about us & some commonly asked questions
what does your name rèphr mean and how did it all begin?
rèphr comes from the word "reference" - in that we use input & feedback from the beauty community as our reference guide to design world-class products.
the concept of designing products with our customers is extended from a movement in engineering called open-source software. distilled to its purest form, it's the idea that a group of passionate people with a common vision can come together and create something incredible.
we chose to start with makeup brushes for a simple reason - if we are to design a product based solely on input from the beauty community, then it's crucial that we are able to maintain a bias-free mindset and take all of the feedback at face value. For this reason, we decided to explore the idea of open-source designs with a product category that we had no prior experience & bias in - beauty. in our minds, this was the only way for us to ensure that everything we hear from the community is infused into the product.
with no pre-conceived notions of what makes the perfect makeup brush, we listened intently and diligently to all of the input & feedback the beauty community had to offer.
7 months after the launch of our concept store, we unveiled our initial collection on Kickstarter on June 10, 2019.
what makes rèphr brushes unique?
each brush has been meticulously refined, improved and perfected using input & feedback from the beauty community. all brushes in our collection including prototypes are handcrafted by master artisans in Kumano, Japan using uncut natural hair.
One of the main themes we were able to grasp during the operation of our concept store is that everyone's facial features and makeup preferences are different. it became clear early on that the beauty community wasn't looking for a one-size-fits-all solution. and if were to have a chance of creating the best collection of makeup brushes in the world, there would have to be an element of customization and personalization.
the core collection is made up of 5 flagship brushes that we have calibrated and fine-tuned to work with all eye shapes and makeup style. each brush is incredibly versatile, high performant and will instantly elevate anyones makeup experience in a luxurious way. as you may expect, it became increasingly challenging to add a 6th or 7th brush to this collection, considering we wanted this collection to work universally for all makeup users.
on the other hand, the pro collection is an ever-growing portfolio of specialized brushes that address very specific problems and pain points that we've been hearing from the beauty community. for example, brush 14 is a small but powerful crease brush calibrated for those with hooded eyes, and brush 23 is an impactful cheek brush designed for those who prefer pigmented applications, as opposed to a more natural finish with brush 19.
we believe that the core collection + carefully selected brushes from the pro collection can combine to form a brush set that's incredibly luxurious and outperform any other brush sets on the market today.
what's the bespoke program?
since all of us have different facial features and makeup preferences, we're a firm believer that everyone's perfect brush set is different.
the idea of customization and made-to-measure is something we piloted during our Kickstarter launch with great feedback from the community. and it's a program that we've decided to bring back for the holiday season.
through the bespoke program, all of our customers are able to customize their core collection based on their eye shape, makeup style and brush handle preference. each bespoke brush set is completely unique and handmade-to-order in Japan.
the bespoke program will build a strong foundation for everyone with 6 essential brushes. During the holiday season, we're also gifting all bespoke program participants with a $100 store coupon to shop our collection, extend their brush set and truly make it their own.
how do you clean brushes?
please see the following video for a demo on how to clean brushes.
- when running a brush under the tap, always point the brush downwards to prevent water from seeping into the ferrule. This will loosen the glue and cause hair fallouts.
- after washing, ensure all of the soap and cleaning solution have been rinsed out before the drying phase.
- when drying brushes, leave the bristles extended for the edge. If a tighter shape is desired, feel free to use brush guards.
what type of bristles do you use?
one of the biggest challenges in designing the perfect makeup brush is the tradeoff between softness and application effectiveness. while a soft brush is more comfortable to use, a brush that's too soft is generally less effective in getting pigmentation and blending out product. In fact, synthetic brushes are often just as soft as natural hair brushes (though admittedly much less luxurious) since it's now possible to create extremely fine fibres that are microscopically smooth. However, just like brushes that are made too soft, synthetic bristles also tend to struggle with picking up, depositing and blending out powder based product.
at a high level, there are 3 main types of goat hair that are common in brush making:
- type 1 - the thickest in terms of hair fiber diameter. most pigmented due to its robust cellular structure and springiness, but can feel rough for hyper sensitive skin.
- type 2 - finer hair fibres, pigmented and still extremely soft. Loosely defined as "Sokoho"
- type 3 - even thinner in diameter, one of the softest goat hair available with tradeoffs in reduced pigmentation and precision. Loosely defined as "Saikoho".
we use the words "loosely defined" here because that's how hair types are classified in Kumano, Japan - the brush making capital of the world. Since the definitions of "Saikoho" and "Sokoho" are not regulated, each brush maker will have their own interpretation and the variance can be high. This is the main reason why "Saikoho" brushes of similar shapes from different manufacturers can feel and perform quite differently.
the majority of natural hair brushes on the market use Type 1 goat hair since it's significantly cheaper and delivers adequate performance, while luxury brush makers gravitate towards type 2 and 3. The cost difference between type 2 and 3 are in fact minimal, and the decision comes down to the brands' marketing and the brands' style of makeup (if they have a makeup line). For instance, brands that appeal to premium brush collectors tend to use type 3 (Saikoho) to achieve maximum softness, while brands that appeal to high-fashion backstage pros will gravitate towards type 2 (Sokoho).
instead of selecting one type of hair and using a one-size-fits-all approach to our entire brush lineup, we've decided to calibrate each brush using their own custom blends of type 2 and type 3. This allows us to focus on the design intent of each brush and maximize its performance without unnecessary sacrifices on softness.
as an example, brushes that are designed to be impactful with pigments will use a hair blend that's more similar in profile to type 2 (Sokoho), while brushes that are designed to be airy with lighter application will use a hair blend that's similar in profile to type 3 (Saikoho).
where do you ship?
we ship globally from a network of local warehouses.
do your brushes work for all eye shapes such as the hooded eye?
brush 01, 02 and 03 are optimized to work with all eye shapes, while brush 14 in particular has been specifically calibrated for the hooded eye.
in terms of overall effectiveness, we recommend having multiple brushes like brush 01 as its shape has been the most compatible with hooded eyes and monolids.
brush 15 and 16 on the other hand are designed for larger lid spaces.
when will I receive my store coupon?
if your order is eligible for a store coupon, the coupon will be issued electronically to you via email after you complete your order.
note that coupons expire upon first use or 120 days from the issue date, whichever comes first.
how do I apply a coupon?
simply enter the coupon code during checkout, which comes after the cart!
what handle styles do you offer?
we currently offer 2 handle styles.
the core collection (brush 01 - brush 05) is crafted in signature matte black and straight handles. a favourite amongst the beauty community.
the pro collection (brush 12 - brush 20) comes in a silver & glossy black, tapered handle. the pro handle is also longer and features minimal branding, optimized for the pro environment.
through the bespoke program, you're able to customize the brush to have any handle style you prefer.