From Selena Gomes’s hugely successful make-up line, Rare Beauty, to Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness and his debut hair brand, JVN, the beauty industry has been flooded with celebrity-founded brands as of late, as big-name stars try to use their clout to cut through the beauty noise.
But in such a saturated market, a well-known name isn’t enough to convince consumers. Your product needs to be interesting, innovative and efficacious in order to make waves. And when it comes to influencer-founded beauty ventures, building trust with shoppers is even more paramount.
Few have garnered as much success as Refy, a minimalist It-Girl beauty brand founded by UK model and influencer, Jess Hunt. Since launching in November 2020, it has reached cult status thanks to its ingenious brow kits that make the fluffy, laminated brow look effortless to achieve. Branding wise, think Glossier without the millennial pink: Refy champions the “clean” aesthetic, with natural-looking glowy skin, a flush of blush and laminated brows, of course. The brand launched in the States just seven months after starting out, with its brow kits often selling out here in the UK.
Its latest launch comes in the form of “lip sculpt” (£18, Refybeauty.com), a dual-ended lip liner and setter that claims to be the first of its kind. Echoing the same multi-step design of its coveted brow products, Refy’s lip liner claims to stay put all day after being locked in with the gel-style lip setter.
The brand has also launched an accompanying clear lip gloss (£14, Refybeauty.com) to finish off the look. Available in six shades, the liners are already causing a buzz on social media, particularly as the Nineties lip is here to stay, in part due to everyone’s rekindled obsession with Pamela Anderson.
As huge fans of Refy’s brow line and as avid lip liner users, our interest is truly piqued. Read on for everything you need to know about the launch to find out if it really lives up to the hype.
How we tested
We reviewed Refy’s lip sculpt over the course of a week, testing its longevity, ease of use, comfort on the lips and colour pay-off. After wearing the lip liner all day long while eating and drinking, we truly put it through its paces, and also considered how it wore with other lip products from our normal routine.
- Rating: 9/10
- Shades: Six
- Longevity: All day (15 hours with one top up)
The packaging and formula
Refy hasn’t strayed away from its signature minimalist branding here, with a matte grey tube that looks very Insta-worthy. The six shades are all nudes but they are cross-spectrum – most are pink-toned, with a couple of true nudes and one deep brown shade – so there’s something for every skin tone.
The lip liner is pointed at the end for precision, but thick enough to make it easy to apply. It’s a creamy but matte formula, gliding on the lips comfortably with enough playtime to tweak any mistakes or blend the liner further out on the lips before it dries down. We found it easy to hug the contours of our lips with the long wand and had no complaints over application.
The bottom end of the tube houses the setting product, a clear gel-like formula with a small, flat paddle brush for application. We found this brush slightly trickier to use as the flatness made it hard to glide over the lip liner (this setter is only to set the liner itself, so don’t apply across the whole lip). We also found that the plastic paddle brush picks up too much product, so would advise pushing off some of the gel back into the tube before applying.
That being said, the setter feels weightless on the lips, with a velvety texture that dries down well. It does take a few minutes for the product to fully set on the lips, but it’s worth the wait.
When the setter had dried to a matte finish on the lips, we did the classic longwear test of pressing two fingers down onto our lips, tapping them a few times, before seeing whether any product had come off. We were pleased (and amazed) to see nothing on our fingers, a good sign of what was to come.
The liner and setter were incredibly comfortable to wear, in fact, we couldn’t feel anything on our lips. We then finished the look with Refy’s clear gloss, a thin high-shine formula that isn’t sticky whatsoever.
We would say that unless you love the Nineties-look of prominent lip liner paired with a lighter lipstick, or just a gloss, you might want to incorporate the lip liner/setter into your existing lip routine, rather than just wearing the liner alone or with the Refy gloss, as the contrast on the lips is quite stark.
Personally, we love the look, it made our lips look full and plump, but we also found that applying lipsticks on top of the setter worked just as well, as long as you let it dry down fully beforehand.
The lip liner lives up to its longevity claims, as it truly stays put all day. On a busy 15 hour day, our tester commuted on a sweaty Tube, ate lunch, drank wine (not at lunch, sadly), and sat in an office all day, before attending an event in the evening, and only had to top up the lip liner once. We’ve never used a lip liner that has such holding power, and even when it does fade slightly, it wears beautifully, still keeping that contoured lip and colour pay-off.
The verdict: Refy lip sculpt
Refy has struck gold once more and we predict that its lip sculpt will become another sell-out product. Just like the laminated brow effect, the brand is tapping into another trend and has created an innovative lip liner setter in the process, something we never knew we needed but now can’t get enough of.
The lip gloss is also great but isn’t a necessity, but if you’re a fan of using liner to sculpt and define the lips, and want something that stays put all day, add the liner/setter product to your basket pronto. We can’t wait to see what Refy comes up with next.
Refy lip sculpt
- merchant £ price Buy now
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If it’s that perfect pout you’re after, check out our round-up of the best lip plumpers