Images courtesy of Nordstrom
In addition to including tentpole holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, May is also Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which was created to celebrate the rich histories of Asian-Americans as well as those of Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian decent. While this month provides a great opportunity to spotlight these cultures’ contributions to this country, we believe in supporting Asian- and Pacific-American businesses year-round through active purchases.
In recent years, the urgency around inclusion has increased, and many big box retailers like Nordstrom are dedicating more shelf space to AAPI-owned companies in general and beauty brands in particular. Below, we’ve pulled together a short list of some of the best AAPI-owned beauty brands Nordstrom shoppers are raving about. From SKYLAR’s bevy of clean fragrances to LARUCE’s expert-level makeup tools, we’re betting you’ll find plenty of excellent options to round out your beauty rotation.
You may already be familiar with Boy Smells’ cult-favorite scented candles, but the brand is also popular for its clean and gender-neutral fragrance collection. Each scent includes a masterful blend of notes like saffron flower, white leather, tobacco, and more.
Created by former tech and beauty industry executive Cat Chen, SKYLAR has developed some of our favorite clean perfumes, all inspired by nature and madeto be layered. Their perfumes are also hypoallergenic, making them safe for those with sensitive skin to wear on a regular basis.
Thirteen Lune co-founder Nyakio Grieco counts the CTZN COSMETICS Nudiversal Lip Duo as one of her daily makeup go-tos—and not just because celebrity makeup artist Sir John serves as the company’s chief creative officer. “It’s, like, the full range, because nude is not just pink or peach, so everybody can find their nude,” she told BAZAAR.com. CTZN was created by three sisters who intended to build a beauty brand with inclusive products designed for under-served skin tones and undertones.
Shiseido is one of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world, offering a wide range of skin-, body-, and hair care, makeup, and more to beauty-loving shoppers. The company launched in Japan in 1872 and transitioned into a Western-style pharmacy during the 1920s. The name Shiseido roughly translates to a combination of the words “house of” and “where everything is born,” derived from I Ching, an ancient Chinese text.
Powered by probiotic extracts and superfood ingredients, TULA Skincare products are not only popular among Nordstrom shoppers, but also used frequently by celebrity makeup artists to prep skin ahead of makeup application. Founder Dr. Roshini Raj, a trained gastroenterologist, uses her medical knowledge to inform the brand’s product formulations and offerings.
For an easy and effective way to create salon-worthy gel manicures at home, co-founder Christina Kao started Le Mini Macaron in 2015 with her business partner François for a French twist on an American beauty business. In addition to featuring vegan formulas, each polish shade and top coat from the brand is also 9-Free.
For beauty tools that are equal parts eye-catching and effective, look no further than the high-tech essentials from ReFa, a brand that’s best known for solar-powered face and body rollers.
Designer Rei Kawakubo expanded the reach of her buzzy fashion brand Comme des Garçons with this robust perfume line that evokes the same quirky luxury as her wardrobe staples.
Rael, co-created by CEO Yanghee Paik, is a part-wellness, part-skincare brand that’s currently available in 19 countries around the world. It uses science-backed South Korean technology to create its acne, feminine, and body care offerings.
Developed by renowned Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, this perfume brand is housed under the Shiseido EMEA Group. The brand offers a range of men’s and women’s fragrances created with sustainability in mind, featuring PCR packaging and aiming to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that can sometimes go along with the manufacturing process.
Vegan makeup tool brand LARUCE was created by Michael Tran in 2019. His idea: to design products to complement his wife and daughter’s individuality. LARUCE’s artist-level face and eye brushes stand out from the pack, as they’re designed with signature textured handles that are not only aesthetically-pleasing but also help improve your grip.
Chemist-created K-beauty brand VITABRID C12 uses a stabilized version of vitamin C as a main ingredient in each of their skin- and hair care products. For added effective, it’s time-released over 12 hours.
Threading expert and Blink Brow Bar founder Vanita Parti launched her beauty venture BBB London to provide customers with an easy-to-use range of products for professional-level beauty enhancement. The emphasis here is very much on brows and lashes.
Featuring encapsulation technology from Japan to protect skincare ingredients from light exposure and oxidation, Skin Inc.’s products are ideal for a range of skin types since they’re expertly customized for each shopper. The brand also uses a self-diagnostic tool developed by its scientists to inform product recommendations.
Similar to Skin Inc.’s customized approach to beauty, emerging brand Hawthorne uses an onsite quiz to develop a data algorithm based on information from its customers. The quiz results ultimately make it simple for the brand to tailor its collection of elevated grooming products according to their customers’s specific body- and hair care, fragrance, and shaving needs.
Coming from one of the first non-toxic nail salons in Denver, Colorado, Base Coat’s company ethos prioritizes both beauty and wellness, and uses mainly plant-based ingredients in its products to minimize toxic chemicals.
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