10 AAPI Beauty Brands You Need To Try

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Asian-American and Pacific-Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month might be coming to an end soon, but you can always support AAPI-owned beauty brands any time of the year.

According to the Library of Congress, the U.S. Congress officially designated May as AAPI Heritage Month in 1992 to honor Americans whose ethnicity stems from the Asian continent, Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Congress chose May since there were two important historical events that happened during the month. The first Japanese immigrant to come to the U.S. was on May 7, 1843; and the transcontinental railroad - built mainly by workers Chinese immigrants – was completed on May 20, 1869. 

The AAPI community continues to make a significant impact in several industries, including the beauty industry. Global sales of Korean beauty products are expected to increase to $31.6 billion by 2029, according to Globe Newswire. But Asian beauty brands weren't always accepted. 

Tatcha's global director of artistry and education, Daniel Martin, told Huffington Post, "At the time [in the 1990s] Asian beauty standards and brands were still considered too 'exotic' and not aspirational, which impacted how I viewed myself and my place in the beauty industry." Beauty brand owners like Sara Ku, who owns Kaya Essentials, say that it's important to support Asian beauty brands, but to also remember that it is not a monolithic category, (via Well+Good). So we compiled a list of AAPI brands that offer beauty products inspired by traditions in Asian countries.

Tatcha offers luxurious Japanese skincare

Tatcha is well-known as a luxury skincare-based brand in Sephora. The brand is known for several  products that help impart a fresh glow to the face, per Allure

Tatcha founder, Victoria Tsai's parents were from Taiwan, though she grew up spending a lot of time at her mother's beauty store in Houston, Texas. In her early adult years, Tsai traveled frequently and especially loved learning about Japanese culture. This inspired her to launch a skincare-based line that emphasized traditional Japanese skincare ingredients. But Tatcha was initially not accepted by retail partners. Tsai was told that Asian beauty would not sell well in the U.S. 

Nevertheless, she persisted and succeeded. According to their website, Tatcha's products contain their signature Hadasei-3 Complex, which contains green tea, Akita rice and Mozuku algae. Tatcha's The Essence and Luminous Dewy Skin Mist are among some of their bestsellers. The company has also branched out to a few complexion makeup products including The Silk Canvas Protective Primer, The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer and the Silk Powder Protective Setting Powder.

Simplify your makeup routine with Wander Beauty

Another brand available in Sephora that has become popular among beauty gurus is Wander Beauty. According to PopSugar, Wander Beauty CEO Divya Gugnani was one of the first South Asian women to have their company picked up by Sephora. 

Gugnani was a busy career woman who was constantly on-the-go. She had to juggle traveling for work and taking care of her children. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, she learned about hormone-disrupting ingredients that were often found in makeup. This led her to eliminating products from her routine. After meeting supermodel Lindsay Ellingson at a party, the two co-founded Wander Beauty

The brand focuses on creating clean, multi-use products that are designed for women who lead busy lifestyles, (via Allure). Allure recommends Wander Beauty's OG product – the On-The-Go Blush and Illuminator, a dual-ended stick with a blush side and highlighter side that comes in various color combinations, and the Frame Your Face Precise Brow Gel. So the next time you wander into a Sephora, check out Wander Beauty.

Embrace your natural glow with Em Cosmetics

You might remember Michelle Phan, one of the OG beauty gurus to grace YouTube. The makeup maven now owns her own beauty line – Em Cosmetics, (via Allure). 

The brand concentrates on skincare-infused makeup formulas that give you a lit-from-within glow, (via Em Cosmetics). The company's Daydream Cushion Tinted SPF is a cushion tinted moisturizer that comes in six shades that work for a variety of skin tones.

The formula contains niacinamide, snow mushroom extract, and rice water. If you are looking for a muted monochromatic look, then you should try their best-sellers – the Color Drops Serum Blush and Lip Cushion Tinted Lip Luminizer, both in Venetian Rose. The serum blush is infused with sacha inchi oil, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid, while the Lip Luminizer also contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid.

Try Live Tinted for a flawless complexion

Deepica Mutyala founded Live Tinted, a digital community, to help people of all skin tones feel beautiful and represented (via Allure).

Mutyala, who is an Indian-American, told Forbes, "As a little girl, I remember wondering why there was no one that looked like me in ad campaigns, in the media, on TV, etc. I felt disconnected and unseen." After founding the Live Tinted community, she released her first product called Huesticks, which are multi-use crayons that can be used as color correctors, lip tints and cream eyeshadow.

Before starting the brand, Mutyala went viral for her YouTube hack using red lipstick to correct her dark circles (via Forbes). She told Brown Girl Magazine, "If you have extreme dark circles under your eyes (like me and most South Asian women), use a bright red/orange lipstick as a base under your eyes before applying concealer." She noted, "The bright pigmentation of the lipstick evens out your skin tone." The Huestick comes in a variety of shades all designed to color-correct various skin tones.

Sweet Chef offers skin-loving ingredients

If you have been wanting to try Glow Recipe's skin-quenching products but can't afford Sephora prices, the company also founded a more affordable line available at Target called Sweet Chef (via Bustle). 

According to the company's website, the vegan, clean and cruelty-free products are all made in Korea. The founders, Sarah Lee and Christina Chang have more than 20 years of experience combined between them in the cosmetics industry (via Bustle). 

Sweet Chef's star products – their vitamin-based serums – are available at Target for just under $20 each. Chang told Allure, "You don't have to do a 10-step routine, but you can still cocktail serums according to your needs," adding, "We're bringing that into daily skin care, but in a more accessible way that will make a lot of sense to people because everyone has their skin-care wardrobe these days."

Use Insert Name Here to up your hair game

This Insta-famous brand, Insert Name Here, has been taking over Instagram with its show-stopping wigs and hair extensions, per Allure

Insert Name Here was founded by Sharon Pak and Jordan Wynn, who were originally co-workers at Colourpop. Pak, who is Korean-American, told Huffington Post, "I want to serve and inspire others who look like me that they too can do whatever they put their hearts and mind to." 

According to their website, the two came together to form the company with the goal of making every woman feel confident. The company also carries a variety of hot tools that can give you a sleek blowout or beachy waves. Allure recommends the brand's Insert Waves Here – Deep Wave Iron, which is an iron with three rounded prongs and creates a mesmerizing mermaid look. 

Joon Haircare's saffron and pistachio-infused products are food for the hair

Saffron and pistachio are common ingredients in Persian culture, but they're not just used for culinary purposes – they also have nourishing properties, (via Joon Haircare).

Shiva Tavakoli and her brother, Kavyon, founded Houston-based Joon Haircare, using those ingredients, (via Houstonia). The duo was inspired by the summers they spent in Tehran, seeing their grandmother use saffron and pistachio in her cooking, and as a part of her beauty ritual. Their father, Frank Tavakoli, founded Houston-based franchise TGF Hair Salon. Frank had his own lab where he created his own hair products. That's where the Tavakoli siblings started manufacturing Joon Haircare's Saffron Hair Elixir, a hair oil that has now gone viral on the internet. 

The oil contains saffron fibers, pistachio oil and rose oil, which work together to impart a shine. The product works as a detangler and heat protectant, as well, and was listed as one of Forbes' best beauty and wellness products last July. The line also carries shampoo and conditioner that contain saffron and rose.

Mango People offers an inclusive lipstick line

Sravya Kalyanapu spent a lot of time shopping around for lipstick shades that would suit her skin tone, but she felt like the lipsticks out there were not flattering – often lacking pigmentation or looking ashy, per Huffington Post.

Kalyanapu, who was crowned Miss Northern Alberta World in 2017 (via Indian Express), started Mango People to address the issue. 

The brand is focused on natural Ayurvedic ingredients. Mango People has bronzer and highlighter sticks, but their most popular product is their Multi-Stick. According to their website, the Multi-Stick comes in various shades and can be used as lipstick, blush or eyeshadow. The pigments used in the product contain clay, fruits, adaptogenic herbs, among other organic ingredients.

Ziavic will give your skin the Tahitian treatment

Ziavic Beauty is a skincare line infused with natural ingredients, indigenous to the Polynesian islands. Founder Victoria Ziarnik grew up immersed in Polynesian culture, as her mom was born and raised in Fiji. Ziarnik's father was a botanist and became an expert on Polynesian flora. Through her upbringing, she started using natural ingredients as skincare. 

In an interview with Spa and Beauty Today, Ziarnik said she is inspired by Victoria Tsai of Tatcha and Chichi Eburu of Juvia's Place. She said, "They both took inspiration from their cultures and homelands and created unique, groundbreaking beauty brands." Ziarnik studied marketing in college and similar to Tsai and Eburu, she was inspired to create her own skincare line based on her roots. 

Some of the ingredients in Ziavic's products include Tahitian black pearls, volcanic black sand and Tahitian vanilla, which all work to brighten and soften skin. Ziavic carries three products on its website – the Exfoliating Body Polish, the Deluxe Body Souffle, and for the face, the Black Pearl Perfecting Masque.

Avya Skincare blends natural Ayurvedic ingredients with modern skincare actives

Deepika Vyas, a pharmacist, felt frustrated seeing that mainstream skincare products did not cater toward skin concerns that are common within the Asian diaspora (via Avya Skincare). 

She teamed up with her nephew Dr. Tanuj Nakra to develop Avya Skincare (via Huffington Post). The line combines scientifically-proven skincare active ingredients with ancient Ayurvedic natural ingredients that are popular in India. Vyas told Huffington Post, "There is a misconception that darker skin tones do not suffer from sensitivity issues, which I can tell you firsthand is not true!" 

The brand offers products that make up an entire skincare routine from cleanser to eye cream. Huffington Post recommends their Anti-Aging Power Serum which contains actives like niacinamide and vitamins A and C, as well as Ayurvedic ingredients like turmeric and neem to help soothe, firm up and brighten the skin.