We are going to start today’s post with a little story time. I was not cool in middle school. I was a weird kid to begin with but was frequently picked on and bullied. Art class was my safe space. One day, I was quietly working on this string art project. Two boys came up to me with that look in their eyes (the look that says, harassment is coming!). “My parents were at your parents’ restaurant last night and your parents served them SNAILS.“
I was of course, horrified, and denied the allegations. I wasn’t a confident kid but knew my parents would obviously never serve snails… the horror! The boys insisted, further emphasizing how gross it was and how gross I was, by association. Later that afternoon, I ran to my mother with what they had said. She laughed and smiled and gave me a hug, only to confirm my worst fear. “Escargot! Snails are actually delicious… we cook them with garlic and butter and they’re amazing.” The HORROR. I was beyond grossed out.
Fast forward 28 years later and here I am, agreeing with my mom. But also: putting snail slime on my face!?! Twelve year old me would be deeply distraught.
Let’s talk about snail mucin!
Snail Mucin Sheet MasksThese are amazing and such a great price. I like to leave them on as long as possible, for the softest, plumped up skin.Shop
Snail Mucin EssencePersonal favoriteThis is my favorite. 96% mucin, I use after cleansing/toning before my other serums!Shop
All in One CreamA daily facial moisturizer. Haven’t tried this one – it’s supposed to be great for oily or combination types.Shop
As with many of my recent purchases, I was first influenced here by Courtney Grow (Courtney is the influencer’s influencer – she finds the best stuff). It started with the sheet masks and then the essence. And friends, I have to tell you, it’s inexpensive, it’s gross in theory, but it works.
Snail mucin is a powerful moisturizer because it’s actually packed with hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and antimicrobial peptides. It helps out with hydration but also: elasticity, which is something we absolutely want as we age. I wanted to give a better explainer for how this works because (as you can see) beauty products containing snail mucin are becoming more and more popular. Get ready, today’s post is a longer one… I’ve prepared a full book report for you on the wonders of snail mucin.
Snail Mucin in Beauty Products
What is snail mucin?
Snail mucin = snail slime. Mucin is a classier name for slime. On ingredient lists, it’s often listed as snail secretion filtrate. It’s a thick fluid with a slimy texture. Snails produce mucin to lubricate their bodies; allowing them to glide cross surfaces without being hurt. The mucin is also their best line of defense (besides their shell) as it also protects them from harmful bacteria.
How did this all start?
Rumor has it that the ancient Romans let snails crawl across their faces for their anti-aging benefits. The first we know of it becoming popular was in Chile, where snail farmers who handled snails on a daily basis noticed that their hands looked younger and extremely soft. This led to the creation of Elcina (I am tempted but need 5 friends to go in on this with me, ha). In terms of mainstream popularity, we can thank the Koreans. Snail mucin has been a very popular within the K-Beauty world for years and years. Now, it’s gaining mainstream popularity, fast. Emily Ratajkowski is a fan, and according to this article Katie Holmes, Drew Barrymore, and makeup artist Troy Surratt are all fans.
Does it hurt the snails?
This varies product to product. For the two products I am referring to, no snails are harmed. I researched this a bit and won’t bore you with the details, but there are all sorts of ways to harvest the mucin from steam baths to a “net method” where nocturnal snails are placed on a mesh net in a warm dark room. They glide around and then the snails are removed and the mucin is harvested. Yes, they are kept in captivity but from everything I’ve heard, they’re treated very well as happy snails create more mucin. (You can read more about the ethics of snail mucin here if you are interested.)
Does it smell?
Snail Mucin Benefits
Locks in moisture!
Because snail mucin is packed with hyaluronic acid (a natural humectant), it helps to penetrate the skin and really hydrate it. I’ve personally noticed that my skin is much softer and more hydrated on days I use this. I kind of see it as a more affordable alternative to hyaluronic acid serum.
Improves the look of wrinkles and fine lines
This study found an improvement in fine lines after applying snail mucin every day for 8 weeks.
Plumps the skin up
Hyaluronic acid is also great for plumping the look of the skin. Snail mucin is also packed with glycolic acid, which helps to stimulate collagen production in turn, plumping up the skin and keeping us looking young.
Fades Dark Spots
As it fades dark spots and sun damage, it also illuminates and brightens.
Soothes the skin
Snail mucin also contains zinc (anti-inflammatory) and allantoin (soothes irritation).
Fading acne scars
I do not have acne scars so cannot personally attest to this but wow, go read this article if that is you! The anti-microbial benefits are real.
Snail Mucin Products
I really like the CosRX products as they have a really high concentration of snail mucin without feeling overly slimy. Their products are also really affordable! The essence contains 96% snail mucin, mixed with sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid), and arginine (an amino acid). I use the essence like I would use a hyaluronic acid serum: after cleansing + toning, but before my other serums and creams. Think of this as a fancier alternative to an HA serum. It’s a great booster for plumping and hydration.
The CosRX face masks are amazing too. At first, I couldn’t get over the price ($25 for a pack of 10) but the benefits are so amazing, your skin is just so much softer and plumper after using them. I like to leave on for as long as possible. Like an entire movie if I have the patience. They are really, really hydrating. I like to put a few drops of either hyaluronic acid or the essence onto my skin before, and apply one of these masks.
I’m also very intrigued by the Elcina cream as it was the “original”, but it’s pretty expensive and I definitely don’t need six jars. If you’ve tried it, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section!
PS – these are my favorite hydrating masks!