History and Evolution Behind the Curl Sponge

The History Behind the Sponge

The Curl sponge has just recently made its way into the mainstream by means of an Atlanta barber named Yousef, of Diamond Cuts Barber Studio.

Picture of Curling Sponge
Yousef’s Curl Sponge

However, certain bloggers are proposing that a similar product (some suggest the Nudred) was developed and introduced at a Bronner Brothers Hair Show some years ago.

Either way, it can be safe to assume that the idea of a magical contraption to twist hair did not just come to Yousef (or whoever created it for that matter) overnight.

Coincidentally, the method in which the sponge brings about its twisting powers is very similar to a technique called “palm rolling.”

The concept is pretty simple. Think of palm rolling as sponge curling…

…just without the sponge. Your hand is the sponge.

Check out the video below to see palm rolling in action.

While we noticed that the curling sponge outcome is very similar to the look palm rolling produces, a side by side comparison will show you that curling with a sponge will leave you with a slightly more “polished” effect. 

But we’ll let you be the judge…

Palm rolled hair

haire styled with curl sponge



Pretty darn close right?!



But we actually prefer the sponge as we don’t necessarily love (our way of saying hate) having hands that feel like they just got done playing patty cake with goo.

Now, this palm rolling that we speak of is not to be confused with a method of the same name used by many throughout the dreadlock community. Their method involves taking sections of their hair and rolling it repeatedly between their palms.

We find it ironic, however, as the end result of people using a curling sponge can sometimes resemble a shorter dreadlock, and is often recommended as a starting point for people who are looking to eventually have them.

Speaking of resemblance, the curling sponge has also been widely accepted as an alternate means of twisting hair, and rightfully so considering that a trip to the salon for individual twists can sometimes take over an hour, not to mention costing upwards of $100 at times.

The Evolution of the Sponge

Due to the recent increase in demand, these ever-so-popular sponges now come in an array of shapes and sizes. One of the most common shapes (and quite possibly the first) could be described as an oversized figure 8.

But just as with life itself, these sponges are continuously evolving.

It all started with little holes. Simple.

These holes that appear in the bottom of the hair sponge were strategically placed so that when the sponge is gently rubbed in a circular motion over hair tips, the holes then proceed to grab the ends of the hair and twist them together, creating a neat, short and curly look.

And then came the bigger holes.Different curl sponge hole sizes

The thought process behind the implementation of bigger holes was to produce a curl/coil that not only appeared larger to the eye, but also a bit looser. Great to give users variation.

Then there was the 2 in 1, allowing users to purchase a sponge that had both hole sizes; one side had smaller holes while the other had larger ones.

But the latest in variants might leave some confused.

We are now experiencing a trend with the 2-in-1 in which manufacturers have introduced different geometrical shapes (normally pyramids) and irregular patterns to one side of the sponge to tease and add texture to the hair.curl sponge variation with pyramids

Odd right?

Yet, many barbers actually like to use these new “tease” sponges to begin the curling process to start separating the hair into sections. Once the sections begin to form, they flip flip the sponge to the side with holes to finish the twisting process. 

Seems a bit redundant to us as the curls look no better than if you were to simply use a curl sponge start to finish. But hey, everyone has their preferences right?

Anything we missed? Have some history of your own you would like to share? Let us know below!

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