Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Konjac Sponge - an eco-friendly exfoliant?


I was scrolling through the ecouterre website the other day when I came across an article about the environmental impact of plastic microbeads that make up exfoliants. Apparently the scrubbing beads are so small they float their way out of the sewer treatment centers and deposit themselves in the waterways. These tiny plastic particles are then mistaken for food by the local fauna which can lead to bioaccumulation and magnification through the food chain... troubling.

Even more troubling, was I contributing to this environmental disaster?

I slowly made my way to the bathroom, knowing full well what I would find in my favorite exfoliant... plastic microbeads. Yep, Guilty.

Thankfully the world wide web is stock full of helpful alternatives:
- Salt scrubs
- Sugar scrubs
- Walnut scrubs
- and Konjac Sponges

What is a Konjac sponge? Great question, I asked myself the same thing when I came across it in Real Simple. It comes from a plant that grows in mountainous regions of Asia, particularly Japan and Korea. Apparently, Konjac root has been part of the Japanese diet for over 1500 years and for the last couple century it has been transformed into a gentle exfoliating sponge. It is sometimes combined with red clay and charcoal for additional properties.


The process is simple. Let the sponge soak up water until it is fluffy, squeeze out the excess water, and then gently scrub the dead skin cells and left over sun block from your face. It be used solely with water or with your favorite face wash. This gentle exfoliant is 100% biodegradable to boot! It is recommended to change your sponge every 3 months, so I'll be testing it's biodegradability then. 

There are many brands of Konjac sponges but I gave the Dew Puff Original a try. It was $7 on amazon, you can find the exact link under the Whozits and Whatzits tab. The first one I ordered started to mold within the first week so I sent it back to amazon. I got a new one within two days and the shipping was free. It is important to let the sponge dry out between uses meaning, in my case, that I can only use it once a day. I installed a little hook on the wall for it to hang and dry. So far so good, I have been using it for 3 weeks and my skin feels clean and smooth. It is really easy to use and definitely speeds up my morning routine quite a bit. It is also much easier than making the facial scrubs. 

Take care!

----------------------------------------
Sources:

Microbeads:
http://www.ecouterre.com/plastic-microbeads-from-beauty-products-are-polluting-waterways/
http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes
http://time.com/2917462/why-illinois-banned-microbeads/
http://guardianlv.com/2014/05/microbeads-in-face-wash-bad-for-the-environment/
http://www.sailorsforthesea.org/blog/conservation/personal-grooming-scrubs-harmful-fish

Konjac:
http://www.confessionsofaplantgeek.com/2013/02/amorphophallus-konjac-corpse-flower.html
http://www.sephora.com/konjac-cleansing-sponge-P382345
http://livingprettynaturally.com/konjac-sponge-review-the-japanese-secret-to-flawless-skin/





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