People will stop at nothing to have the best skin possible — and will resort to the most unusual methods to achieve it. Our friends at Charlotte's Book tested out various skin products containing snail slime and can confirm that this stuff actually works!
Terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks, more commonly known as snails, continue to be a hot skincare trend. If you haven't heard of it, you might be living under a skincare rock. A quick google search of the words "Mizon," "Snail Slime," or "Korean Skincare" will bring up a countless blog posts, YouTube videos, and beauty articles from every well known glossy magazine and beauty website across the globe. And now derivatives of snail slime are making their way into U.S. products as well. Earlier this year, Charlotte's Book wrote about Erasa XEP-30, dubbed "Botox in a jar", which is based on a synthesized neurotoxin originally found in snails.
What you might not know is that snail slime and other Korean skincare ingredients are supported by some serious R&D. Skincare in Korea is an integral part of the culture — your complexion is a treasured possession and regimens focus on prevention and skin fortification. As a result, Korea has produced some of the most cutting edge R&D labs in the world, supported by government funding.
Yes, you read that right: the Korean government is one of the biggest benefactors in this research. In addition, Korea has several high-technology social platforms with super-connected digital communities, resulting in hugely prolific online beauty conversations. According to Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach and Lilly Skincare, "Many brands have told us that because consumers' expectations and thoughts about beauty brands/products are so quickly shared with each other, they constantly innovate to create more memorable and popular beauty products."
In other words, these odd ingredients — snail secretions, maple water, starfish extract — are backed not only by scientific research, but by rigorous consumer testing and feedback.
Given the international buzz, we decided it was time for Charlotte's Book to take the leap and do our first Korean skincare product review. We tried two of the Mizon frontrunners: Mizon Snail Repair Hydro Mist ($20) and Black Snail All-In-One Cream ($54). The Mizon brand and its snail slime products have achieved a massive cult status in Korea, with Mizon's All-In-One Snail Repair Cream ($38) selling millions across Asia. A deeper look, plus our reviews, below.
Snail cream is made from the secretion snails leave behind when they move, scooped up and purified into a powder. The slime is packed with nutrients like hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, and proteoglycans (fillers that plump). In case you're concerned, all of the slime is harvested in a snail-friendly laboratory environment.
We spoke with Korean beauty expert and Peach and Lily Founder Alicia Yoon, who explained that snail slime has made "leaps and bounds" in Korea since its original introduction into the skincare market. She chose the the Mizon brand of snail cream for the Peach and Lily lineup because it continues to be the best selling snail cream in Korea. According to Alicia, snail secretion filtrate provides a variety of benefits for skin including hydration, increased suppleness, and improvement in hyperpigmentation. She also notes that the lightweight formula is known to have antimicrobial properties which can help keep acne and some types of rosacea at bay, so many users will apply it to the backs of their dry arms to keep small red bumps in check.
In short, we loved them both. The Mizon Black Snail All-In-One Cream contains a robust 90% black snail mucous filtrate, which contains all black snail mucous, plus 20 different plant extracts not featured in Mizon's classic All-in-One cream. The Black Snail Cream's soft texture makes it easily spreadable; a small amount will suffice. It does a heavy-duty job of keeping the skin hydrated all day, but has an extremely lightweight texture. This is perfect for people who need to be using a heavier cream but don't want to deal with the usual oily texture of a super-hydrating moisturizer. After just several days of use, we found our skin more hydrated and plumped.
Note: if you have very sensitive or acne prone skin, there have been many reviews around the internet that suggest this cream caused initial breakouts. We did not experience this personally.
The Mizon Snail Repair Hydro Mist also contains 90 percent snail slime filtrate, but comes in a tall misting can. The product descriptions claim to "reinforce skin repair and help to protect skin from outside stimuli." When sprayed, it's a super-fine mist, so you don't have to worry about giant drops of product dripping down your face. The mist also absorbs quickly into the skin, providing a welcome burst of moisture and calming any redness. When to use it? It's great after rinsing your face at the gym, or whenever your skin feels a little dry. At Charlotte's Book, this means we've started keeping a can next to our computers — the mist is a perfect antidote for hours spent in an air conditioned (or heated) office. It's also great to use over makeup as a setting spray.