Konjac Sponge – Changing up your skin routine

with No Comments

I was in Winners the other day, going through their cosmetics and skin care and sometimes you find that great one-off product. I came across a Konjac sponge and it reminded me how much I enjoyed using them as part of my skin care routine. In short, it’s a biodegradable reusable sponge made of a Japanese plant fiber that gently exfoliates skin, helping slough off dead skin cells. It can be used alone or in conjunction with cleansers to really get that deep clean. This sponge is gentle enough to use daily and after several uses, your skin is softer and refreshed looking.

What is Konjac?

Also known as Konjaku, Devil’s Tongue, Snake Palm and Voodoo Lily, Konjac is a perennial plant that grows in Asia. It has a potato-like corm that grows in the ground and a stalk plant that produces a lily-like flower. The Japanese have used the corm as a food source and as a beauty remedy for many years. The sponge is made up of the vegetable’s plant fiber to create a webbed/meshed sponge and can be infused with skin benefiting properties, such as green tea, for added anti-oxidants and to help with inflammation, clays for added vitamins and minerals, and activated charcoals, to promote the removal of oil and dirt. The Konjac Sponge is 100% natural and biodegradable.

How does it work?

The sponge is made up of soft mesh-like fibers that act as a gentle exfoliator for your face and body. The fibrous sponge sloughs off dry/dead skin cells, and removes some surface dirt and oils, leaving the skin feeling soft and refreshed. It can also help remove non-waterproof makeup, but to get a deeper clean and to ensure all your makeup/dirt and oils are removed, it is best to use it in conjunction with a cleanser.

How do you use it?

When you first get the sponge it will be dried out and hard, run it under warm water to soften it and to make it flexible. You can now massage the sponge onto your skin. Use a separate sponge for your face and body.

You can use it with or without a cleanser. Without a cleanser, the sponge simply scrubs the skin, removing skin cells and some dirt and oils. To get a deeper clean, I always use it with a cleanser. In the mornings, I simply pump on the cleanser, and then massage my face with the sponge, working it in problematic areas, like around my nose, and right now my chin and upper lip, because of dry skin patches. I rinse the sponge under the water and squeeze the sponge to remove excess soap. Then I continue to use the sponge to rinse the rest of my face. At night, I typically remove my makeup first with a face wipe and makeup remover and then in the shower, I will use the sponge and a charcoal cleanser in the same way as my morning routine.

When you are done with the sponge, squeeze out as much water as you can. Don’t “wring” out the sponge like you would a towel however, you’ll just damage the sponge and it’ll have a shorter shelf-life. Store the sponge on a bath rack OR thread a string through it to hang it in the shower. You need to let the sponge dry out in between uses or else mold will grow and that’s just not fun.

How long does the sponge last?

Typically the sponge will last for 2-3 months. Over time the sponge will loose its elasticity. I suggest replacing it within 2-3 months anyway even if it lasts longer, because over time bacteria will build.

Where do you buy them?

Winners ($6CAD) – The brand I picked up was “Spa Sisters”, a Green Tea infused Konjac sponge, a great find. Once again, this may or may not have been a one-off kind of product from Winners, you know how they have a bunch of random things you can find and may never find again. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find one too but I did find their website and linked it for you! 

The Face Shop ($6CAD) – They have both the original Pure Konjac sponge and the Charcoal Konjac sponge. What’s unique about theirs is the teardrop shape. The shape helps get into corners, like around the nose, a lot easier. I have used the charcoal sponge and love it. After the Spa Sisters sponge, I will be repurchase the charcoal sponge.

Boscia at Sephora ($16-20CAD) – Boscia has their pure Konjac sponge, charcoal sponge and hydrating clay sponge. I personally have not tried these before BUT it is made of the same plant fiber as any other Konjac sponge. I want to think you’ll get the same experience with the cheaper alternatives.

If you have any other places where to find this sponge, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!


Using the sponge with my cleanser instead of working the cleanser with my hands, really has improved my skin. I find my skin feels softer and cleaner – without being dried out. I have a pimple on my chin that has scarred and the sponge has helped scrub off the dead skin cells and promote new skin cell growth. You will need to use the sponge for a couple of days to start seeing the difference but I think it is worth the try. It is a great natural exfoliator that is suitable for all skin types, especially for sensitive skin because it really is gentle.

If you try the Konjac sponge out, let me know in the comments below!

I'll talk to you guys next time,



Trial and Error I

with No Comments

Blotterazzi vs. Oil Blot Sheets

Hi Internet! I'm sorry I haven't posted in a long while; I've been putting off blogging for too long. But I'm going to try and be more consistent with my posts. 

Over the pass few months, I've indulged in many new cosmetic products. I bought a lot of good stuff and some not so good stuff that I wanted to share with you guys. To show you these new products, I'm starting a series of "Trial and Error" blogs. It's pretty self explanatory - I'll try the product and let you know how it is!

I'm obsessed with finding new products that can keep my oily skin at bay. Beauty blender came out with "Blotterazzi", 'thirsty' sponges, that are meant to absorb the excess oils on your face without smudging or removing your makeup. They are washable and reusable. It's an environmentally friendlier version of blotting paper. I personally love blotting sheets, they save me from looking like bucket of grease, but they are wasteful. So when I saw this, I was excited! But skeptical whether or not they worked. I saw some reviews on Sephora and the reviews were split 50/50. So whatever, I bought it, and tried it.

First, some details: Blotterazzi comes in a snazzy pearlescent case that is shaped like a tear drop (similar to the beauty blender), inside there are two flat sponges, about 0.5cm in thickness, separated by a clear plastic sheet.

How to use it: Press the sponge into the skin for about 5 seconds and the sponge should absorb the oil. The sponge works best when dry. The tear drop shape allows you to maximize the surface area of the sponge. The fat rounded bottom is meant for larger areas of the skin, like your forehead, while the pointed top gives you the precision for around your nose, or under your brows.

First impressions, I liked that it came in a case for easy travel and keeps them hygienic. It's pricey for just two sponges, but I guess it would be worth it since it's washable and reusable. However, the sponges do a poor job at absorbing any excess oil. I have to really dab the sponge and leave it on the skin for a while before I see a difference. And even after using it, I'll use a blot sheet and remove the oils the sponge missed.

Overall, I'm unimpressed. I had high expectations for this product, especially since Beauty Blender makes terrific make-up sponges that I absolutely love. Unfortunately, Blotterazzi did not live up to my expectations and so I can't recommend this product. I'm a little sadden by this, I was really hoping it'd turn out to be amazing. But I definitely prefer blotting sheets. The sheets absorb oils instantly without any effort and leave your skin matte. So I'm sticking to the blotting sheets for now.

If you're interested in the products I mentioned here they are:

Blotterazzi by Beauty Blender ($28 CDN)

The Face Shop's Oil Control Film (or you can find different brands at your drug store)

Let me know your thoughts!

xo, Karen

Welcome to Upclose&Awkward

with No Comments

Welcome to my blog! I’m very excited to finally present this to you. It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this but it feels good to start all over again. I won’t lie, I’m a bit rusty. I haven’t played with photoshop in years, so this layout will just have to do for now. I’m sorry if there are a couple of unresolved issues with this site but I’m working on it =).  So, everything isn’t exactly quite how I want it to be (and this post is probably riddled with grammatical errors…sorry about that), but if I don’t start posting now, I never will.

Let’s start off with a bit of an introduction. I’m Karen (or Kern), I’m 25, I live in Toronto, Canada, and I’m a chemist. I started this website because my life and work felt a little bit inadequate. I have a 9-5 job, which I’m lucky to have, but at the same time, I feel like I’m going no where. Every day I go to work, I come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and start all over. It’s just  an endless cycle. Life has become really repetitive and like most people, I stopped liking what I was doing. I soon realized that, if I did nothing about it, this is how my life is going to be. And I hated that. I used to spend my time creating art on photoshop, playing the piano, and just indulge in any hobby I chose. Today, not so much. I feel like that’s the problem with being an “adult”. Sometimes, you get caught up in making money and having to put food on the table, you forget to enjoy the things you love. And I forgot to enjoy the things I love. That’s why I feel like my life is going no where.

So I decided I would change that.  This blog is to express my creative side and to have something outside my boring 9-5 job. This internet space is for me to get Upclose and Awkward with you guys (I had to work my website name in somehow) and talk about what interests me. I love beauty and skin care. Long story short, I have always had problematic skin. Makeup has helped me gain a lot of confidence. Over the years, I’ve tried a million different products, learning what works and what doesn’t. Today, through lots of trial and error, I know how to better take care of my skin with the right skin care regime and the right makeup. I’m not saying I have a miracle routine here, it’s just better than before =P. I want to share my thoughts and opinions on the various products I have tried and hopefully help another person struggling with problematic skin. Really, I just want to start a conversation, where we can help each other out. Because, I’m not an expert on these things, I just know what I know, and I’m always open to trying new things and learning about new products.

So, I hope you will come on this journey with me. It’ll be fun, I think.. =].

xo, Kern

(P.S. stay tuned for my first official beauty post! – face cleansers – so important, especially for oily/acne prone skin – although, everyone should be cleansing their faces!)