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  • Writer's pictureShikha Gianchandani

5 Makeup Brands Every South Asian should know

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Tired of buying makeup from brands that constantly fail people of colour? Honestly, so am I! This week on #Trending, I’m taking you on a makeup journey where products are made specifically for us, by people like us.

With further ado, let me tell you about 5 makeup brands that every South Asian should know:

CTZN Cosmetics is a genderless makeup brand that was founded by sisters Aleena, Aleezeh, and Naseeha Khan. The sisters are first-generation Pakistani that were born in the US and raised in the UAE. Having such a diverse background, often made them frustrated that people with their skin tone were left out of in the beauty industry and found that some of their close friends felt the same way. During the infamous 2017 lip kit era, initiated by makeup mogul Kylie Jenner, the Khan sisters set out to make nude lipsticks for every single skin tone. Fast forward today, they have 25 shades of nude for every skin colour, a virtual colour matching feature on their website, and have been awarded twice by Allure for their fabulous products.

Bestsellers: Lipsticks

Sara Sophy Thomas's love for makeup started at a young age when she would sneak into her mother's vanity, wear her heels, and smear makeup on her face. As she got older, she was coerced into going into a more mainstream profession that would be "reputable for an Indian girl" like Pharmacy. Few years into pharmacy, she decided to quit and move to Los Angeles where she transferred to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to major in business with a focus on the beauty industry. 6 years into working in Marketing and PR she quit and re-kindled her love for all things beauty and created a makeup line, which became a part of Bili Beauty. A brand with a mission to be cruelty-free, vegan, and source ingredients ethically whilst bringing people’s attention to India’s diverse culture through makeup! I first heard Sara Sophy Thomas's brand when Milan Mathew’s (influencer) used their ‘Eyes of India’ eyeshadow pallet for one of her signatures looks.

Bestsellers: Eye Shadow Pallets

Pink Orchid Studio was founded by Harp Sohal and Shannon Mann in 2008. The duo not only sells makeup but also specializes in Asian bridal styling. Initially, Harp and Shannon worked together to provide stylings services and makeup artists to clients in Vancouver and even some international clients like Bollywood actors/actresses. Today they've expanded their brand to not only sell makeup and dominate in South Asian bridal styling but also opened a beauty education academy to spinout the next generation of South Asian bridal experts.

Bestsellers: Lashes

Finding yourself mixing 3 different foundations to finally settle on a colour that matches your skin tone? Why not try Stellar beauty! Stellar Beauty is owned by Canadian-Indian, TV personality, Monica Deol. As someone who's been in the entertainment industry for several years, whether it be DJ-ing or hosting TV shows, Monica found that the choice for makeup was often scarce when it came to medium skin tones. To bridge that makeup gap for medium skin tones Monica founded Stellar Beauty. The brand is known for being vegan, paraben, sulfate, phthalate, mineral oil, fragrance, and cruelty-free. Stellar currently offers 22 foundations and six concealers, along with lipsticks, blushes, powders, and an array of items geared towards medium skin tones – which is 2/3rds of the current population!

Bestellers: Foundation

Brown Girl Beauty is the first all-inclusive makeup line for brown skin. Founder, Aliza Adhami, did blogging for reputable brands, like Skinfix and Laneige, on the side whilst studying at Cornell University. Quickly she realized there weren’t any brands specifically made for brown skin, and even back home in Pakistan, antiquated and colonial notions of fair skin being the ideal beauty standards still dominated. With an idea to create a brand that doesn’t consider brown skin as an afterthought combined with her knowledge of cosmetic science from her education, Aliza launched Brown Girl Beauty.

Bestellers: Lipstick

We get swept away by conglomerate owned makeup brands because of their persuasive marketing tactics, promotions or even the promised luxury that we associate with their products. A simple effort to buy makeup from South Asian brands, or just any POC brand, means buying products made by people with genuine intentions, similar stories and visionaries who want to represent us in mainstream media instead of suppressing us.

That's it for me this week! Join us again next week for some more #Trending content to come out of the diaspora.

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