Product Review: EcoTools Cosmetic Brushes

EcoTools Bamboo 5 piece brush set
EcoTools Bamboo 5 piece brush set

It’s not often that I fall in love with drug store cosmetics/accessories. I am a self-admitted cosmetics snob; but once in a blue moon, there are just some products from drug stores I find better than their high end counterparts and at a fraction of the price!

Take Ecotools. I had never heard of this brand until Alicia Silverstone, the lovely vegan actress (of Clueless fame) who made it her mission to promote a greener planet by using eco-friendly products, recommended it. All this time, I still had the squirrel-haired brushes from my ignorant days; and though I kept them in tiptop shape, I do find that animal-hair brushes shed, and increasingly so, irritate my eyes.

Well, not Ecotools. The bristles are made of super soft Taklon (synthetic), and the ferrules are made of recycled aluminum, while the handles are made of bamboo, which is highly sustainable. The concept is great, and Ecotools even got official endorsement from Alicia Silverstone, which was how Ecotools became popular. The price is so affordable too – in the US, the whole travel-size kit is about US$7.99! (Full size powder brush is less than US$10)

Ecotools Bamboo 6 piece eye brush set
Ecotools Bamboo 6 piece eye brush set

I bought two sets, both from Walmart. In Canada, we aren’t as lucky. At Walmart, which is one of the very few places (the other store being Loblaws) you can buy in person in Canada, the Bamboo 5-piece brush set cost CAD$12.  I have seen them for sale on ebay for much less – around US$5 or US6 per set, and if you wonder whether those were fake, they are not. These brushes, like most makeup brushes (regardless of brands or high v. low end) are made in China, and the Ecotools brushes aren’t expensive to begin with. I have seen people questioning the authenticity of the Ecotools brushes on ebay, based on the darkness of the “Ecotools” brand name etched on the bamboo handle, but as you can see in my pictures, the darkness of the etching differs from brush to brush anyway, within the same set!  I can definitely see the individual brushes have slightly different cuts too – some have a little bit rounder tapering and some are slightly more blunt. Just very slight differences, but they are there. At these prices, you can’t demand perfection – though these are pretty close to it as far as I know.

The bristles are super soft. I cannot even tell the difference between the Ecotools brushes and my more expensive makeup brushes – I have the top of the line ones made in Japan, US$32.00 Face Powder Pouf Brush by Two Faced, Japonesque, Bobbi Brown, etc., but the Ecotools brushes hold up in comparison very well. Considering the price, the eco-friendliness and the quality, I can even say that I prefer the Ecotools brushes!

So far, the only brushes I have used that had ZERO hair fallout are the synthetic ones – the Two Faced Powder Pouf Brush and the Ecotools brushes. I wash them after each use on a daily basis and I have yet to see even one hair shedding from their ferrules. Amazing!

The *only* difference I can feel between the Ecotools powder brush and the Two Faced Powder Pouf brush is the density of the bristles. The Two Faced one has highly densely packed bristles. The Ecotools blush/powder brush and baby kabuki are less densely packed (better for loose, mineral powders). Personally it’s not really a significant factor to me since the only base makeup I use with the brushes is loose powder, which gets picked up very well from either density anyway. The more densely packed the bristles, the better they pick up pressed powder (more bristles =more powder pickup). I have tested the full size Powder Brush by Ecotools and it is still not as densely packed as the Too Faced one, but it’s 1/3 of the price so you can’t really complain, and it is really fine the way it is too.

Last, but not least, the packing. Ecotools brushes come in a PVC-free pouch, and the brush sets come with hemp and cotton cases (the eye set comes with a mirror). Totally eco-friendly, totally cool.

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