Konjac sponges are one Asian beauty trend making it BIG at the moment. There is a TONNE of hype around these hard but also ‘squishy’ pods of exfoliation [is this sponge just a tad confused?]. This is one skincare newbie I’ve had lots of questions about recently including this one from Heather…
@HonestyForSkin opinions on konjac sponges? I just bought a charcoal one to help cleanse my face as I have to work around stitches
— Heather Summers (@awildheather) 18 February 2016
It still boggles my mind that I can be sat here in [actually sunny today!] UK and Heather over in [can I please move here!] OZ can be reading my words and pinging me her skincare questions! I absolutely LOVE getting questions from you guys, it feels like a moment where I can pass a skincare super savvy sprinkle on to you and just maybe that one sprinkle will help you make a GREAT skincare decision the next time your down the candy shop isle of skincare…
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 7 March 2016
It is time to get down to the Konjac sponge and figure out if this one is more of a skincare socialite or a skincare genius?
FIRST… WHAT IS A KONJAC SPONGE?
We all know about the sponge part ‘eh, so the real question is what the heck is Konjac? What is so special about Konjac that makes this sponge a love affair for your skin? Well my lovely this Konjac is really where all the HYPE comes from, Konjac is a plant. It grows mostly in Japan, China and Indonesia, you can eat it, and guess what… you can also turn it into a sponge!
I remember seeing REAL sponge when I was a ‘wee’ little ‘un and being completely FREAKED out that, THAT yellow holey thing now sitting on the side of the bathtub, used to be an actual LIVING creature just mooching around the bottom of the ocean. I just didn’t get why anyone would want to rub themselves with a dead animal #NotForMe.
Move in the Konjac sponge, a natural, biodegradable, plant based version of sponge. Hard when dry, spongy when wet…
WHAT CAN A KONJAC SPONGE DO FOR MY SKIN?
A Konjac sponge is a bit like the Bentley of the face cloth world. There are 3 things this ‘hard and also squidgy when soaked’ sponge can do for you…
- Let’s start with the simple shizzle first. A Konjac sponge will clean your face. It works just like a face wipe/towelette [the posh version *winks*] , a cotton pad or a flannel. This is a tool to cleanse your face with.
- Next up, the Konjac sponge will exfoliate your face. Remember the 2 types of exfoliation? Physical and Chemical? Well a Konjac sponge is your classic ‘physical exfoliate’. This vegetable sponge has a lot of tiny little fibres that gently ‘buff’ away at your skin while you use it. This means that dead skin cells that are ready to leave you but have gotten a bit too attached are given a helping hand off your face. This helps with everything from spots to skin brightening. oh and your face is going to feel super smooth… maybe even like a babies bottom!
- The added extra to a Konjac sponge is that because it is a vegetable it also has some mineral goodness in there too. A lot of sponges are also boosted with an added extra like aloe vera juice or activated charcoal. This ‘potentially’ brings more good things to your skin…
THE KEY BENEFITS OF A KONJAC SPONGE
What we really want to know is WHAT can a Konjac sponge do for my skin that goes ‘above and beyond’? What are the special sprinkles in the CV of a Konjac sponge that would make us pick this guy for the job?
- It’s all about exfoliation baby. This is a mild, can use every day exfoliating tool. Gently effective and therefore great for sensitive skin types. The bit to be careful about is this ‘physical exfoliate’ also depends on your very own hand ‘taadaa!’… that means you have some part to play in how gentle this exfoliation is.
- It’s biodegradable… and there is no need to rub yourself with a dead animal *winks*. Really this is the KEY point of difference between other physical exfoliates and this Konjac dude. The Konjac sponge is not only natural but also sustainable and biodegradable. This is one physical exfoliate you can feel good about #YayToTheMicrobeadBan.
KONJAC SPONGE WORDS OF WISDOM
..and generally how to avoid spending more £’s that these dudes are worth.
- The added extras are most active down your sink. Don’t be sold on spending a few £/$’s more for an aloe vera juiced version. Those added extras, including the minerals that are naturally found in Konjac are going to be having most fun in your plug hole. It’s like putting a sheet mask on for 10 seconds and expecting skin to ‘zap up’ that aloe/insert other skin drink ingredient HERE. Save these key ingredients for your ‘leave-on’ moisturiser investment!
- They are a bee’s hive for bacteria. The average lifespan of a Konjac sponge is recommended as 2-3 months but bacteria will start to ‘colonise’ your Konjac sponge way before the 2 month ‘best-before’ date. You use this guy to help dead skin off your face which means, dead skin gets helped on to the Konjac. Dead skin and dampness from the last time you used it are all bacteria need to feast and grow. There are published science studies on how well these natural materials can grow bacteria and not only that, these bacteria can also cause infection to human beings aka US! The draw back of a Konjac sponge is to ‘de-contaminate’ you need hot water or bleach and these will break down the natural material of a Konjac sponge.
Konjac Sponge Advice Line: If you do have a Konjac sponge, you’re reading this and thinking holy crap – what!?!?! Is my Konjac a hive of bacteria’s? The best manufacturer guidance I’ve seen for cleaning ’em is to put the sponge in a bowl of water and put it in the microwave for up to a minute (depending on your power setting). Then make sure to get it bone dry as quick as possible – warm airing cupboard anyone? Your bathroom is usually the worst place to leave a Konjac sponge to dry out as generally your bathroom will be the most humid room in your house.
THE KONJAC SPONGE BOTTOM LINE
A great little mild exfoliating tool that is ‘free from’ a lot of things and completely naturally biodegradable. You can feel ‘environmentally’ good about using the Konjac sponge. You do however need to be super careful how you look after this guy. The Konjac is high maintenance as it likes to set itself up as a half-way house for bacteria’s. I would realistically advise a Konjac sponge is going to be clear of huge hives of bacteria for only 1-2 weeks if treated properly. That is a lot shorter than the manufacturers of these dudes will tell you, because who wants to pay £8.99 for something that only lasts 1-2 weeks ‘eh?
Have you trialed out a Konjac sponge yet? How do you best care for yours?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.