One of the most direct and sustainable ways to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is to shop at AAPI-owned businesses. And over the past several months, we’ve made a concerted effort to highlight some of these for our readers, with guides to the best gifts under $50 from AAPI-owned brands, the best pieces of wall art from Asian American artists, and even the best tea from Asian producers. But in writing up these specific shopping guides, we realized that we’ve featured lots of businesses with AAPI founders and owners and designers in our reporting, even if we haven’t called them out as such.
So we’ve created an evergreen directory of more than 70 AAPI-owned businesses in five categories: beauty and wellness, fashion and accessories, food and drink, home and design, and miscellaneous businesses that don’t fit neatly into any of the other groupings. These recommendations are pulled from our archives, meaning we’ve written about every single one of these companies before. They’ve all been vetted by our writers and editors, recommended to us by celebrities and experts alike, and, in several cases, become best sellers among our readers. We’ve also gone through the list and added a product or two from each brand so you can see some of our favorite picks. (And if the product we originally wrote about is sold out, we’ve included something similar.) If you want to jump to a specific category, use the links below.
Beauty and Wellness
Cabinet sells over-the-counter medicines like generic anti-histamines and pain relievers. It first came onto our radar at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as a place to buy hand sanitizer.
Founded by Lauren Jin, Cle Cosmetics makes minimalist K-beauty products that are nontoxic, vegan, and cruelty free.
Our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton first wrote about Cocokind’s culty chlorophyll mask in 2018, saying it had not only brightened and cleaned her skin but also “calmed and reduced the size of an angry red spot that had made itself at home on my forehead.”
Korean American journalist and activist David Yi — whom we interviewed about his very good skin back in 2017 — founded Good Light, a skin-care brand that isn’t marketed around gender norms. (This toning lotion is one of SuChin Pak’s favorites.)
Created by Soko Glam Labs, Good (Skin) Days is Soko Glam’s first exclusively owned brand. Rio has said the C’s the Day Serum is excellent if you’re “looking to even out or add radiance to your complexion,” and the cleanser makes her skin feel “clean, refreshed, and bouncy without any tightness whatsoever.”
Another favorite of Rio’s, these pimple patches are superthin, super-sheer, and ideal for the daytime treatment of zits.
Oral-hygiene brand Huppy makes toothpaste tablets it says are more sustainable than your traditional tube.
Created by beauty influencer and YouTuber Liah Yoo, Krave Beauty makes simple skin care (that comes recommended by another YouTube star, Hyram Yarbro, and that Rio describes as Gen Z–approved).
We first featured this oddly shaped massager from an “under-the-radar ecofriendly Taiwanese ceramics brand called Acera” on the Strategist in January 2020, and it’s also a favorite of Pak’s. She says it “simulates a hot-stone massage and can help melt away tension and boost circulation.”
These custom-fit, stick-on gel nails were recommended to us by Franci Girard, founder of the Sixes, who called them one of the best things she bought in quarantine.
Mount Lai makes gua sha tools and facial rollers inspired by founder and esthetician Stephanie Zheng’s grandmother and traditional Chinese medical practices.
Pak says that “these mineral peels for the body and face are the next best thing” to getting an exfoliating treatment at a Korean spa.
Alicia Yoon is the founder of Peach & Lily, which started as a place for carefully curated Korean beauty products and has since begun making its own skin-care line. This hydrating serum is a favorite of Rio’s and our readers’.
Rio calls this combo pack of a rose-quartz gua sha tool and facial oil the “perfect duo for gua sha beginners” — especially because, for $20 more, “you can purchase the duo with an added gua sha workshop hosted by a traditional Chinese-medicine practitioner and gua sha expert.”