You might have only come across a sea sponge in pictures of the ocean, but they’re actually a very popular, renewable product for your bathroom. They effectively exfoliate your skin, as well as building up a lather with your soap. Find out more about sea sponges and how they could benefit your hygiene routine with this guide from The English Shaving Company.
What is a Sea Sponge?
A sea sponge is a naturally occuring sponge which is highly absorbent and helps to exfoliate your skin. They’re also hypoallergenic and perfect for people with sensitive skin.
Sponges are actually classed as a multicellular organism, although they don’t have a brain or a nervous system, they do grow and have been on the earth (or at least, in the sea) for millions of years. Unlike plants, they don’t use the sun to get nutrients, but instead pump water through the complex network of holes in their form, and extract nutrients from around them. This gives sponges their signature porous appearance and makes them very absorbent.
Sponges have the amazing ability to constantly renew themselves; you can take part of a sponge without damaging the whole and it quickly grows more of itself to replace the part that was taken. In fact, harvesting sea sponges actually helps them to live longer, encouraging regeneration and self-renewal. It makes sea sponges a renewable natural resource - a great choice for the environment. (Source)
Different Kinds of Sea Sponge
At The English Shaving Company, we have both honeycomb and fina silk sea sponges, but there are also other varieties including wool and grass sponges.
Honeycomb sponge is the highest quality variety of sponges as they’re incredibly soft and create a great lather with your soap. It means they exfoliate very gently. They can also last around two years if you take care of them properly, making them a great choice to reduce waste and save money.
Fina Silk sponge
Again, fina silk sea sponges are soft and also extremely absorbent. The shape and texture of this sponge makes it perfect for applying lotion or makeup to your face, as well as cleaning into all the curves around your eyes and nose.
Using a Sea Sponge
Sea sponges can be used in a range of different areas of your hygiene routine. While they are sometimes used on the body, they’re most commonly applied to the face.
Exfoliating and Deep Cleansing
While the sea sponges we supply are of the softest varieties, they are more abrasive than simply using your hands. This means they’re extremely effective at removing layers of dead skin, as well as cleaning your pores more thoroughly. Apply some facial soap to your sponge and gently rub your face in a circular motion. It’s important not to apply too much pressure or the abrasive effect could damage your skin.
We recommend exfoliating your skin a few times a week. It’s a great way to prepare for a close shave as it helps to ensure there are no ingrown hairs that will be missed by your razor. If you don’t shave every day, it’s often better to exfoliate the day before your shave to prevent over-abrasion of your skin.
After you’ve exfoliated, pat your face dry and apply a good quality moisturiser which will protect your skin. If you’re exfoliating prior to a shave, ensure you use a good shaving soap to protect your skin and apply an aftershave lotion.
Natural sea sponges are a great way to apply lotions to your face. They help to create even coverage, which is much harder to achieve that with your fingers alone. Fina silk sponges are the best choice for makeup or lotion sponges. They are very soft and their shape means you can easily reach into the corners of your nose or around the curves of your face.
How to Clean a Natural Sponge
Make sure you thoroughly rinse out your sponge with warm water after using it each time and let it dry naturally. This will help to keep it in the best condition for as long as possible. It’s also important, however, to clean it regularly to prevent bacteria building up.
Every few weeks, soak your sponge in a cleaning mixture made from warm water and baking soda: one cup of water to 1 tablespoon of baking soda. If you have a large sponge, simply create more mixture. Let the sponges dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. You could hang them in a mesh bag to ensure they dry thoroughly. Cleaning your sponge can help it to last for years!
Is a natural sponge better than an artificial sponge?
Natural and artificial sponges are very different. Artificial, or synthetic, sponges often look brighter and come in more regular shapes than natural sponges. However, natural sponges do have some advantages over synthetic.
Antimicrobial ingredients: One of the advantages of some artificial sponges is that the material is filled with antimicrobial ingredients, which prevent the sponge from holding bacteria. However, this is also one of their main disadvantages. These ingredients can irritate your face and remove your skin’s natural protective properties. Natural sponges don’t have any of these potentially harmful chemicals. They are also easy to clean, so you can still prevent bacteria from building up in them.
Eco-friendly: Natural sponges are more eco-friendly. They are a sustainable and renewable natural resource that also biodegrade and breakdown easily. If you choose a natural sponge, you minimise your contribution the increasing waste problem in the world. (Find out more about reducing your plastic use!)
It’s down to personal preference whether you choose to use a natural sea sponge or an artificial sponge. We prefer sea sponges because they are much more luxurious to use and are great for your skin.
Do you use a natural sponge or an artificial one? Let us know in the comments!