Hair Sponge Tips and Tricks

With plenty of curl sponges now available online, one would think that there would be plenty of insightful articles offering tips when using the sponge.

Wrong. Most vendors provide the same bland set of instructions. “This tool works best on hair that is only slightly damp.” We get it.

So let’s get to it! The actual tips that us spongers need to make sure we make it to curl level 9000.

But first, the most important tip no sponge company wants you to know about (because they lose potential customers)…

Read the curl sponge buyer’s guide BEFORE you make your initial purchase. You’ll thank us later.

Hair Sponge Tips and Tricks

Do Not Completely Saturate Hair With Product

Unless you want to look a flaky mess, I recommend first applying a quarter/dollar sized amount to your palm (depending on length of hair). Distribute between hands by rubbing together, then apply and style with hair sponge.

If more product is needed, go back and add some more. If you add too much the first time around you will be forced to wash everything out and start over.

Believe me, you WILL want to start over once you see the cobweb like buildup of gunk from over-saturation.

Find Your Crown 

The debate always arises as to if it is better to go clockwise or counterclockwise when using the curl sponge.

We have tried both, and have found that it is best to find your crown (the place near the back of your head that appears to be a little bald spot where your hair grows in different directions) and use a circular motion in the same way your hair is growing. Veteran wavers should know what I am talking about!

That being said, once you have decided on a circular motion, stick with it! Forever!

Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure

Your hair sponge should be lightly brushing the “tips” of your hair. This point is crucial to actually get the hair twisting.

As the twists begin to form, you may apply a bit more pressure to help define the curls.

Different Sponges Give Different Results

For those who want smaller coils, go with a hair sponge that has smaller holes. Alternatively, for bigger coils, go with a sponge that has holes that are slightly larger in diameter.

If you are not sure which you prefer, Amazon has super cheap combo packs available that will allow you to try out multiple styles.

Be Patient

Depending on the desired look, it could take you anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Less time will give you more a natural, “wash and go” type curl. More time will give you a much tighter curl.

Do Not Wash Your Hair Every Day

This look is able to be maintained for up to 2-3 days. Washing your hair every day will strip your scalp and hair of natural, essential oils that are meant to keep your hair its healthiest. Doing so will leave your hair dry and, well, ugly.

The Ultimate Twist

For those with hair long enough to grab, after you have finished styling with your hair sponge, take your hair between your fingers (index and thumb) and continue twisting!

It will obviously take some additional time. However, this will produce an even more defined curl that is pretty much guaranteed to turn heads.

Can’t exactly picture the method I am describing? Well, remember that white girl that was leader of the cheer team that wasn’t necessarily the brightest tool in the shed?

Yes! The one that would sit in the back Taylor Swift Twirling Her Hairof your class in high school staring aimlessly at the ceiling, chewing gum and twirling her pencil in one hand and her hair in the other— just like that! Shout out to Taylor!


On the market for a new hair sponge?

Make sure to check out our hair sponge buyer’s guide, comparing the pros and cons of some of the most popular sponges available!

View the 2015 Curl Sponge Buyer's Guide Now

Have any personal tips or tricks that we missed? Join the discussion and let us know in the comments below!

31 thoughts on “Hair Sponge Tips and Tricks

  1. Hi Brian,

    I have found that curling with the curl sponge actually stimulates hair growth! However, I have yet to see any scientific evidence that proves my theory.

  2. Greetings! How often should we change sponges?…
    Is it once a month?…Once a quarter?
    Thank you!

  3. I tried all the sponge(s) for 3-5 weeks each. What i realize is that the sponge doesn’t gives you curls they are basically the same they just twist your hair.

  4. That is going to depend on which sponge you use. A good rule of thumb is, once you start to see the hole side of your sponge start to deteriorate (pieces falling off in hair,etc.) it is time for a new one. Some have been known to last over a year.

  5. Good evening! I’d like to know what kind of effect I could get if I used, instead of circle holes I used a triangle hole in the sponge. If I do so, would I get a pointed. Ended curl?

  6. I have not yet come across a sponge with triangle “holes” punched in them. However, I do not believe the end result would be much different than that of the regular circle holes. Could it be possible you are referring to the pyramid type sponges? If so, these will give you a much looser “teased” hair type of look. Take a look at our article that describes different types of sponges. The pyramid type I reference should be pictured and described there.

  7. Hi do the sponges work on straight non-african hair, i am native indian , do you reccommend any products or tools i can use?

  8. I like to sponge my hair before I go to sleep. Then, when I wake up, I simply sponge it a bit more to get it looking good again. you can do it straight from bed head though. Simply pick it out, add product of your choice, and get to curling! 🙂

  9. I have not come across any studies that say it stunts hair growth. I would think that it would actually stimulate hair growth as it gently massages the hair follicles.

  10. What product are you using to curl your hair? I would recommend something like Nudred’s Twist It, as it is a bit lighter than other products and moisturizes at the same time. I would also loosen up on the pressure you apply with the curl sponge while you sponge curl your hair.

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