Skin Cleansing with The Konjac Sponge

Several people have asked me for my take on these 'new' sponges for face care.


All right, you can stop giggling now. I know it's been a while since the konjac sponge hit the market. In my defense, there are quite a few questions that make their way to my to-do list. It's unfortunately pretty rare that a question can be answered by merely dashing off a few lines of text.

So basically, this is all your fault. If you didn't ask me so many interesting, intelligent and inspiring questions, I could have answered this ages ago.

Now let's have a look at this rather unusual little beauty product and see what it has to offer.

A Konjac Sponge isn't 'Born' that Way 

Konjac sponges are manufactured. The process includes mixing konjac glucomannan fibers with calcium hydroxide and water, pouring the mixture into molds and letting the 'sponges' harden.

The sponges are stiff and hard when dry. Manufacturers recommend wetting the product throughly before use, rinsing it thoroughly after use, storing it dry, and replacing every 2-3 months.

Science Says

There are a lot of studies on konjac glucomannan, but that's because it has some pretty useful gelling properties as well as a history of internal use.

The 'sponges' have been on the market for about 25 years, but there hasn't been a lot of scientific study on them. I did manage to find a single study indicating that konjac glucomannan – used topically – could possibly be beneficial for acne.

Maybe this little beauty care product does has something extra to offer in the way of skin care. We'll have to see if there are any additional studies published in the coming years.

LisaLise on the Konjac Sponge

Even though they all look pretty identical to me, these sponges are offered in a wide range of prices - seemingly depending on the shop. I chose one in the lower price range for this test. I've been diligent about using and storing the sponge as described and have happily not experienced any mouldiness or funky odors. The pic above is my sponge after 5 weeks of use.

The texture (when softened) is quite pleasant on the skin. I have tried the sponge solo (with only water), with cleansing gel, and with a combo of cleansing gel with my flowers-dirt-and-food powder face mixes. It seems to perform best with both gel and powder.

Could I feel any difference on my skin? I can only go so far as to say maybe.

Will I buy another one? Most probably - but mostly because I simply prefer the size and feel better than regular facial sponges.

Do Tell

Have you used the konjac sponge? What were your impressions?

More Konjac

Konjac used topically for acne
Konjac production process at Yamamoto Farm
Calcium Hydroxide (Wikipedia)


María said…
I tried them also a long time ago. They are indeed quite nice with skin, but I find they are not long lasting. After a couple of months mine became mouldy (well, this is Scotland), and also begun to degrade after this time.
Only because of this, for the sake of the "recyclability" and "reusability" I haven't bought them again. I prefer the fabric pads that I can wash and wash over and over again, and they work with all kind of cleansers, from micellar waters to clay masks.
LisaLise said…
HI María - I think the Scottish weather is quite comparable to the Danish. I am very lucky to live in a place with heated tile floors in the bathroom – an ideal situation for drying out konjac sponges! My little routine after use is to press the sponge between 2 towels to remove excess moisture, then leave the sponge to dry on the heated floor. :)
María said…
Hi Lise.
I normally left them hanging on a towel on the radiator, but anyway, after 2 months or so they begun to look degraded (and mouldy), and this degradability is the reason why i haven't used them again.
But, as all this kind of things, this is a matter of personal taste.
LisaLise said…
absolutely agree. I changed this one shortly after writing about it -- not because of mold or odor, but because I just had to try a different color! :)
Denice said…
I use one, (which we also sell). Iquite like it but couldnt actually say it makes a difference to my skin! I like that its a bit more eco friendly than cotton pads. Ive only used the 'plain' one with my own cleanser so would quite like to try one of the coloured ones.
I did wonder if they would need a Cosmetic Safety Assessment and registering on CPNP once the clays, charcoal etc have been added - surely something with charcoal to use on ones face would be considered a cosmetic product. What do you think?
Denice said…
Forgot to say - i live in the west if Scotland and no problem with mould!
Olivia J said…
I never tried these sponges but I have eaten the gelatinous konjac or konnyaku as a little girl in Japan. I couldn't stand the food and I think this is the reason why I avoid them for skin care! LOL
Kinda reminds me of the loofah sponge, not really similar since loofah actually becomes the sponge while konjac sponge has to be mixed. If it didn't have to be mixed, I think I would grow them in the backyard like the overabundance of loofah sponges I had way back!
LisaLise said…
Hi Denice- I couldn't feel any difference between the charcoal one and the following pink one I am using at the moment. I have also bought an uncolored/plain one that will be my next one. As for the addition of clays making it a cosmetic product, isn't it already considered a cosmetic product as it is a manufactured item? There was an INCI ingredients list on the 2 I bought...

Olivia - I can imagine konjac not being a very nice thing to consume... I am not the biggest fan of 'slimy-gel-like' food (read: snails is something I wont ever eat). I much prefer using it as a sponge or a gelling agent in a product for topical use. :)