A bit of a history lesson:
Sea sponges are possibly one of the oldest organisms alive today, used in the 8th Century BC as a common cleaning and bathing product. They are usually found on hard surfaces like ocean floors and when cut (leaving the base intact) grow back within 2-3 years bigger and healthier than they were originally. Scientific studies have consistently shown that regular harvesting of sea sponges by removing older ones actually enhances their health and population, making our sponges not only sustainable and supporters of zero-wastage, but also beneficial to sponge development.
Not to be mistaken with corals, sea sponges are deliriously soft and have a range of uses. Sea sponges have no nerves or pain receptors and are much like incredible trees of the ocean, absorbing minerals and with a host of wonderful properties.
How to use a Sea Sponge for cleaning?
Using them for their traditional purpose (body scrub) is pretty simple – whether as a household cleaning or bathing product. Wet your sponge, squeeze out the excess water and apply the cleaning substance onto the desired area or directly onto the sponge and scrub away, the sponge does the rest! When done, squeeze all the water out once again to let the sponge air dry. For prolonged life, place the sponge in 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar once a month.
How to use a Sea sponge on the face for makeup, cream + exfoliation?
Wet your sponge and squeeze the excess water out. Apply the cream, makeup or face wash onto the sponge and spread the product evenly across the face in short, downward strokes or circular motion. The soft texture of the sponge, which becomes even softer when damp, prevents the skin from being pulled and creating wrinkles. Reapply the makeup in any areas that seem blotchy or uneven and use the other side of the sponge to even out any buildup.
How to use a sea sponge to create hair coils?
There are 3 methods you can use to create hair curls using your sea sponge.
- Large curls: Prep your hair with your normal hair care routine and add a bit of gel, mousse or hair cream to help your hair hold the shape later. Separate your hair into large chunks and wrap one chunk around the entire sponge and apply hairspray. Keep the sponge on for a few hours. Alternatively, you could wrap your chunk of hair around the sponge and use a blow dryer. Repeat to the other chunks.
- 2. Small curls: Prep your hair with your normal hair care routine and add a bit of gel, mousse or hair cream to help your hair hold the shape later. Now, poke small holes into your sponge and place similarly sized chunks of hair into each hole, which should then be wrapped around the sponge and apply hairspray. Keep the sponge on for a few hours. Alternatively, you could use a blow dryer after wrapping your hair around the sponge. Repeat to the rest of the hair.
- For short hair (less than 2.5cm): Prep your hair with your normal hair care routine and add a bit of gel, mousse or hair cream to help your hair hold the shape later. Next, take your sea sponge and apply a medium amount of pressure to rub the sponge in a circular motion around a portion of your head. Repeat for the rest of the head.
How to use a Sea Sponge for painting?
There are several uses of a sponge in painting, some of which are listed here:
- As a brush/ ‘sponging on’: Wet your sponge and squeeze out the excess water. Then, either dip the sponge in paint to apply on the desired surface in strokes (to completely paint and cover the area) or in several dabs (to create a textured effect).
- As a remover/ ‘sponging off’: Use your sponge to remove any excess paint or water. Alternatively, dab your sponge on the excess paint or water to create a textured effect when removing it.
- As a paint roller: Cut a hole through the middle of your sponge and insert a roller handle and use the roller like normal. Wet your sponge and squeeze out the excess water before using your sponge to paint.
How to use a Sea sponge as a pessary?
The softness and mobility of a sea sponge makes it perfect for those requiring support to reduce the protrusion of pelvic structures into the vagina and a natural alternative to plastics when combating pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
However, it is still important to consult your doctors before inserting your sponge to ensure safety. Simply insert your sea sponge vaginally and ensure it is pushed as far up as it can go to support the pelvic structures. You can use a water-based lubricant if you’re not able to push the sponge in due to dryness. It is important to note that the sponges are not intended for use in the diagnosis of a disease or condition or in the cure, mitigation or treatment of the disease or condition.
How to use a sea sponge tampon?
A natural, biodegradable and sustainable alternative to synthetic tampons that may cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, sea sponge tampons prevent billions of non-degradable products from reaching landfills. They can also be used to alleviate vaginal itching, odour, dryness or pH imbalances. First, wet your sponge with warm water and squeeze out the excess. Second, squash the sponge with your fingers and push it up the vaginal canal until it feels comfortable.
You can use a water-based lubricant if you’re not able to push the sponge in due to dryness. If you experience discomfort while sitting, push the sponge up further or trim the sponge slightly for a custom fit. Remove the sponge by pulling gently on the perimeter of the sponge every 3-4 hours or when it feels full and rinse with and squeeze out the excess warm water before re-insertion. Use 2 sponges if necessary for heavy bleeding.
If you’re worried the sponge may get lost, poke a string through it and tie the upper end to tug it out. To sanitise the sponge, place it in 3-4 drops of tea tree essential oil and a cup of warm water for 1 hour or diluted apple cider or white vinegar for 1 hour. For discolouration, put the sponge in 1/8th of a cup of hydrogen peroxide and a cup of warm water.
By Saachi Meetha