Image of natural sea bath sponge being held by model with only hand and sleeve showing on white grey background.

Are natural sponges better than synthetic?

The simple answer is: by far. Natural sponges are better than synthetic sponges for a plethora of reasons – for both your skincare routine and the environment. In a nutshell, natural sponges possess qualities that no synthetic sponge can ever have. We know this because many plastic manufacturers have tried to replicate the feel, look, and quality of a natural sponge using plastic, but they have failed… and failed miserably. 

We can directly compare natural sponges vs synthetic sponges by looking at the experience they provide, their impact on the environment, and their value.

Natural bath sponge vs synthetic sponge

Plastic mesh shower poufs, which are the most popular type of synthetic sponge to clean your pores, are made from oil. Even a ‘recycled’ plastic mesh shower pouf was once oil and although it keeps plastic out of landfill, it still has all the same problems as a sponge made with virgin plastic.

On the other hand, natural sponges are produced by nature and can be sustainably harvested. At Naroa, we use traditional methods to harvest sponges from the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean. Natural shower sponges by Naroa are also biodegradable, so unlike synthetic sponges, natural sponges can degrade and contribute back to nature as nature intended.

Here’s what you need to know about the differences.

Skincare properties

Synthetic sponges can be made into a variety of textures for different skin types. Likewise, we can harvest different natural sponge varieties with different properties, like our Massaging Sea Sponge for example. In this sense, both sponge types are matched.

Feel and experience

Plastic mesh sponges are not luxurious, and they can be triggering for some skin conditions. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition such as eczema or rosacea, the abrasive nature of a plastic sponge will not feel good.

On the other hand, sea sponges are naturally hypoallergenic and their unique structure of intricate channels produces a luxuriant silky lather with very little scrubbing required. For all skin types, the sea sponge provides the best experience.


Plastic mesh sponges are not designed to last and many experts recommend discarding them after just a few weeks of use (see cleanliness below to find out why). Sea sponges, however, are incredibly durable. Their strong fibers are naturally crafted in the ocean, giving them great strength and durability. A sea sponge will last upwards of 6 months.


Leaching microplastics, a synthetic sponge is difficult to clean and quickly becomes a trap for bacteria and grime. Meanwhile, the channel-structure of a natural sea sponge has something of a ‘self-clean’ function, and you can sterilize the sponge effectively at home using a vinegar solution.


Finally, value. Synthetic sponges are notoriously cheap, costing just a few dollars. While a natural bath sponge is more expensive, it lasts longer and provides a premium experience. This makes natural bath sponges the ultimate companion to your skin, so you can look and feel your best. It is worth paying for!

Clean your pores the natural way

We invite you to try a natural sponge for yourself. If you are currently using a synthetic sponge, try to exfoliate the natural way for a change. We are confident that you, like many others, will not go back and will enjoy the use of natural bath sponges in your daily skincare routine.

Why not start with our best-selling Exfoliate Sponge?

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