Konjac sponges are beginning to take the skincare world by storm. But do you need one? Before deciding if you should be using a konjac sponge, you might be wondering: what even is it? Andy Bosselman, who founded skincare company Arithmetic with the goal of helping adults with acne, clued me in on this all-natural sponge: "It's actually the root of a plant," he explains via email. It's a Japanese konyaku root, to be specific, which is delicious, BTW, in addition to being good for the skin.
These root-sponges, which can be paired with your favorite cleanser, act as gentle exfoliators to help buff away dry and dead skin to reveal a softer, more radiant complexion. Think of it like a loofah — only better. And even though we know exfoliation is important to keep skin looking clear and prevent signs of aging, Bosselman says that the type of exfoliants we use is also important: "When we get into our 20s, our skin becomes thinner and drier. Other methods of exfoliating, like microbeads and electronic brushes, can be too much. This tool is really gentle, but it does a great job of exfoliating."
Konjac sponges are so gentle, in fact, that they can be used on the face and body of every skin type, every day. But if you're not into daily exfoliation, Bosselman suggests that using one of these sponges just two to three days per week will get the job done. Just make sure to replace your Konjac sponge every one to three months, or when it begins to noticeably deteriorate.
Konjac Exfoliating Sponge, $20, arithmeticproducts.com
So how do you choose what type of Konjac sponge to use? If you've seen these little exfoliators around, you might know that they come in a variety of colors. And those colors aren't just for aesthetics. Each color represents a different type of infusion to target various concerns. White Konjac sponges are generally pure root-fibers that are super gentle and will help balance the skin's pH. Green Konjac sponges are usually infused with a clay to target combination/oily skin and draw out impurities to keep the complexion clear. Red Konjac sponges are commonly infused with a clay to target dry skin that helps clear out pores and hydrate the skin. Black Konjac sponges are generally infused with charcoal to target congested or acne-prone skin and draw out impurities and detoxify pores. While the implications of these colors are fairly consistent across different brands that sell Konjac sponges, make sure the one you choose is made in Japan or Korea. Because the konyaku plant is Asian-cultivated, a more authentic and effective sponge will be made from the roots grown in one of these two countries.
boscia Konjac Sponge Mini Trio, $16, sephora.com
And if you're wondering whether they actually work, I tried out the black Konjac Exfoliating Sponge from Arithmetic. As someone with congested and acne-prone skin, let me just say that, even though the sponge does not directly target acne, it can still help control it. After just one use, my skin felt oh-so soft. And after two uses, I noticed some new breakouts. I know, I know; a product that makes you "break out" probably sounds a little counterproductive. But as an expert from skincare brand Murad, which has products that target a variety of skin concerns including acne, previously informed Bustle, when toxins are cleared from the skin (like the Konjac Exfoliating Sponge is designed to do), sometimes the skin goes through a "purging" phase. This means that new pimples or whiteheads that form after introducing a new skincare product could just be a sign that impurities are working their way out of your skin. In other words, Konjac sponges really can help detoxify pores and clear the skin. And yeah, after a couple of weeks, my skin was looking (and feeling) pretty good, if I do say so myself.
So whether your skin needs a detox, or just a gentler way to exfoliate, the answer is yes: You should definitely be using a Konjac sponge. Interested? You can find them online at retailers like Arithmetic or The Japanese Konjac Sponge, and online or in-stores at retailers like Sephora or Ulta.
Images: Courtesy of Arithmetic