I’m sure you have noticed this, but the beauty world (and by extension, beauty blog world) operate in trending waves. One day you have a wave of people telling you how wonderful the Clarisonic has been for their skin and everyone runs out to buy one, nevermind the hefty price, and mostly love it. You hardly hear about anyone not liking it. I however, am ambivalent about it, but honestly, after the first 5 months, its just pretty much a white elephant now. Its the most expensive mistake I’ve ever made for a face washing gadget.
The latest trendy wave to hit is the konjac sponge. I call it a trend, but I do think this might actually hang around longer primarily because it does a fair enough job and is pretty affordable so more people can get into it.
So what is this “Konjac sponge” people talk about? Its a face washer. That’s just breaking it down to its most basic. This is a sponge that you use to wash your face, as you would a sponge, flannel or muslin cloth. The material is what’s the selling point. Konjac is, according to the almighty Wikipedia, also known as konnyaku. If you eat Japanese or Korean food, you may come across konnyaku in some dishes – a translucent gelatinous substance that is a source of fibre. It is most popularly eaten in the delicious form of konnyaku jelly (yummy!!)
These konjac sponges for washing your face aren’t edible however. They could be made from the similar source, but it looks much like a sponge. There are many many brands available in the market in different price ranges. You can easily pick them up from Sasa stores (I picked up a really cheap one in Hong Kong for something like HKD22 ~ RM10) or you can buy them online like I did with the one I tried.
The brand I tried is the Konjac Sponge Company. I picked it up from Zuneta.com, tossing it into my shopping basket almost as an afterthought because I wanted to see what the hype was about. Because its shipped out of the UK, I did not have to pay VAT so the plain Konjac Sponge Company sponge came up to £5. I also picked up a baby one for my nephew. So, how is this trend faring for me then?
What I noticed is that all konjac sponges come slightly damp in a sealed plastic bag. The reason is because the sponge is mostly water, so they ship it hydrated. Its quite interesting, I thought. Why couldn’t they just ship it dry like a regular sponge? Wouldn’t it be easier? Its puzzling but I noticed all brands ship theirs hydrated.
There are a few different variants of the sponge – to cater for different types of skin. I’m not sure how that works, so for my first, I picked up the normal white one.
It comes in a domed shape, flat on one side and domed on the other. When you take it out of the pack, I will recommend you rinse it in water a few times before using. I’m not sure what water is used to pack it, which is why I suggest washing it first and this is true, no matter what brand you buy.
This is how it looks fully hydrated. Its pretty large, and fits in my hand comfortably. Its interesting that there are no instructions on the bag as to which side to use on your skin, so I actually started out by using the domed side against my skin. I don’t think its wrong per se, but you will definitely find it easier to use the flat side. Its also easier to grip the domed side.
The sponge feels firm, yet pliable and bouncy to be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of your face. I only use it in the evening and only after first doing my cleansing oil routine so I would say that this is my 2nd step of cleansing. I do not use this to remove makeup because I don’t think it is supposed to do that. So, remove your makeup first, then clean your face.
According to the instructions, you can use this konjac sponge on its own to clean your face, without need for any product, just plain water. The sponge gently exfoliates your skin so its like doing an exfoliation daily, except that its very very gentle. I experienced none of the breakouts that I did with using the Clarisonic daily.
Even using it on its own, I find that my skin does feel very clean and smooth. Its very lovely! However, I do prefer to use it together with a face wash. So, I lather up and apply the face wash to my skin, then run the konjac sponge puff over my skin and then wash everything off. Lovely!
Cleaning it is easy. Just squeeze it out in the shower a few times till the water runs clear and hang it up to dry by the attached bit of string. You do need to ensure that its allowed to hang freely to dry, because it could otherwise breed mould. I have been using mine for over a month now, and its still in pretty good condition because my bathroom is quite airy and there’s enough heat to partially dry the sponge between uses.
If you don’t use the sponge, you will notice it drying out and it will shrink to about 1/3 of its size when completely dry. I performed an experiment and it takes about 4 days for it to fully dry out to a hard bit of cellulose material. Not to worry though. Just soak in some warm water, gently squeeze it and watch it rehydrate before your eyes. I use it on most evenings because its hanging there in my shower so its easy to manipulate. I believe its gentle enough to be used daily, and should be good for most skins.
The benefit of these konjac sponges, based on what I read online, is that they are natural, alkaline to balance the acidity of skin and the material massages skin which helps clean it, so you technically have no need for a face wash. As I have said, I prefer to use a face wash anyway.
So remember I said I got one for my baby nephew? The Konjac Sponge Co. does a sponge specially for babies. Its a bit larger, and the domed bit is a bit flatter. My Mom used it during bath time and there was no need for a baby wash but she did report that after about a month of twice daily use, the sponge had broken up. I’m not sure how much care she took with it, but I did pick up replacements and am waiting to receive them so the little one can continue enjoying his sponge baths
In a nutshell
Konjac sponges come in many forms and under different brands. Mine came from the Konjac Sponge Company and I purchased it online. You can also get konjac sponges at Sasa stores locally. The sponge from the Konjac Sponge Company is firm to the touch, yet pliable and is gentle on the skin even while providing exfoliation. My skin feels lovely and smooth and clean after using this, and I use it almost daily without any problems. Care has to be taken to ensure that you only use the sponge while it is fully hydrated, and to ensure that you hang it up to dry after every use. Otherwise, care is easy, it works nicely on my skin to keep it clean and clear and isn’t terribly pricey.
Pros: Gentle on skin, Can be used daily, Skin feels clean and smooth after use, Affordable
Cons: Can degenerate quickly if not taken care of, or can get mouldy if not allowed to hang freely to air dry between uses
Who will like this: Anyone who wants an alternative to pricey gadgets, Anyone who wants to try gentle daily manual exfoliation of skin
What’s great about this is mostly the price. I haven’t opened up the cheap one I got from Hong Kong, so I cannot say if konjac sponges of different companies feel different. However, I can say that I am pretty happy with the quality of the one from the Konjac Sponge Company. Its been over 2 months and it still looks and feels firm. They do say that it can last between 1-3 months depending on use, so I am guessing mine will probably hit the 3 month mark before it needs replacing
Have you tried any konjac sponge to wash your face? Do you think it gimmicky or do you find that it actually helps your skin?
I initially thought of it as just another gimmick, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that my skin seems clearer after having used this sponge on most evenings (Friends Tine and Xin using different brands agree on this). If I have some flaky bits of skin as I did a few weeks ago, it helps remove the flakiness so I can treat it with a hydrating skincare product. It doesn’t deal with blackheads the way the Clarisonic does, but I think I prefer this. Its like having a face scrub daily, just very gently Goodbye, Clarisonic. You’ve been replaced by a product that I could replace for years for the price of one gadget /facepalm
Konjac Sponge Company Konjac Sponge Puff comes in different variants for different skintypes Prices range from: £5-7 depending on product Availability: Zuneta.com (where I bought mine) or KonjacSpongeCompany.com both of which offer international shipping