Glow Recipe, Soko Glam, Tatcha, —
Asian-American beauty brands are huge power players and a driving force in the industry. Asia’s impact on how the world views beauty, in general, is huge. (Just think about the 10-step Korean skincare routine, gua sha, BB Creams, bamboo extract, and snail mucin if you need more proof). Beauty lovers can thank these brands for helping them discover ingredients and trends that have now become mainstays in everyone’s go-to products and everyday routines.
But the term “Asian beauty” has become synonymous with these bigger and well-known brands and most people seem to only focus on East Asian countries. In reality, there is so much more Asian beauty out there. Asia is made of so many different countries and rich cultures and can’t — and shouldn’t — be conflated into just one specific region.
So if you’re wondering how to spread the love and discover all aspects of Asian beauty, you’ve come to the right place. Consider this your crash course to lesser-known brands that should definitely be on your radar. Scroll down and get familiar with the brands you should support now (and really forever). Oh, and apologies to your wallet in advance.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Sunnies Face
In the past couple of years,
Sunnies Face has made its presence known. The Filipino beauty brand’s hero product — the Fluffmatte — is a lightweight matte lipstick with minimal chic packaging (you know, for the ‘gram) that delivers highly pigmented color in one swipe. It goes on smoothly and it won’t dry out lips; that’s probably why one is sold every 30 seconds. It’s coming to the US so mark your cal. 2 Plantkos
Combining the Ayurvedic wisdom from her Indian heritage and her knowledge as a pharmacist, Sejal Patel created a skin care brand that catered to melanated skin. Thus, Plantkos was born. Each product, like its
Phyto Exfoliating Cleanser and Phyto Triple C Serum, is made with a proprietary blend of Ayurvedic herbs and clean actives to combat inflammation, dehydration, and hyperpigmentation. 3 Kulfi Beauty
South Asian beauty doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, and Kulfi is on a mission to change that. The brand celebrates the region’s rich culture through its lineup of makeup, hair accessories, and fun stickers. Its Kajal eyeliners have plenty of pigment for great color payoff and are infused with skin-nourishing ingredients like
aloe vera and vitamin E. 5 Cityface
Who better to create a skin care line for Gen Z than people who are actually part of Gen Z? Founded by 20-year-old
Jeena Chong in 2020, Cityface is the clean beauty brand that empowers city communities.
Each product is made with clean ingredients (the serum is filled with rich antioxidants like
ginseng root and olive fruit extract to protect skin from environmental aggressors) and the brand partners with local non-governmental organizations in Seoul, New York City, and San Francisco to help underserved youth communities. (Plus, if you’re a sucker for adorable packaging, this brand is definitely worth checking out.) 6 Youthforia
Makeup you can sleep in without wreaking havoc on your skin sounds too good to be true. But founder of Youthforia Fiona Co Chen may have actually created it (or at least the closest makeup will ever be to that claim). Chen’s super fun party makeup is also made to nourish skin. Each product, like the fan-favorite
Pregrame Primer or the BYO Blush, is made with plant-based ingredients and zero fossil fuels. 7 FanLoveBeauty
Ginger King first started making lip balms for motivational speakers, and then created FanLoveBeauty so that everyone can fight off chapped lips. The line has since expanded to include a lip exfoliator and eye serum.
The lip balm, which is completely vegan, is made with hydrating ingredients like
sea asparagus, jojoba seed oil, and almond oil. 8 Emilie Heathe Emilie Heathe was created to celebrate founder Emily H. Rudman’s Asian heritage with clean ingredients that she was struggling to find out in the market. The Nail Artist polish contains ingredients that nod to her background, such as anti-inflammatory bamboo, rice bran oil, and sea buckthorn (which has been used in Asia as a skin protectant). Between the shades and the packaging, you won’t be able to decide what’s prettier. 9 Koa
Founded by three East-Asian and Hawaiian men, Koa skin care highlights traditional Asian and Pacific Islander ingredients, such as Hawaiian White Ginger and Kukui Nut, to produce highly efficient formulas in its gender-neutral products.
Turn to its
Yuzu Facial Cleanser, which contains natural yuzu for a refreshing cleanse and without harming the skin’s natural barrier. For the ultimate sun care, its Mineral Face Sunscreen contains non-nano zinc oxide to is one hundred percent reef safe and provides broad-spectrum UV protection as well as niacinamide and bisabolol to nourish skin. 10 Blk Cosmetics
Filipina actress, singer, and TV host
Anne Curtis and her business partner Jacqe Yuengtian Gutierrez created Blk Cosmetics to make beauty less complicated. Case in point: this all-day lip and cheek tint. It’s a functional two-in-one stain for natural color on your lips, cheeks, or both. 11 The Things We Do
Vanessa Lee, The Things We Do is a Los Angeles-based med spa that caters to all your skin needs (and has its own skincare line). This color-correcting serum uses plant-based brighteners like licorice root extract, which is a safer alternative to other dark spot banishers like hydroquinone. 12 Prakti
Model and philanthropist
Pritika Swarup created Prakti to put Indian beauty at the forefront. Made with traditional Ayurvedic practices and Indian beauty rituals with Western innovation, the skin care line offers effective products for healthy glowing skin while also introducing you to Indian beauty practices and ingredients. 13 SelfMade
SelfMade is where beauty and mental health meet. Stephanie Lee created the brand with the intention of helping people of color put their well-being first and showcasing how our mental state affects our physical being. Products, such as the
Secure Attachment Comfort Serum+ and True Grit Resilience Scrub, are formulated with a board of advisors that help make that psychological connection and prioritize people of color in mental health discussions, something that isn’t being done enough. 14 Prim
Stefanie Walmsley created Prim to share the ingredients that helped her get back to her roots. “Having been born in the Philippines and raised in New York, we’re all about embracing diversity and making you feel comfortable in your skin,” it
reads on the site. This gentle body scrub has ingredients like rose and grapefruit oil for hydration and acne. 15 Shaz & Kiks
Inspired by Indian products and rituals that have been passed down through generations, Shaz & Kiks (created by sisters Shaz Rajashekar and Kiku Chaudhuri) features natural and nourishing ingredients. This hair mask, for example, is made with coconut oil to
help treat and prevent hair damage and amla to help stimulate hair growth to get you strong and healthy hair. 16 Phytosurgence
Phytosurgence is an Asian and LGBTQ+-owned beauty brand that is all about transparency. It cuts out all the marketing and fear-mongering BS (you won’t see the words “non-toxic” or “clean” here). What you will find are high-quality products made with natural ingredients that are backed up by science.
This balm is a cream-to-powder highlighter that blends into skin seamlessly to give you a really nice iridescent glow. It contains a blend of waxes and hydrocarbons so that it doesn’t go on cakey and locks moisture in so you get that dewy finish.
17 Live Tinted
Deepica Mutyala changed the beauty game with her red lipstick on undereye dark circles hack. From there, she created Live Tinted to focus on inclusive and diverse beauty. Turn to its hero product the Huestick or Superhue to address hyperpigmentation. 18 Asutra
Founded by Stephanie Morimoto (and partly owned by Venus Williams), Asutra Self Care is a collection of natural products that take care of your skin and well-being. With soothing products like the
Magnesium Body Butter and the Pure Soothing Comfort Aromatherapy Mist, you’ll find something to help put you at ease and make life a little more relaxing. 19 Indē Wild
Founded by influencer and activist Diipa Khosla, Indē Wild enters the skin care game with first-of-its-kind Ayurvedistry technology. It combines traditional Ayurveda practices and chemistry to produce nourishing serums, the
15% Vitamin C and 1% Bakuchiol, to transform skin to its healthiest and most radiant form. 20 Blueland
Sarah Paiji Yoo didn’t want to just create a
good product; she wanted to take care of the planet as well. To help eliminate the need for single-use plastic, the products in the collection either come in tablet or powder form meant to be mixed in with tap water or used directly on.
Its body cleanser, which is a
powder-to-gel body wash, comes with a reusable bottle that you can pretty much use forever. All you have to do is fill your bottle with water, pour the powder in, shake, and you have a nourishing gel body wash.
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