There are many reasons to support AAPI-owned businesses: First, our community needs help now more than ever, as we are experiencing heightened xenophobia as a result of the events that occurred over the last two years. Second, in the beauty sphere, AAPI-owned brands have proven to be leaders in innovation, bringing about the latest in makeup, skin, and haircare tech and trends. Needless to say, the brands themselves are just that good.
At Byrdie, our editors have curated the AAPI-owned brands we love to shop. These brands—their founders and stories—have inspired us to look at beauty through a different lens. They’ve allowed us to glimpse into the many cultures within the different parts of Asia and to experience centuries-old rituals and cutting-edge innovation alike.
From an Asian woman’s point of view, these brands have brought our community a certain perspective. They’ve shown the AAPI community our potential to change the beauty landscape and the world.
Ahead, see our picks for AAPI-owned beauty brands to shop this month and beyond.
Jesa Marie Calaor, editor
Founded beauty journalist Bee Shapiro, this brand (and newly-minted Byrdie Eco Beauty Award winner) strives to not only create clean fragrances but also break boundaries when it comes to Asians in the fragrance industry. (Shapiro noticed there weren’t many Asian people—let alone Asian women—in the industry and sought to challenge negative expectations as she carved out her space.) So far, her unique and enigmatic fragrances have won the hearts of beauty editors and fans alike.
Ellis Brooklyn recently released the Salt Soothing Scented Body Oil, a new format of the existing Salt fragrance. It blends ylang ylang, florals, and musk for a scent that will transport you to a breezy beach. The lightweight oil moisturizes skin without leaving it greasy or sticky.
Erica Choi’s Superegg is her way of sharing skincare rituals she had with her mother to the world. (Eggs are valued for its nutrition in her household and were not only often eaten, but also used as a skin treatment.) This moisturizer is a mainstay in my routine. The vegan formula nourishes skin, giving it long-lasting hydration and bounce.
Shiseido has always had a special place in my heart as a brand that my mother kept on her vanity. She'd apply her various creams and serums, showing me each one. As an adult, I still use the Japanese brand, which continues to release innovative formulas—like this sunscreen. Infused with moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, this formula leaves skin bouncing with hydration and with a dewy glow. It also wears comfortably, making you want to re-apply often throughout the day.
Star Donaldson, senior social media editor
I feel like I'm always on the hunt for something new to spice up my otherwise basic hairstyles, so I’ve been obsessed with the bold hair accessories trending right now. I was thrilled when I discovered Emi Jay, a hair accessories line by Julianne Goldmark that offers a range of chic claw clips, butterfly clips, and hair pins. I love these lime green hairpins because they're super versatile and have a touch of sparkle thanks to rhinestone accents on the top. Lately, I’ve been wearing them as adornments to accent high and low buns, but I feel like the possibilities are endless and these pins often complete my look.
It’s always been hard for me to find a blush that gives me the subtle flush I want. Some formulas are too pigmented and I tend to look very red because of the pink undertones in my olive skin. I was super excited to try this Youthforia blush because I’d seen it blow up all over TikTok and was interested in its color-changing abilities. In the tube, the blush looks green and glossy, but upon application, it changes to the most natural light pink hue. This formulation is the first of its kind and reacts to your skin’s pH, so the hue will be different for everyone.
Launched by Fiona Co Chan in 2021, Youthforia believes that makeup should be an extension of skincare, so all products are full of beneficial ingredients that mean you can even go to bed with your makeup on without worrying. Thanks to this philosophy and the innovative formulas in products like the BYO Blush, this brand is definitely worth the hype.
Tower 28's ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly has been a staple in my makeup bag since it launched in 2020. The formulations are glossy but not sticky, hydrating but not goopy, and overall provide a beautiful, sheer tint to your lips. Five shade options are currently available, but the mauve-y pink Pistachio is my favorite. It complements my natural lips but also adds a glossy sheen for the perfect semi-sheer lip look. Tower 28 is based on the concept of clean living, and since its launch, the brand has built a fanbase that includes everyone from celebrities to estheticians. If you haven't tried anything else from Tower 28, this lip gloss is a great place to start.
Holly Rhue, senior editor
The Tulip Tint from Bloomeffects is—hands down—my favorite blush. It's a gorgeous, creamy, melty formula that blends in effortlessly for a natural flush (and gives your cheekbones that wet look, too). It helps that the brand has the sweetest inception story: Founder Kim van Haaster met her husband—a fourth-generation Dutch tulip farmer—while on vacation, and the rest was history. Now, the duo runs a tulip farm and Bloomeffects (the products are made from their family tulips), balancing the two businesses with raising a daughter together.
Patrick Ta's clear lamination gel gives you the feathery look without the commitment of a professional brow lamination. It lasts all day and rinses with ease—no scrubbing or crusty residue. Not only are the full range of Patrick Ta products incredibly efficacious, but they're also doubly impressive because Ta got started from practically nothing. After a failed salon attempt in Arizona, he made his way to Los Angeles, where he worked impossible hours to gain access to clients like Shay Mitchell and Gigi Hadid. Eventually, he was able to start the Patrick Ta Beauty brand that we know and love today, and my brows will never be the same because of it.
Everyone has at least one staple product they love from Tatcha, but The Pearl is so underrated. It's a concealer-eye cream hybrid, and the results are exactly what you'd expect—it plumps fine lines, provides light coverage, and leaves a soft, dewy finish. I highly recommend it for minimalist days when you just want to wear one or two products that will make a difference.
Like all Tatcha products, The Pearl is designed to be part of a skincare "ritual." This was important to founder Vicky Tsai, who quit her corporate job to start the brand as part of her search for a more balanced, passionate career.
Olivia Hancock, editor
Glow Recipe’s commitment to creating innovative, fruit-powered skincare has always resonated with me. I use many of the brand's products, but one of my favorites is the Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum, which I always slather on when my skin is dehydrated or irritated. Its blend of avocado butter and extract, ceramide 5, and allantoin works to soothe and calm the skin. I can always count on this serum to return my skin to a healthy, hydrated state.
If you ever ask me about eyeliners, I’ll talk endlessly about Kulfi Beauty’s offerings, which draw inspiration from the ancient eye cosmetic kajal. Kulfi Beauty’s version holds on to the cultural importance of the ritual while improving upon the traditional formula. This is everything an eyeliner should be—pigmented, creamy, moisturizing (it's formulated with aloe vera and vitamin E), and smudge-proof.
Aimee Simeon, senior beauty editor
When it comes to finding a sunscreen that works for brown skin, Live Tinted founder Deepica Mutyala knows the struggle firsthand. It’s why she created Hue Guard, the brand’s cult-favorite mineral SPF that applies invisibly to skin. Hue Guard is one of many products in the Live Tinted lineup designed to function in any beauty routine, whether you're a seasoned product expert or a makeup minimalist.
Rooshy Roy is a first-generation Indian American who took inspiration from Ayurvedic beauty practices passed down in her family to create Aavrani. The brand's lineup of powerful skincare products includes this oil cleanser, which has become one of my favorites. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients like camellia, sandalwood, and aloe to remove makeup and hydrate at the same time.
Makeup artist and eyebrow expert Danielle Kimiko Vincent created Kimiko inspired by her Japanese heritage. Rooted in craftsmanship passed down through her family, the brand is where precision meets purpose. Kimiko's newest product, The Brow Sensei, is a clear gel formula packed with peptides, plant extracts, and antioxidants to simultaneously set and nourish your brows.
Madeline Hirsch, news director
What I love about Allies of Skin is that every product is highly effective, but also deeply nourishing. This brand takes the "first, do no harm" approach to skincare, making sure your complexion stays happy and healthy while you treat it. This firming treatment is one of my all time favorites. A powerful lotion with both actives and moisturizers, the feel of this product is wonderful, and it does what it says.
I love an oil cleanser, and this is one of the best. It’s soothing, softening, and not at all harsh on skin (all of which led it to become a 2020 Byrdie Eco Beauty Award winner). It emulsifies into a lovely milky texture that feels so good at the end of the day. You also can’t beat the company’s playful, joyful branding and commitment to skin neutrality. I smile every time a post (like this one) shows up on my Instagram feed.