Ever wondered how snails’ shells have such an incredible, youthful glow? No, me neither, but regardless, snail gel (slime? goo? gunk?) is the new ‘wonder ingredient’ in the beauty world and I was determined to get in on the act early for a change and try it for myself.
Many products have their roots in old wives’ tales. For example, it’s known that the girls who pick grapes in French vineyards or the men who milk cows in Germany have famously soft, smooth, blemish-free hands, so scientists look into the whys and wherefores of it all and discover an amazing peptide or active ingredient in the vine’s sap or cow’s milk or whatever, then the beauty brands patent it and turn into a bestselling product.
This is apparently what happened with the snail slime – snail farmers in Chile were found to have incredibly soft hands, while their cuts and grazes would heal rapidly too. Cue some hardcore research in the labs, and hey presto, snail slime is the new beauty messiah. They identified the unique substance in the slime that allows the snail to quickly regenerate its own shell and skin when it’s damaged and combined it with Aloe Vera and other bioactive ingredients to make a kickass moisturiser.
So this snail slime, or to give it its proper name, Helix Aspersa Muller, is known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It contains high levels of allantoine, collagen, elastin, Glycolic Acid, Vitamins and Minerals and anti-bacterial substances which work together to heal and smooth the skin and promise all sorts of miraculous anti-ageing benefits too although obviously I can’t report back on those as I’ve only been using it for a week rather than my whole life.
It’s been big in Asia for a while which is always an interesting sign, as Asia has the most demanding and discerning skincare customers in the world (this is where the amazing blackhead-busting Ginvera Marvel Gel originates remember).
My face got into a state on holiday, I have no idea why, but the skin was flaking off all over the place and it looked red, sore and angry. Hot. I’ve only just got it to calm down again through some serious moisturising and gentle exfoliating, so I felt a little trepidation as I massaged the snail gel into my skin – what if it triggered a gigantic reaction and made my skin sting and burn?
I needn’t have worried – it felt lovely on my skin, absorbing rapidly and leaving it feeling really, noticeable soft and smooth – like, I was stroking my own face in wonderment. There was no tingling, no stinging and no feeling of tautness (I really hate that feeling – like when you wash your face with a soap that’s too harsh and your face feels like a too-tight mask.)
The clear gel has a sharp, almost medicinal, citrusy smell – that’s thanks to the lime and lemongrass oils they’ve packed it with, presumably to distract you from the thought that you’ve covering your face in sticky, gooey snail gunk. Worked for me.
As you’d expect with a good organic product, it’s free from parabens, SLS, artificial colours, preservatives and fragrance and all that jazz. I like this stuff – it’s weird, but it feels good. Which means I’m going to feel even guiltier the next time I step on one of the poor little blighters in the dark.
Dr Organics Snail Gel, £19.99 for 50ml, Holland and Barrett