What Is a Konjac Sponge?

– That’s the question I posed when I pulled the large moist-looking package out of my GlossyBox a couple of weeks ago.

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That was my first time seeing or hearing of a Konjac sponge. Saying the name just keeps me thinking of the sickly french brandy my Dad kept in a fancy bottle in our glass cabinet when I was young.

After doing a little bit of research I have discovered that this Konjac is a plant from Eastern Asia, which has been used for foods and other supposed health-benefiting purposes.

The roots of these plants are especially porous, and retain water really well (which makes sense given that it’s, well, a root). Their spongy texture means that the beauty industry has particularly started getting use out of them and marketing them as a gentle exfoliating sponge.

As you may have picked up on by now, I’m the kind of person who will give anything a go once, and as I stated in my Glossy review, I was excited to use it due to being a completely natural product – something that won’t damage our reefs by harvesting coral, or by being a non-biodegradable synthetic product. Utilising these plants in this way just seems like a good idea, generally.

That must be why when you do a quick Google search into Konjac sponges, you will find numerous websites marketing them, and praising them for their cleansing and exfoliating purposes. The one I will be discussing is the one received through the June GlossyBox, which is from Spa to You.

The first time I used this product I was in the bath. I removed it from its packaging and did as directed straight away – soaked it in water for a few minutes, then squeezed to rinse it before use.

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The sponge itself is very, very light and a nice size and shape for use on the face. I particularly like that this one is tapered at one end, which a lot of others don’t seem to be, which would make it easer to use around eye and nose areas.

But the thing that I concerned myself with straight away was the texture.
When wet, it feels quite soft, which surprised me as it is often used as an exfoliator. I would say this is softer than most synthetic sponges I use. The pores are very small, but you can see that they are very close together, which is probably why you get a great absorbency from these are opposed to a sea sponge.
It almost feels a bit rubbery. But in a very strange way. So naturally, I called my husband up to feel it. He held it and squeezed it for a bit but he was at a loss for a comparison. Then it hit me:

“A wet prawn cracker!”

Okay, so to anyone else this probably would be one of the weirdest things you could think of to shout, but he got me straight away: “Yes! That’s it!” he shouted back. I can’t even recall a circumstance where we would have knowledge of what a wet prawn cracker feels like, but that’s what we came up with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I even took a closeup of the surface in the hopes that someone else out there will understand what we meant by looks alone.

I used this initially with just water and no cleanser. There was no discernible smell to it, and overall it just felt like a soft, kind of rubbery, sponge. I can see where a slight exfoliating quality might come into it, and if you want to exfoliate using a sponge I would certainly recommend using this over sea or synthetic sponges which will just be way too harsh on your face.
The shape of this particular Konjac sponge is nice, as suspected, as you can work it round the creases of your face with ease.

One of the other things I noted about the sponge was the way in which it holds water.
Now, you know when you use a sea or synthetic sponge it goes darker when it absorbs water, then when you lift it out of water it “drains” and loses that darkness? This did not do that. It was difficult to find a photo of this, but I will try and describe it.

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When submerged in water, the konjac sponge does go darker, or in the case of this white one, a kind of translucent jellyfish-like color and texture, however it continues to hold water once taken out of it. I submerged my sponge and then took it out of the water, holding it by the thread and there was no dripping or draining of water. So it certainly is a very absorbent sponge.

Since its first use I have used my sponge with cleansers, and also my gentle Vasanti exfoliating cleanser, which I think it works a treat with.  It foams the cleansers I have used, which gives them a nice texture to apply with this sponge.

When you have finished with the sponge, you should rinse with clean water, squeeze out any excess, and hang to dry naturally. It goes a bit smaller and hardens, and actually supports my prawn cracker theory even more by actually turning into one? lol

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I’ve really enjoyed using this sponge, although I have to say, I don’t think I’ve noted any marked differences in my skin since using it. It just works as a really nice sponge for using your cleansers, and I suspect will give you a deeper, gently exfoliating clean than just using your fingers alone. For that I find it useful.

The nearest comparison currently on the market I can think of for a konjac sponge is a Ramer sponge, which I remember my Mum using on her and my sensitive skin when I was a kid.

Ramer sponges, like konjac sponges, are small-holed, gentle, rubbery-textured sponged which come packaged moist and harden when air-dried.

The Konjac sponge from Spa to You retails at £7.99, but due to it being a natural product, they advise chucking it after 8 weeks of use. Which is a bit poop.

However, I do think it has a purpose, it works well for cleansing, and I would definitely purchase again should they start stocking Konjac sponges in my local drugstore, though I don’t think I will end up paying the money and P&P to order it online.

Kirsten xo

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