ecoTOOLS 5 Piece Complexion Set [DC] {Review}

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Rating: C+
Price Tag: $11.99
Where to Buy: Discontinued

I don’t go to Ulta too often (never heard of the store until last year), but I was thrilled to find a selection of ecoTOOLS brushes, including the 5 Piece Complexion Set I had never seen before. There was one set available when I left the store that night. When I returned the next day to pick up a few items I had waffled over, I was disappointed to see someone had purchased the brushes.

I looked online, but couldn’t find any traces of this mysterious complexion set anywhere, including the ecoTOOLS site. Baffled, I figured it had been discontinued.

That was many months ago. Lo and behold, when I visited Ulta Wednesday night with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, there was one set hanging on the display rack. Not wanting to have a repeat of the past, I grabbed it. Well, actually, my mother-in-law was kind enough to purchase it for me.

I also found a few packages of the ecoTOOLS by Alicia Silverstone: 5pc Brush Set & Bag for ~$15 USD, a set that includes four brushes and a nifty brush bag. Three of the brushes are the same as the classic ecoTOOLS Six Piece Starter Set, the exception being a Finishing Brush. This is the ecoTOOLS version of the stippling or EDM Foptic brushes. While intriguing, it’s on the small side and didn’t look like it would work well. After my experience with the Everyday Minerals Foptic Brush, I didn’t want to spend fifteen dollars on another brush I’d regret. I’ll stick with my e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush for now until I can get the Flat Top Brush from EDM.

I don’t know if the set is an Ulta exclusive, but I can’t find it anywhere else, even online.


I love that the ecoTOOLS brushes come in those green, reusable storage bags. Not so much anymore. They’re not as reusable as advertised.

The brushes and packaging look good and I feel that ecoTOOLS isn’t being condescending towards their eco-conscious consumer base. They know their demographics and they cater to them. They’re not really aiming their products at the traditional cosmetics customers who may want to delve into “eco-chic” because “green” is in style. I’ve been kind of ticked recently by some companies that take that route. Not to suggest that Paris Presents, the company behind ecoTOOLS, is flawless, but they try.

The Brushes

This is not a set for someone just starting out. I would recommend the ecoTOOLS Six Piece Starter Set that has the basic cosmetics brushes you need.

The 5 Piece Complexion Set is more like an ecoTOOLS add-on for an existing brush collection

The ecoTOOLS 5 Piece Complexion Set

Full Coverage Brush [large half moon brush]

I wanted the set primarily for the Full Coverage Brush. I’ve seen this style of brush around, but not really in a Taklon version. It’s very soft and fluffy, though not as stiff as one might expect.

The package recommends the Full Coverage Brush for applying powder (how many types of brushes does one need to apply powder?) or bronzer. So far, I’ve used it for bronzer—preferring my e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush for powders—and I’m pleased with the results. The shape is geared more for contouring anyway.

I need more time before making my final verdict, but so far I like it.

Mini Foundation Brush [long handle brush with light-coloured bristles]

Since finding the correct shade is nearly impossible for me, I almost never wear liquid foundation. Despite this, I still wanted to have a foundation brush on hand, you know, in case I stumble across the mystical item one day.

The Mini Foundation Brush is smaller than its full size counterpart, but I found it does the job very well—it just takes a bit longer to cover the entire face. The brush is excellent for evenly applying foundation and getting into hard to reach areas around the nose, plus your fingers don’t get all messy.

I have the $1 USD e.l.f. Essential Foundation Brush, but it’s reminiscent of a low quality, acrylic paint brush. This brush, on the other hand, feels like a good quality brush.

If I ever switch over to liquid foundation, I’m all set.

Update [3/6/2014]: After all these years, I’ve maybe used this brush twice.

Mini Powder Brush [long handle brush with dark bristles]

This brush is total fail. I really don’t know what to do with it. It’s certainly not a dense brush. There are not many bristles, leaving it very weak. The Mini Powder Brush is a very awkward size, making it not work for much of anything.

It’s too small to be a real powder brush. I considered keeping it in my purse due to its size, but I already have the ecoTOOLS Baby Kabuki that does a far better job and takes up less space. I used the Mini Powder Brush for powder concealer, but it’s a little on the big size. I refuse to try it as a blush brush.

The packaging says that one may use it as a highlighter brush, most likely the best suggestion.

Bamboo Powder Puff

This is a cute little puff made wit an unstated amount of bamboo fibers. I’ll have to go out of my way to use it at some point, since I exclusively use brushes to apply powder.

Hemp/Cotton Cosmetics Case

Ah, the ubiquitous travel case. These suckers must be cheap to produce because ecoTOOLS shoves one in all their sets to bump up the product count. This is the identical case supplied with the ecoTOOLS Five Piece Mineral Set.

I find them to be on the small side, but that might be just me.

Update [3/6/2014]: Due to the ecoTOOLS redesign, you might not receive the same case as the one reviewed here.

Final Thoughts

Pros: Great value, full coverage and mini foundation brushes are high quality
Cons: Mini powder brush too small to be useful

Compared to the ecoTOOLS Six Piece Starter Set, the 5 Piece Complexion Set is not nearly as good of deal in terms of price and usability. This set is more comparable to the ecoTOOLS Five Piece Mineral Set, which also has a few not-so-great brushes and isn’t as good a value.

When not compared to previous ecoTOOLS sets, it stands up well to similar products. $12 USD for a brush set is still a good deal. All in all, I’m really glad I got this set.

While not essential, for those interested it’s a good little set to fill out an existing brush collection.