Ionic liquid (IL) is used as the working electrolyte in ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) electromechanical bending actuators because of its high stability and conductivity, which are crucial for the consistency and speed of the actuation. Because the bending actuation is caused by the migration and accumulation of the cations and anions of the IL, it is clear that both the overall number of ions and the effectiveness of ion transport and accumulation play important roles in the actuation behavior. In this paper, the effect of enhancing the ion accumulation by the self-assembled conductive network composite (CNC) layers is investigated by comparing the bending behavior of actuators with and without CNC layers. In addition, IPMC actuators with various IL uptakes are also tested in order to study the dependence of the bending performance on the amount of the ions available. It is found that, with the CNC layers, the maximum bending curvature of the actuator increases with increased IL, which shows the crucial role played by the IL. However, under the same conditions, the performance improvement of actuators without CNC layers saturates when the IL uptake reaches around 10% wt. This demonstrates the role of the CNC layers to provide a porous electrode with increased capacitance that thus accommodates accumulation of more ions near the electrodes, which in turn boosts the overall bending curvature of the actuator.