Hi Sunshines, it's March meaning it's Women's History Month. So let's celebrate by starting off the month with a review on the konjac sponges from the brand not.a.sponge created by two women working in the spa and hospitality industry. Before the review, let's first take it back to what a konjac sponge is.
I had no idea what konjac sponges were until the end of last year and after doing a bit of research, it turns out they were quite hyped about in the US back in 2014. I came across them at a Japanese department store, Aeon, and was quite fascinated by the whole concept of this sponge that I decided to give them a try.
» what is it?
A konjac sponge is a 100% natural cleanser derived from the root of the Konnyaku potato. You can use it with or without your cleanser and needs to be replaced every 1 – 3 months and disinfected every week if used on a daily basis.
Konjac (Konnyaku Potato) isn’t by any means a new thing or just a “fad”. The plant grows natively in South East Asia and China and was brought to Japan from China in the 6th century for medicinal purposes. Over the centuries, the Japanese have been eating and using it in their beauty routines.
So what does it exactly consist of? Predominantly water. Yes 97% of the konjac root is water and the remaining 3% Glucomannan, a natural water-soluble dietary fibre that has incredible absorbing properties and is an alkaline food.
The reason why it is incredibly popular to eat is because it has no fat, is extremely low in calories and rich in minerals including vitamins A, C, E, B1, Protein, Zinc, Iron and the list goes on.
Studies have shown that when digested, it helps with weight loss, cleanses toxins in the intestine, balances high blood pressure and sugar levels.
In skincare, this gentle sponge has indicated to smooth out and brighten skin, draws impurities without drying out the skin and provides the skin with minerals and antioxidants. To top this off, it is of course, 100% natural, biodegradable, and free of any kind of toxicity and additives.
The brand is co-founded by two women, Maggie Gunning and Jane Quinn both with a background in 5 star resort spas. The Konjac used is derived from the Jeju Island in Korea which has rich volcanic soil. Other than that, there wasn’t much background information I could find on the company itself.
Their brand currently carry 6 products; 4 Face Sponges and 2 Body Sponges. These products are within 3 separate lines.
not.a.sponge recommends to disinfect the sponges for 60 – 90 seconds in hot water once in a week and to replace it within 3 months or as soon as the surface of the sponge is cracked. The sponge must be moistened before use, needs to be rinsed out gently after use and hanged to dry.
It is also advised to use without soap or if truly needed, a gentle non foaming cleanser.
Face Sponge [ US$ 10 available online // HK$ 100 available at Aeon Stores ]
Body Sponge [ US$ 14.50 available online // N/A]
The most of basic konjac sponge of them all, to cleanse and gently exfoliate the skin. Catered for all skin types.
2 Face Sponges [ US$ 11 available online // HK$ 110 available at Aeon Stores ]
Body Sponge [ US$ 15.50 available online // N/A ]
A Konjac Sponge infused with volcanic scoria to calm sensitive skin, reduces redness and softens fine lines. Catered for all skin types, specifically for those with skin conditions and sensitive skin.
Body Sponge [ US$ 11 available online // HK$ 110 available at Aeon Stores ]
A bamboo charcoal infused konjac sponge which provides extra absorbing properties to extract both impurities and oil from the skin. Catered for oilier skin types and those wanting to remove black and whiteheads.
» my overall thoughts
I started using the regular white konjac sponge back in late November and bought the two other types later on in December to see whether there was a difference amongst them.
The white regular sponge (In The Raw) felt like a really gentle squishy sponge on the face that was easy to remove the water from, yet the sponge remained firm and in shape. It will of course shrink once it dries. The red one (Volcanic Power Puff) was slightly stiffer in texture whilst the black (Bamboo Charcoal) sponge felt slightly rougher on the skin amongst the three ( yet still felt gentle and not abrasive on the skin). In terms of the claims, I can say that the Bamboo Charcoal did the best job at removing white heads and milia on my skin; while the Volcanic Power Puff was great during the time when my skin felt very dry and sensitive, but I haven't noticed a difference with the fine lines on my face.
I prefer to use the sponge without a cleanser at all, just so that I can get the benefits solely of the sponge and not have it to interfere with other chemicals from a different cleanser. Because of this, I only use the sponge as a gentle morning cleanse and only in the evening on days when I’m not wearing makeup at all. When I do wear makeup, I’ll use a makeup remover and a different non foaming cleanser. I still use my regular exfoliator once every two days as the konjac sponges does not exfoliate my skin deeply enough.
I stopped using the sponges for about a week and a half, whilst still using my other regular skincare routine to see if I noticed a change in my skin (I did not replace the sponge with a daily mild exfoliator, and for a morning cleanse used my regular evening cleanser or directly a toner). While the changes were still minimal, I did notice milia more frequently popping up and dry patches when applying makeup.
- Gentle; non – abrasive to the skin
- All natural; no chemicals, environmentally and vegan friendly
- Great for a mild every day exfoliating use for those prone to dry patches, clogged pores and sensitive skin; removes texture, reduces milia
- Not for open-wound type acne; Bacteria can easily be spread with a sponge
- High maintenance in comparison to other cleanser; disinfect weekly
- Does not replace regular exfoliator; Does not exfoliate deep enough
Yes, I will repurchase the sponges on a monthly basis, the type depending on how my skin is feeling that month. In my book, the cons are easily overlooked by the benefits of this sponge, since I don't have open wound type acne. My biggest pet peeve would be the weekly maintenance, I'm quite lazy if you can't tell, and already find my regular skincare routine quite long but this additional step makes it worth it considering the impact it has.
I will try other brands as well to see if there are difference amongst brands but overall do highly recommend you to try these konjac sponges regardless whether your skin type .
Have you tried out konjac sponges? Have they become a regular in your routine and do you notice a difference amongst brands?