Beauty & Health :: The African sponge :: West Africa

When it comes to beauty and health Africa is a wealth of knowledge! Depending on countries people will give you different tips to maintain your beautiful skin, enhance it or make it smoother, to keep your hair bouncy, well it will never end…however we’ll tell you a bit about 1 thing that we spontaneously included to our daily skin routine, borrowed from African cultures and that really work for us : The African body net sponge.

We already told you about black soap here so you can always go check the article again …. but you now need to also know about the African sponge 🙂

WHAT IS THE AFRICAN BODY NET SPONGE?

It is used throughout West Africa and each country has a name for it. That sponge has been around for decades! In Ghana, where I spent most time it is called « SAPO  » and costs a few cedis at local markets. In other places, it can be called « Jampus, Fouo, Akoussa or net ». It is a bathing net sponge, made out of nylon, similar to a loofah, except it is not a ball-like shape, and is not as soft. You can choose from various ones depending on if you want it soft or rough.

Sapo is actually known for its roughness, and that is what people love about it since it is used to scrub and exfoliate the skin. Because it is a very long piece of nylon you can reach places a cloth or loofah can not, like your back. If you are not used to scrub, it may feel a bit rough on your skin at the beginning ( it’s vital to choose a sapo that suits your needs and skin) but then you get used to it and above all you see the results : a smooth and refreshed skin!

It is recommanded to replace it every couple of years but people are different, so you choose! 🙂 Also I do not use it on my face where the skin is more sensitive. It is not a village thing that people use only in remote areas ( let’s stop with the stereotypes once and for all !), Sapo is used by everyone in cities as well as in villages!

So, if anyone you know is traveling to a west African country soon, you know what to ask them to bring back for you !

HOW TO USE IT?

Well, again it all depends on countries or people and you cannot go wrong with scrubbing as long as you do not do it too often or too hard! Here are a few tips I have gathered from friends using it and from karethic.com :

• Moisten the sponge and lather your African black soap simultaneously by rubbing it.

• After your shower, shake the sponge to remove any water and allow to dry.

• Use 3 times per week on normal to dry skin or daily on oily skin.

• Before first use, heat in boiling water to soften the texture.

BENEFITS:

•Increases the foam and reduces the amount of soap and water needed for a shower.

•Dries faster than the shower flower or washcloth and prevents the accumulation of germs.

• Allows to effectively clean all areas of the body including the back !

• Improves blood circulation.

• Reinforce the effectiveness of your cream or balm after the bath thanks to a better absorption by the skin.

• Fights against ingrown hairs.

• Easy to clean in the washing machine at 30 °C.

• Different textures and meshes allow use for adults and children

• Very practical and light, it gets carried everywhere !

DISCLAIMER : Please do not use the net sponge if you have skin issues, it’s always best to see a doctor. It is recommended to use only on healthy skins.

You can buy those sponges from plenty of vendors online but I have tried none of them, sinceI usually get my sponges from African markets. However, Kukis Naturals has good reviews and Mitra’s as well. Let us know what you think! 😉

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