Konjac Cleanser

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Konjac Cleanser

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Up until my discovery of this particular item, I had a bit of a hate-hate relationship with anything containing konjac.

Usually referred to as konnyaku in Japan, this most often comes as a foodstuff which has all sorts of medicinal qualities. Most importantly, it is not only has a very high fibre content which gives it ‘cleansing’ properties as you digest it, but it has almost no calories. You can, therefore, buy bags of konnyaku noodles in Japanese supermarkets which effectively scour your colon whilst making you feel full.

It is a great shame that this miraculous stuff usually looks uninvitingly grey and slippery, has a nasty half gelatinous half crunchy texture and a taste that manages to be both barely there and subtly unpleasant. It amuses me greatly that ‘konnyaku’ is translated as either ‘Devil’s root’ or ‘Mother-in-law’s tongue’, and although I do sometimes give it one more try I never manage more than a couple of mouthfuls before throwing it away.

This however, is the product which bucks the trend – a facial cleanser made from konnyaku which is actually a delight to use. Apparently its fibrous qualities are excellent for cleansing the pores as well, plus there is ceramide in there too, which moisturises.

I found this for ¥1,250 at a tiny shop in Kamakura, where a small range of konnyaku products were being made by hand. There were 5 different types of cleansing ball to choose from, including a charcoal version to draw out dirt and oil, and a cherry blossom ball for tone correction and vibrant skin. I went for sweet flag, which nourishes sensitive skin (and was a very pretty pale turquoise colour).

The way to use this is to wet the ball and roll it round in your hands to produce a thick, creamy lather which you then massage gently into your face. Rinse thoroughly, pat your skin dry, and moisturise as normal. If you keep your konjac ball in a dry bowl, it will last for at least a month. Unopened, it will be good for up to 2 years.


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