21 AAPI-Owned Beauty Brands to Shop and Support Now

A list of skincare, haircare and makeup faves

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a collage of aapi owned beauty brands
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

When I became a beauty editor more than ten years ago, it was a decision that was largely based on my desire to connect with people through the seemingly surface-level world of makeup and hair. Yes, the discovery of new products is fun, but what really drew me to this industry was the way it allowed people from all walks of life to find common ground.

There is no denying that beauty is powerful on a personal level for many of us. But collectively, the industry is an even more influential space now. I say this as much as a reminder to myself as I say it to anyone who is reading this: We all have the ability to affect change through what we choose to share and consume, and we can simply start where we are.

As someone whose job entails scouting the very best of beauty for people, I wanted to take this time to highlight 21 AAPI-owned beauty brands across skincare, makeup, fragrance and haircare (including top picks that you will surely want to add to your cart). Knowing their stories and supporting their businesses is just one way you can help the AAPI community today, tomorrow and beyond.

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1. Cocokind

Founded in 2014, cocokind has quickly gained popularity as a go-to skincare brand for all ages thanks to its high-quality formulas and accessibility. Rooted in sustainability, affordability and inclusivity, the brand began its journey in a single Whole Foods store in northern California (which CEO and founder Priscilla Tsai made happen by hand delivering samples of early products to regional buyers). It has since evolved into a fast-growing, direct-to-consumer business that you can also find at other national retailers like Target, Anthropologie and

2. Glow Recipe

It seems 2014 was a big year for beauty startups. Two friends and former L’Oréal colleagues, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, started Glow Recipe as a way to bridge the gap between Korean brands and their newest audience: all of us here in the States. By leveraging their bicultural and bilingual backgrounds, the duo made K-beauty more accessible to the U.S. consumer through education and curation before eventually launching their eponymous skincare brand. Glow Recipe has since evolved to become a leader in the space with their fruit-forward ingredients, sensorial textures and scents and always shelfie-ready aesthetic.

3. Ranavat

In 2022, Ranavat became the first South Asian-founded Ayurvedic skincare brand to launch at Sephora. As founder Michelle Ranavat shares on the brand's site, the luxury line "was inspired by the elevated level of self-care in India and their devotion to ritualistic daily practices." Using the utmost care in sourcing ingredients, which are then methodically extracted and preserved to retain their maximum benefits, Ranavat is intentionally slow and steady when it comes to their launches. This attention to detail can be seen and felt throughout the entire line. From the sleek glass packaging that houses their serums and crémes to the silky textures of the formulas themselves, the brand creates a sensorial experience from start to finish.

4. Eadem

Eadem (latin for "same or all") is a beauty brand created by and made for women of color. Founded by Marie Kouadio and Alice Lin, the brand uses Smart Melanin Beauty, a formula designed to care and protect skin of color. Check out popular products like Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum, which contains clinically-tested ingredients and is inclusive and clean for all.

5. Then I Met You

Then I Met You was before its time, having launched in 2018 with a mission to use skincare as a way to connect more deeply to ourselves and each other. Rooted in the Korean concept of jeong, which is described as “a deep feeling of empathy and affection that one can develop for people, places and things,” founder Charlotte Cho wanted to create products that took us out of the day-to-day distractions whenever we used them. The premium brand is made of streamlined products that are the antithesis to the “more is more” mentality we’ve come to adopt with the proliferation of online shopping.

6. Superegg

Founder Erica Choi has worn many hats in the past decade: lifestyle influencer (@eggcanvas), VP of Digital Design at Barneys New York, licensed esthetician and now, founder of a skincare brand. Hatched in 2020, the brand’s simple formulas are crafted around eggs, which have a deep history in Asian beauty practices, dating all the way back to the first millennium. (Note: No actual eggs are harmed in the making of these products. Instead, Choi sources vegan ingredients that have similar properties.)

7. Henné Organics

Long before launching Henné Organics, Laura Xiao was a professional table tennis player growing up in Kansas City. (She even took the number one title for the 9-12 age bracket and was a member of the U.S. junior national girls’ team at 17.) But after graduating from college, Xiao spent several years traveling across countries like Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden. It was this nomadic lifestyle that made her more conscious about simplifying her belongings to just the essentials, which later became the ethos behind her minimalist beauty brand. Xiao credits these diverse life experiences and the values that were instilled by her Chinese parents as key factors in creating and sustaining the growth of Henné (and thank God for that, because their tinted lip balm is one of our favorite products of all time).

8. Tatcha

Few brands have achieved cult status in recent years the way Tatcha has, but when it first launched in 2009 with gold-leaf blotting papers, it was considered too niche and inaccessible to gain acceptance here in the States. The brand, which was founded on centuries-old skincare traditions in Japan, offered a more holistic approach to beauty that centered around healing your skin and treating the rote acts of cleansing and moisturizing as a moment of self-care (before the term entered our collective lexicon). Since its early days, when founder Vicky Tsai had to personally bootstrap the company to keep it going, Tatcha has become one of the most popular beauty brands in retailers like Sephora. With their acquisition by Unilever in 2019, we get the feeling we’ll see a lot more of the brand for many years to come.


9. Youthforia

If you're on #BeautyTok at all, you've likely seen Youthforia's color-changing blush before. The beloved brand is certainly no stranger to trending on the platform, thanks to its fun packaging and high-performing products. Founder Fiona Co Chan, who is Chinese-Vietnamese American, built the brand while living in Hong Kong, where she was inspired by the beauty culture. As such, all of the products in the line pull from Asian practices, including their Skin Chi Complex, which was inspired by Tai Chi and aids in boosting blood circulation.

10. Tower 28 Beauty

This clean beauty brand has made quite a splash since its initial launch in 2019. It was founded by Amy Liu, a second-generation Chinese American mother of three and industry veteran who cut her teeth working at brands like Smashbox and Kate Somerville before starting Tower28. The highly photogenic products are also some of the gentlest we’ve ever used. Rigorously tested for any potential irritants, each product adheres strictly to the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines without compromising on performance or pigment.

11. Kulfi Beauty

Kulfi was founded in 2021 by Priyanka Ganjoo, who has a background in building brands like Ipsy. The brand is centered around kajal, which was traditionally made in the kitchen by burning almonds and mixing their ashes with castor oil or ghee to create a creamy paste. Kulfi's eyeliners borrow from this classic recipe, but have been refined with additional ingredients like aloe vera and safflower seed oil, so they apply even smoother and deliver even more pigmented results. Since then, the brand has expanded to concealers, brow gels, blushes and more.

12. Flower Knows

Flower Knows has been a staple in China since 2016, and now, has made its way to the States. The brand is inspired by fairytales and fantasy, with major Bridgerton vibes. Founded by Yang Zifeng and Zhou Tiancheng, every collection evokes girlhood through aesthetically-pleasing packaging—just look at their recent collection, Little Angel, featuring blushes, palettes and lipsticks we are happy to display on our vanity.

13. Live Tinted

The red lipstick undereye circle trick that blew up on YouTube nine years ago? You can thank Deepica Matyala for that. Since that viral video in 2015, Matyala has launched and built a loyal fanbase with her buzzy beauty brand, Live Tinted. What started off as an online community where people came together to share their stories about overcoming colorism in the beauty sphere has since blossomed into a line of multipurpose color sticks, highlighters, balms and sunscreens that are made with all skin tones in mind.

14. Joah Beauty

Founder Hae Jin set out to create a K-beauty brand that combined makeup and skincare, and Joah Beauty was born. Since 2018, the brand has created everything from mascaras to BB creams infused with skincare favorites like ceramides, peptides and vitamins. Each product is also cruelty-free, free of harsh chemicals and under $20, as Jin believes beauty should be accessible and affordable for everyone.

15. Em Cosmetics

It’s not hyperbolic to say that Michelle Phan invented the beauty influencer as we know it today. As a pioneering creator on YouTube, the Vietnamese American was, in fact, one of the first personalities to make it big on the platform (and by “make it big” we mean reach over 1 billion views all the way back in 2014), paving the way for future influencers for years to come. Since uploading those early makeup transformations on her channel, she has gone on to found two successful businesses: Ipsy, a beauty subscription service, which she sold her stake in, and Em Cosmetics, which she bought back from L’Oréal and relaunched in 2017. From the sleek packaging to the innovative textures and ingredients featured in each product, the brand is redefining what makeup is to the modern consumer. Think: makeup influenced by skincare rather than makeup as way to cover up your skin.


16. Elorea

During a trip to South Korea, husband and wife Wonny Lee and Su min Park were inspired by the country's rich history of fragrance and launched Elorea in 2022. Since then, the company has created high-quality genderless products (like perfumes, home scents and handcare) with ingredients sourced straight from Korea. As stated on their site, "Our mission is to capture, preserve and share the stories of our heritage." The company also supports and partners with Korean organizations such as The Korean American Association of Greater New York and Korean American Story.

17. Ellis Brooklyn

Veteran New York Times beauty columnist Bee Shapiro started Ellis Brooklyn while she was pregnant with her first daughter, Ellis. Unable to find clean, sophisticated fragrances to use during this time, she decided to create her own using a blend of natural and safe synthetic ingredients that are rigorously tested against global standards and formulated with renowned perfumers like Loc Dong and Jérôme Epinette. The result? Stunningly complex scents that will have friends asking what you're wearing every time.


18. JINsoon

You can call her the OG nail influencer. Since making her way to the States from South Korea in the '90s, Jin Soon Choi quickly became (and remains) the go-to for editorial shoots and runways. Throughout her storied career, Choi has worked with every major designer from Marc Jacobs to Phillip Lim, opened multiple salons throughout New York City and launched an eponymous nail polish line that's known for its trendy, yet classic shades and long-wearing formulas.

19. Sundays

Amy Ling launched sundays with a focus on nail care and wellness. Not only did she create a line of 10-free, non-toxic nail polishes (which is an Oprah favorite), but also designed brick-and-mortar salons where people can get manis and pedis and practice self-care. You can find a sundays studios all over NYC, where you can dabble in a wellness treatment (like guided meditation, an ancient rituals foot soak or massage) while you get your nails done. As Ling shares on the brand's site, "I founded sundays on the values of individuality, simplicity and wellness, which is also what I aspired to practice everyday. I believe wellness is a journey, and not a one-size-fits-all solution, or an achievement to check off your to-do list, but a long-term goal."



Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, CEO Rooshy Roy tried to push away her Indian heritage in order to fit in, but soon discovered the importance of her traditions and rituals. As she got older, she realized she wanted to continue to instill these teachings to others and created AAVRANI in 2017. Powdered by science and tradition, she combines Ayurvedic beauty with clean ingredients (like tumeric, ashwaganda and neem). Recently, the brand teamed up with YouTuber Lilly Singh to release a haircare line and launched all of their products at Sephora.

21. Squigs Beauty

As a freelance beauty and fashion editor, founder Nikita Charuza has tested products for over a decade, but noticed a gap when it came to Ayurvedic beauty. In 2022, she launched Squigs Beauty to bring awareness to these traditions (like hair oiling) via two products designed with gentle clean ingredients. The brand strives to bring a happy headcare and ties that positive mindset to their social mission, too. A percentage of their proceeds are donated to mental health charities like Real Therapy for Black Girls, Asian Mental Health Collective and Sad Girls Club.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

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