Without the immense influence that Asian skin care has had over the past decade, the beauty industry would be nothing like it is now.
Asian beauty ingredients, traditions and sensibilities have had a significant impact on everything we do for our beauty routines, thanks in part to brands like Tatcha, Then I Met You and Glow Recipe. The popularity of beauty influencers like Bretman Rock, Patrick Starr and Nabela Noor has even further cemented the authority that Asian Americans have in the beauty world.
But it wasn’t always this way. Daniel Martin, the celebrity makeup artist and global director of artistry and education for Tatcha, remembers when Asians had extremely limited visibility in the beauty industry. In the ’90s, when he was just getting started, the only two Asian beauty brands that were known in the U.S. were Shiseido and Shu Uemura, and neither was a household name like Revlon or CoverGirl.
“At the time, Asian beauty standards and brands were still considered too ‘exotic’ and not aspirational, which impacted how I viewed myself and my place in the beauty industry,” Martin told HuffPost. “Now, with Asian beauty practices, ingredients and formulas have entered the mainstream thanks to the rise in popularity of K- and J-beauty brands (including Tatcha), it’s encouraging to see that consumers are finally beginning to understand and appreciate Asian beauty culture.”
Martin is Vietnamese and French, and his background has been a source of inspiration throughout his career.
“Being biracial has allowed me to experience empathy through my upbringing and understand the importance of diversity in beauty in a unique way,” he said.
Uplifting marginalized people through beauty is a goal he shares with other Asian Americans in the industry. Many Asian American beauty brand founders experienced feelings of otherness growing up, or felt caught in the middle of their Asian and Western backgrounds, which would end up being a driving force in their work.
Now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate the impact Asian beauty has had on the industry. Below, learn about 17 Asian American beauty brands, their founders and which of their products to try out. You never know, you might even find your next holy grail serum, eyeliner or signature fragrance.