Just bought paraben-free makeup — and need eco-friendly brushes to apply it with? If you’ve walked through the makeup section of Walgreens or Target, you’ve likely spotted Ecotools makeup brushes and other grooming tools, labeled earth-friendly beauty.

Ecotools makes slightly greener makeup tools for the eco-fashionable set. The brushes feature bamboo handles, recycled aluminum ferrules, and soft vegan taklon bristles, which have earned the nod of approval from eco-vegan Alicia Silverstone, who has designed some of Ecotools’ makeup bags. Plus, the company’s a member of 1 percent for the Planet and puts its money toward eco-causes.

ecotools brush

Of course, picky environmentalists like myself wish that the bamboo were FSC or organic certified, that the cotton and hemp cases (like the one for the 6-Piece Eye Color Set above) made use of organic cotton, and that the products weren’t all made in China. And while Ecotools advertises its brush bristles as 100 percent cruelty-free, the company’s use of synthetic taklon doesn’t exactly set it apart as a green company. Many makeup brushes on the market are also made with taklon, and are by default, vegan and cruelty-free.

That said, Ecotools products are greener than most — and for their price, of surprisingly great quality. Both the Bronzer Brush ($9.99) and the brushes from the 6-Piece Eye Color Set ($7.99) felt soft and held up well after a gentle wash. Since the greenest factor with makeup tools is how long you use them, perhaps the biggest eco-benefit of Ecotools’ products is that they’ll last a while, reducing landfill waste.

ecotools brush

That quality endorsement, however, doesn’t apply to Ecotools’ Bamboo Lash & Brow Groomer. The tough bristles on this thing were so harsh on my skin I gave up trying to use it — and the plastic teeth on the lash comb quickly broke off after a couple trips in my gym bag.

So stick to just the soft brushes when shopping for Ecotools. For maximum eco-efficiency, I recommend going for individual items you know you’ll use instead of buying the sets (does anyone actually use six different brushes to do their eye makeup — or need a hemp-and-cotton pouch to encase them?). Find them at Walgreens, Target or select green stores.

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