Asian skincare and cosmetics brands are still wildly popular in the Western world, with brands like Dr. Jart, SK-II, and Tatcha flying off shelves year-round. But there are probably plenty of women-owned Asian beauty brands that you haven't heard of yet. And with holiday gifting frenzy at full force, you should certainly consider gifting the beauty lovers in your life with products from these lines.
Even though the flurry of brands and products might be intimidating to the untrained eye, Asian beauty carries simple philosophies. With Korean beauty, for example, Peach & Lily founder Alicia Yoon told TZR last October that Korean beauty products tend to be more gentle, which "helps people achieve big results over the course of a few weeks rather than overnight. It really focuses on creating a foundation of healthier skin." And while 10-step routines and the quest for glass skin (both still wildly popular in Korea) might seem labor-intensive, the outcome results in a smooth, flake-free canvas.
But if you don't want to dedicate that many steps, there are still plenty of products from across the continent — like Peach & Lily's Glass Skin Refining Serum or the Silk Canvas Filter Finish Protective Primer from Tatcha, a Japanese-inspired brand — to help you fake it. Classical Japanese beauty rituals were born from the geisha's rituals, according to Vicky Tsai, Tatcha's founder. "Even with elaborate performance makeup, her ritual is no more than four steps: melt away her makeup, polish, plump and nourish skin," she explained to TZR in 2017.
Ahead, read more on the 10 female-founded Asian beauty brands to gift for the holidays.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Cocokind
Raised in California and of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, Priscilla Tsai founded Cocokind in 2014 after leaving the investment banking industry. She suffered with acne and tried numerous prescription treatments with little luck, so she created Cocokind — an all-natural skincare brand with coconut oil as its hero ingredient. In the range of products, you'll find skincare essentials like face masks, and makeup staples, like glowy highlighter.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Glow Recipe
Co-founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee, both originally from Korea, created Glow Recipe after both working years at L'Oréal. The duo won money from hit show Shark Tank, and used it to start the Instagrammable brand. When launched back in 2017, Glow Recipe's first two products — the Watermelon Sleep Mask and Blueberry Cleanse — sold out the same day. And the buzz hasn't stopped, with the duo dropping exciting launches year-round, including December 2019's release of the Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Tatcha
Founded by Vicky Tsai, who was born in the United States after her parents moved from Taiwan, Tatcha is best know for its luxurious-looking (and feeling) products that are wildly effective, too. "The ingredients are pure and clean because of our classical Japanese heritage, and because I was pregnant when we were beginning our R&D and needed a collection that is body-, animal- and earth-friendly," Tsai told TZR in 2017.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Peach & Lily
Born in South Korea, Alicia Yoon founded Peach & Lily after struggling with eczema throughout her childhood. "I took [cosmetology] classes after school during my senior year, and really gravitated towards the skincare lessons," Yoon notes on the retailer's website. As she consulted for beauty clients later on in her career, she saw an opportunity to bring Korean skincare to the U.S. market after noticing Western beauty manufacturers were sourcing formulas from Korea. Thus, Peach & Lily was born in 2012. This summer, the brand released its Overnight Star Sleeping Mask and Pore Proof Perfecting Clay Mask, both selling out in hours after launched.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: CLĒ Cosmetics
Founder Lauren Jin, born and raised in California, created CLĒ Cosmetics with her "less is more" approach. The makeup and skincare brand is centered around the latest Korean beauty technology — including non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients. If you're buying for someone who loves makeup, give her a multi-use product like the melting Lip Powder, which can be used on the lips, eyes, and cheeks.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Sunnies Face
This Philippines-born brand is inspired by Glossier, according to Bustle. Co-founders Jess Wilson, Georgina Wilson, Martine Ho, Bea Soriano Dee, and Eric Dee spent two years developing the brand's hero product, Fluffmatte, which was tested on a variety of complexions. "From Caucasian tones, to light-skinned Asian complexions, to fairer mestizas, to warmer tones, to richer morena skin — we tried it on everyone," Ho tells Bustle.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Then I Met You
Then I Met You was founded by South Korean-American esthetician Charlotte Cho, who is also the brains behind online retailer Soko Glam. Perfect for gifting, you'll find duo skincare sets — with ingredients like sea buckthorn, cocoa, and licorice — on the retailer's site.
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Purlisse
Jennifer Yen launched Purlisse after spending hours in the makeup chair as an actress. She wanted to use her Chinese grandmother's beauty secrets to help restore her skin after spending hours in the chair getting heavy pancake makeup applied. Online, you can take a skin quiz to find out which products work best for you (or your recipient).
Women-Owned Asian Beauty Brand: Sabbatical Beauty
Started by Adeline Koh, Ph.D., Sabbatical Beauty was inspired by the Singaporean founder's experiments with DIY beauty. Korean beauty trends also serve as inspiration, like Camellia Japonica oil, which is known for soothing skin and filling in wrinkles.