Asian-owned beauty brands you need to know about

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Melanie Sutrathada is an In The Know lifestyle contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

It’s difficult not to feel trapped and overwhelmed by the recent uptick in hate towards the AAPI community. How could we not feel that way? There has been a 1,900 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year alone. It feels as though evidence of this statistic goes viral every single day, exposing the vitriol in our own cities.

As an Asian-American woman, I have received so many DMs and texts asking, “What can I do to help?” However well-intentioned, this question can place undue burden on an AAPI person. Instead, think of the many direct actions one can take to be a better ally — some of which include getting educated, donating to organizations that help fight anti-Asian racism, reporting hate crimes that you witness and examining your privilege and unconscious bias.

A simple ways support AAPI people at this time is to put your money where your mouth is by shopping with intention. That said, here are some amazing AAPI-founded brands to support now and always:

  1. Then I Met You, Founded by Charlotte Cho
Credit: Then I Met You

Charlotte’s company pulls inspiration by the Korean concept of jeong, which Then I Met You’s website defines as “a deep and meaningful connection that encourages empathy and generosity.” I can’t recommend the brand’s Living Cleansing Balm, a 12x award-winning oil cleanser, enough. It’s essentially magic in a jar, and easily one of the best oil cleansers I’ve ever used.

2. Mai Couture, Founded by Mai Tran

Credit: Mai Couture

Mai’s 2-in-1 blotting papers are a staple in my makeup bag. My favorites are the portable and travel-friendly blotting sheets, which come infused with bronzing powder on one side for sun-kissed color on the go. The makeup sheets also come in blush, foundation and highlighter!

3. Velour, founded by Mabel Lee

Credit: Velour

Meet lashes you can live in. A single pair of silk lashes from Velour can be worn up to 25 times! Mabel came up with the idea for these high-end lashes in her dorm room a decade ago, and now A-listers like Beyoncé and Kate Upton wear them — they’re that good. Plus, 10% of net proceeds currently go toward organizations supporting the #StopAsianHate movement.

4. Sundays, founded by Amy Ling Lin

Credit: Sundays

Sundays is a wellness-inspired nail care brand that offers non-toxic products and services. The brand’s gorgeous colors come in a vegan, 10-free, cruelty-free, non-toxic, clean formula that really lasts and shines, so you don’t have to sacrifice health for beauty. Start off with No. 25 — it’s the perfect everyday shade!

5. Proven, founded by Ming Zhao

Credit: Proven

Proven has been on my radar for a few years — and definitely for good reason. It’s called the “world’s most personalized 3-step skincare” with formulas that are clinically effective and unique to your skin, diet, environment and lifestyle. All it takes to achieve glowing skin is your personalized sunscreen, cleanser and night cream.

6. Kulfi, founded by Priyanka Ganjoo

Credit: Kulfi

Priyanka didn’t see herself represented in the beauty industry when she was growing up, so she changed the narrative by building an inclusive beauty brand that shines a light on South Asian beauty. Dive into this gorgeous brand starting with the Underlined Kajal Eyeliner in Rain Check, a bold blue shade. The waterproof and smudge-proof formula really comes to life on deeper skin tones.

7. Clean Circle, founded by Lena Chao

Credit: Clean Circle

Many of us know by now how bad single-use cotton rounds are for the environment. But Clean Circle’s reusable makeup remover pads are a sustainable solution. These machine-washable rounds are made of 100% bamboo velour, designed with finger pockets and a pointed tip to help you get to all those nooks and crannies when you’re cleansing.

8. Tower 28, founded by Amy Liu

Credit: Tower 28

Over the past year, my makeup bag went from holding dozens of different blushes and lipsticks to housing just a few multipurpose products like the ones from Tower 28 Beauty. If you’re looking for one product that does it all, you need BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush. It makes your skin look sun-kissed and super glowy. The Magic Hour shade, in particular, is the perfect sun-kissed orange that leaves you looking like you’re wearing a real-life Instagram filter.

9. Savor Beauty, founded by Jia Kim

Credit: Savor Beauty

Savor Beauty is a tribute to traditional Korean self-care rituals. It’s an amazing natural skincare line that uses certified organic ingredients. If your skin feels dry and irritated, add Savor Beauty’s Lavender Milk + Honey Face Cake Mask to your cart. It’s perfect for soothing your skin and helping your face to feel velvety smooth.

10. Blk Cosmetics, founded by Anne Curtis

Credit: Blk Cosmetics

Put yourself on the waitlist for this stunning cruelty-free lip treatment oil from blk cosmetics. It’s made with watermelon seed oil, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid for super glossy and moisturized lips. You’ll be the envy of all your friends on Zoom.

If you enjoyed this article, check out these Asian-owned Etsy shops that you can support now and always!

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