As a professional makeup artist, one of the questions I’m asked the most is always - what makeup brushes do you recommend?
Well, that’s a loaded question! My first reply is always a combination of the following:
what tools do you currently have?
what tools do you feel you are currently missing?
what looks are you trying to achieve?
what is your budget?
For years, the answer was simple. I always loved and recommended MAC Cosmetics makeup brushes. The quality and softness was second to none, and they were adored by both consumers and pro artists alike. But over time, things changed - suppliers seemed to change hands, the source of the bristles raised questions (shedding and losing dye), and just overall manufacturing - in my opinion - started to slip. Which, quite honestly, broke my heart because they were my tried and true for nearly 25 years. And truth be told, my brushes from two decades ago are still amazing and perform super well; they’ve been put through the ringer and still look as good as the day I purchased them (back at the Bloor location in 1999!). But having had to replace my modern day #109’s 3 times in just as many years, I had to look for another option. NB: the entire line of MAC Cosmetics has recently been switched over to synthetic bristles, which, well... I’m not a fan of. But that’s a different conversation!
This is when rephr came up in my feed. Now, if you’d followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m not into the whole ‘influencer’ lifestyle, dream, market, whatever. I only trust the recommendations of fellow makeup artists who have a boat load of experience under their belt and have similar standards and expectations as myself. Anyone who recommends a brand like Morphe or BH will never sell me on a single thing in life...
So when my fellow senior artist peers started recommending this brand rephr, it peaked my interest. rephr (yes, without a capital R), is a Canadian brand, with natural, un-cut bristles brushes and manufactured in Japan. If you didn’t already know, brushes made in Japan are typically 😍; Hakudodo brushes are the HG to many Pro Artists. So I went online, and purchased most of rephr’s Core Set (I have enough brushes that look like 02, although looking back, I should have purchased it regardless). The concept behind the way they develop their end result brushes is amazing - they have sent their brushes, at a promo price, to PRO ARTISTS all around the globe and asked for their feedback on prototypes. And what do they do with that feedback? They take the most popular feedback/change requests, and produce ANOTHER prototype brush. Still needs more work? Well, they make another...and another.... You get the picture.
What I love the MOST about this, is that they are asking and valuing the opinion and feedback of real working pros! Not influencers who are paid for their content and/or reviews. It’s not about the clicks or the reach or the social media presence - it’s about those true artists who are on the frontlines, servicing real people. Whether it be artist who work with brides on their wedding day, or maybe local Moms booking makeup lessons to boost her confidence or improve her technique, or an perhaps a Pro Artist with a celebrity clientele. The end result is the same - rephr wants to know what the pros want and need!
These brushes are THE BEES KNEES!!!
So unbelievably soft, yet supportive enough to do their job.
The 01 is my favourite brush ever! It’s my new replacement for my beloved MAC #217; it is literal perfection. The tapered tip nestles itself effortlessly in the crease and allows for a controlled and well-blended application of product. $30
The 03 is the tightest, smallest pencil brush that gives you the most perfect and precise smoked out look. At first I thought it would be like any other pencil brush, but this is essentially half the size of others I have. And while its tightly packed and has a nice sharp point, it’s not scratchy at all. $30
The 04 is a beautifully shaped blush brush, that is perfect for contour and highlighting as well. Not too flimsy and not too stiff, you can create the most beautifully blended cheekbones with using this brush alone. $46
The 05 is a luxuriously fluffy powder brush, that doubles as a bronzer brush. Typically brushes that we use for bronzer are larger than blush brushes, so they give a seamless, sun-kissed glow all over, without being too heavy or mimicking blush application. The natural tips on these bristles allow the product to glide effortlessly over the skin. $66
The 07 is a longer blending brush, with a flat end. While it’s not the style of brush I would use to ‘apply’ a shadow colour, it’s the perfect type for blending out a crease. And even better use for this brush is for setting concealer, with a product like Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for Under Eyes (love that trick!). As a note, I was sent this prototype brush complimentary in exchange for honest feedback; this brush will soon be launched for $30, and is currently $0 in it’s prototype phase.
So after sending in my feedback, I was given a link to share with friends, family and One Fine Beauty fans. I was not paid for this review, nor will I be in the future. When people click the link to see my review, they can shop from the same page and rephr can track who/where they are getting their customers from.
Additionally, consumers who shop via the link of an industry pro have the opportunity to have new prototypes sent to them for free to test, in exchange for feedback. Pretty solid deal if you ask me! With the detail and thoughts I sent in about the 07 brush, I’ve already received an email back with the changes they will be making to that brush, and how the new prototype will look. I’m super impressed that this company cares so much and listens so intently to what we have to say. Hopefully in the future, other companies will follow suit and involve real professionals when trying to create an outstanding product, because honestly, this is working out really well for rephr so far.