Monday, June 9, 2014

Natural Acne Control: Konjac Sponges Review

You guys know I'm all about finding natural remedies that promote beautiful and healthy skin (click here if you missed my skin care routine).  I'm always going on and on about how great organic honey has been for my skin (click here if you missed that), or how my own mix of organic oils actually helped to make my skin less oily. So when I heard about the natural konjac sponge, I had to give it a try.

What it is:
Konjac Sponges are made from the natural vegetable fibers of the Konjac Potato, a perennial plant native to Asia. The Konjac Potoato (also known as the Konnyaku)  is a a natural food source that is 97% water. 
The sponge is:
  • 100% Natural
  • Coloring & Additive Free
  • Biodegradable
  • Vegan Friendly & Naturally Sustainable.

What it's supposed to do:
  • Naturally moisturizes skin
  • Gently exfoliates to reveal refreshed and glowing skin
  • Stimulates blood flow
  • Promotes cell growth
  • Balances the pH of your skin (by being naturally alkaline, balancing the acidity of the skin and its oils).
Konjac Sponges can also be purchased with various naturals additives infused to benefit your specific skin type. I chose to try two different brands of Konjac Sponges that are both infused with Bamboo Charcoal for oily and acne prone skin. The addition of the bamboo charcoal is supposed to act as an anti bacterial and anti microbial agent to eliminate blackheads, and to  help absorb excess oil toxins and other harmful substances from the skin. 

I checked the reviews and found two konjac sponges that other customers highly recommended. I couldn't decide between the two so I  purchased both the Leonie Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge and  My Konjac Sponge All Natural Fiber Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge. I figured I'd give them both a try and see if there were any major differences between the two.

I decided to start with the Leonie Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge.  It felt damp and slightly slimy out of the package.  It came with a simple colorful instruction booklet that showed how to use and maintain the sponge, as well as an offer for a 50% off coupon for you next purchase.

After running it under water and allowing it to absorb thoroughly, the slimy feeling of the sponge dissipated. Though the sponge is advertised as natural and gentle, I was afraid of how it would affect my skin, so I tried it one night after removing my makeup in place of my clarisonic brush. I only scrubbed my hairline, the sides of my nose, around my mouth and my chin. (Note* I chose to focus on these areas because they appeared to have very tiny bumps filled with sebum that I have never been able to extract.)  The sponge felt very soft and gentle, and I wondered if such a soft textured sponge could actually exfoliate as it claimed. I woke up the next morning itching in all of the areas that I had scrubbed, ESPECIALLY on the sides of my nose. My skin looked fine, no breakouts or issues, but the itching made me wonder if I had over done it. Then I remembered that this little sponge was supposed to increase blood flow.  Hmmm... maybe it was working after all?

I waited two days and used it again at night after removing my makeup. With a little Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover, I scrubbed my entire face. I woke up the next day with no itching and no breakouts.  My skin felt soft, but nothing exceptional. Since I use a clarisonic brush and exfoliate with baking soda pretty often, my skin usually feels soft.  I continued to use this sponge for a few days, and that's when I noticed what was happening, those areas around my hairline, nose, lips, and chin that had the tiny little bumps were starting to come to a head. Not all at once, but some nights I would notice a black head (which I rarely get) or a few tiny white heads in those areas. I was able to grab my extractor, and push out the oil easily. I know it sounds bad, but that's when I realized the sponge was working!

I decided to try My Konjac Sponge All Natural Fiber Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge next.  This sponge was hard and dry out of the package, almost like a light pumice stone. Instructions for use were on the back of the packaging.

My Konjac Sponge became soft and large once soaked in water.  I liked the feel of this sponge on my face. It was gentle just like the  Leonie Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge, but it seemed to have a bit more texture so I felt like it was exfoliating more.

My face may have been conditioned to using Konjac Sponges after using the first sponge for a week, so this sponge did not make me itch at all. My face felt noticeably softer after using it for a few days.

When you compare the sponges side by side you'll see that My Konjac Sponge All Natural Fiber Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge  is slightly larger. They have the same teardrop shape which makes it easy to use the pointed end around the mouth and on the sides of the nose.

Left:  Leonie Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge
Right: My Konjac Sponge All Natural Fiber Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge

After using a konjac sponge you are to squeeze the water out gently between your two hands. Avoid wringing, because it lessens the life of the sponge.  Both of these sponges have attached strings for hang drying.

I am using the sponges interchangeably now. I like to use a sponge in the morning when I am washing my face with honey, or in the evening to make sure I have removed all traces of makeup before starting my nightly routine.  I feel continued use of the sponges are breaking up the clogged pores around my mouth, nose, chin, and hairline. This is not a pretty process, but it makes me happy because once the sebum is extracted from the pore, my skins texture becomes smoother and my pores look smaller.

Here is an area of my face that has fine bumps/clogged pores. With continued use of the sponges, the bumps are starting to come to a head. Yes, it's gross and maybe TMI, but I wanted you guys to see how the oil is starting to come to the surface.

 I've read a few reviews where people said to clean their Konjac Sponges, once a week they microwave them for a few seconds. I chose to boil mine for a minute or so on each side.  I have no idea if this lessens the life of the sponge, but I don't care; it makes me feel better about it being free of germs and bacteria!

I am going to continue to use a Konjac Sponge as part of my daily fight against acne routine; and plan on repurchasing when they show signs of wear. Both give good exfoliation. If you think you will like a smaller sponge that's easier to manipulate, and a bit smoother in texture, go with the Leonie Konjac Sponge.  If you like a large sponge with a a bit more texture then go with the My Konjac Sponge.

Have you tried another brand of Konjac Sponge? Comment Below.

Thanks for reading!

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Graphics by Vernell Art & Design

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