Retail in Asia


Top 10 under-radar beauty brands to keep an eye on in 2020

Top 10 under-radar beauty brands to keep an eye on in 2020

Following the success of Top 10 Asian brands to keep an eye on in 2019 that shed light on 10 Asian brands that performed a rapid growth in terms of POS, distribution channels, and global expansion in the year before, this year the focus shifts to the category of beauty.

The brands in this year’s top 10 were selected based on a mix of criteria, including brand history, positioning, product quality, social media presence, fit with current macro-trends and consumers’ preferences. Special attention was paid to vegan brands, and brands with high potential to conquer the international market taking the industry by storm. Conversations with makeup artists were also considered as source of inspiration.

1. Patrick Ta (US), The most wanted celebrity makeup artist brand

Source: Patrick Ta Beauty


Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta, 28-year old, debuted his namesake makeup brand in April 2019 with three major lines: lips, body oil, and highlighting mists.

The brand may sound unfamiliar to some of you, but it is not the case for Hollywood celebrities like Gigi Hadid, the Kardashians, Shay Mitchell, Adriana Lima, Jennifer Lopez… and many others. Indeed, Patrick Ta is very well known in the makeup artist world.

Apart from being an entrepreneur, Patrick Ta is also an influencer who had inspired over 1.5 million followers on Instagram through his works, for which he can surely lean on to further conquer the beauty industry.

He has also held master classes with NYX Cosmetics and being nominated La Mer’s global makeup artist ambassador.

His products revolve around one theme: dewy and glows; which made his products as simple as what he wants to share with the audience.

One of the most exciting products to see in the line is the Major Glow Setting Fan, a makeup tool that helps set up the mist and eyeliner.

Best selling products:




The brand is not yet available in Asia, and international shipping has not started yet.

2. Youth To The People (US),  The superfood brand for your skin health

Youth To The People
Source: Youth To The People


While thinking of superfood skincare brands, Youth To The People is the one.

Founded in 2015 by two cousins, Greg Gonzalez and Joe Cloyes, Youth To The People is one of the most popular skincare brands that uses atypical ingredients to formulate plant-based skincare products. In fact, the inspiration came from their grandmother to credit a modernized version of botanical skin care.

Social media wide – we could not agree more that the products are a good fit for Instagram (this is actually how the many have spotted it).

Combination of health skin and body drives the brand’s success. The brand is known for its rapid success with an attractive concept where consumers become intrigued by its earth-friendly packaging and vegan ingredient compositions pushing to personal consumption.

Two of the most ‘eaten’ ingredients are Kale (rich in vitamins C, E, and K) and Spinach (moisture properties) formulated into a soft cream to put on your skin.

One of its best sellers, Superfood Cleanser, is bottled in a glass with listed active ingredients straight away, time saving for consumers to easily find what they are looking for, even for beginners in skincare routine.

Best selling products:

Superfood Cleanser 237ML – 36 USD

Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask 59ML – 48 USD

Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil 30ML – 44 USD

The brand is not yet available in Asia.

3. Vidivici (South Korea), The first local makeup artist cosmetics brand sold in department stores


Source: Vidivici


Behind this brand, there is a woman called Madam Lee, “Lee Kyung-min,” who spent 20 years as an appointed local makeup artist for top celebrities such as Choi Ji-woo, Lee Young-ae, and BoA. In early 00’, she decided to launch her own cosmetics brand, at a time where there was no brand for Asian skin tone.

The brand name is appealing: Vidivici means “Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)’’ pled by Julius Caesar, with the hope of attracting global spotlight.

Soon, Shinsegae International acquired Vidivici in 2012 and took a step forward by establishing an office in China to prepare the flagship store. In 2018, this in-house label has reached 88 millions $, thanks to Chinese customers.

This success means a lot to the group, especially as it was not smooth at the beginning with its Chinese local competitors, which were also growing progressively.

The multi-axis brand (skincare/makeup) is the high-end packaging. and brightening features.

Best selling products:

Hydra Hyaluronic 7 Hyper Moist Cream 50ML –  58 USD

UV Essence Sun Cushion SPF50 + 13g –  42 USD

Hydra Intense Overnight Mask 50ML – 55 USD

The brand is available at Korea Shinsegae department store, and on, Tmall, RED,

4. Grown Alchemist (Australia), The new generation of organic skincare 

Grown Alchemist
Source: Grown Alchemist


Founded in 2004, Grown Alchemist is known as a very subtle Australian brand, favored by many EU customers. The brand started out with two brothers who were driven by their desire to make a breakthrough in the skincare industry by combining chemistry and botanic, after finding out the harmful effects of traditional skincare formulations from working on products for other companies.

As young graduates, brothers Keston and Jeremy joined forces to collaborate on a project which combined their passion for design and product development.

In a nutshell – results-driven skincare formulated with natural ingredients like Neuro-Peptides, Tetra-Peptide, compatible with human body biology and help to contribute to bigger effective results.

With targeted beauty supplements, they provide the most advanced professional nutricosmetic products, formulated with the purest and highest quality active ingredients supported by scientific research and clinical results.

In 2017, the company received an injection of fundings from a Chinese investor to expand worldwide.

Apothecary packaging across all products ranging from cleansers, moisturisers, exfoliants, serums, hand wash, hand cream, and more. Stable and successful organic skincare with lots of word of mouth.56% Skincare, < 1% nutricosmetic, 27% bodycare

Best selling products:

Age-Repair Serum 30ML – 68 USD

Probiotic Nutrient Support 30’s –  95 USD

Intensive Body Cream 120ML – 22 USD

The brand is available in China, HK, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Australia.

5. Shiro-shiro (Japan), The Hokkaido-born organic brand enhancing natural beauty

Source: Shiro-shiro

It all began in 1989 in Hokkaido, Japan, where land is fertile and natural resources are abundant. Everything started with Hiroe Imai, brand founder and CEO opened a souvenir shop LAUREL, harvesting herbs and making gifts using local resources and ingredients.

In 2000, with ample knowledge of local ingredients, the shop became a destination for ingredients and resources to a number of household name beauty brands. Since then, the shop became a reference for more than 130 brands, which engaged the brand from R&D to manufacturing of products.

During that period, the company had a tremendous business growth, but, at the same time, there was the pressure to reduce costs from the brand side, but that would have meant  using more chemical ingredients, which was entirely against the roots of the company.

In 2009, LAUREL was born as a direct-to-consumer brand. Natural cosmetics not only reflects on a minimalist packaging, but also from its ingredients like Sake kasu, a natural by-product of the Sake production process, rich in the nutrients of the rice grain; and Gagome Kombu, which contains the natural, moisturizing types of kelp.

In 2015, LAUREL went through a rebranding process and became shiro, underlying strategy of changing to simplicity with an edge, as much that the package design allowed the product’s good points to be understood.

The brand holds multi-category activities: Shiro, the cosmetics line; Shiro Life, the grocery; Shiro Beauty, hair salon and Shiro Café. This reflects the origin of the brand going back to the shop.

Best selling products:


White tea eau de parfum 40ML –  38 USD


The brand is currently available in Japan.

6. Marie Dalgar (China), The Chinese cult beauty brand for makeup newbies and professionals


Source: Marie Dalgar


It is common to see people redirecting their career path to a new horizon, so is the case for Marie Dalgar founded by Masa Cui in 2006. Prior to her current business, she was an engineer for a lighting factory in Foshan, Guangdong Province.

The Chinese brand Marie Dalgar is known for its mascaras. Today, Marie Dalgar is the 1st makeup Chinese brand available at Sephora after having gained popularity on the internet. 

Numbers proved its success: “Every 15 seconds, we sell one of our grafted mascaras. Today, we have over 16,000 stores and counters across China,” said the founder in one of the many interviews.

Price positioning is as affordable as other beauty cult brands to give an opportunity for engaging cosmetics newbies without any financials restraints.

Grafted packaging is surely, what matters most in the brand’s rapid success.

Advocating “Made in China” labeling is challenging, but creating demand and reaching results are the success factors.

Best selling products:

Local price converted into USD



Mixed Color Paint Eyeshadow 2.2g*2 –  18 USD

The brand is currently available in China and Singapore.

7. Tata Harper (US), The Queen of the Green 

Source: Tata Harper


While the term ‘clean beauty’ may have just came up recently, Tata Harper has already been building its brand towards this concept since 2010, after working on the product concept for 8 years. The brand has already gained popularity and no longer under radar, but it is included in this ranking to recognize its rapid growth and its role of pioneer in “clean beauty”.

Not long after the launch of the brand, Tata’s business has grown so quickly that raised the attention of many Hollywood celebrities, like Jessica Alba and our Avengers’ Gwyneth Paltrow.

Additionally, most of the packaging is recyclable, as it is part of Tata Harper’s overall philosophy.

Before social media became primary for brand development, research and development were the key contributors to the brand’s success. 100% of the entire line is made natural to deliver maximum results. 300+ raw ingredients came from different countries with high benefits like the African Wild Grape in the Clarifying Mask for calming irritation and redness or the Pomegranate Hydrospheres.

Best selling products:




The brand is currently available in China through cross-border, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia.

8. Susanne Kaufmann (Austria), The brand and the woman behind it

Source: Susanne Kaufmann


This brand was lately spotted online, but in fact, Susanne Kaufmann has launched her product line since 2003, which was initially intended for spa use in the hotels in her hometown, Bregenzerwald in Austria. Topics around sustainability have became hot in the past few years, yet this has been driving the founder’s entire life.

In this scenic valley in the Austrian Alps, she began to cultivate herself with wellness, which later led on to the development of her own skincare line, inspired by her grandmother’s beliefs in regional herbs and plants’ healing power.

Susanne Kaufmann is the 5th generation to own and run the Hotel Post Bezau, founded in 1850 by her great-great-grandfather.

The brand  was developed in collaboration with a team of pharmacists and dermatologists and it is fully Made in Austria.

All plant ingredients used are specifically chosen to mutually supplement and enhance each other, creating powerful cocktails of plant essences to give instant results. Even the oils selected as a base in a formula, such as rosehip seed oil and cuckoo flower seed oil, contribute to the intensive effects given to skin thanks to their incredible properties.

Products are manufactured locally, few steps away from the hotel, and guests are invited to see the production process and witness the number of people involved in the project, which virtual communication is hard to make it.

Best selling products:

Anti Aging Body Cream 200ML –  176 USD

Tonic soothing 100ML – 41 USD

Body Oil 100ML – 38 USD

The brand is available in  some markets in Asia, namely, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand.

9. Laline Cosmetics (Israel), The Israel-based bath, body & lifestyle brand with pampering shopping experience

Source: Laline Cosmetics


One of the rising stars in beauty are brands from Israel, and one great representative is Laline.

Even though the brand only started to gain publicity in recent years, it has existed for over 20 years in its domestic market (1999) before going overseas in 2007 and got acquired by Fox Group, the Israeli fashion and houseware retailer.

Started as a vague concept with a classy black-and-white décor that only sells cream and body scrubs, Laline soon hit a dead-end in the business, until it decided to extend its product portfolio to all made in Israel.

As a girly-oriented personal care line, Laline has a colorful and dreamy retail concept design accompanied by a wide range of products for body and face care that attracts a wide range of audience from teens to above.

The new concept swung over the tradition, where customers could find foreign brands at that time.

Targets include women, men, babies and teens.

Laline offers a variety of pampering bath, bodycare, home accessories and hand-made soaps, massage bars and scrubs, crafted with natural ingredients, Dead Sea salts and essential oils sourced in France

Best selling products:

Body Souffle Vanilla Pink Pepper 350g – 32.95 USD

Body Milk Shea & Kukui 250g – 17.95 USD

Eye Cream Laline Face 15g – 39.95 USD

The brand is available in China and Japan.

10. Kahuhodo (Japan), The global-known handcrafted Japanese makeup brushes

Source: Kahuhodo


Established in 1974, the Japanese brand Kahuhodo was “born” in a city called Kumano, about 20 km east of Hiroshima. Kumano was a city renowned for manufacturing Japanese calligraphy brushes for over 200 years, but today, it is known as the capital of manufacturing makeup brushes.

The brand has two business models: producing its own brand ‘ Kahuhodo’ and developing as an OEM for a wide range of brands, from leading cosmetic companies to brands owned by makeup artists.

The brushes are all made with natural hair, which is ideal for power products like foundation and blush. Products are also all hand assembled in Japan.

The brand’s success can also be reflected from its sales figures: 2,307 million JPY (22 million USD), 95% of the global revenues come from the makeup brushes, followed by Traditional Japanese brushes, artist brushes, and industrial brushes across 14 counters and boutiques in Japan, Singapore and US as well as

This brand has not much online traction, but it does have it among those ones working in the makeup industry.

The price point is fairly high. It ranges from 360 USD for a brush set down to 6 USD for a mascara comb. For beginners, J-series is considered to be more suitable and is reasonably priced.

Best selling products:

B5519 Powder Brush Round & Flat –  134 USD

B512 Highlighter Brush Angled – 63 USD

B5510 Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat Short –  16 USD

The brand is available in Japan.

How many of those brands did you know? Share your comments with us.

About the author

Julie Ho is currenlty Business Development Manager at Bluebell. Her category of expertise is beauty. She is a  millennial, passionate about the beauty’s universe, always up to date with the latest trends in this category.