There are a lot of things that South Koreans do well, but there are a few things that stand out because in South Korea they do them really, very well. Among those exceptional things are fried chicken, K-pop, and of course, cosmetic surgery. While I am not myself interested in altering myself for cosmetic reasons, my friend, who I’ll call Steph, because that’s her name, has gone under the surgeon’s scalpel in Seoul in the name of staying ageless and beautiful. I have to admit that the results were nothing short of amazing. When I saw the places where she had moles removed, I noted to Steph that the lack of visible scarring was especially impressive . She came back with an answer that was as flat toned as if I’d asked her what she ate for breakfast: she said that the only post-op skincare treatment Koreans use is snail slime and that was exactly what she used. Stop the presses, what!? Snail slime is gross, a little bit puke inducing, probably looks awful, maybe even stinks, and yes after seeing my friend’s results with snail slime, it is something I absolutely will be putting on my face. Slime me UP, baby! Needless to say, since this revelation, I immediately went to Google looking for where I can get some of that wonder product right here in the U.S. of A. What I discovered is that it turns out there is an entire K-beauty party to which I am arriving very, very late.
In my search, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of brands with the weird names offering up truckloads of strange and hopefully wonderful products. Yes, I dove in at the deep end. Antiaging face treatments, whitening masks, brightening and tightening serums – I ordered a heap of products with snail slime in it. I am still trying them out, but it makes sense for me to now give you the scientific explanation for why snail slime works. In the meantime, my black snail, charcoal mucus, whip up will be drying on my face. The package tells me that it will literally erase my pores. I am literally a little bit afraid of that. Still. Quite excited.
The snail slime used in the cosmetic industry comes from your standard garden snail. The kind my grandma used to squash with her shoe for eating her tiny vegetable patch goodies. If only she knew! The mucus these little guys produce is rich in proteins, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. Basically, everything you want on your face to keep those wrinkles at bay. But what sounds more interesting to me is the fact that snail slime has glue-like properties that allow these creatures to conquer vertical surfaces. The same adhesive element works its magic to heal the layers of skin cut into during cosmetic surgeries. I have to be skeptical, because that’s who I am. Yet I saw with my very own eyes what this stuff does, and while I might not have the professional grade product on my hands, I’d still quite like to believe I’m going to get the same results as Steph had.
So far I’ve ordered myself a pack of TonyMoly snail slime sheet face masks called Pureness 100 Snail Mask Sheet Skin Damage Care. TonyMoly is a huuuuge Korean beauty brand, and they just opened their first US-based store in NYC. Prices are encouraging, especially compared to the ridiculously priced chemical cocktail that other companies offer up. I’ll take snail slime over some of the horrific potions on the market any day.
The TonyMoly face mask packaging advertises that it prevents skin damage – what kind of damage exactly I cannot say because the face mask packaging doesn’t elaborate. The writing is mostly in Korean though, so maybe they do, but it’s beyond me. Ingredients listed include glacier water, glycerin, castor oil, panthenol and of course, “snail secretion.” If I know my skincare ingredients lists I can tell you straight away that glycerin is the main player here, which is not bad but not what I am after either. Castor oil is good to have, too, as is panthenol, but the snail secretion is an unknown. Even so, the snail secretion is definitely the smaller of the components, by volume, as tends to be the case when the ingredient is last on the list. Still, I really like the mask, and will be gladly using the pack up in the coming weeks.
As far as the anti-aging properties of snail slime, I feel safe saying that these are unknown. Actually, I feel safe saying they are non-existent. All the same, I’m seeing some great results from the products I’ve used so far, and not a single one gave my rosacea a reaction of any kind. That is already a massive bonus as I wade into the deep end of snail slime cosmetics. Was that ten fascinating facts about snail slime for beauty? Ok, I owe you a few, next time. =)