Keeping Up with the Konjac Sponges + Missha Natural Konjac Cleansing Puff Review

Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review

You know, I should hire a new title writer. Anyway, the Missha Natural Konjac Cleansing Puffs (sometimes called “Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff”) in white clay and bamboo charcoal are among the first konjac sponges I ever tried. As someone who used to violently scrub and alcohol-toner the heck out of my skin, I fell in love with the idea of a physical exfoliating tool gentle enough for a baby’s bottom. In fact, konjac sponges are said to make your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. Or a cloud made of kitten’s underbelly fur. A sea of baby birds rolling around on 1500-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

Parks and Rec Chris Traeger literally - Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff bamboo charcoal white clay
You get the idea.

What’s the Deal with Konjac Sponges? 

It all starts from the konjac plant. Also known as devil’s tongue, it’s native to tropical areas in eastern Asia. Therefore, you may also find the konjac referred to as gonyak (곤약) or konnyaku (蒟蒻 or こんにゃく). Its bulbous corm is prepared and eaten in parts of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China, among other eastern Asian countries. (I don’t recommend eating your konjac sponges, though.) It has long been used in making gelatin/jelly and flour, as well as cut into strips like noodles. Today, there are even candies made with konjac!

Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and charcoal - devil's tongue
The konjac/devil’s tongue plant (image from centerofthewebb.ecrater.com)
Konjac plant - Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff white clay and charcoal review
The plant’s corm (image from bariballagriculture.com)
Konjac konnyaku food - Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff white clay and charcoal review
The corm turned into food (image from visitgunma.jp)

It seems people eventually noticed that its soft yet fibrous texture goes well on your face as well as in your stomach. Konjac sponges started to appear on the skincare industry’s radar a few years ago, and it’s continuing to spread its squishy self ’round the world.

Many brands and stores claim to have konjac sponges in different “flavors” and special added ingredients to address various skin concerns and types. Charcoal is thought to be helpful for oily and acne-prone skin, clays for retaining and restoring moisture, and so on. While I truly want to believe in this, currently, its effectiveness in konjac sponges seems to be questionable. My own experiences, as well as feedback from many others who use a variety of konjac sponges, have not resulted in any “flavor” working differently from the next. In any case, I still think konjac sponges are amazing physical exfoliating tools. They are so soft and gentle, it’s nearly impossible to overexfoliate with them.

Now, back to the Missha Natural Konjac Cleansing Puff!

The Claims

Description from Missha US’s product listings. I’ve bolded the lines that are unique to each version:

White Clay version:
“Use this pure botanical jelly cleansing puff when washing face.
The puff is gentle and has a massaging effect.
White clay helps retain moisture to keep skin soft and hydrated after cleansing.
Also contains minerals and nutrients.
It is suitable for dry and sensitive skin types.

Bamboo Charcoal version:
“Use this pure botanical jelly cleansing puff when washing face.
The puff is gentle and has a massaging effect.
Bamboo charcoal helps absorb sebum for a full deep cleansing effect.
It clears pores and removes dead skin cells.
Also contains minerals and nutrients.
It is suitable for oily and troubled skin types.”

 Ingredients: 

Huh? Ingredients? Well, apparently:

  • Bamboo Charcoal version: Natural Botanical Konjac 90%, Bamboo Charcoal 10%
  • White Clay version: Natural Botanical Konjac 90%, White Clay 10%

Like I said earlier, I’ll give Missha the benefit of the doubt and believe these sponges do have charcoal and white clay. As for their actual effectiveness (in any konjac sponge, not just Missha’s), I’ll reserve judgment for now.

The Evidence

Performance:

This particular konjac sponge comes pre-moistened in its package. I freaked out a bit at first because I’m used to seeing new konjac sponges dry and hardened in their packaging. Turns out it’s completely normal of many brands, though. Because I’m borderline germophobic, I rinsed this out before my first use. Before using a dry konjac, soak it in a bowl or large cup with room-temp to lukewarm water for 2-5 minutes. I actually just use cold water; I like how it feels on my skin, and cold water can generally help your blood vessels contract, which reduces redness. You can also run the konjac under your faucet until it’s fully soaked, but that wastes more water. Note that you should be careful not to leave a konjac sponge completely dry (after opened from its original packaging) for any longer than about a week. Some have reported their sponges to crumble upon the next use after such a long dry period. And that’s a horrible way for a konjac to go.

(I used both charcoal and white clay konjac sponges, but only photographed the charcoal one for this review.)

Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review - dry
Small, hard, and dry. (Mind out of the gutter, people.)
Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review - wet
Slightly expanded and soaked to the core.
Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review - wet behind back
Squishy!

I started using this around the beginning of November (oops, I forgot to record the dates in my spreadsheet). I use this during my daily PM routine with my Hada Labo Gokujyun cleanser; in konjaction conjunction with this sponge, the cleanser is still quite effective. You can also use just the konjac sponge with water and no cleanser if you are so inclined. However, I like using a cleanser because it helps to remove makeup, sunscreen, and impurities as well as dead skin cells.

Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review - with Hada Labo Gokujyun foaming cleanser

You remember how I compared the Skinfood Strawberry Wash-Off Mask to a “god-tier konjac sponge”? Well, this sponge is consistent with the scrubbing ability I’ve come to expect in my products of choice. It’s soft and purrrrfect. The sponge itself is super bouncy and squishy—think of a sponge cake, but more porous and smooth. Actually, the texture reminds me most of Chinese rice cake. After each use, I felt very clean, but not totally stripped of moisture. As promised, my skin was soft as a baby’s bottom.

Chinese rice cake texture - Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff white clay and bamboo charcoal review
Yum! Please do not eat your konjac sponge. (image from tastyislandhawaii.com)

To dry a konjac sponge: I put it flat between both palms and press firmly, then fold a clean face towel around it and press again. This sponge has a convenient little string, so I hang it on one of my dresser drawer knobs. You should always try to store it somewhere room-temp or cool with as little humidity as possible; avoid your shower area.

To maintain a konjac sponge: It should be handled as gently as it handles your skin. It’s recommended to use a konjac sponge for only 1-3 months before replacing it, or until it develops mold/mildew, whichever happens first. It could also just fall apart in some conditions. To prevent mold/mildew, disinfect your konjac sponge by putting it in a bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes. Some claim the sponge lasts longer than 3 months when disinfected this way, but it’s your call—sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, they’re usually affordable anyway, depending on your budget of course.

I’m actually worried that I am even too rough when handling these delicate sponges. It turns out I took these photos at an excellent time. About a week prior, I had noticed that the konjac felt a bit hollow inside when wet. One evening, I saw a centimeter-long rip starting to form on the underside. It was then that I knew it was too good to be true. A few days later, this happened.

Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff sponge white clay and bamboo charcoal review - ripped wet
My soul is crying.

However, this is probably for the best hygiene-wise. Like I said, it’s not meant to be used for too long, and this will force you to let go of the konjac sponge when it’s time. My charcoal one lasted me about 1.5 months.

Community Channel Natalie Tran cat I love you - Missha Natural Konjac Soft Jelly Cleansing Puff bamboo charcoal white clay review
Me, right about meow.

On the other hand, while these konjac sponges turned my face into a cashmere-covered cloud, their supposed charcoal and white clay ingredients also didn’t have any special effects on me. I didn’t have any more or less acne and sebum than usual when using the Bamboo Charcoal konjac; the White Clay konjac didn’t feel any more or less gentle than the other. Still, on a positive note, that could mean that konjac sponges are still effective at physical exfoliating, no matter what the heck 10% ingredient you throw into them.

Value: 

I got my sponges for ₩3,000/about US$2.57 ea. on TesterKorea. You can find many konjac sponges for about $1~2 on Ebay as well, either generic or well-known brands. At higher price points, you can also find little Boscia konjac sponges at Sephora and more options on Amazon, such as The Beauty Shelf’s popular 3-packs.

The Verdict

The Missha Natural Konjac Cleansing Puffs were a handful of heaven. It did everything your average konjac sponge promises. However, it delivered nothing their added ingredients promised. They didn’t last as long as I’d prefer, at least in my experience. But hey, at about $1-3 a pop every 1-3 months, I’d go for it again. I am very happy with konjac sponges in general and highly recommend them for any skin type! Just be mindful of how often you use them; those with dry and/or sensitive skin may want to use them every other day or even less. I am personally happy to use my konjac sponge with cleanser once nightly. Give it a try!

Overall Rating: 4 / 5

Rating system:
5 / 5: HOLY GRAIL STATUS. I dare you to pry this from my cold, dead, kpop-glowy hands.
4 / 5: I really liked this! Would repurchase until I find a better alternative.
3 / 5: So-so. Unimpressive results, but may work better for others with different conditions.
2 / 5: Would not repurchase. Possibly caused some issues for me, but may work for others.
1 / 5: This lied to me. It did nothing that it said it would, and caused some issues.
0 / 5: Do not buy this. No one should have to suffer the way I did.

Have you used konjac sponges before? What’s your tool of choice when it comes to physical exfoliating? ☺

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17 thoughts on “Keeping Up with the Konjac Sponges + Missha Natural Konjac Cleansing Puff Review

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