In the world of natural hair, a product known as the hair sponge has come along and changed the game. Also marketed as an afro sponge, curl sponge, hair sponge brush, and magic twist sponge, the hair sponge is a tool that’s used to achieve a number of styles, primarily on short natural hair. Wondering if the hair sponge is right for you? Here’s all you need to know about what it is, how it’s used, and where you can buy it.
What Is a Hair Sponge?
There are several versions of the hair sponge available, but regardless of the brand, it usually looks like sponge that you’d use for cleaning, but with holes. Just as some sponges come with big holes and others with small holes, some curl sponges are round, rectangular, or oval. Most hair sponges have an ergonomic design that fits comfortably in your hand.
Best Types of Hair Sponges
Which Hair Sponge Is the Best?
The idea of a sponge for hair might seem strange, but it can actually be quite effective. To determine which kind of hair sponge is best for your hair, it’s important to consider what kind of results you’re looking for. Different types of sponges yield different types of results. In general, sponges with small holes work best on very short hair, producing small, tight, uniform curls and/or coils, depending on your natural hair texture. Hair sponges with bigger holes produce bigger coils/curls and work better on longer hair.
How Does a Hair Sponge Work?
To use a hair sponge, gently but firmly rub it against your hair in circular motions to create coils, curls, or twists. The holes in the sponge combined with the movement of your hand twists small sections of your hair, in a fraction of the time it would take to do it by hand. Sponges that have pyramid-shaped grooves instead of holes can be used to add texture and volume to natural hair. There are even double-sided sponges available that have holes on one side and grooves on the other side.
How to Use a Twist Sponge?
A hair sponge/twist sponge works best on hair that is slightly damp. You can apply a light conditioner such as Knot today, gel, or even just water to your hair before using the hair sponge. It should take anywhere between five and ten minutes of rubbing the sponge on your hair to get the look you desire. This will vary based on the length and texture of your hair. A twist sponge can also be used to twist hair for starter locs. Check out this video to see the sponge in action.
Sponge Brush for Natural Hair
A hair sponge/sponge brush is designed for naturally kinky, coily, and curly hair textures. You can also use a hair sponge for waves on short natural hair. Sponges with pyramid-shaped grooves are the best kinds of sponges to use to create waves.
A hair sponge on straight hair is not likely to produce the same results. It doesn’t hurt to try, but keep in mind that hair sponges work best on kinky/curly textures. They also generally work best on short hair; in case you were curious about the results you’d get using a hair sponge on long hair. As previously mentioned, hair sponges with large holes are designed for longer hair, but it may not work as well on your hair if it is longer than six or seven inches.
Hair Sponge for Short Hair
Again, most sponge brushes work best on short hair, making them an ideal tool for both men and women. Women who have recently done a big chop and those who prefer to keep a very short cut might find a sponge brush to be helpful because it’s an easy way to add curl definition and texture to the hair. You can also use a hair sponge for volume, which is especially helpful for those with fine/thin hair.
How to Twist Hair Without a Sponge?
Of course, it is possible to twist hair without a sponge; after all, people have been twisting hair for ages before anyone came up with the idea to use a hair sponge for twists. The process is relatively easy, it’s just more time-consuming than using a hair sponge. Before starting the twists, make sure the hair is damp, then part the hair and grab a very small section and apply a twisting product of your choice such as Cantu’s twist and lock gel or Miss Jessie’s curly pudding.
Then simply stretch the section of hair as far down as it will go and wrap it around your finger until it coils into a small twist. You can also use the tip of a rat tail comb instead of your finger. Repeat this process until all of the hair has been twisted.
You can either air dry or use a hair dryer to help set the style and speed up drying time. For longer hair, you can also use the palm rolling method. As the name suggests, this method involves rolling the hair in between the palms of your hands.
There is also a method that allows you to sponge your hair with a towel. This is known as the towel method, and the process is the same as using a hair sponge. The only difference is that you rub a towel on your hair in circular motions instead of a sponge.
This may work better on longer hair and can be helpful if you are trying to lock your hair. However, breakage and damage is possible, especially if the towel is made with a rougher material. In this case, a hair sponge is the safer option.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered how and when to use hair sponges, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using a sponge brush for hair styling:
- Easy to use
- Works on many natural hair types
- Relatively inexpensive
- Significantly reduces styling time
- Generally, produces uniform curls/coils/twists
- Soft sponge material reduces breakage
- Depending on the brand, hair sponges may need to be replaced frequently
- May not work as well on longer hair
- May cause tangles in the hair
- If sponge material is too rough or if you rub too hard, it can cause breakage
- Where to buy them?
You might be wondering where to buy hair sponges. Since hair sponges are popular tools among barbers, many barbershops have them available for purchase. Having your barber use a sponge brush on your hair is also a great way to see how it works before you commit to purchasing one.
Your next question is probably how much do hair sponges cost? The price of a hair sponge will vary depending on the brand and where you buy it. The cheapest sponges tend to range between $5 – $15, but some brands such as NuDred can cost up to $30.
NuDred is arguably the first brand to revolutionize and popularize hair sponges and is known for making quality hair sponges that will last over time. Some of the less expensive sponges need to be replaced a lot more frequently, so do your research and read some reviews before buying.
A hair sponge brush can be used to create a variety of styles like the ones pictured here. As previously mentioned, different types of sponges and the amount of time you spend rubbing it on the hair will produce different results. A hair sponge for curly hair can be useful for wash n go styles. Women can use a hair sponge for updos as well. You can find a variety of sponge hairstyles on YouTube and social media.
Only you can decide if a hair sponge is the right product for you. Now that you know what it can do, you can weigh the pros and cons and come to a decision. If you are still on the fence, the only way to really know if it works for you is to give it a try.
You never know: a hair sponge might be just the product you’ve been looking for. Comment below if you have used or currently use a hair sponge?