everyone in between, with every element designed to put a smile on your face.
(via I Dew Care)
Kaja Beauty is another great brand from Dino Ha, taking the same desire for bright aesthetics and great formulations to create unforgettable makeup products. "Kaja" means "let's go" in Korean, and the brand is meant to be fun, imaginative and versatile, with beautiful cosmetics for all skin types.
(via Kaja Beauty)
When carrying a massive five-pound makeup bag with her everywhere literally sent Nina Liu to the chiropractor, she realized something had to give. The result has her one-of-a-kind makeup brand Kite Beauty, consisting of teeny portable concealer pods with a natural finish and loads of versatility. They're small enough to fit in the smallest of bags (or even a bra), and you can just apply with your finger and go.
(via Kite Beauty)
Also read about: How Nina Liu's Kite Beauty Changes the Makeup Game for Busy Lives (and Tiny Purses)
Amy Liu worked as a beauty exec for over 15 years, but due to her eczema, she couldn't actually test out most of the beauty products on offer. Seeing a gap in the market, she created Tower 28 to fill it. All of the brand's clean beauty products are specially designed with non-toxic ingredients for the most sensitive skin, resulting in great-working makeup products that anyone can use.
(via Tower 28)
Le Mini Macaron
Sick of wasting loads of time and money at the nail salon every other week? So was Christina Kao, so she teamed up with her business partner, Francois, to develop Le Mini Macaron, a brand with its own one-of-a-kind, portable macaron lamp and salon-quality gel nail polishes, so you can get a professional-looking mani anywhere in just 15 minutes.
(via Le Mini Macaron)
Want to keep shopping? Click HERE to check out our favorite beauty products of April 2023.