I call this a beauty blog, but 95% of the time my posts are about cosmetics and makeup tools, while I neglect the other categories in the realm of beauty. Today is one of the rare occasions that I will be discussing skincare, and specifically the skincare products I’ve been using from the brand known primarily for its brushes: rephr.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a rephr affiliate and I have not been paid by them in any way. I purchased all of these products with my own money. All discounts I received were as a regular customer that any customer participating in their surveys are eligible to get. All thoughts are my own. In this post, I am using normal non-affiliated links.
Right now, Rephr is in their crowdsourcing phase with the skincare. To clarify for those who aren’t familiar with this brand, this means that they started offering their first batch and future versions at discounted prices, but with the caveat that the customer will provide feedback on what they liked and disliked about it. This information helps the brand figure out which aspects they nailed, plus helps sprout ideas for other products. If a large majority of customers dislike certain attributes in the product, Rephr can make the decision to change it in version 2.0 and repeat the process until they are satisfied enough to proceed with the final version.
Everything I purchased is in the first version form. The hydration cream and rebalancing essence were available in the “pay what you want” model. So, for example, the hydration cream was listed as $26, but participants could pay anywhere from $0 to $26 for each one, plus shipping. I believe I got the cleanser in the concept store, which items in that are typically 40-50% off. I’ve never had qualms about pouring a cleanser into my hands, so I thought I’d save a little money by skipping out on the pump, but after assembling the pump (which arrives in a separate box) that came with the essence and seeing how convenient it was to use, I plan to get one for the cleanser in my next order.
I’m not sure why two tube lengths were included, since this bottle only fits the smaller tube. Perhaps it’s an indication that larger bottle sizes are expected in the future. Or perhaps if the small size doesn’t fit properly, the longer piece can be cut down to the exact measurement.
The Gentle Cleanser is exactly what I wanted. On barefaced days, I don’t need a heavy duty soap product. This cleans the surface of my skin without going too deep and drying it out. I’m left with a fresh face. If I used heavier acids in my skincare the night before, this is something I use the following morning and don’t have to worry about over-exfoliation, adding irritation, or needing to worry about which actives are bad to use with other actives, etc. I believe this is because of the soothing and moisturizing ingredients present within the formula. On makeup days, I use a double-cleanse process anyway by starting with a Skinfood Rice Cleansing Wipe or Bioderma on a Makeup Eraser Cloth to remove my makeup before going in with a cleanser. Because I don’t rely on the cleanser itself to remove anything but leftover lingering makeup residue, I prefer to have something gentle, like the one from Rephr, as my second step. For those who just use one cleanser to remove makeup, I wouldn’t recommend this because my makeup is too tough to be broken down by it. However, for anyone else looking for a gentle face wash that’s free of fragrance and essential oils in a recyclable aluminum packaging, this is a fantastic option! At full price, it’s $35 with the pump or $26 without it. I will just reuse a pump and continue to get the refills when it’s on sale because I have a personal rule of spending $20 or less on cleansers.
My favorite type of essence is the watery milky type, and the Rebalancing Essence from Rephr fits that bill. On makeup days, I sometimes skip wearing a moisturizer and just go in with sunscreen and primer afterwards because I feel like my skin is hydrated enough from using milky essences. When it comes to non-makeup days though, I still have to follow up with at least one more step after using this essence because it sinks that fully into my skin and needs some form of protective layer to keep the surface hydrated.
Comparing this to my holy grail moisturizing toner that I use as an essence, the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner, they look the same and have essentially the same consistency, but the Rebalancing Essence is a true essence. It leaves a semi-sticky residue at first but then most of that is gone when it has time to sink into the skin. The Laneige Refiner is more emollient/oily feeling to the touch when first applied and then just feels like the barest layer of moisturizer is on the skin once it sinks in. Due to the nature of the type of product it is, the refiner is a little more moisturizing while also having the benefit of being extremely skin softening. When I experimented putting the Rephr on one half and Laneige on the other, the Laneige side was so soft to the touch. For that reason, one isn’t a replacement for the other. However, for those who want something even more lightweight on the skin than the already lightweight Cream Skin Refiner, this could be a good option. At full price, they seem comparable at $30 (refill only) versus $33, but Rephr’s bottle contains 250ml whereas the one from Laneige is 150ml. I use these so sparingly that the disparity in price per gram doesn’t make a difference for me. Something like a cleanser that I regularly use up is more of a factor when it comes to the ppg. So, I personally recommend the Laneige product for the added skin softening benefit, but the Rebalancing Essence is a good essence.
Also, I mentioned that both essentially don’t leave residue on the skin after it has time to properly sink in, but since there’s an expectation to use a serum, sunscreen, moisturizer, and potentially even a face oil or makeup products afterwards, the way it leaves the skin feeling wouldn’t make a difference underneath everything else. The fact that they both sink in is good, knowing they won’t block the other products from seeping into the skin either.
As for the Hydration Cream, I reviewed it in my February Purchases dated back in May and my opinion hasn’t changed. A quick summary is that it’s a powerful yet lightweight formula in a soft and non-sticky gel-like consistency. If applied in a smaller amount, it fully absorbs into my skin and is fully hydrated without looking shiny. It doesn’t cause issues with my makeup or other skincare, nor cause any other problems with my skin. It just does its job as described on the website. I still don’t use it consistently, because I have a bad habit of not sticking to one skincare routine, but it’s still one of the three currently in rotation.
By now, Rephr has a Light Hydration Cream version 2.0, which I have not tried. According to the website, the differences listed between version 1.0, which is no longer available, and version 2.0 are as follows:
- Reduction in dimethicone by 1% (10,000 ppm) as requested by feedback surveys
- Added vegan squalene (20,000 ppm) to increase hydration and act as an emollient to prevent moisture loss
- Upgraded packaging to help with the overall storage and usage of the product
- Added stainless steel wringer / key to help dispense the product
- Doubled the hyaluronic acid content
They also have the Intense Hydration Cream, which sounds intriguing, but I don’t intend on buying it. Rich/Heavy products tend to clog my pores, so even though I have dry skin, I need products that let my skin breathe while still keeping it moisturized. Not every thick cream does this, but the chances are much higher, so I’d rather not spend money to find out if it will clog my pores or let it go to waste even if there’s a free option. Then again, if it doesn’t work out, I could potentially give it to someone, so I shouldn’t say never.
It’s nice to have an all-in-one product, but the complications that can arise from trying to keep AHAs from Vitamin C or Niacinimide from Vitamin C, and other active ingredients clashing can be such a pain. Sometimes it’s nice to have products that have one purpose and will do that job well. It’s also nice to have gentle options to use in-between or in conjunction with stronger actives in order to not overdo it and potentially cause more harm to the skin than good. That’s why I’ve been really impressed with the skincare from Rephr. The formulas I’ve tried are good, the recycled and reusable nature is good, plus I love the simple, clean, minimalist aesthetic of the black and white bottles in those rounded shapes.
Overall, I’m a big fan of their skincare. The skincare adds a lot more to my collection and I get more use out of it than I do with their brushes, so I like that Rephr is diversifying. I’m also a bit surprised that the skincare isn’t hyped up. In fact, it was like crickets until a month ago. Almost all mentions of it I saw in videos were like casual afterthoughts, “oh by the way, rephr has skincare now,” and I barely see posts featuring them on Instagram. The most in-depth reviews of the skincare (all still under five minutes) that I’ve seen are quite recently from The Fancy Face’s video linked here, Lexi Jong’s video linked here, and GlamGirlChelsea’s linked here. I would like for Rephr’s skincare to catch on so it would be profitable for them to continue expanding the line. If they do, I’d love to see their version of a sunscreen and a fragrance-free dupe of the SKIN HOUSE Aloe Water Mist. So, I’m continuing to keep up with Rephr to see what comes next, including filling out surveys for future product ideas that I randomly see on the website. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say some of the things I’ve seen so far, but the last one wasn’t even in the beauty category! How curious!
That’s all for today. Considering the lack of reviews on Rephr Skincare, I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading!
Note: rephr is currently having a deal at 50% off sitewide for Black Friday. I couldn’t get the pump separately, so I went ahead and just purchased another cleanser with the pump so I could have a backup refill bottle and use the pump when it comes. I also ordered a few of the newer brushes and a few more vanity components. If I did not already have backups of their soap, I would have bought that too.