While not exactly ‘breaking news’, the konjac sponge is still new enough to be making waves (or ripples?) amongst those who, like me, are a little bit obsessed with cleansing.
I bought my Konjac sponge a while back from Victoria Health, partly because I’ve been wanting to try it and partly because I was desperate to get my hands on that June NUDE Skincare giveaway.
The Konjac is made of 100% natural vegetable fibre (the vegetable is called ‘Konjac’ hence the name…see?….aaaaah.). It boasts cleansing, gentle exfoliating and moisturising properties, which is pretty ambitious for a sponge. The fibre has a weak alkalising effect, which works like a gentle cleanser, so if you really want to, you can use it on its own. I was dubious but when Gill of Victoria Health says something is amazing, I usually listen.
It is a non-descript looking thing. And alarmingly, when I removed it from its packaging it was rock hard. The sort of hardness that could knock a nail into the wall. The instructions make very clear that it should be completely soft before use each time. The first time I wet it, it took ages to soften. Fortunately, it dries slowly and never had time to dry out completely between uses. I think you’d have to leave it a good few days before it went rock hard again.
When squishy, the sponge is a little bit disconcerting. Have you ever picked up a handful of seaweed, mashed it into a small (sponge-shaped) ball and squeezed it in the palm of your hand? It feels like that. Sort of oozy and squelchy and somehow rubbery, like it’s somehow tougher than it looks.
Now that I’ve made it sound really horrible, I’m going to tell you that it feels amazing on the skin; really silky and surprisingly soft – I can see why it’s recommended for sensitive skin. I tried it all kinds of ways: to remove cream cleanser, to apply and remove foaming cleanser, and on its own. You need to have a bit of patience because the Konjac sponge is not as quick as a muslin cloth or face flannel. It does eventually remove cleanser (and creates a lovely soft lather when using a foaming wash) but it’s a little time consuming and you need to keep rinsing it. The ‘can’t-stop-touching-my-face’ softness that resulted was well worth it though.
However, on balance, I think I prefer the Konjac ‘neat’. I.e. on its own. You can work it around for as long as you like, there’s no need for foaming washes, which I do find drying, and I can save a bit of my precious Liz Earle cleanser for when I want a longer, more indulgent cleanse. Used alone, Konjac is the perfect A.M cleanse. When my skin is dry and sensitive, there’s no advantage in using copious products or doing a really intensive cleanse first thing. It just strips the skin and winds it up. So a gentle massage with a damp Konjac sponge is perfect: it refreshes and wakes up my skin, leaving it soft and clear. I’m not going to give up my richer cream cleansers and oils because I love the smell and the ritual of using them too much. But I will hang onto the Konjac for my morning routine.
Significantly, the Konjac is really exceptionally good value. While mine is only 2 weeks into its lifespan, my instructions indicate it could live up to two months before bits start dropping off it and it needs to be ‘retired’. Retailing at only £12, that’s not bad ‘cost per use’ particularly since I don’t always need to use a cleanser every time and am making a saving there too. Assuming I take good care of it – no rough handling, wringing, excessive squeezing, drop-kicking, over-arm throwing or other such rough-housing – it has every chance of making it to it’s 2 month anniversary. And I’m going to stop there because it’s starting to read a bit like I’m talking about a cherished pet. And I’m not THAT attached to it. Yet.
The Konjac Sponge, £12, available from Victoria Health
If you’ve got oily or blemish-prone skin, try the Charcoal Konjac. It’s written up in slightly more confrontational language and it’s claimed it eliminates blackheads, removes dirt and oil and kills spot-causing bacteria. Ninja Konjac!