top of page

The Pros + Cons of A Sponge Brush (Explained)

Sponged hair from what looks like a curl sponge

Sponge brushes are light-weight curl enhancing tools for short afro-textured hair. They create beautiful looking curls and clumps in 20 minutes (or less). They're usually oval-shaped pieces of black foam that can fit in the palm of your hand.


  • super soft

  • easy to use

  • quickly styles short hair

  • celebrates natural texture

  • follows natural curl pattern

  • quickly enhances curls in a way no other product can

  • double sided (two products in one)

  • inexpensive


  • sucks moisture out of hair

  • not easy to clean

  • can cause breakage

  • can cause static

  • degrades over time

  • foam can break off into hair

  • some brands fall apart easily

  • bulky (not convenient for traveling)

How To Use Sponge Brushes?

For the best results you'll want to...

  • throughly detangle the hair

  • rub a moisturizing product of your choice in your hair

  • make circular motions with the foam brush until you reach your desired look

An important tip is to pay close attention to which direction your hair naturally curls (clockwise or counter clockwise). Following your natural curl pattern will create a neater and nicer looking curl. Make sure to use the same direction throughout your hair and watch it quickly curl on its own. Going against your curl will make the hair look frizzy.

How Long Should You Sponge Your Hair?

Sponging your hair shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes. It depends on your texture, how long your hair is, and your desired look.

Why Do Sponge Brushes Come In Different Sizes?

Brushes with bigger waves create bigger curls/clumps. Brushes with the smaller waves create tighter curls/clumps.

Why Does A Sponge Brush Have Different Sides?

Some sponge brushes have a flat side and a wavy/textured/spiked side. These two different sides offer two different products in one. You'll want to test which side gives you your desired look. The flat side is best for shorter hair (under 2 inches). While the textured side is better for longer hair (above 2 inches).

Why Does A Sponge Brush Have Holes?

The holes in a sponge brush are called sponge pores. The pores help shape and create uniformed curls. As you lightly rub the sponge brush over your head, the hair will enter the holes twisting and rolling into beautifully defined curls. You'll notice that your curls will mimic the size of the holes. So the bigger the holes -- the bigger the curls. The smaller the holes -- the smaller the curls.

What Are Sponge Brushes Made Of?

Sponge brushes are made out of a foam sponge or EVA. It's a super soft, flexible and dense material.

What's The Difference Between A Curl Sponge And A Sponge Brush?

They are the same product. The sponge brush is also known as a foam brush, a hair sponge, and a curl sponge.

What Is A Sponge Rub?

A sponge rub is the process of using the sponge brush on the hair. It means you are rubbing the head with a foam sponge.

How To Minimize Damage From the Curl Sponge?

Once the curls are formed, you can stop rubbing the hair. This will minimize friction and stress. It's also important to sponge rub on hydrated (not dry) hair.

Does The Sponge Cause Tangling?

When used correctly the sponge brush reinforces your natural curl. As long as the hair is moisturized it should not create tangles. Over sponging can cause breakage and too much friction on the scalp.

Is It Safe To Sponge Daily?

Yes, it's safe to sponge daily as long as you detangle and re-moisturize the hair.

How Often Do You Need To Retouch The Curls?

Some people like to carry their sponge brush with them so that they can touch up their curls during the day. Many newer versions pride themselves on being more travel-friendly.

What Are Some Sponge Brush Alternatives?

Thanks to more people embracing their natural textures, more devices are popping up.

  • Twist Brush - The twist brush looks similar to the sponge brush, but is made from a plastic material. The goal is to offer a more durable product that is easier to clean. While it doesn't succumb to wear and tear (meaning it doesn't break down and need to be replaced), some argue that the harder material hurts (especially on short hair).

  • Silicone Twist Brush - The silicone twist brush also seeks to be more durable. It hopes to last years (not months) after repeated use. It also comes apart easily for thorough cleaning. Since creams and gels are needed to maintain the curl, a silicone brush is specifically designed to be slip proof. Meaning, the brush shouldn't slip and slide while being used due to water-based products on the user's hand. Shorter textures complain that the brush is too hard, but it's purposely designed for medium to long hair.

  • Racket Comb - The racket comb is shaped like a little tennis racket with a steel-like grid. It also hopes to offer a more durable and safer alternative to the sponge brush. Meaning it doesn't pull out hair or the hair's moisture. But some argue that the metal can pull out hair. Product can also build up in the metal grid making it not so easy to clean. Lastly, the rackets are more expensive and may not give the desired look. Meaning it creates rounded spikes instead of curls.

  • Sponge Glove - The sponge glove is a wearable sponge brush. This design allows for a more comfortable time styling the hair.

  • Fingers - When you use your fingers, you simply run them through your hair in a circular motion. No purchase needed.

The following YouTuber did a helpful series comparing different curl defining tools. The one below compares her fingers to a sponge glove. She uses this leave-in conditioner with this gel. While she doesn't notice a big difference in the results, the comment section seems to prefer the glove because (for them) it gives a more defined and fuller curl. What do you think?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

How we use ads?

bottom of page