Rephr 2020 Holiday Collection
It's been a big first year for fude newcomer Rephr. They're capping the year with the release of a limited edition holiday collection.
I first purchased Rephr brushes during their Kickstarter launch in 2019 but fast forward a year and I'd say that the company has made some really great strides. The brand has had enough time to settle down and smooth out some initial hiccups.
Many people discover my blog because of my Rephr reviews — some of which are highly critical and some which are not. I'm quite aware that some people view the company in a negative light given that their initial branding came off as a little 'mansplainy' or because Rephr is a brand that one seems to mostly hear about via YouTube where content can sound like a continuous sales pitch. One blogger of extreme prominence has declared that she won't review the brand which is completely within her prerogative but consequently, I read a lot of criticism on social media about other reviewers who review the brushes and especially about those who receive PR from Rephr. One falsehood I want to clarify is that the company only sends out free product to those who say nice things about them. That is categorically untrue. I think it's fair to say that my blog features one of the most critical Rephr reviews on the web and I'm told that it comes up within the first page of many people's Google search results. Rephr have been very responsive to all of my criticisms in a highly professional manner and have kindly sent me their new brushes despite my continued critiques of both their products and the company as a whole. The company has been unfailingly kind to me and never have asked for anything in return.
I'm pleased to see that Rephr has abandoned the original branding scheme and I'm even more happy to see them make additions to the range. In future, I'd like to see if they expand to other hair types such as squirrel or fox. I like to think that I'm a fair reviewer but some of my readers disagree when it comes to PR. For the record, Rephr posted the Holiday Collection to me so I received the trio for free. However, I purchased Brush 24 upon its first release and so if you only care about products I've paid for myself, scroll down.
International shipping is a little slow at the moment due to the raging global pandemic. It took three weeks for these to arrive in Australia where Covid-19 is firmly under control but anything coming from North America via regular shipping is taking upwards of 3 to 9 weeks to arrive.
The Holiday Collection 2020
This year's holiday collection is a trio consisting of Brush 23, Brush 24 and Brush 25 in an acrylic case. The entire set is being sold for USD$216 but will be discounted by USD$100 for the 2020 Black Friday sales event beginning from November 20.
The acrylic case is a nice upgrade from the felt-lined sturdy cardboard and is most useful for storing dirty brushes that can survive getting bashed about or getting wet as they ferry my freshly washed brushes to a drying area.
Above: The Holiday Collection in an unwashed and unbloomed state
The entire makeup look below was been created solely using Rephr brushes. From the 2020 Holiday Collection, Brush 24 was used to apply Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh foundation and blush from the Charlotte Tilbury Glowing, Pretty Skin Face Palette. Brush 23 was used to apply Charlotte Tilbury Rock n' Kohl pencil in Bedroom Black as a soft eyeliner along the top lash line and in the upper waterline. Brush 25 was used to apply Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Ethereal Light as a finishing powder.
All photos are taken in natural indoor lighting and have posted without any retouching or filters.
"Ultra-fine precision with pinpoint accuracy. Brush 23 is the smaller sibling to our flagship 03 pencil brush and push the balance between softness and precision to the absolute limit."
L to R: Rephr 23, Shou Shou Lang GD LL08, Rae Morris Jishaku #9.1 (discontinued), Rephr 03, Shou Shou Lang GD LL09, Sonia G Pencil Pro
Brush 23 (RRP$24) is a small pin-point pencil brush that features a tiny brush head reaching 5.5mm. I like way more than Brush 03 which I complained was a tad too dense and inflexible for delicate skin closer to the lashline. Brush 23 is a marked improvement since it is soft yet flexible enough to follow the curvature of the eye in very sensitive areas including both the upper and lower waterlines.
Brush 23 is not a must-need brush since it only can be used for a few purposes in creating a thin but smudged liner, tightlining or pin-point concealing. Nevertheless, it's a nice one to have. It's also a niche brush that is much smaller than typical pencil brushes on the market. While I have use for a small brush such as this one, I'll concede that I'm probably in the minority.
Pictured here and in all the other photos on this blog post, I've used Brush 23 to softly line my eyes to create a smudged wing using a Charlotte Tilbury Rock N' Kohl pencil in Bedroom Black. I also took some the pencil on the brush and tightlined my upper waterline using the same brush and pencil. My general preference is to take pencil eyeliner onto a small brush such as Brush 23 because honestly, I'm too lazy to sharpen my pencils each time I do my makeup.
Brush 24 (RRP$62) is one that I have already reviewed as part of my comprehensive Rephr Face Brushes Review. I purchased this brush upon its initial prototype launch at the end of 2019 and I really enjoyed it. Brush 24 is the brush I recommend when people ask 'what should I buy from Rephr?' It's a really handy tool for application of blush and it's great to have on hand to quickly blend out an oopsie.
It made its way into my travel case when I packed for a recent out-of-town wedding getaway and I got one to give to my best friend as her Christmas gift for this year. I don't think she'll read this review but in case you are... sorry, spoiler.
L to R: Koyudo BP016, Hakuhodo J110, Rephr 05, Wayne Goss 12, Rephr 24, Koyudo Fu-pa 02, Rae Morris Mini Radiance 27
My review of Brush 24 is unchanged from what I posted in my original post. It is a medium to high density brush that is a mini version of the large Brush 22. Reaching a height of 32mm, the head of this brush is bundled in a trapezium shape that creates a multi-functional brush that can do everything from apply foundation, to blush to bronzer. Of all of the Rephr brushes that I own, I use this one the most. It's great for dealing with hard pressed powder blushes including the never-ending Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes that I've owned for far too long than I care to admit. It also buffs in cream cheek products to leave a nice sheen on the skin.
The only caveat I would add to Brush 24 is that if you're intending on using it with foundation as I have in these pictures, you need to use a liquid product with a runny consistency and also want light to medium coverage at best. If you want more coverage you're going to need a densely packed brush for foundation application. Apply a runny foundation with dab, dab, dab, dab, dab motions and follow through with swipes before moving on to circular buffing to eliminate streaks.
I always say that I have a small face but it's not always clear because I have big chipmunk cheeks and a wide nose. As a fude user, I tend to gravitate towards small to mid-sized brushes. Brush 24 is the perfect sized brush for me to quickly apply blush by dabbing it in and then blending out the edges.
L to R: Side views of Rephr 05, Wayne Goss 12, Rephr 24, Koyudo fu-pa02, Rae Morris 27
"...with enhanced structure and density. Carefully calibrated asymmetrical slopes gives this brush versatility not found in traditional powder brushes. This powder brush will hug every contour of the face and is ideal for powder & bronzer applications."
L to R: Koyomo Pearl Pink Powder Brush, Shou Shou Lang Green Dill LL01, Rephr 25, Rephr 11, Chikuhodo T-1, Rephr 22
Brush 25 (RRP$130) is nothing like the limited edition Brush 11 despite consisting of the same 58mm length saikoho hairs. Brush 25 is a denser powder brush that allows for a more diverse application than the previous iteration. Brush 11 is geared towards a patting motion because the head splays out. Brush 25 has a smaller and only fractionally oval ferrule but the brush head is bundled more tightly in comparison. The consequence is that Brush 25 picks up more powder but it can be used with both a patting motion or a circular buffing action. The saikoho hairs on this brush are very soft at the tips and impart a pillowy feeling on the face.
I have very dry skin so I won't be using Brush 25 unless I really want to mattify the oils I use in my skincare products. It picks up more powder product than I typically like to use. I personally prefer the less dense, more airy Brush 11 which suits my needs.
Here, I used Brush 25 to dip into my large Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder pan, tapped off excess product before swirling and buffing to minimise the amount of powder applied.
Brush 25 is more suited for oily-skinned people or for those who want or need to powder large portions on the face.
I can't use this brush for bronzer application as suggested by Rephr since it eats up most of my face. If you like a bronzed look and you have a larger face than mine, then this can work well for warming up the face or the body.
This brush is reminiscent of the Tsubokawa Mouhitsu Koyomo Pearl Pink Powder Brush because of how it is bundled and its overall density. I see Brush 25 as a scaled up version of the Koyomo but the Rephr 25 is unlike the smaller brush in that it's not completely rounded or domed. If you look at the side profile of the brush on the right side of the panel, then you can see it comes to a point. This allows you to use the brush to pat powder in if you angle it so.
L to R: Rephr 22, Rephr 25, Rephr 11 laid flat and then photographed on their sides.
I like all three brushes in the Rephr 2020 Holiday Collection. Brush 24 is my favourite of the trio and potentially of the entire Rephr range because I use it the most. Brush 23 is useful to how I like to apply eyeliner but I think the majority of people don't need this brush or won't use it. Brush 25 is a lovely soft powder brush but it's an investment for those who do want to powder all over. Given my dry skin preferences, it's not one I would've purchased. The limited edition trio is available both as a set and as individual brushes. The Black Friday promotions will heavily discount the brushes.
Before I go, I need to make my disapproval of Rephr's decision to offer the payment platform Afterpay clear. I detest these 'buy now, pay later' payment platforms. I hope they don't continue to offer it because I don't see these types of payment platforms as budgeting assistants or a way to help people financially. Statistically speaking, the majority of users are low-income earners and fude is generally an expensive purchase. Although everyone is entitled to spend their money as they see fit, my blog is named 'A Millennial's Notebook' and I'm often on here recommending fude including Rephr brushes to beginners or those on a limited budget. I still stand by my recommendations of the brushes reviewed in this post and Rephr brushes in general as a great introduction to those wanting to try Japanese fude or natural haired makeup products, however I categorically do not recommend buying any discretionary makeup product if you cannot afford it in one go. Fude is an expensive investment and my personal opinion of these types of payment platforms is that they are predatory because they require no credit check and charge obscene interest rates that far outstrip credit card or personal loan interest rates.
Afterpay is an Australian company that is spreading across the world like a disease that can adversely affect an economically vulnerable population. According to its own financial records, they target millennials as customers aged 18 to 34 make up 67% of Afterpay's base. A survey by Australia's financial regulatory body ASIC has found 21% of Afterpay users have missed repayments which can attract up to a 25% interest rate. To put that into context, credit cards in Australia are offering those 6 months interest free deals with an interest rate of 13.99% when interest finally kicks in. Furthermore, 40% of Afterpay users are classified as low-income earners either as part-time workers or students. I will say it until I'm blue in the face; I loathe, I abhor, I absolutely hate any 'buy now, pay later' debt trap programs. It is my most fervent wish that if you are reading any of my reviews, feeling FOMO and on a limited income during a year dominated by a global pandemic that has decimated jobs and economies everywhere, then just give it a miss.