Depending on how you feel about snails, letting a bunch of the slimy, slow-moving creatures crawl all over your face might be your idea of a terror-inducing nightmare. But that’s what some people do in the name of beauty because the mucus secreted by these can work wonders on your complexion, say fans of the controversial facial.
The good news here is that you don’t have to undergo an extreme ‘snail facial’ to reap the benefits of the gastropod’s slime because skincare brands have incorporated the nourishing substance called mucin into creams and serums for topical use. It’s a trend that started in South Korea, of course, so we tapped Julia Marinkovich from COSRX – one of the country’s most highly rated skincare brands – to give us the lowdown.
What Is Snail Gel?
“Snail slime is an external bodily mucus produced by snails. It has become so popular in the cosmetic industry as it contains key skin-loving components such as hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and copper peptides – all of which have amazing natural results on the skin.
Snails are nocturnal creatures, so COSRX’s method for collecting mucin involves placing the snails over a mesh net [the mesh is not electrified, so it is cruelty-free] in a dark and quiet room. The snails are left for about half an hour to roam the nets and do their thing, leaving mucin behind for collection. The mucin is then processed to stabilize it and to make it suitable for cosmetic use. No stress is applied to the snails in this process as optimal mucin production occurs when the snails are well relaxed.”
How Does Mucin Benefit the Skin?
“These ingredients make snail mucin excellent at repairing skin damage, evening skin tone, fading hyper-pigmentation [including acne scars], as well as firming and tightening the skin, and boosting collagen and elastin production. Snail mucin is also great for hydrating the skin as it contains hyaluronic acid. As if that wasn’t enough, snail secretion also has antimicrobial properties, which makes it great for fighting off acne-causing bacteria.”
Cosrx ‘Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence’
Is It Particularly Good for Certain Skin Types?
“Because of its natural antibacterial properties, products that contain snail music are particularly beneficial to those with blemish-prone skin, or skin that experiences regular breakouts. It will also work particularly well for dry skin as it has exfoliating properties that break down dead skin cells and unclog pores.”
How Should Snail Skincare Be Used?
“Products that use snail mucin as the predominant ingredient are generally safe to use daily as it is a natural ingredient, and even twice per day as part of your morning and evening skincare routine if the product requires. A key step in a Korean beauty routine is essence, and we recommend adding this step if you’re going to use snail cream.
After cleansing and toning, apply a small amount of essence on your entire face. Gently pat using fingertips to aid absorption, and then apply the moisturizer. This is an effective step in repairing damaged skin, improving skin elasticity, and maintaining hydration levels for longer periods of time.”
COSRX ‘Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream’