If you haven’t used snail-based skincare before, then you’re probably wrinkling up your nose and saying Urgh at the thought of putting snails on your face. I get it, that was my attitude too. The Ick Factor is high with this one.
As a fan of Korean beauty products, it’s unavoidable. Snail filtrate is one of the most common and popular ingredients in Korean skincare. And once I dipped a toe in the snail slime, I could see that its reputation as a wonder ingredient is justified.
So why is that? Let’s just tackle a few myths about snail-based skincare
- It’s not made from crushed up snail
What we’re talking about here is snail filtrate, i.e. the slime from under a snail’s bottom. Snail filtrate is what snails use to repair their own bodies and shells from damage, and you can use it to repair yours too. Snail filtrate contains skin-friendly nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, and proteoglycans (plumping fillers). The crushed up snail myth dates back to ancient Greece, where Hippocrates supposedly prescribed crushed snails and sour milk to cure inflammation. Go Hippo, you pioneer of the mollusc skincare world.
- It doesn’t smell bad
Snail products are generally odorless, unless there is extra perfume added in. Snail filtrate is quite neutral and doesn’t really smell of anything.
- The snails aren’t harmed in the process
Generally snail slime for cosmetic use is harvested in snail farms when the snails pass over a metal grid. The snails used are the same ones you might find in the garden, and would otherwise be destroyed as pests.
- You don’t actually have to put a snail on your face
I mean you could, but don’t expect me to kiss it afterwards
Snail skincare helps to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin, meaning that it’s often used in anti-ageing products. It won’t eliminate wrinkles, but it will soften them by hydrating the skin.
What snail-based products are really fantastic for is repairing skin damage, such as scars, sun damage or blemishes. So when my cat scratched me on the face (Dennis the Cat, you cheeky sod) I went straight in with some snail gel to help the skin heal and avoid a permanent scar. Or when I’ve had flea bites around the ankles (Dennis, j’accuse once more) snail gel has helped my skin heal.
So if you haven’t used it before, I would encourage you to give it a try and not be put off by the fact that yes, it does sound a bit gross at first.
The snail skincare range we’re looking at today is from the UK-based site Skin Chemists. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out their eye serum and night moisturiser.
This is a medium-weight night cream that won’t leave your face feeling sticky. It’s a gel cream that melts into the skin on application, then gets to work for some overnight repairs. It’s ideal if you want a night cream that doesn’t feel too heavy and obvious, or if you’ve using it Korean-style, layered with other products. As well as snail filtrate, this contains coconut oil and cretine to moisturise. The fragrance is lovely – light and slightly lemony. I felt like my face looked noticeably smoother and fresher in the morning, after the snail filtrate had been at work all night long.
The eye serum is an opaque gel which melts invisibly into the skin, leaving a matte, non greasy finish. It packs a real punch with ingredients including hyaluronic acid, starflower oil and of course snail filtrate. The aim here is to repair, moisturise and firm the skin around the eyes. It’s got a great, smooth texture and the same lovely, light fragrance as the night cream. What I particularly like about this is since it’s lighter than a cream, you can apply it and then put your eye make up on without it wandering around your face. I used this over around 3 weeks and didn’t experience any irritation or milia. Although the RRP is high, you only need to use the tiniest amount, so I would expect this to last for several months. It’s an investment purchase, for sure.
So if you want to go the snaily way, both of these get the Opposable Thumbs up. The only criticism I have is that, whilst the silver packaging is undoubtedly quite elegant and stylish, it’s plastic. These products come with a fairly hefty price tag (£72), and for that I would expect more luxe packaging, such as a glass or metal bottle. One good thing about the packaging is that both have an airtight pump, keeping the product hygienically sealed until you want to use it.
I would have liked to know how high the percentage of snail filtrate is in the products. But I understand that if you’re marketing to a UK consumer who is maybe just getting over the WTF-ness of snails in their skincare, that stuff might be more off putting than enticing. Maybe they should do alternative packaging for skincare nerds like me who want to have ALL THE SNAILY GOODNESS. Just a thought.
For some people, snail skincare will never be their thing. But if you can keep an open mind on this and give it a try, I guarantee you’ll be surprised, in a good way.
These products are part of the Advanced Snail range from Skin Chemists.