Once every few months I dedicate a chunk of my day to decluttering my make-up draw. Not only the products, but the eyeliner shavings, used cotton rounds and rogue false eyelashes that keep them company.
From the age of 13 (ish) I developed a wild obsession with make-up, but as a beauty journalist, I’ve learnt to appreciate the benefits of having a capsule collection of products that I genuinely love.
With, I don’t know, about a gazillion beauty brands out there, it’s unlikely that you’ll find one where all the products deserve a place in your make-up bag. Then, I discovered a hidden gem, which I think is about to be huge…
REFY is the brainchild of influencer Jess Hunt (the queen of fluffy brows) and founder of SHRINE, Jenna Meek. The dynamic duo set out on a mission to curate a brand that simplifies makeup routines and to 'encourage you to embrace you.'
Featuring select products that nod to Jess’ eye-catching glow-y aesthetic (bushy brows, glossy ‘second’ skin, and snatched lips), REFY’s products can be used in many versatile ways. The result is a compact collection of products that are all you need for a full face of makeup. As the old saying goes, it’s about quality over quantity - and, in this case, without the spenny prices that come with the usual luxury players.
When you have a mooch through the collection, notice that every product is meticulously designed to help enhance or define your already perfect natural features. With no base products in the range, like concealer or foundation, the brand encourages you to embrace what you’ve already got.
In November 2020, REFY first launched its three-step Brow Collection (featuring a Brow Sculpt, Brow Pomade and Brow Pencil) which became a social media sensation, with the #refybrow reaching almost 400,000 TikTok views. Selling out after six weeks, it captured the attention of MUAs like Patrick Ta (who works with both Kim Kardashian and Camila Cabello). Almost 2 years on, the brand has expanded its collection, yet is still keeping to its ethos of simplicity and quality.
So, if I haven’t already convinced you that REFY is worth a shot, have a scroll to see my verdict on every single viral hero...
Refy: The Cosmo Verdict
REFY Brow Sculpt
Let’s start with the viral product that put REFY on everyone's brow-dar. When it comes to brow lamination, it’s easy to end up feeling quite disappointed (I know I have). Finding a product that freezes your brows in place, still with the ability to move your forehead, is challenging. Having laminated brows is something that does take a bit of getting used to, in terms of the feeling, so the REFY Brow Sculpt is a great place to start.
At first, the product appears slightly white but dries down completely clear, leaving you with sculpted, strong brows. My tip for application: less is more, and be sure to apply the product evenly. Start at your inner brow and gradually brush through in upward diagonal strokes. Then, use the handy dual ended brush to comb those bad boys out.
REFY Brow Pomade
The last time I had a brow pomade in my make-up bag was when the ABH Dip Brow was carving out my block brows in 2016. While that was a great pick for the look of the time, the natural approach took over and a precise pencil became the desired tool. So, seeing a pomade in the REFY collection was somewhat of a surprise.
Honestly, I was worried that I would end up with the same brows I rocked back in 2016. Turns out, there was no need to worry. The dual ended applicator houses a little pot of pomade that glides over the skin, while the fluffy brush creates the illusion of natural brow hairs. I am pleased to say, a pomade has now made a reappearance in my makeup bag.
REFY Brow Pencil
A brow pencil with an ultra-fine tip is a staple in my makeup bag, and oh how REFY have delivered. With such a teeny tiny pencil, you would never expect the amount of pigment that transfers onto your skin. The smooth, creamy formula makes applying the product easy. Just use a very light hand and an upwards flicking motion to fill in the sparse areas of your brows. To really achieve that REFY look, only apply the product to the areas where you need it and leave your natural hairs to do the rest.
While each individual product in the collection is more than capable to be used on its own, the wardrobe of brow products work beautifully together as well. Start by using the pomade to fill in the super sparse areas, then use the pencil to define lines and build shape and finally take the sculpt to lock them down. Works like a dream.
REFY Face Primer
I can’t lie, I’m not a fan of silicone primers (unfortunately, most of the popular ones are silicone-based). I find they leave my skin feeling quite dry and cakey. So testing out the REFY Face Primer, I was quite sceptical of the results. But, when opening the lid to be met with a roller that was far too thin for a silicone based primer to be squeezed through, my curiosity perked right up. When pressing the roller onto my face (which was also incredibly relaxing) it pushed out a silky, serum-like texture onto my skin.
Hybrid skincare-makeup hybrids are slowly becoming the norm, so it’s logical that the Face Primer followed suit. It’s infused with niacinamide to protect your skin from pollutants, and glycerin, the most popular humectant for hydration. Because of the super hydrating formula, the primer creates a base which genuinely encourages dewy, natural-looking skin.
REFY Skin Finish
It’s very rare that you’ll find a water based product that actually feels like water. Seriously, it’s a powder that feels wet to touch. Until now, my relationship with powder was a rocky one. I was a convert to the dewy look, with very little expectation of returning in complete fear of the dreaded ‘cake face’... However, this ultra fine powder works to absorb excess oil without leaving a mattifying effect. According to the brand it 'leaves your skin looking like skin' while adding a blurring effect- and I totally agree.
REFY Cream Bronzer
Cream bronzers are a tricky one to navigate. They’re either too muddy, too warm toned or so stiff that blending them into your skin lifts your foundation and you’re left looking as blotchy as the world globe.
The three shades offer flattering, wearable tones that give a natural-looking sun kiss, whilst the ultra-creamy formula seamlessly melts into your skin.
REFY Cream Blush
The REFY Cream Blushes come in four highly pigmented shades (trust me, a little goes a long way). Peach and Citrine (my current faves) are corals, which pair really nicely with the Cream Bronzer to deliver a post-holiday glow. Rose and Malaya are pinker in hue, so ideal for a more subtle flushed look.
What’s great about these blushes, being so buildable you can use as little or as much as you like: the choice is yours.
REFY Gloss Highlighter
Have a scroll through Jess Hunt’s IG feed and prepare to be stunned by her glossy skin. For so long, I always wondered how she achieved such a beautiful, light-reflecting finish – but as soon as I swatched the brand's Gloss Highlighter, all my questions were answered.
At first, it did feel quite tacky: not something I could imagine putting on my face. But, once blended, all signs of stickiness vanished and a delicate luminous glow was left behind. According to the brand, the champagne undertones makes it suitable for every skin tone to mimic that glazed-donut finish *chefs kisses*.
REFY Lip Sculpt
Transfer-proof lip products are everywhere right now. So, naturally I was so excited to try the REFY Lip Sculpt. The compact lip duo comes with a fine tip pencil and setter. When both applied, it leaves a velvety matte-like finish without the well-known cakey texture that often comes with matte lips. Start by shaping your lips using the pencil (don’t be afraid to 'scribble out the lines' for fuller looking lips), and follow with the setter to keep the product in place.
When it comes to the setter, I was quite shocked to discover it has a silicone-like consistency. Yes, you already know my views. But applying it, I wasn’t mad at it. I quite enjoyed the buttery feeling in between my lips; however, once it dries it does start to crumble ever so slightly. With the pencil having such a creamy formula, I was expecting it to rub off like most liners. But the 10 hour wearability claim surely pulls through.
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