I have been meaning to sort myself out with a set of 'proper' make-up brushes (as opposed to the various odds 'n' sods i've accumulated over the years!) for some time now, and, after a serious period of researching, made the conscious decision that I not only wanted to invest in brushes that were practical, but earth/animal friendly too.
(I should note here i'm not trying to go all Greenpeace/save the whales etc on you - i'm not a vegetarian, and do - ashamedly -still use products by companies which test on animals, but it is an issue I have been considering for some time, and have made the conscious decision to try and buy vegetarian/vegan make-up/skincare/haircare and so on products from now on - purely for my own personal reasons).
After my aforementioned research, it became apparent that ecoTools are the company to go to when looking for 'earth friendly' beauty products/tools at reasonable prices.
EcoTools is a brand from Paris Presents Incorporated, a company started in Chicago in 1947 and is now a leading provider of branded and private label personal care products. Paris Presents Incorporated other brands also include the Ms. Manicure label and Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman.
EcoTools is the final outcome of Paris Presents Incorporated's decision in 2007 to make their products and daily business practises more earth friendly, launching an entire range of bath and cosmetic accessories that are (as the name EcoTools suggests) eco-friendly.
Sustainable resources are used in all EcoTools products, such as bamboo (a highly sustainable plant), cruelty free taklon bristles and recycled/recyclable materials (i.e. recycled aluminium on the brush ferrules).
EcoTools is also a 1% For The Planet Member, which means that 1% of annual sales are donated to environmental organisations that create a healthier/better place to live.
Unlike many websites/companies offering 'organic'/vegan/natural etc products, the EcoTools range (considering that it only launched in 2008) is really extensive and impressive: as well as make-up brushes, cosmetic bags (including a range designed by Alicia Silverstone), bath tools (i.e. facial sponges and body brushes) and their own range of bath and body care products are on offer (all of which are hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, never tested on animals and paraben/phthaltate free).
In the UK, the EcoTools make-up brushes are available in Boots and Tesco supermarkets (i'm not sure about the other big brand supermarkets - if you've seen them please let me know!), and on various places online.
I tracked down this reputable Ebay seller and opted for the Bamboo 6 piece eye brush set (RRP £12.99, but I got mine for £7.50 plus 0.75p P&P)
The brushes arrived in a sturdy resealable/reuseable plastic pouch (presumbly recycled), containing a little storage/travel pouch made from natural cotton and hemp with a built in mirror.
The brush handles are made from bamboo, with 100% cruelty free taklon bristles held on with recycled aluminium ferrules, and whilst admittedly the brushes are not the softest of soft brushes out there, they are still very gentle and comfortable for use around the delicate eye area.
The bristles are very densely packed, and have the feel, appearance and quality of brushes which are often sold for ridiculously higher prices (cough, MAC, cough cough!).
This gorgeous little set has been marketed for 'eye makeover on the go' therefore are smaller than standard make-up brushes in terms of length (the average length is about 4 inches - see below for comparison with E.L.F.'s blending brush), but not uncomfortably/unpractically so - I have big gangly fingers and can use these just fine!
The actual brush heads are of normal (if not larger in some cases) size, as you can see below when compared to a five pence piece.
The five brushes provided are of varying sizes, and thus can cater for almost any eye-look (save perhaps a fine line or lining on the waterline).
This dinky little brush has been designed to smudge shadow and liner along the lash line for a smoky look, although I think it could also be used as a concealer brush for blemishes.
Petite eye shading Brush
This is the perfect inner-corner or crease brush, for when you want to use deeper or accent colours for a bolder, smoky look.
EcoTools promote this as the perfect brush for highlighting the brow bone and inner corners of the eye, but as a brush which is very similar to the MAC and even E.L.F. (see above - E.L.F. on the left, EcoTools on the right) blending brushes, I have been using this to blend out my eye colour rather than using it simply to highlight.
Angled Crease Brush
This brush is very similar in shape to that of the E.L.F. Studio Line angled contour brush and has been designed to softly apply colour to the crease for definition.
However i've found it's a tad on the large side for me and my hooded eyelids (bah) so i've actually been using it to blend out concealer, as the synthetic bristles mean it doesn't absorb any product.
Large Eye Brush
This is a beastie of a brush! It's HUGE! (I've sat it beside the tiny smudge brush so you can see the size difference). Out of the 5 brushes I actually think I like this one the most, as it makes applying and blending base-eyeshadows really quick and simple.
It packs on colour without any fallout - me likey!
The EcoTools 6 piece eye brush set gets a big thumbs up from me: practical, excellent quality/'performance' and guilt free - I can't wait to try more from the range.
Have you tried EcoTools?
What would you recommend I buy next?