I'm Washing My Face With Snail Slime

I know it sounds counterproductive, but I actually recommend it!
Publish date:
March 24, 2014
cleansers, Korean beauty, snails

Oh Korea, with your zany beauty contraptions and funky ingredients. I harbor both admiration and straight-up SNL-level "Really!?!" feelings toward your innovative spirit, which seems to know no bounds.

I was first introduced to the idea of snail-slime beauty products several months ago. My initial reaction--and I think it's a valid one--was disgust: a full-blown, nose-scrunched-up, no-way-am-I-smearing-slime-on-my-face reaction.

And then after 30 seconds I was like, "Meh…why not?"

Thirty seconds turned into months, but that's only because getting snail slime beauty products isn't exactly an easy feat. You can buy them on Amazon or eBay, sure, but I'm a firm believer in only buying online if the shipping cost makes sense, so I waited until I had a big list of things to buy and then headed to RoseRoseShop, a website that sells primarily Korean skincare and beauty products to anywhere in the world. You bet your little pony I added some slimy goodness to my virtual shopping cart! I decided to start with one snail slime product: Mizon Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser.

After about a month, everything finally showed up on my doorstep. The first thing I tried? My snail cleanser, of course.

Before I get into the review, let's talk about what snail slime is. Straight from the Wikipedia:

Snail slime is a kind of mucus, an external bodily secretion which is produced by snails, gastropod mollusks … The foot mucus of a gastropod has some of the qualities of a glue and some of the qualities of a lubricant, allowing land snails to crawl up vertical surfaces without falling off. The slime trail that a land gastropod leaves behind is often visible as a silvery track on surfaces such as stone or concrete.


Apparently, the snail slime "functions as a protective layer for the integument and mucosal surfaces of both simple animals and mammals." In other words, it's not just a slimy residue the snail leaves behind, but it actually coats the gastropod--in this case a snail--which protects it from the elements.

Knowing this, the idea of humans using it to do something similar--protect their own sensitive skin--makes more sense.

Beauty companies such as Mizon, Benton, Holika Holika, Tony Moly and Skin79 claim that snail slime prevents and heals acne, fades scars and soothes inflamed skin. Some also market snail slime products as anti-aging and rejuvenating.

Let's move onto my actual experience with the product.

The packaging reads, "This cleansing foam with snail's mucus filtrate and its ample and elastic bubble washes the skin cleanly."

The brand claims that its major ingredient is snail mucus and that it's a deep pore cleanser that removes dead skin cells while moisturizing. This is one product in a line of snail slime products created by Mizon. Their Snail Recovery Gel Cream is particularly popular.

The product is very thick, as you can see from this picture. It also has a pearly quality to it, and a little goes a very long way.

As far as consistency, it's also very gooey and sticky. I'm going to go ahead and assume this is in great part to the slimy quality of snail mucus. I'm kind of grossed out by this, but my inner bug-loving child is also absolutely fascinated, hence the above cross-eyed picture of me playing with the goo.

Like I said, a little bit goes a long way. This is that same pearl-sized amount of cleanser above that's since been lathered with a bit of water. I often prefer products that lather, and this snail slime cleanser scores big points in that department.

Obviously, I had to smell it, too. I was reluctant to do so, but the smell isn't foul or anything. It's very lightly fragranced with a sort of sweet scent. It does not smell like a snail, unless snails smell like pretty princesses.

The lather was very thick at first, but after about a minute, it started thinning out. The cleanser did not feel greasy or overly drying. It removed my makeup very effectively, including thick eyeliner, and it rinsed off easily without any residue.

I expected a thin layer of the slime to stick around, but when I use this, my skin verges on the "squeaky clean" end of cleanliness. Normally, I get a tight or dry feeling with a squeaky-clean cleanser, which I hate; however, that was not the case with this Mizon product. Instead, I felt like all my makeup and daily dirt buildup had been rinsed away without sending my skin's natural oils packing.

I've been using the product for almost a week, now, with positive results. My skin feels clean and healthy and I plan to continue using it. Who knows--I may even try another snail slime-based product. Color me converted!