3 AAPI Beauty Founders Share How Their Culture Inspires Their Brands

by Jerald Dyson

On learning to love her heritage. 

“I grew up as an Asian American, and for the longest time when I was a kid, I didn’t really love my Asian background. I was kind of ashamed of the background that I had,” Connie Lo, co-founder of Three Ships Beauty shares with mbg. 

For years, Lo felt disconnected from her heritage and yearned for something she saw at the time as “normal.” To her, this meant anything different from the natural practices her mother had taught her. “When I was a kid, I thought that was really frustrating, because I was like, ‘just give me normal medicine,’ or ‘just let me use normal shampoo,'” Lo says.

When she began struggling with acne as a teenager, Lo was faced with two options: She could take her mother’s advice and opt for all-natural remedies, or she could try to figure it out herself and seek out other resources. She chose the latter. 

Lo set out to the drugstore and bought every acne-fighting product she could find, only to be met with irritation and dryness. The store-bought items that promised to clear her skin had done the opposite and created even more problems for her skin barrier. 

After a while, Lo decided to give natural options a shot—and to her surprise, her skin reacted with grace. One hero ingredient she used was green tea, which she notes is significant within Asian cultures for all sorts of purposes. This transition is where Lo began exploring natural remedies as an individual and started to love her heritage as a Chinese woman. 

Now, as a co-founder of a natural-first skin care company, Lo calls upon her mother’s wisdom of natural remedies to create effective yet gentle skin care products for all. One product that has a special place in her heart is their Dew Drops Mushroom Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Serum because of an aha moment she experienced during formulation. 

Lo sat down with her mother to chat about the new serum that she and Three Ships co-founder Laura Burget had in the works. When she shared that the hyaluronic acid in the new serum was sourced from tremella mushroom, her mother was taken aback. Little did Lo know, her mother had been using these mushrooms in recipes since Lo was a baby. Her mother proceeded to pull out a huge bag of tremella mushrooms from the kitchen cabinet: “See, look!”


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