by Kelsey Castañon
view feature on Refinery29.com
In terms of beauty products, the loofah is often considered the runt of the shower squad. Why? Because, exfoliating as the scrubby sponge may be, it’s far from sterile. Its porous material makes it a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, once told us, and almost no one throws theirs out after the recommended four to six weeks. But we just learned a fun fact that puts a point in the loofah’s pros column: Surprise — it’s a vegetable!
Yep, you read that right. Buzzfeed just uncovered some facts about those natural loofahs (not the synthetic ones you’d pick up at the dollar store; rather, the kind that resembles the coral you’d find at the bottom of the sea), and it turns out the material actually comes from dried-out gourds. Wondering what the hell a gourd is? It’s a vegetable similar to the squash or pumpkin you’d find in the produce aisle. We know what you’re thinking: Can you eat loofahs? Make them at home? Is this another alternative fact put out by Kellyanne?
In short: no, yes, no. According to Garden America, you can grow gourds in your own backyard via a Luffa plant — and you can, in fact, eat them. (Although, whether you’d want to is still yet to be determined. Why risk it when you can DIY your own scrubby sponge instead?) Turns out, for optimum sponge harvest, you should leave the veggie on the vine until the skin begins to shrivel (the gourd inside will be dried-out by that time). When that happens, you can then slough off the outer shell, shake out the seeds, and get to sloughing.
And just like that, knowing the rough little sponges led rich plant lives before coming to work in our shower makes them a whole lot cuter.