May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The AAPI community’s contribution to society as a whole is immeasurable. However, we’re here to focus on the community’s immense contributions to the beauty space, from K-beauty to Ayurvedic hair oiling. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite brands with AAPI minds behind them that you need to know. A handful of the brands listed are also featured in the Summer Essentials AAPI Beauty Box ($120), 100 percent of which will be donated to AAPI Women Lead. Check out the must-shop AAPI brands and product recommendations.
To celebrate her heritage, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Mally Beauty, Mally Roncal, is donating 100 percent of proceeds from her best-selling Face Defender ($45) to Stop AAPI Hate throughout May. Stars like Sara Jessica Parker and Hailey Bieber love the product.
Amy Liu, the founder and CEO of Tower 28, created the brand to bring fun, creative products to market that are also safe for sensitive skin. The SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28) is a must for sensitive skin, and SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen ($32) is one of our favorite tinted SPFs.
This iconic beauty brand came from the mind of the equally iconic Tina Chen Craig. The PLASMA Lip Compound ($68) is a must-have for a night out, and the recently launched Resurfacing Body Compound ($128) is a game-changer for bumpy skin below the neck.
With too many delightful scents to choose from, we must thank Bee Shapiro for creating Ellis Brooklyn. If you’re looking for a signature summer scent, look no further than Sun Fruit Eau De Parfum ($108).
The face behind the popular YouTube channel Mixed Makeup, Susan Yara, founded NATURIUM after years in the beauty industry. The Glow Getter Multi-Oil Hydrating Body Wash ($16) makes our skin feel silky smooth after just a couple of showers.
Co-founders and CEOs Christine Chang and Sarah Lee have built a beauty empire on the foundation of fruit-forward, effective skin care. We recently tried their Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops ($32), and the makeup primer and pore treatment in one has quickly become a staple in our routine.
Iota aims to champion skin health awareness and address issues at the root before they even occur. The nutritional body-care brand, co-founded by Monique Meneses, acknowledges the mind-heart-gut-skin connection. We especially love the scent of the Lemongrass + Eucalyptus Body Wash ($23).
Carol Han Pyle created Nette with the hopes of shifting the candle industry in a cleaner direction. The elegant brand has since expanded into picture-perfect perfumes and accessories.
This fun and effective brand from former beauty editor Nikita Charuza is rooted in Ayurveda. The mission is Happy Headcare and their Gooseberry Delight Hair Oil ($34) nails that. Additionally, Squigs has been chosen as the only South Asian-inspired brand to be part of Ulta Beauty’s first accelerator program.
You might know CEO and K-Beauty expert Alicia Yoon from her contributions to the glass skin trend. She is also behind Peach Slices Skincare, which boasts best-selling drugstore products. Peach & Lily’s most recent launch, Retinal for All Renewing Serum ($55), combines retinal and ectoin, a novel combination, to reduce traditional irritation.
Growing up in Wisconsin, first-generation founder Michelle Ranavat felt “different.” When she visited Jaipur she connected on a deeper level to her roots. The celebrated rituals of self-care in India she witnessed during this trip inspired RANAVAT, a botanical skin-care collection focused on connection.
EADEM was co-founded by Alice Lin and Marie Kouadio with the mission to promote bare skin confidence in Women of Color. The brand’s Smart Melanin Technology is a first of its kind that has skin of color’s needs in mind.
Jin Soon Choi founded JINSoon nail spas and products after immigrating to the U.S. from South Korea. She also often does celebrity manicures for photo shoots and red carpets.
Chriselle Lim gained popularity while running her YouTube Channel and website: The Chriselle Factor. Lim is also now the owner and creative director of PHLUR, which has become one of the coolest fragrance companies following her re-launch. One of their most famous scents, Missing Person, is now available in a candle format ($45).
Youthforia is home to the viral color-changing blush oil ($36) that responds to your skin’s pH. It’s so good, the founder, Fiona Co Chan, secured a deal on Shark Tank.
You might recognize good light from TikTok, as it’s been making its rounds. Founder David Yi seeks to move the culture forward by promoting a more inclusive definition of beauty through the brand and products.
Brother and sister Akash and Nikita created Fable & Mane together. It was inspired by Nikita’s memories of performing the Indian tradition of hair oiling with her grandma.
DAMDAM claims the title of Japan’s first clean skin-care brand. It highlights a Japanese skin-care ritual known as Mochi Hada or “rice-cake skin.” DAMDAM’s lineup helps achieve this intensely hydrated, healthy look.
Evolvetogether, founded by Cynthia Sakai, is a personal care, home and wellness brand with chic packaging and effective formulas.
Chemical engineer turned beauty entrepreneur Sravya Adusumilli created Mango People because she felt there was a dearth of truly clean makeup brands that are also inclusive of all skin-tone shades. The brand features influences from Ayvurdeic rituals.