All make-up artists seem to agree that good brushes are an essential part of a flawless look. All of us, beauty addicts, sigh with resignation at this obvious truth, handing our hard-earned money at MAC and the like, because when it comes to make-up brushes, beauty certainly does come with a (hefty!) price. Or does it?
For me, parting with the sums MAC hails for their brushes has always been too painful and I've been on the lookout for some budget options ever since I started my make-up journey. I believe I have found my Holy Grail inexpensive quality brushes; I hereby present you my EcoTools brush regiment I turn to every morning. All of these brushes but one come from three sets: EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone set of 4 brushes ($15.99), EcoTools Bamboo set of 4 brushes recommended for mineral make-up ($12.95) and EcoTools Bamboo Eye set of 5 brushes ($6.39). They're all super soft, durable, vegan, sustainable, synthetic bristle brushes suitable for both powder and cream formulas with aluminum ferrules and bamboo handles. I've washed mine several times and none of them shed even one (sic!) hair or lost its shape; the only thing is that they take a bit more rinsing to wash all of the shampoo out than my other natural bristle brushes.
1. Smudge brush from the Bamboo Eye set: I use this tiny pencil brush for concealing blemishes and little flaws. It's precise enough to conceal just where I need it, but also perfect for blending the edges. Alternatively, it can also be used to apply inner corner highlight or to smudge the eyeliner.
2. Blending brush from the Bamboo Mineral set: I use this amazingly soft brush to apply and blend concealer under my eyes and around my nose. It's a bit too big and fluffy to be used in the crease for my tastes, but would also work fabulously for blending on the eye.
3. Duo fiber brush from the Alicia Silverstone set: I use it to apply my blusher or bronzer: it picks up just enough product not to make me look like a clown and blends beautifully. However, it's too soft and bendy to be used for liquid foundation; a great budget option for that purpose would be the e.l.f. Studio Flat Top Powder Brush.
4. Mini kabuki from the Bamboo Mineral set: I use it for my mineral foundation or powder on selected areas of my face. It's a baby buki, so it might be not big enough for some, but since I don't apply powder on my whole face, it's perfect for me: ultra soft and smooth, but dense enough to really buff it in.
5. Blend brush from the Bamboo Eye set: I use this fat paddle brush to apply color on my lid; I guess the MAC equivalent would be the 227. It's just the quickest way to get intense color on the lids and blend it upwards before any crease work.
6. Highlight brush from the Bamboo Eye set: I use it in the crease or to blend lid color further if I'm going for a simple, one eyeshadow look. The MAC equivalent would probably be the 224 (I'm not sure because I don't have it): it's small enough to fit in my crease and has just the right level of density to control the amount of eyeshadow I'm putting down.
7. Shade brush from the Bamboo Eye set: I use it to deepen the outer V and along my upper and lower lashline. It's also firm enough to blend your pencil eyeliner for a more smudgy look. I imagine the MAC equivalent would be the 214.
8. Eyeliner brush from the regular line: I use it to fill in my brows, it has just the right firmness for that purpose. Sometimes I also use it to deposit black eyeshadow along my lashline instead of pencil liner, but I definitely prefer smaller, more precise brushes for my gel eyeliner. The MAC equivalent would be the 208.
All in all, I think all three of these sets are worth getting; I don't mind the shorter handles (see in the first photo) and just store them in a glass votive candle holder so that it's easier to pull them out. They're all fantastic value for your money and apart from the travel-sized handles, I don't think they compromised the quality compared to the regular line brushes. Mind you, I like all of the brushes that come in the three sets, these are just the ones I reach for Every. Single. Day.
I hope this lengthy review helped some of you looking for inexpensive quality brushes. Have you ever tried EcoTools brushes? What are your thoughts?