Many of you know what a konjac sponge is. However, there may be many who are not familiar with glucomannan. It is the very same, natural material. The Konjac plant has a long history as a gentle skin cleanser. Its popularity just seems to be growing and is happening for a reason. Gentle konjac products are suitable for caring cosmetics. In this article, I will introduce you to the konjac plant and products made out of it.

konjac-sponge

Cognac plant (Amorphophallus konjac)

The Konjac plant is a very popular perennial plant in China, Japan and Korea. It has many names like devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, elephant yams, snake palm or konyak potato. The plant has an edible stalk that resembles a potato. Konjac is originally coming from China, Yunnan Province.

The root tuber of the Konjac plant is used to make jelly-like desserts popular in Asia. In Japan, the health effects of the konjac plant were noticed hundreds of years ago. The dried rhizome of the Konjac plant contains about 40% glucomannan fibre. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide that has been found to have beneficial effects on intestinal well-being.

In Southeast Asia, the konjac plant is used to make Shirataki noodles along with sweet fruity jellies. Konjac gel is used to make a great many Asian dishes. The gel has no taste but in Asia people like its texture.

There is a risk of suffocation when eating Konjac gel

Everyone should be cautious when eating Konjac gel. It has sometimes caused suffocation in America. Therefore, konjac fruit jellies are not for sale at all in the EU area.

Glucomannan and weight loss

Ground konjac fibre was sold to accelerate weight loss. Glucomannan passes through the intestine without digesting and at the same time swells. Konjac gives a feeling of satiety without calories.

Use of Konjac plant in cosmetics

Konjac plant has been used in cosmetics for a very long time. In Japan, konjac was used 120 years ago to cleanse the skin of new-borns. This tells a lot about the gentleness of the konjac sponge.

Glucomannan powder is made from the dried root tubers of the Konjac plant. Glucomannan powder is popular as a cosmetic thickener. It is a genuine natural product that the skin tolerates really well.

Cognac sponges

The brilliancy of the Konjac sponge lies in its structure. The Konjac sponge leaves a thin layer of water between the skin and the sponge. Thus, the skin is never in direct contact with the fibres of the konjac sponge. This way, even the most sensitive skin does not suffer from cleansing.

The thin aqueous layer of Konjac sponge is slightly alkaline. It alone cleanses the surface of the skin quite effectively.

You can use konjac sponge with or without detergent. If you use a cleanser, you can also remove makeup with a konjac sponge.

Konjac sponge has the ability to peel the skin very gently. When cleansing your skin daily with a konjac sponge, you may not need any separate exfoliation at all.

Konjac sponge is said to deep-cleanse the skin and cure acne. Unfortunately, this is not true. It’s just a very gentle sponge. The Konjac sponge has no miraculous effects.

Konjac sponges are available in several different colours

The colour of the Konjac sponge comes from the active substance added to it. Unfortunately, these active ingredients have little or no effect at all on skin care. The activated carbon in some konjac sponge is tightly bound to the fibres of the konjac sponge. Activated carbon does not come into free contact with the skin. The clays, in turn, make the sponge slightly alkaline and thus prevent the growth of bacteria in the sponge.

Here are some examples of different konjac sponges

How to use a konjac sponge?

Konjac sponge is easy to use. Once you have got the konjac sponge, first sink it in water for about 20 minutes. This will soften the sponge properly. At its simplest, you can rub lightly, in a circular motion, all over your face with a wet konjac sponge. You may not need any cleanser at all, especially if you don’t have any makeup.

If desired, use cleanser in combination with konjac sponge. You can choose the cleaning agent of your choice. However, I do not recommend cleaning oil or oil cleaning cakes for this purpose. Cleansing milks, foams and soaps, on the other hand, go very well.

You can use konjac sponge all over your body perfectly. Some people also use konjac sponge to wash their hair.

Take care of your konjac sponges well

Konjac sponges are inherently antibacterial. They repel bacteria both in terms of their structure and chemically. However, this does not mean that they will not be spoiled. Konjac sponges should always be cleaned thoroughly after use and hung to dry. Even after careful care, the konjac sponge should be replaced about every 1-2 months with a new one.

Konjac sponge is a natural product

konjac-sieni

You can throw the used konjac sponge to compost as it is a 100% natural product. It is a completely biodegradable fibre. It decomposes in compost like any fruit peel or other plant fibre.

Glucomannan powder as a thickener

The glucomannan powder is a really easy to use as well as very effective and easy to use -thickener. Glucomannan powder is a very mild substance that is also suitable for baby products.

Only a small amount of powder is enough to thicken the cream. For 60 ml of cream, I usually use knife-tipped glucomannan powder. To face masks, powder can be added more approximately. I’ve added a content of one glucomannan powder capsule to a face mask. Glucomannan powder makes the face mask gel-like and helps it stay well on the face.

Because glucomannan is an indigestible fibre, it deposits on the skin. Therefore, you should not add it too much into your products.

Use glucomannan powder to make face masks or to thicken creams.

The glucomannan powder is mixed with a cold liquid or water infusion. Sprinkle the powder into the liquid a little at a time while mixing. The powder will thicken on its own in a few minutes after absorbing the liquid.

Where can I get glucomannan powder?

I haven’t found glucomannan powder in online stores selling homemade cosmetics. That is why I have bought pure glucomannan powder as a sports nutrient. It is quite inexpensive and survives long time. Check out that you are sure to get 100% pure glucomannan.

Do you have experience with konjac sponges?

You can easily make many kinds of cosmetics from very fine milled colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa). When making homemade cosmetics, you shouldn’t pay attention to formalities. Many cosmetic products made by big manufacturers could be much simpler. Maybe consumers want to buy products that contain many ingredients and naturally manufacturers want to make difference to their competitors by adding unnecessary components to their products.

colloidal-oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal

Now, because we only make products for ourselves and people around us, we can focus on the raw material itself.

To begin with, you can make simpler oat products by adding few drops of oat oil to your favourite ointment.

You can also add some soothing extract of oat’s sprout to your creams. Many cosmetic series contain the extract of oat sprout among other ingredients. The cosmetics industry has also noticed its soothing effect on the skin. This extract is sold by many Online Stores and by A. Vogel.

As a facial skin cleanser, colloidal oatmeal products are unbeatable

Oats alone is already a beauty product. The oats just need to be very finely milled in order to treat the skin well. Oatmeal mentioned for baking contains grains of oats that scratch the skin. Do not use nutritional oats for cosmetics. Colloidal, very finely milled oats is a different thing. It is also suitable for the most sensitive ones like babies. You cannot make colloidal oats yourself. I’ve tried to do it. Preferably get it from the store.

Colloidal oats, or oat silk, can be found at least from online stores. Those stores are my source as well. It’s not very expensive.

You can use colloidal oatmeal as such for face cleansing.

Next, I’ll give you instructions on how to use colloidal oats for face cleansing. The instructions for cleaning your face with oats is very simple.

Ingredients for one portion of face cleaner

 How to do the cleansing of your face with oatmeal paste

 I rarely add any oil or ointment to my face after washing oats off. You may have a slight feeling of tightening of your skin. Oats leave a protective film on the skin. The film contain oat carbohydrates called beta-glucans. You can read more about beta-glucans in my blog post.

Colloidal oatmeal easily makes simple cleansing milk. Colloidal oats are also useful when traveling. As a powdery and very lightweight product, it is easy to pack. In addition, colloidal oatmeal do replace many products:

Oats also help with scalp and hair care

colloidal-oat
Colloidal oat

Oats contain a substance called avenanthramide. It has been found to be effective in reducing itching of the skin and scalp. The following recipe is a modification of the fermented rice water used in Asia for hair and skin care.

I like oat water and rice water for hair and skin care as they contain good features of grains but not any disturbing and messy ingredients. Have you ever washed your hair using rye flour? It’s an incredibly messy job. The bathroom needs cleaning after using rye flour.

Fermented oat water

You will need the following ingredients and accessories

Do this

How to use fermented oat water?

Oat water is especially suitable for hair care

Use oat water as a hair rinse after washing. Pour oatmeal into washed hair and leave for a few minutes. You can also extend the action time by up to 30 minutes by covering your hair with a towel. Longer treatment is better for scalp problems and itching. Finally, rinse your hair with regular water as usual.

You can also wash your hair with oats.  Pour the fermented oat water into moist hair and rub the scalp thoroughly using your fingertips for 3 minutes. Rinse with regular water.

Fermented oat water is also good for body and face skin

Use oat water as a facial and body wash after washing and showering. It is suitably acidic and cares for the skin’s own bacterial balance.

Oat water soothes the skin

fermented-oat

 It suits well for eczema type skin and acne skin to soothe inflammation.

I really hope you get inspired to try colloidal oatmeal and fermented oats. I myself found the superior effect on my skin. Oats nowadays is often praised using too many superlatives. However, praising comes for a good reason. Oats is one of the best ingredients for organic skin care.

Thank you so much for your interest in my cosmetic oat recipes!

If you have some great tips on how to use oats in homemade cosmetics, please let me know!

coconut-in cosmetics

One of the best things about coconut water is its skin cleansing feature. I have not been able to figure out why coconut water has such a feature. It is similarly anti-bacterial as coconut oil. Therefore, this facial water is especially good for impure skin.

Coconut water

Coconut water contains a large variety of mineral salts including potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. In coconut water mineral salts are just the best form so that the skin benefits from them. They are very small particles in plant’s own juice in a best possible form for absorption.

In addition, coconut water contains sugars that moisturize the skin as well as vitamin C. Vitamin C makes miracles for your skin. It should always be added to the products because it will not last very long.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera is a well- known skin-loving and treating ingredient. Aloe Vera soothes the skin and reduces pores. In addition, aloe vera gel provides a suitable texture for the facial toner. You can also prepare aloe vera gel from the powder. The powder is sold in stores selling raw materials for home cosmetics. It is very plentiful and is more affordable than fresh Aloe Vera juice in bottles.


Gentle Cleansing and facial toner from coconut water and Aloe Vera

For Cleansing Coconut Water Facial toner, you need

How to make coconut water facial toner

Effective cleaning paste made of coconut oil

This cleanser is a traditional home cosmetics product and very good for acne skin. Baking soda can detach and remove very dry skin and dead tissue. This cleanser is also suitable if you want to brighten your skin or  want to remove the makeup especially carefully from the skin.

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a very often used wrongly. It is an alkaline substance that effectively removes fat and impurities. In addition, the baking soda has a mildly exfoliating property. You can read about my post about baking soda from here. For this cleansing paste, baking soda suits perfect.

Coconut oil is solid if you keep it under 25 degrees Celsius. At over 25 degrees it becomes liquid and is easy to pack in a bottle. This is worth remembering, when preparing cosmetic products from coconut oil.

Coconut oil is not absorbed easily into the skin

coconut-in cosmetics

That’s why it’s a very good product to clean your makeup from the skin. Also, eye makeup is also easily removed with pure coconut oil. This cleansing oil contains also baking soda. That’s why you can’t use it in the eye area.

Products containing coconut oil should be removed from the skin precisely because they clog the pores easily. So it is worth of cleansing the skin once again, for example, with a facial cleansing milk or with a facial foam cleanser. For daily skin cleansing this product is not suitable.

You need for coconut cleansing paste

How to do coconut facial cleansing paste

 

Kaolin clay is probably the most used clay in cosmetics. It is very gentle and suits to almost everyone’s skin. The color of kaolin clay is usually white so it does not dominate the color of the final product.  As a dry-skin person I’ve been looking for a suitable, gentle but also effective cleansing mask.  Many masks are drying the skin too much when absorbing moisture and grease from the skin. Kaolin does not do that.

You can prepare a gentle and effective cleanser powder using kaolin clay.  Water is needed only when you will use the cleanser. No additives are needed.

Facial cleanser

You need:

How to do

 

Kaolin clay suits perfectly to cleansing mask just as it is; it does not require any other components to function well.  Just add some water, mix and the mask is ready.

To prepare one clay mask you need

 

Moisturizing clay mask

You can prepare more efficient kaolin clay mask by adding other components to it.  The mask needs always a liquid, the most natural is of course water.  There are other options as well.

 

Prefer moisturizing and skin-friendly herbs

You can find several interesting herb extracts which are worth of trying and testing.  Pick a moisturizing and a skin-friendly herb to your mask. For example, a chamomile extract cools down the skin and suits to most of us. Other skin-friendly herb is mallow and other mallow plants like marshmallow.

Avoid skin shrinking herbs

Many herbs do shrink the pores. All plants belonging to lamiaceae -family like mint and rosemary has this effect. Dandelion is also a shrinking plant.  So do not use any extract containing any of these plants/herbs for cleansing.  The skin pores should be as open as possible in order to get best possible result. That is why it is recommendable to have a quick steam bath before cleansing. Kaolin clay like all the clays do shrink the pores. This is because clay’s natural feature to absorb impurities and moisture.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of my favorite ingredients in many products. There is a separate article in my blog about Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is at its best in cleansing facial mask. It is very moisturizing and good for skin. Aloe Vera helps the clay to penetrate deeper into skin. It does not close pores but acts as a relaxant and cools down the skin. This is why it helps to clean skin deeper. Aloe Vera’s pH is 4,5 – 5,5. Alkaline clay will neutralize when you mix some Aloe Vera juice in it.  On the other hand, sometimes it is good to have alkaline clay.  Alkaline clay will disinfect the skin and helps to deal with acne skin.  For normal and dry skin the Aloe Vera is the best liquid with kaolin clay.

Activated carbon

The cleaning feature of kaolin clay gets extra power from activated carbon. Activated carbon is made of burned coconut in high temperature. It has a special feature to collect metals, color pigments and other impurities. Activated carbon is not the same thing like barbecue goal or goal you can collect from the fireplace. Never use these coals in cosmetics.

Small impurities in the air like air pollution and other small particles do stick on our skin, there is no way we can avoid this. There is no lotion available to protect our skin. However, we can use activated carbon to remove these impurities from our skin.  Activated carbon absorbs everything which is on our skin. It cannot absorb impurities under our skin.

Kaolin clay

When activated carbon can absorb impurities on the skin, the kaolin clay can absorb impurities deeper from the skin.  These two ingredients make a perfect match for a deep cleansing mask. There is a story about kaolin clay that is a gentle clay and suits to a dry skin as well.

 

How to prepare an effective, cleansing and gentle facial mask

You need:

 

How to prepare a mask

Measure the clay and activated carbon into a small container and mix well. You can use also a mortar.

Add the Aloe Vera gel/juice.

Kaolin clay in cosmetics use is very popular. Kaolin clay is white powder that is produced in limestone mines.  It is also sold as white clay because of its white color.  Kaolin is a common mineral all over the globe but it is more common in tropical countries. The origin of the name of kaolin comes from Chinese language, “Gaoling” and is a name of a village in Jiangxing province, southeast China.  Gaoling means a high ridge in English. Kaolin clay is the raw material for top quality Chinese porcelain.

Kaolin clay contains mainly natural kaolin, silicon and aluminum.  In addition, it is rich of zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The color is light, more white than grey.  In case the kaolin has red or yellow tincture, it contains also iron oxide. Kaolin clay contains some aluminum as well but it is not dangerous for your health. Skin does not absorb the clay but vice versa; the clay absorbs pollutants from the skin.

Kaolin clay in cosmetics is a very useful clay product because of various reasons.

Kaolin clay in cosmetics is the gentlest clay.  Kaolin clay does not make your skin dry and it does not absorb moisture or skin’s natural grease comparing to bentonite clay or illite clay. You can feel the difference easily. After kaolin clay treatment the skin will not become red. After bentonite or illite clay treatment this is usually what happens.  This effect is because of blood starts to circulate quicker on your skin and it is not dangerous.  You can prepare a kaolin clay mask on weekly basis and your skin will not get too dry.  Kaolin clay is so gentle that you can prepare even products for children like talc.

1. Kaolin clay in cosmetics is a multi-purpose material.

You can use kaolin clay in many products. White, soft kaolin clay suits well to

Kaolin clay makes thickens liquid products. You can use it as a thickener together with emulsifier if you need thicker emulsions.  In thinner emulsions the clay would naturally sink to bottom.

2. Kaolin clay is antiseptic

In case you suffer from acne or your skin is unclean, try a facial mask made of kaolin.  It prevents the growth of bacteria naturally.  The clay makes too sour skin more alkalic. That means harmful bacteria will not grow anymore. Greasy skin is very sour and that is why it is best to treat it using alkaline products. The best option for greasy skin is red kaolin because it absorbs better grease than white kaolin.  You can also add kaolin clay to your cleansing emulsifier.  There is a simple formula for homemade skin cleaning product in “recipes” -page.

3. Kaolin clay is the most efficient and affordable cleansing mask you can get.

Most popular material for cleansing masks is probably the French green clay but it cannot beat kaolin in efficiency.  Kaolin clay’s quality-price ratio is outstanding.  Kaolin is very common mineral all over the world and that is why it is so affordable.  For example, kaolin is very popular in beauty care in Western Africa.  Kaolin is sold as a stone over there. Users break small pieces out of the stone and then grind them to powder.  Kaolin clay absorbs the skin’s impurities like a magnet. Pollution particles originated from air and remains of cosmetics are easy to clean from the skin using kaolin clay mask. Usually one treatment in a week is enough to keep your skin in good condition.

4. Kaolin clay gives necessary minerals to your skin and makes it natural way. 

Long time ago humans’ skin was covered by natural mineral layer.  Ancient people were much closer to nature and mother earth. Modern people must think how to get enough vital minerals. After some work in garden forces us to wash our hands immediately, we don’t feel anymore comfortable working with the nature. Using clay in cosmetics will replace at least some missed part of the lost natural life. Our skin gets necessary minerals like magnesia, zinc and calcium. These micronutrients will feed our skin making it shinier.

5. Kaolin clay mask is very efficient detox-treatment to your skin. 

Even though the air we breath is quite clean in some countries the fact is that majority of industrialized countries are suffering from polluted air.  There is no way we can protect our skin 100% from air pollution. In addition, many cosmetic products contain harmful chemicals. That is why the regular skin cleansing is very important.  Kaolin clay is very suitable product for this purpose because a person suffering too dry skin can use it frequently.  You can also give your sculp a deep-cleansing treatment.

How can I use kaolin clay when preparing home cosmetics?

Kaolin clay’s most important feature is cleaning.  Therefore, the best products you can make out of kaolin are cleaning products like peeling cream and masks. This rule is valid to all clays, they absorb impurities out of skin. This is why clays are widely used as a basic material for skin cleaning products. There is no idea to use kaolin in any remedy product. In case you want to prepare a product to moisturize your skin or want your skin to absorb some oil the kaolin clay may spoil the whole product.  You can add some vegetable oil or other grease to kaolin clay in case you want to prepare more gentle peeling cream. If you want to prepare a deep cleansing mask using kaolin clay there is no idea to add any antioxidants or oils, they just make kaolin’ work more difficult.

Materials you can unite with kaolin clay are:

I have prepared more liquid clay mask than mushy, “porridge-like” one. Lighter mask works better than a heavy clay shell on the skin. You just need a spoonful, even less, of kaolin clay for preparing a mask.  Blend the mask using a glass, wooden or ceramic bowl. Do not use a metallic tool, clays will react with metals.  Metals can even disturb the detox-effect of clay. Use only a brush to spread the mask on your face. Leave enough security area around your eyes.

You can also use kaolin as it is, as a powder or talc

You can also try to dry-wash your hair using kaolin. However, it does not remove grease as efficiently like bentonite clay but, on the other hand, kaolin prevents the excretion of sebum.

When preparing masks or any other cosmetic product please keep in mind following basic rule:  each and every component of the product should have a purpose.  It does not make any sense adding some ingredients just because you happen to have them in your closet. This was in my mind when I started to write my book “Handbook of DIY-cosmetics”.  Everything what we add to our products must have a function. We have to get rid of so called “this-and-that” -ideology and start to think what we and our skin really need. It is better to leave some ingredients away than just add them without a reason.  The length of INCI-list does not tell anything about the efficiency of a product no matter how organic the ingredients are.

I wish you found this article useful!

Have you ever tried kaolin clay for anything? It is easy to replace chemical products by kaolin clay. Please share your experience !

fiSuomi