Adorable little mucousy animals found in a variety of habitats worldwide.
Besides being famously gourmet, did you know that snails are also incredibly good for your skin? More specifically, the gooey secretions from helix aspersa snails are said to facilitate the regeneration of wounded skin tissue, as well as reduce redness, wrinkles, blemishes, and scars. All you have to do is, well, put some snails on your face.
“Um, gross,” you may be thinking.
No, my dear readers. Not gross. Great.
Recently, a friend of mine started telling me about the benefits of adopting an Asian skincare routine, specifically one originating from either Japan or Korea. First of all, East Asia, as a whole, tends to view skincare a bit differently than we typically do here in the West. Like with cleaning, it’s viewed as a sacred ritual more than a daily habit or chore. Now, one could probably write a thesis on East Asian standards of beauty vs Western standards of beauty, East Asian health fads vs Western health fads, etc etc but I’m not here to write a thesis on any of that. I’m here to rave about snails!
SO, after doing some of my own research into Asian Skincare, and learning the basics…I was a little bit overwhelmed at first. You have to not only wash your face: you have to wash it two or three different ways, rinse it multiple times, tone it, prep it, treat it, moisturize it, and protect it! In the morning AND night! “Geeze Louise,” I thought. That seemed a bit excessive…would it really pay off? And then I came across the whole snails thing. Really? Snails on your face? Magical relief from common skincare problems? This had to be some sort of bizarre molluscan marketing ploy…
In the end, it was my own curiosity that got the best of me…that, and the encouragement of my friend, who said, “I’ll try it if you try it.” I’m the sort of person who loves adventures, and if someone wants to take an adventure with me – even a snail skincare one! – I’m always down. But we didn’t want to do this half-heartedly. If we were really going to change our skincare routines we wanted to experience the full benefits of the Asian-style.
Let me back up and explain something…if I had always had perfect skin, I’d probably have passed on the whole snail thing. But let’s face it: most of us normal folks do not have the benefit of perfect skin. Me? I happen to suffer from rosacea, inherited from my dear mother (who has it worse than I do). I’ve lived the majority of my life with a redder-than-normal complexion and flushed flare-ups triggered by warm weather and humidity, hot water, and spicy food. In addition, I have freckles, I get dry skin easily, and I get the occasional period pimples (luckily, though, I was one of the few teenagers and young adults out there that did not, and still does not, suffer from acne *knocks on wood*). Not to mention – I’m only getting older! Wrinkles will become a problem eventually, and dark circles under my eyes are already starting to be a A Thing (I need more sleep. Don’t we all?).
So I admit, at age 26 and after enduring years of a complacent “I guess this is just how my skin is going to be…” mindset, magical snail cream and Asian skincare “rituals” did sound more than a little bit exciting.
Because of how complicated the Asian skincare routines can come off at first, I decided to start simple – which is recommended. While an entire “ritual” should include anywhere from 9-12 products start-to-finish, I decided to collect the “core” ingredients:
- Oil Cleanser – to remove makeup, dirt, etc.
- Foam Cleanser – to typically clean the face, flush pores, get any remaining grime, etc.
- Toner – to prep the skin (for better absorption of other, more potent products, like essences/serums/ampoules or creams/lotions)
- Lotion – to repair skin, moisturize, brighten, and/or protect
- Cream (such as eye or wrinkle cream) – to target specific areas for moisture, protection, healing, etc.
- Sunscreen – to protect from the sun (this is an extremely important product that most of us forget to wear on a daily basis, and only “bring out” during Summer-time, when it “feels” appropriate…but really, you should be wearing a little bit of facial sunscreen, at the very least, every single day!)
A more advanced routine might include things like exfoliates, serums/ampoules/essences (highly concentrated products that usually focus on one or two ingredients, like Vitamin C), emulsions, and oil toners (all of which I totally plan to try eventually!), but the above products seemed like a good general place to start. Products should also vary depending on morning and night – for example, an oil cleanser, commonly used at night, isn’t needed when you wake up and haven’t worn any makeup yet, but a caffeine eye cream (to “wake up” the eyes and hide dark circles) probably IS needed (whereas it would not be needed at night).
So, after more research and asking around, I settled on products from the Japanese company Hada Labo, the organic, all-natural South Korean company Innisfree (delightfully named after a W.B. Yeats poem that I happen to love!), the popular and highly recommended South Korean company Mizon, and two Western favorites of mine, Thayers Natural Remedies and 100% Pure:
- Innisfree Olive Oil Cleanser (Morning and Night)
- Innisfree Olive Foam Cleanser (Morning and Night)
- Hada Labo Moisturizing Toner (Night)
- Hada Labo Moisturizing Lotion (Night)
- Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel (with Aloe) Toner (Morning)
- Mizon Snail Repair Cream (Morning)
- 100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream (Morning)
- Innisfree SPF50 Sunblock (Morning)
Let me just say…I’ll never doubt snails again.
After beginning my new morning and night routines, I started to notice improvements to my skin’s tone, natural “glow”, and texture in only a matter of days. All of the products did an amazing job of cleaning, moisturizing, and reducing redness. But, to my utter delight, the product that seemed to be making the biggest difference was…you guessed it!
The snail cream is, quite frankly, amazing. If it didn’t have the word “snail” plastered across it, and nobody told you what it was, you definitely would not know it’s snail extract. It looks very much like a normal, everyday lotion.
It doesn’t smell weird (people keep asking me if it smells weird! How would I know what a snail smells like? Do I look like someone who regularly sniffs snails??), but it totally doesn’t. It mostly just smells like nothing. The clear deviance between it and other lotions I’ve tried is the texture. It’s incredibly thin, and you only need a little bit to cover the face. It starts out a little bit sticky, but dries immediately.
And then, my friends, after a few days of using it, you start to look like a Goddess.
To show you what I mean, here is an example of my face a few months ago, pre-snails, with no makeup:
And here is my face, yesterday, without any makeup, after using only the snail repair cream:
See the difference in redness!? My rosacea has been significantly reduced! Add a little bit of foundation and…
Bam! Look at that smooth, gorgeous complexion!
So there you have it, folks: snails on the face is a legit actual thing that Works. And the best part? It’s all-natural! One of Mother Nature’s many hidden secrets. Thanks to the Koreans for figuring this one out! I suppose you could say, when it comes to skincare, they really “snailed” it! ^_~