Monday, July 28, 2014

First impression: Julep Konjac Sponge

So this is the first time i'm doing a review, so i'm sorry if it's not very good :q

I'll be reviewing a sponge I got from Julep, a beauty brand that started out in Seattle, WA and can now be found at a Sephora near you! (Though they don't carry all of their items, so you may want to try their website directly). I believe they started out with just nail products, but have since branched out to things such as makeup and skincare.

This super-soft sponge is an all-natural exfoliant made from the fibrous root of the Japanese Konjac plant.

Features & Benefits:
Gentle enough for everyday use
Enriched with skin-clarifying charcoal
Attached to a suction cup for easy shower storage
100% biodegradable
Recommended for all skin types

Out of the package.

To use: 
Rinse under warm water before each use. Massage your face in a circular motion to exfoliate dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out excess water after each use. Replace every 2-3 months.

Hanging after use, as advised on the package.

Comes with:
Attached string (black part there) for easy hanging.
Suction cup to attach to your shower/bathroom/mirror.

So I've only started using this product as of a few days ago, so I can't share too many details about how good the results are, but in my opinion, no matter how good the results, if you don't enjoy using the product, theres really no reason to use it (or, in my case, you'll probably just say fuck it and let it sit there as an 'art piece').

The first thing you'll notice when you check out the sponge is that it's wet. It sort of skeeved me out, not gonna lie there. I'm assuming its just water? Or something that's not necessarily bad, but it still grossed me out as it looked like the sponge was sweating. Once you get over your initial (possible) 'ew' factor, when you pull out the sponge, you'll realize it's not your average sponge. The back of the package says it's made from the root of the Japanese Konjac plant - wait a minute, Konnyaku?? (蒟蒻・こんにゃく) Is that what it means?

(Thanks Google imagesearch - taken from JP wikipedia page )

So when I realized it was probably a konnyaku sponge (apparently EN spelling/pronunciation is Konjac - learn something new everyday!), I felt a little less grossed out, as the item is pretty well known in Japan. (And i'm assuming the surrounding countries?)

The actual sponge is very... squishy. It's porous, but almost feels plastic-y, just not so much in a scratchy sort of way. As per instruction, you're supposed to rub the sponge on your face in circular motions (with face wash/cleanser) to gently exfoliate the skin. It doesn't say -this- on the actual package, BUT, a lot of Japanese/what the konnyaku sponge is used for mostly (in Japan at least), is to create a lot of foam from your choice of face wash. Using the foam rather than the face wash directly is supposedly how you're actually meant to wash your face (or at least that's what Japanese marketing and research has taught me). You're not supposed to 'wring' (sp?) the sponge (i'm assuming squeeze the excess water and suds out by twisting it back and forth), but you can squeeze it. I'm assuming it's to save the integrity of the actual sponge and have it keep as long as it claims to be okay to use.

Washing your face with the sponge is actually quite nice. It's very gentle and I would highly recommend it to someone with sensitive skin! Or, if you just like to mix up your face sponge... regime. In my case, I use the cheaper version of the Clarisonic - the Vitagoods skinbrush [10/10 do recommend!!! also cheaper via amazon hinthint]. The only thing is, it is electronic and even when using the softest brush, it can be a bit abrasive. I like to use a skinbrush after a day with lots of makeup, or just when i'm feeling extra greasy and really want that extra bit of care, but I do not like using a skinbrush for morning AND night. If you have rougher skin, or need to exfoliate a LOT because of going outside and what have you, you may need it, but for people like me who rarely if ever go outside, lately haven't been wearing makeup at all, and if so usually just base makeup, the konjac sponge is definitely a good substitute.

The price for the item is fairly reasonable, I think. I've seen a few konjac sponges go for nearly 20$USD which I found a bit ridiculous. Unless it has some sort of magic power in it, or a lifetime guarantee, I don't know what the point of chocking one of these sponges up to 20$ really is. (To be fair, you can actually find a konjac sponge in some Japanese 100y shops, and usually for under 500y (5$USD) in drugstores... but what can you do!) If you are a Julep member (Maven), the price is a bit cheaper as shown in the screenshot. (Note: I only recommend you become a Maven if you're a nail care and nail colour enthusiast + enjoy multiple colours.... although they do offer other items as well.)

Some 'dupes' (not really) I can recommend that may a bit cheaper, though in my experience a bit more abrasive, are things such as a regular 'face sponge'. I've searched a few places and only ONE out of THREE of the drugstores I've been to (RiteAid, Walgreens, BartellDrugs) have actually had any face sponges, which I found strange! The one I found however, was a pretty good one in my opinion. It was about 7$USD in the store but I found it's available on Amazon for cheaper.

Buf-Puf Regular (Left) Buf-Puf Extra Gentle (Right) [thx amazon]

I have tried the "extra gentle" and it still is a little rough, to the point that if you're too rough with it, you can probably actually damage the skin and give yourself a scratch - yikes! If you do as you're supposed to and rub gently though, you should be okay. (I'm not going to lie and say that I don't just smash the thing into my face sometimes though...) But even so, I think having a VERY MILD, VERY GENTLE konjac sponge is a good thing to have around just for when you need a nice cleansing, but are having a sensitive day.

My only 'con' I suppose of the konjac sponge is that when you 'dry' it out and set it on the little hook, that the thing shrinks down a LOT and to get it to puff up again to become useful, it takes a lot of water and squeezing. (Unless it's okay to use it in the dry, sort of hard state?) It's okay if you're washing your face over the sink where you can just fill the sink up with water and let it soak for a moment, but if you're like me and keep it in the shower, it's sort of obnoxious. I am a little worried that if I let it dry out for an extended period of time that it may dry out completely to the point where I can't use it anymore, but since I shower every day, I hopefully won't experience anything like that.

So here is my first review! I hope it answers any questions you may have, and sorry for the tldr-ness of it all :< I'll try to write more reviews up just so I can get better at doing them since I honestly have no idea what i'm doing (and even now i'm just avoiding doing some work I don't wanna do :q)

Hope you all have a good day! And if you have any other questions, or requests for reviews/impressions, please let me know!

♪ Music of the day ♪
world's end girlfriend - Storytelling feat.Yukawa Shione