What is Konjac Sponge? Is it another marketing gimmick? (REVIEW)

Have you heard of Konjac sponge? I thought it was a marketing gimmick when I first received the press sample, and hence didn’t use it until a year later. I mean how different can it be from other facial sponge? But I was wrong.

I find Konjac sponge very effective in getting rid of skin impurities and unclogging pores. Read on and I’ll share the pros and cons of this product and whether it’s worth buying. 

Purito Volcanic Konjac Sponge
Konjac Sponge from Purito

 


What is Konjac Sponge? 

Konjac sponge is 100% natural and made from porous plants that grow in Asia. For many years, it was used by Japanese farmers to cleanse a baby’s skin. In recent years, it has been introduced into the beauty world as a facial cleansing sponge.

So, what makes a Konjac Sponge special?

Other than cleansing pores and exfoliating skin, a Konjac sponge is 100% natural and biodegradable. It is also said to be gentle and hence suitable for sensitive skin.

Available in varying colours, each contains different ingredients to suit different skin needs. For instance, the brown one that I’m using contains Jeju Volcanic Scoria, which is said to absorb sebum and ‘skin residue’.

Konjac Sponge Tear drop
Konjac Sponge (source: Puritoen.com)

 

Hmm, I’m not sure if sebum reduction is what I need at my age (40s). But this was a press sample from Purito. So, I’m thankful that I got the chance to try out this natural sponge.  

Where to find Konjac Sponge? How much?

These days, it’s easy to get a Konjac Sponge at any price range that you are comfortable in. For instance, you can pay $20 for one at Sephora or $2 at Daiso. I’m not sure if there’s a quality difference though, but I’ll sure update if I get to try the cheaper ones.

As shared earlier, the one I’m using is a press sample from Purito, a Korean skincare company. As at time of writing, this sponge is selling at US$8 though I vaguely recalled it being priced at USD18 a while ago. Maybe my memory is failing me. Anyway, here’s the latest price.  

Now, let me run through the 6 things I love about Konjac sponge.

Purito Volcanic Konjac Sponge
Jeju Volcanic Konjac Sponge from Purito

 


6 Things I love about Konjac Sponge

1. Gentle on the Skin

When I first took out the Konjac sponge from the sealed package, it felt hard and coarse like a loofah. But upon contact with water, it quickly transformed into a soft and gentle sponge.

The sponge in its wet form didn’t feel abrasive when I massaged it over my face. If I am to compare, the Konjac Sponge feels gentler than the texture of my washcloth from Ikea. Therefore, the claim of Konjac sponge being gentle is true.

According to Purito, the Konjac sponge “prevents skin barrier damage, and can be used for infants, broken or sensitive skin, without irritation”. Gentle as it is, I will restrain its use around the delicate eye area, giving them only light swipes occasionally. 

2. Superb in Cleansing Pores

Intuitively, we may think that a soft and gentle product may not be as effective in cleansing as compared to say, a Clarisonic brush or facial scrub. Well, I was surprised to note otherwise.

After the first use, my pores which usually feel clogged were free of debris. I could run my finger smoothly over the skin and not feel the roughness of whiteheads. And I like to think that I’m getting less frequent breakouts though I’m not sure if that’s a psychological effect! :) 

How to use a Konjac Sponge?

Depending on the brand, you may receive slightly different usage instructions. Generally speaking, you will wet the sponge till it’s soft. Then use it to massage your face in a circular motion, with or without a soap cleanser.

3. Dry Skin Patches gone in 3 days 

I’d written in my beauty diary of how the dry skin patches disappeared in 3 days after using Konjac Sponge. But now that I’m typing this, I find the earlier observation a bit unbelievable.

So, this is something that I need to verify again, when I get the chance to.

4. I could stand upright during cleansing

Using the Konjac sponge has an unexpected advantage of causing less dripping during a wash. With its strong absorbance, I can stand upright while massaging the foam over my face without wetting my shirt.

This isn’t the case when we wash our face with bare hands. As you can imagine, we often need to bend our upper body about 45-degree towards the basin.

5. Tear-drop shape works great 

Konjac sponge comes in different shapes. The one I’m using has a tear-drop shape, which works great in reaching narrow places such as under the eyes, corners of the nose, the temples and areas above the lips. 

Konjac Sponge Tear drop
Tear-drop shape Konjac Sponge (10-days old)

6. 100% Natural & Environmentally-Friendly

To those who care about the earth, you’ll be happy to know that a Konjac sponge is completely biodegradable. This means that it can disappear from the earth’s surface without causing pollution or harm to the environment, just like dead leaves and rotten logs.

How to prove the Konjac Sponge you buy is natural? Well, mine caused condensation on the inner side of the package when it was still sealed and unused. I’m not sure if this proves it’s a living thing and was breathing, but I like to think so.

 


What’s Not to Love about Konjac Sponge? 

1. New Washing Habits Required 

A new tool requires new habits. It took me a while to get used to massaging my face using one hand instead of two with the Konjac sponge. 

I also had to learn how to reach the peripheral of my face without wetting my hairlines. With the sponge, it’s harder to know when you’ve reached the edge of your face as compared to using fingers.

But the good news is that it took me just 3 days to get used to the new habits.

2. More Soap Cleanser needed per wash

If I follow Purito’s usage instruction, I would need to use more soap cleanser per wash. That’s because it guided users to deposit the soap on the wet sponge first, squeeze it to make bubbles before massaging on the face. 

Konjac Sponge how to use
How to use Konjac Sponge?

Since a sponge is very absorbent, I find that the cleanser were mostly trapped within it, and lesser of the product reaches the face. That is, it’s less foamy than what I was used to unless I use more cleanser.

Therefore, after a few tries, I decided to follow the general instruction instead. What I do is apply the cleanser as per normal on my face till it foams. Then use the Konjac sponge solely to massage.

3. Minimal Exfoliation Prowess

I believe the Konjac Sponge does exfoliate the skin. Well, it did cleanse the pores, didn’t it? However, if you are looking for a deeper level of exfoliation such as those that produces radiant skin, then Konjac Sponge is not the best tool.

So far, I did not notice visible removal of dead skin cells when using Konjac sponge. There could be microscopic removal though, just not enough to be noticed. For a more dramatic resurfacing, chemical peels or ablative laser treatment may work better.

> RELATED: How chemical peels create new-born skin within days 

4. Konjac Sponge requires maintenance

Now, this point is close to being a deal-breaker for me. Being a minimalist, a Konjac sponge requires more maintenance than what I was prepared for.

Firstly, a Konjac Sponge can take more than a day to dry completely. And that applies even in airy places. For hygiene purpose, I’ve forced myself to bring the sponge out of the bathroom on a daily basis, to hang it at the window with the best airflow. It’s quite a hassle.

Secondly, a sponge can be a breeding ground for bacterial, especially when it’s wet most of the time. Therefore, I have to soak it in hot water every few days to disinfect the sponge.

Troublesome as it may be, I still uphold the maintenance religiously as I like how the Konjac sponge cleanses my pores. But the next point could just be the deal breaker.

5. Lifespan is way too short

I was really happy with the sponge until about 10 days later, when I noticed a disintegrated sponge. It’s not a gradual process – the disintegration happened overnight. It was still in perfect shape one day, and then the next, it seemed like some lizards had consumed the sponge from within. 

I mean, Konjac or Konnyaku has been a food source for over 1,500 years, with my favourite being Konnyaku jelly. That’s why I thought that insects could be eating my jelly! LOL! 

Konjac Sponge last how long
10-day old Konjac Sponge

As such, I started bringing the sponge from the bathroom to a very “safe zone” that is free of any possible insects, but which meant an even longer walking distance. So, imagine I did that twice daily. And then of course, I have to bring it back to the bathroom when I need it. So that’s four trips a day to wash the face.

However, the efforts didn’t slow the disintegration process. In fact, the sponge started falling apart exponentially from Day 10. Bits of the sponge would fall out after every use. And the flimsy string is literally hanging by a thread. Therefore, it’s unlikely the work of insects or solely their work.

Konjac Sponge last how long
Hanging by the thread after 10 days

I googled a bit and found many lamenting about the short lifespan of Konjac Sponge. I just didn’t expect it to be this short especially for a sponge that are charged about $20 by many retailers. Despite it falling apart quickly after the 10th day, I tried to maximize its usage.

Right now, I’m in the third week and believe I have stretched it to the maximum as I struggled with every use. At this point, it feels like a melting sponge and I think it’s no longer as effective. 

Purito Konjac Sponge
See the fallen pieces on my fingers?
Purito Konjac Sponge
Dried up form – 10-day old

 


Recommendations: Should you try a Konjac Sponge? 

Although the Konjac Sponge has a short lifespan and requires maintenance, I think it works wonder for those with constantly clogged pores. I would not mind paying $10 to have one by my side, but would likely not pay anything above that for something that lasts only weeks.

It is also likely that I would go on to try a budget range Konjac sponge, just to see if it has the same quality and effectiveness. If it doesn’t, I would go back to a branded sponge, but would likely use it less frequently than my current twice-daily usage. Hopefully, this would extend it’s lifespan and stretch the dollars better.

If you have pimple-prone skin or one that clogs easily like mine, you may consider trying this out to see if it helps your skin. Rating: 4/5   

To find out the latest price on Amazon, click HERE

 

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