23 Best Asian Makeup & Beauty Brands to Shop in 2021 – Allure


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The American beauty industry wouldn't be what it is today without the influences of Asian beauty. Without imported Korean and Japanese brands like Etude House, Shiseido, and Hera, we wouldn't have witnessed the rise in popularity surrounding cushion foundations, popsicle-stain-inspired lip tints, and glass-skin primers. But more importantly, we have to give credit to the influential Asian Americans sharing their in-depth knowledge, cultures, and visions through blogs, YouTube, Instagram, and other "democratized" platforms. Over the past few decades, many have grown their influence and popularity through less traditional means, while the mainstream beauty industry (and investors) saw their cultures and content as "too niche."

Even now, amid an increasingly accepting and even embracing industry, there's still more work to be done. In fact, a lot of that work is being uncovered and shared through social media. Anti-Asian discrimination (at worst, targeted violence and hate crimes) is nothing new. It's been pervasive for centuries, and everyone has the duty to educate themselves on the history of often-law-enforced injustices (e.g. the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese-American internment camps, etc.) and the inequities that minorities and marginalized groups continue to face every single day. 

While it's important to always support Asian-owned brands regardless of what you see on the news, there are many countless organizations that are deserving of your time, money, and support in the ongoing battle to dismantle racism against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. That being said, it's absolutely worth celebrating the accomplishments of the founders who have trailblazed their way into the beauty world and launched makeup and hair-care brands that are truly innovative and often serve overlooked consumers. (If you're looking for specifically Asian-owned skin-care brands, we have a story for that, too.) And more often than not, these entrepreneurs borrow upon their diverse upbringings and rich heritage as inspiration for their own carefully researched, thoughtfully designed products. 

To honor the contributions Asian entrepreneurs and beauty experts have made to the beauty industry at large, we're spotlighting some of our favorite Asian-owned brands (with a focus on makeup and hair care) that deserve your support each and every day. Here are 23 brands we love supporting and amplifying.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • A translucent compact of Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Bronzer on a white background

    Courtesy of brand

    Tower 28

    Tower 28 is all about makeup designed for sensitive skin, which means its lineup of cream blushes, bronzers, and lip glosses are made with skin-soothing ingredients like green tea, aloe vera, and rosehip oil. As a result, they never cake, settle into textured areas, or, most importantly, exacerbate existing skin issues. As someone who has suffered from severe eczema her entire life, founder Amy Liu has gone to extensive lengths to ensure that everyone can have fun with their beauty routine. 

    So far there is one skin-care-focused product, the SOS Save.Our.Skin Daily Rescue Facial Spray, which earned the National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance. Liu previously told Allure that it's the only non-topical and non-oral product that keeps her flare-ups in check. While Allure senior commerce writer Sarah Han doesn't deal with eczema, she was all but dousing her skin with the mist all winter long to calm her heater-induced redness.

    Star Product: Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer picked up an Allure Best of Beauty Award for the undeniably dewy, vacation-like sheen it leaves on skin. Both shades (West Coast and Best Coast) of the smooth and balmy cream have sold out multiple times, and it's easy to see why. It adds the perfect amount of glow to the hollows of your cheeks, forehead, eyelids, or wherever else you want some extra color. And now the Bronzino family has grown with three new shades: Sun Coast, Gold Coast, and Pacific Coast, developed in partnership with makeup artist Jessica Smalls, so you can achieve the perfect bronze for your skin tone.

  • Courtesy of brand

    Ellis Brooklyn

    When you're a deeply knowledgeable beauty journalist, starting your own brand makes a lot of sense in many ways. While Bee Shapiro is still has a column in The New York Times (which she has since turned into a book of the same name, Skin Deep), she found her true calling through crafting deep, complex scents that are also extremely wearable throughout day-to-day life. According to Ellis Brooklyn's website, all eau de parfums are cruelty-free and vegan, while the entire collection is formulated with non-irritating ingredients that abide by voluntary IFRA standards, packaged in glass, and shipped carbon-neutral whenever possible.

    Star Product: Send your senses on a mental vacation with a few spritzes of Salt Eau de Parfum. Destination? Somewhere where salty waters meet a glowing sunset and tropical florals. Composed with notes of ylang-ylang, Tahitian tiare, and musk, this warm, summery concoction smells like paid time off (PTO) in a bottle. We'll take two: one for our work desk, one for our bag for freshening up on-the-go.

  • Courtesy of brand

    Live Tinted

    From a young age, Live Tinted founder Deepica Mutyala wanted to change the narrative within Indian culture that lighter skin is seen as more beautiful. Live Tinted started off as a digital community, where people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities came together to share their experiences with beauty. It was during that time she figured out what her first Live Tinted product would be: color-correcting crayons called Huesticks. While Huestick won a Best of Beauty Award last year, we're also quite the fans of the dewy, highlighter-like Hueglow and hydrating Unity Balm Gloss.

    Star Product: Available in a range of nine (and counting) bold and beautiful colors (like berries, browns, reds, and corals), Huestick adds a burst of creamy pigment to cheeks, lids, and lips. The orange-tinted Rise shade is particularly handy for canceling the appearance of dark circles and acne scars. The formulas are so smooth and easy to work with that you can easily blend them out with just your fingers.

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