My last encounter with a snail happened about 25 years ago, during a game of barefoot tag with my sister. Just as I heard that unmistakable crunch, I felt cold goo ooze between my toes. It was a completely disgusting experience. So, imagine my surprise now in my 30s to discover the latest beauty craze to hit South Korea is the same snail goo that traumatized me as a child.
Technically called mucin, snail slime is filled with proteins, glycolic acids and elastin—all ingredients that repair damaged tissue, replenish moisture in the skin and reduce pigmentation and scarring. Some beauty enthusiasts go as far as applying live snails to slither around on their face, but for the rest of us, companies such as Missha, Mizon, Tony Moly and Nature Republic offer everything from serums to hand creams to face masks that contain the mucilaginous goo.
Despite the loathsome memories from my childhood, I decided to give one of these slippery products a test drive. For about $30, the Snail Solution 80 Ampoule from Nature Republic claims to smooth and soften skin and even out the skin tone. Scent-wise, it was nearly odorless. I squeezed a drop on my hand and rubbed it into my palm. The unmistakable slimy texture became immediately apparent, and I knew that there was no way I could rub the viscous liquid on my face. Snail mucin may work wonders for skin tone and elasticity, but unfortunately, my complexion will never know.
For those brave enough to add snail mucin to their beauty routine, try the Mizon version on Amazon.