On my last blog I invited you to try tea differently. And that’s what I personally did by purchasing a green tea Konjac sponge to try and upscale my self care routine.
What is a Konjac sponge?
Let’s start with what Konjac actually is.
Konjac is an Asian root vegetable – similar to a potato. The Konjac potato is a perennial plant native to Asia. This natural food source grows wild at very high altitudes and is rich in mineral goodness. The plant’s natural alkaline leaves skin perfectly balanced.
It’s packed with super soluble dietary fibers thanks to glucomannan – one of its components.
That name may sound familiar to some. In the food industry it is used as a thickening/texturizing agent and it is one of the main ingredients in those low calorie noodles (shirataki).
A little bit of history
Gunma Prefecture – located in Japan – has been renowned for konjac cultivation since ancient times (over 1500 years). This is partly because the prefecture is inland and mountainous, making it ideal for growing konjac.
In the past, families grew their own konjac potatoes and processed them by hand. Uneaten konjac was repeatedly frozen and dried by hanging it outside for a few days during the harsh winter season.
After this process, only konjac fibers remained, which could be used as sponges. In a time when clothing was not gentle, parents wanted to wash their newborn children comfortably and safely. The konjac sponge was born from such parental love.
However, as konjac sponges grew in popularity, inferior, mass-produced products containing chemical preservatives and petroleum derived additives appeared on the market. So one has to make sure that they come from a reliable source.
Authentic and pure konjac is free from dyes, chemicals, additives and irritants.
How is the sponge made?
The Glucomannan is extracted from the konjac and turned into a powder
Konjac powder is mixed with calcium hydroxide in cold water and mixed thoroughly.
The mixed ingredients are poured into a mold.
Molded konjac are lined up on large racks and left to solidify.
They are left to simmer on the racks for several hours until fully hardened (alkali heat solidification) which makes the konjac edible.
Cool down in a water tank.
Freeze dried to get rid of the water content.
Thawed and placed in a drying room before inspected, packaged and sold to customers like me!
The following is a list of the properties of konjac sponges and many reasons why we wanted to try it out
• Gently Exfoliates to remove dead skin cells
• Deeply Cleanses Skin and Eye Area thanks to its alkalinity
• Refines Pores
• Ideal for easily irritated, hypersensitive skin
• Prepares the skin for make-up
• Leaves skin radiant and rejuvenated
• Works with or without cleanser
Konjac sponges are available in a variety of colours with different active ingredients such as charcoal, kaolin clay, turmeric and rose.
Not so surprising, the one that got our attention is the one with green tea in it. The delicately scented green tea puff is made by adding powdered green tea to the sponge.
In the beauty world, it is said that green tea extract – a supplement derived from camellia sinensis plant – has a sterilizing effect, and facilitates beautiful skin with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
My personal experience
I had never used this sponge before so I had to find instructions on how to use it.
First, you have to wet the sponge with warm water and gently squeeze it to let the water in and get the excess out. Make sure you have enough water because if you don’t, it will dry while using it on your face. You should not use your sponge if it is still hard.
Apply to face in circles, on clean skin, without scrubbing.
Immediately after my first session, I was not too sure what to think about it.
Its texture was some kind of gel-like and my face ended up feeling weird and slimy. I decided to give it another try the day after.
The slimy feeling was replaced by a refreshing sensation that felt so good, especially during this dry winter season. My skin felt nice and soft.
What I liked about it
Shape – Its round shape holds very well in the hand which make it easy to maneuver on every area of your face.
Compostable – 100% natural and biodegradable
Colouring and additive free
Certified Vegan & Cruelty Free
Free from chemicals and irritants
Silky soft when wet
Suitable for daily use
Fully sustainable and ethically produced
How to care for your sponge
Like anything else, if you want to keep your sponge you need to take care of it. The better care you give the longer it lasts. Another win for sustainability. This sponge can last up to 3 months!
Rinse your sponge after use to remove dirt.
Drain it by pressing the sponge with your palms – do not twist or squeeze your sponge.
Make sure that it is fully air dried out between uses. Do not keep the konjac sponge in the shower but rather in a cool, dry place. The absence of additives makes it vulnerable to molds forming.
Do not use in conjunction with any other products like bath salts or detergents containing enzymes.
I have been using my sponge for a couple of weeks now and have been very pleased with the results. This is a game changer for anyone wanting to live more sustainably and reduce chemicals from their beauty routine.
I am now more than ever interested in visiting a konjac farm in Japan when we are able to travel again.
Where to get your own
Want to try it for yourself? You can try the same green tea infused konjac sponge I use HERE.
If you’d prefer to source one yourself, just make sure you do your research to ensure the sponge you’re getting is from a reputable source. There are imitations out there, and they may not be 100% natural.
Sarah + Chris
Have you tried a konjac sponge before? Let us know in the comments below.