Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Behind the scenes: the konjac sponge company
I started using Konjac company sponges pretty much as soon as they launched, I have tried a different brand before and did not enjoy them as much. Despite the fact that I have been using them on and of for ages (has it been 4 years now, or more?) it wasn't untill this winter gone that they have become a more prominent part of my routine.
Simple reason is the event that that Konjac company held last summer, where as a bonus I got to meet lovely Mayah from Call it Vanity. I liked the sponges already and I though I already new everything there was to know about them, obviously I was wrong.
Let us start from the begining.
Konjac sponges are made from the edible Konjac root, that has been ground into powder.
The powder itself looks very smooth, but feels a little gritty to the touch ( looks like normal flour, yet doesn't feel as smooth). It actually is food grade Konjac flour, however I wouldn't advse eating your sponge.The sponges are made on the Island of Jeju, and all the water used in production is filtered through volcanic rock.
Here is the production process in full detail:
1. Prepare refind konjac powder and Jeju pure water.
2. Mix specially processed refind Konjac powder with drinking grade of pure water using a stirrer.
3. After mixing them by stirrer the materials become jelly form.
4.Put the jelly form into plastic molds and then put them in to the mature room at room temperature for 24 hours.
5.After maturing process, sort out any faulty shape products by QC team. And then put those molds in a steamer.
6.Cooling those jelly forms of product at room temperature after the steam process.
7. Place them into a freezer for freezing for more than 3 days. Repeat freezing and de-freezing process for many days to get natural form of Konjac puffs or sponges. And then cleaning the sponges using water and spinner.
8, Dehydrate these products in a dryer for more than 36 hours. After the dry process, the sponges turn into completely dry types of Konjac sponges. Check any faulty products by QC after the dry process.
9. For dry type sponges, go to #10 packing process. In case of wet type sponges, do the wet type process with antibacterial liquid and then dry the sponges using spinner. In case of new dry types, wet the dry sponges with water and then place them into a Freeze-dryer machine for 24 hours.
10. Processing the hot seal packing or shrink wrap packing while checking any faulty products by QC team.
11. Place the individually packed sponges into inner boxes and cartons.
The range of products consists of facial, body and baby sponges. Baby sponges are made from pure Konjac without any clay additives, and the slim round sponge can also be used for makeup application.
One of the face sponges is also pure konjac, the rest have different clays added to benefit specific skin types, and there is a bamboo charcoal variety for oily and spot prone skin. At the time of the event the most popular type of sponge in UK was the pink clay for sensitive skin, and it is the one I also prefer. Yet in Spain the most popular variety was the french green clay for combination skin. Now I do wonder, are there more people with sensitive skin in UK? Maybe it has something to do with the climate.
Using the sponge is pretty straight forward. You drench it in water, making sure that it is fully hydrated, gently squeeze the water out and rinse it. Squeeze out excess water and massage the skin in small circular movements with the damp sponge. Let your skin air dry, like you would after using a toner (or if you are using a face oil, take advantage of slightly damp skin). You don't need to use a cleanser with the sponge, but it really comes down to personal choice.
The ridge of the sponge can be used for gentle exfoliation of the eye area, so for people that get milia this is a really good option, since the way to get rid of milia is with exfoliation, but you can't really use exfoliators on your eye area. You have to be very gentle and make sure not to rub hard, personally I prefer to use the plain version of the sponge for this, as my eyes are super sensitive.
After you are done cleansing, rinse the sponge, squeeze out the excess water and hang it up somewhere it can air dry (preferably not the bathroom, especially if your bathroom does not have windows). You need to let your sponge dry after each use to keep it in good condition. Sponges should be replaced every 3 months or as soon as they start to tear up. They are completely biodegradable including the string, so chuck it in the compost or take it out with your food waist when you can no longer use it.
The wave body sponges act exactly the same, however they do not have a string (they are bigger, because of that the weight of the sponge and the string simply did not work together). So between uses you can pop it on a bamboo type soap saver, that way air can get to the bottom of your sponge.
The konjac sports sponge, is smaller than the wave sponges and comes with a travel pouch. This product is slightly different to the others as it is dry-frozen, and feels completely solid to the touch.
How I use my sponge:
I have tried all the facial sponges apart from the red clay one, and at the moment the pink clay feels more appropriate (however their was a point when I thought that the bamboo charcoal was the best). In the past I used to use it a couple of times a week as a gentle exfoliator, and it does work well in that capacity. However the best results I have noticed were this winter, when I started to use my sponge daily, my skin feels smoother, and the pesky hormonal break outs on the jaw line seem to be a problem of the past. I do get complacent and flake on my routine, and that is how I know that the sponge is largely responsible for my skin looking better.
I do use it with a cleanser a couple of times a week ( May Lindstrom honey mud), but the rest of the time I use it on its own. I very rarely use it twice a day, even though the sponge is not abrasive and won't damage the lower layers of skin, it is still not good to overexfoliate. Using the sponge actually helps your other face products work better, but once a day is all your skin needs.
When I am done I hang it up on the wash line, and it really helps to preserve my sponge. It still looks like new, but it is probably time to replace it. Good job I have a little stash of them from goodie boxes.
The sponge that I have been using lately was a PR sample from the event, but I have purchased them on numerous occasions myself. As usual the review is my own opinion.