Bamboo Beauty Review: Ecotools Brushes and TONYMOLY Bamboo Gel
I’ve been eyeing the Ecotools brushes for ages, and now these are mine mine mine… there isn’t much more left to be said about this brand, which has certainly become popular in the Spanish beauty blogosphere and beyond, with good reason: they are great value for the price, and as eco-friendly as a consumer product can get.
As for the TONYMOLY bamboo gel, I bought this after an unfortunate incident with a DIY mask (an aside: learn from my mistakes and leave this stuff to those who know what they’re doing); long story short, I used up the last bit of aloe gel I had left to calm my skin down, and knowing myself, it’s probably only a matter of time before I need more, so I went out the next day looking for a replacement.
I considered getting the aloe vera gel from this same brand, having heard good things about it, but immediately got distracted by the bamboo gel: I’ve been wanting to try something like this for a while now, since reading (like here, and here, among other sources) that, besides coming from an easily renewable raw material, bamboo water and bamboo extract (particularly the latter) are considered good moisturizing and antiinflamatory agents, and capable of supplying a nice dose of antioxidant flavonoids and nutrients beneficial to the skin.
Apparently it can also be useful for supporting the protective function from UVA/UVB radiation of other products (at this point, I guess it’d be good to add that I wouldn’t rely on this alone for UV protection, just in case), as well as for helping with pigmentation issues. This all sounds very nice, of course, but to be completely honest, I chose this TonyMoly Bamboo Gel mainly because I’d never tried it before (and because it appealed to the silly side of me).
Ecotools brushes for face and eyes
This big brush is designed for bronzer, according to the brand, but I don’t use bronzer and therefore I use this for applying loose mineral foundation; which means I’ve been using it constantly throughout the late spring and summer, when I’ve used nothing but loose powder.
I got this “domed bronzer” brush to replace my horrid, bristly-rough kabuki brush that I’d been using until recently (too bad the brand logo faded from the handle from ages of use, and I can’t remember where I got it, to avoid buying brushes from there in the future). This one I like much better, because from the start it has all I expect from a makeup brush: soft, dense hair that grabs and deposits product well, it’s easy to clean, good solid construction, and I think this will last me a long time…
… however, note that getting the hang of a good application with this brush didn’t come to me right away. After a few days of thinking “mayyybe this one wasn’t such a great purchase”, I realized what was wrong and began stippling the powder onto the skin with it, rather than buffing/brushing it, and voilá, subtle and natural application.
Last, as shown in the image, this brush is sold packaged in a nice reusable baggie, as per usual for many of the brushes from this brand; I no longer have mine around, because I gave it to my mother for her glasses, in the hopes she won’t lose them again.
These two eyeshadow brushes came in the Ultimate Shade Duo set for powder and cream shadows, and I couldn’t be happier with them; unlike with the first, these were a joy to use from the get-go, whether I’m applying loose mineral eyeshadows (my favorites), or pressed shadows… I can get even the chalkiest, less-pigmented shadows [cough, cough, Essence] to look better when applied with these brushes.
Brush 1 “full shadow”
I have large eyes and I find this size just right for me, applying eyeshadow with this biggish brush is a delight… and possibly someone with smaller lids may find it a lot less comfortable and easy to work with, so keep that in mind.
Brush 2 “precision blending”
I was also delighted with this brush from the first stroke: the brand says it’s for applying and blending shadows along the lash line and the outer corner of the lid, and it does yield beautiful results with that: it’s such a pleasure to blend and create smokey eyes with this.
My rating for these Ecotools brushes: 5 points. Although I haven’t used them for long (only for a month, in the case of the eye brushes, and about two months for the face brush), I haven’t found a single con about them during this short period of regular use, and I anticipate they will be much-used elements in my makeup arsenal for a long time to come.
TONYMOLY Bamboo Cool Water Soothing Gel 99%
On the whole, TonyMoly never interests me much, mainly because it strikes me as a brand that’s more about looks and style than about substance. In fact, whenever I’ve bought TM items the past, it’s always been things to give to friends and family as novelty gifts, because the packaging is so cute and eyecatching.
And this packaging is eyecatching for sure, although “cute” maybe not so much… since I’m in my blog and my own time, I have to let out the dumb-as-dirt teenage girl in me, and confess this one just gave me the giggles… I’m sorry, but to my mind this bottle has more than a passing resemblance to a sex toy for plantsexual people.
I have a hard time (ahem) believing the creative team in charge didn’t do it for the lolz… actually, I’m now tempted to buy one of these for the next friend’s birthday, and give it to her without saying anything, see if she has the same idea I did (considering my circle, that’s quite likely).
Okay, I’m getting out of the gutter now… onto the review
I wouldn’t say this gel is a must-have, but it’s turned out to be a lot more useful than I thought at first; at any rate, I’m going through it at a much faster rate than anticipated, using it on face and body: it’s quite lightweight and feels nice, but obviously it’s not the most moisturizing thing in the world, as could be expected from a watery gel…
In fact, I’d even call this a tonic in gel form… it has a very fluid consistency, it feels cooling and if you don’t apply this with a heavy hand (use it in small doses, particularly if you apply it to your face like I do), doesn’t leave stickiness behind or a strong scent; it’s fragranced, but it’s subtle (and suitable for her or him) and vanishes soon anyway.
Note that if you apply too much gel, it does leave behind a slight “filmy” feel… which you may or may not find to your advantage. Let me explain: normally I’m no fan of feeling anything “filmy” on my skin, but I’ve actually found it useful to sort of “seal in” watery serums without feeling like you just want to wash everything off your face.
I discovered this a little while ago while testing The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid, which normally should be followed by a layer of moisturizer… but in days of hellish heat, when even the lightest cream or lotion is just intolerable, the only thing I can stand layering over serum in the dead of summer is this gel, which despite being such a watery product, works surprisingly well as a barely-there moisturizing film.
In fact, even though it’s a little too soon to say (because as of this date, I’ve been using it in this way for a little over a week), applied like this it actually seems to enhance the effect of the HA serum, or even mutually enhance each other, leaving skin bouncier and more hydrated with no “ugh, heavy” feeling.
Naturally, if you decide to try this at home, note that I only advise it for very warm weather, and combo/oily skin types… once autumn sets in, I’ll probably have to change this approach, but right now it’s working very well for me.
It’s also nice used on its own, though of course the moisturizing effect in this case is pretty much “hello, goodbye”… not that I mind, for serious moisturization I use other things. This gel is so lightweight and cooling, that I often use it on face, hands, décolletage and arms just for feeling a little fresher, with no fear of shineface, possible breakouts, or hands too sticky or slippery to do tasks. It’s also lovely for soothing tired legs, after a little while in the fridge: it feels so nice right after the gym, or after a long, hot day of much walking or standing.
One fairly serious con I’d like to note, is that this item lacked a label listing the ingredients either in Spanish or English… I searched and found it in CosDNA, and after a little more searching saw in places like Beauteque and Blueberry Cosmetics that this list of ingredients seems to be correct/complete… in any case, not cool, distributor in charge.
Would I buy the TONYMOLY Bamboo Gel again?
Yes, probably; I like it, and ended up using it a lot more and for more purposes than I first thought (stop snickering); as I said before, I wouldn’t say this is a must-have in my bathroom cabinet, but I do think it’s a good product to have at hand during the summer, or possibly to complement other products; my rating: 4 points.
1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me, or even paid me to wear it.
2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.
3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.
4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.
5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine.