By now, you’ve probably heard of a konjac sponge—or, at the very least, seen one on your Instagram feed or in the aisles of Sephora. The squishy, teardrop-shaped sponge has been hailed as a game-changing skincare tool over the last few years, especially for anyone with sensitive skin, but...why? What is it, exactly? What does it do? And most importantly, how does one use it?
Well, good news: Today’s the day you find out and revolutionize your beauty game. Because I’m breaking down every possible thing you’ve ever wanted to know about your skin’s new BFF, so you can get ultra-smooth, bright skin (spoiler: that’s a thing konjac sponges do for you!) fast, without spending a ton of money.
What Is a Konjac Sponge?
Despite its name, it’s not at all like the sponge you keep on your kitchen sink. It’s a sponge that’s made from the root of a konjac plant (a porous vegetable that grows in Asia), which is why it feels almost rubbery once it gets wet. It’s 100-percent natural and plant-based.
What Does It Do?
Konjac sponges don’t have any magical ingredients that turn your skin into a shiny little pearl, but that’s not really the point of them—they’re meant to be used as an incredibly gentle exfoliator that’s safe on virtually all skin types (though anyone with rosacea or perioral dermatitis should still consult their dermatologist, first).
“I’m kind of obsessed with them—they’re so soft,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor at Yale University. “It’s hard to find an exfoliant that’s not even somewhat irritating, but these sponges are honestly gentle.” They work to slough off dry patches and flakes, leaving your skin brighter, softer, and smoother, without feeling the least bit raw.
How Do You Use It?
Some konjac sponges come packaged in moist little packets (you may even see condensation on the inside of the plastic, which is totally normal), which means they’ll be ready to use as soon as you rip off the seal. If your Konjac sponge is dry and hard, though, soak the sponge for 5–10 minutes until it expands and fully softens, then squeeze out the excess water right before you use it.
Once your sponge is ready, drizzle face wash over the sponge and gently massage your face in circular motions until your skin is clean and your makeup is removed. If you don’t like the idea of really buffing your cleanser into your skin, you can always rub it over your damp skin after cleansing it to pick up excess skin cells. Then rinse out the sponge and hang it (or stand it up) to air-dry over night.
How Long Do They Last?
Even though some of konjac sponges are antibacterial, meaning they won’t grow a bunch of nasty germs while you sleep, all of them still need to be replaced after a month just to be safe. I mean, you are rubbing a moist plant over your dirty face every night, so you’ve got to expect some limitations.
Which Color Konjac Sponges Should I Use?
Any! Though the classic konjac sponge is dark-gray or black and is infused with charcoal, don’t expect it to work like a classic charcoal skincare product. “Any of the additional ingredients, like charcoal or clay, aren’t touching your face long enough for them to have any effect on your skin,” says Dr. Gohara.
Which means that even though, technically, different-colored konjac sponges are said to be infused with skin-specific clays (like green clay for oily skin, pink clay for sensitive skin, etc.), they’ll all do the exact same thing to your skin when you use them. So don’t get too hung up on the differences, and instead just grab a sponge and test it out. Your skin will thank you for it (or, at the very least, not hate you for scrubbing it raw).