I started using a facial cleansing sponge — and now I’ll never go back to my old skincare routine

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Do facial cleansing sponges really work? I put them to the test.
Do facial cleansing sponges really work? I put them to the test.

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The last time I had a solid skincare routine was at the beginning of my 20s when I worked at Sephora. When you’re forced to learn about the importance of maintaining glowing skin and which products will keep things matte, tight, firm and supple – you can’t help but take your skin seriously.

Following a rigid skincare regimen was a regular part of my repertoire for years, but as I came into my 30s, the thought of scrubbing vigorously and slapping on more than one product felt like too much work. Slowly but surely, I stopped replacing high-quality products that ran out, and I eventually dwindled the process down to a simple cleanser and moisturizer, often leaning on whatever was on sale at the time I had to make a purchase.

It wasn’t until I recently began spending more time at home that I started to think more about the well-being of my skin. After all, I had more time than usual to consider self-care and my health, so why not use it to slap more products on my face?

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I reintroduced a routine that included cleanser, toner, and a moisturizer that wasn’t made for a teenager, and honestly, I instantly felt better about the state of my skin. It’s almost like I could feel it soaking up the goodness I had deprived it of for so long. Soon enough, I actually began to look forward to washing away the day with my all-star line of products.

To my surprise, my partner was ready to embrace my skincare routine, too. So much so that we began to share my products, and I have to say, it’s become a pretty adorable part of getting ready for bed together. His enthusiasm led him down an Amazon wormhole, and one day he introduced two new products of his own into our regime — facial cleansing sponges.

At first, I was very skeptical, but I also desperately needed an option for exfoliating, so maybe he was on to something? The two options included a Compressed Facial Sponge by Greenet ($35) and the Beauty By Earth Konjac Sponge ($15) — which are both available on Amazon.

Up until this point, facial sponges were not on my radar and felt like an unnecessary step for an already complex skincare process, but I was willing to be proven wrong.

What is a facial cleansing sponge?

There are several types of facial cleansing sponges available on the market. After doing my own bit of research, it would appear that the two my partner selected are the most common.

Greenet Compressed Facial Sponge

Greenet Compressed Facial Sponge (Photo via Greenet)
Greenet Compressed Facial Sponge (Photo via Greenet)

SHOP IT: Amazon, $34

The Greenet sponges are made from 100% cellulose, making them natural, eco-friendly and biodegradable. They come in a box of 60 compressed sheets, so they are super convenient for travel or simply tossing in your makeup bag for when you need them. There are two styles included in the box that provide different textures and density, giving you the option to switch up your routine depending on your needs. The product description suggests you could use one for your face and one for your body, and most reviewers recommend cutting the sponges in half if using them for the face as the full size can feel a bit overpowering. Personally, I love the coverage, but I would also be open to cutting them in half to see if it makes a difference and if it could potentially prolong the life of the product.

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Beauty By Earth Konjac Sponges

Konjac Facial Sponge by Beauty By Earth (Photo via Beauty By Earth)
Konjac Facial Sponge by Beauty By Earth (Photo via Beauty By Earth)

SHOP IT: Amazon, $15

Beauty By Earth offers a biodegradable sponge made from the Japanese konjac plant, and it doesn’t include any artificial dyes or random materials you would find in many conventional sponges. They come pre-expanded and are attached by a string so you can easily hang it to dry when you’re done using them. Although I was intrigued by the shape and concept of this sponge, I wasn’t sold on it right away. It felt rougher to the touch, and I didn’t immediately trust the benefit of rubbing this otherwise strange object against my skin. But time would prove it is just as worthy as its softer and more versatile counterpart.

How facial sponges work

In both cases, simply soak the facial sponges in water to allow them to soften or expand and add your favourite cleaners on top before you get to scrubbing. Due to the texture of the sponges, it’s best to use gentle cleansers like gel, cream or foam. Exfoliating scrubs will double down on abrasion, and you may run the risk of being too rough with your skin, especially if you have skin sensitivities to consider. The compressed facial sponges are soft and feel more like foam, whereas the konjac sponges stay somewhat firm and feel like an exfoliator while you cleanse. With this in mind, it’s best to limit your use of the konjac sponge to once or twice a week. I have the luxury of managing normal skin, so I often push it to two uses per week. When you’re done, place your sponge in an area when it can dry evenly.

In terms of when you should replace your sponges, the general rule of thumb is every four weeks. But keep in mind that this all depends on how often you use them. If you’re an everyday sponger, switching them out after three weeks is probably best. If you are only using them once or twice a week, you might be able to stretch the lifespan to five weeks.

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The verdict

I have to admit – I’m already kind of obsessed with the compressed sponges. They are so soft, and I kind of feel like I am cleaning my face with a mini cloud. That said, I am not entirely convinced yet if they are providing a deeper clean or clearing away dirt, makeup, and oil from my skin more efficiently than when I was scrubbing with my hands.

However, the konjac sponges really put the work in. Due to its more aggressive texture, they really do the dirty work — and there is a visible freshness after each use that lets me know a deep cleaning just took place. That said, I try my best to limit my use, so I don’t scrub away some of the healthy oils my face needs to maintain the illusion that I am not steadily pushing towards my mid-30s.

Overall, both of these cleansing sponge options are very easy to use, long-lasting, eco-friendly, and overall, a fun experience. I am happy to report that thanks to my partners’ interest in my skincare routine, both of these sponges will happily become a part of my regular repertoire.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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