July 12, 2024


Define Beauty Yourself

13 Best Snail-Mucin Skin-care Products 2024

13 Best Snail-Mucin Skin-care Products 2024

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

It may seem like the skin-care world is buzzing about a trendy new ingredient every month, but snail mucin — the slime secreted by common garden snails — has more than proven its staying power. According to board-certified dermatologist and Prequel Skin founder Dr. Sam Ellis, it’s been around in Korean skin care for decades, and now that it’s fully established itself Stateside, snail mucin is routinely touted by beauty editors, influencers, and dermatologists for its incredible versatility. Because snail mucin naturally contains peptides, antioxidants, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid, it can simultaneously improve hydration, stimulate collagen production, and aid in skin regeneration. It can also provide intensive nourishing and gentle resurfacing to achieve a smooth and shiny-glass-skin look, says Dr. Ellis.

You might have some reservations on how it’s produced, but Dr. James Y. Wang, a dermatologist and the founder of Metropolis Dermatology, says it’s “collected as a by-product of the snails, rather than directly from an organ,” meaning that there’s no harm done to the animals. Because it can be such an effective all-in-one ingredient, we asked dermatologists and skin-care obsessives to share their favorite snail-mucin products for all skin types.

CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Very Good Deal

Nearly every dermatologist we talked to mentioned CosRx, and for good reason: The K-beauty brand’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence became a cult classic and is now widely and thoroughly beloved. Both Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton — who wrote an entire guide to the best CosRX products — and Dr. Wang call this blend of hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and snail mucin one of the best snail-mucin products on the market for its brightening and moisturizing powers, as well as its lighter feel. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Divya Shokeen attributes its success to the fact that it’s well-tolerated by all skin types: “It’s a great formulation that pretty much everyone can use it without much issue,” she says. “Both my oily skin patients and my dry skin patients can find a place for it in their routine.”

Dylan Cruickshank, a Toronto-based hairstylist, has been using this essence for over ten years and counts it as the secret to his healthy skin barrier. “People are always shocked when I divulge my age, all thanks to CosRX,” he says. (It’s also a top seller among Strategist readers — a very smart and discerning bunch, if we do say so ourselves!)

CosRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream

For snail-mucin newbies, Dr. Ellis recommends CosRx’s snail-mucin cream over the essence as it’s a little less intimidating to use. “It takes the snail mucin and infuses it into a moisturizer format, which is easier to incorporate into your routine than an essence,” she says. She does caveat, however, that the cream has a tackiness to it “that some people might find really interesting and appealing, and other people might find off-putting”; for Viera-Newton, it was a touch too sticky to use as a facial moisturizer, so instead she applies it under her eyes as intensely replenishing eye cream. “It’s thick without being pore-clogging, and has helped so much with my fine lines,” Viera-Newton writes.

Peach Slices Snail Rescue Intensive Wash-Off Mask

This snail-mucin mask comes recommended by Dr. Wang and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick for reducing inflammation and therefore decreasing the risk of post-acne scarring. The addition of cica and licorice-root extract helps to reduce redness and target blemishes and dullness, Dr. Garshick explains. Ashley Branch, an advertising director who’s been using snail mucin regularly for the past 12 years, says that this formula, when applied two to three times a week, helps clear blemishes and improves her skin’s brightness. Caitlin Farrell, an events programmer and fellow snail-mucin devotee, purchases ten-packs so she never runs out, calling it the ultimate hydrator for her dry skin. And Strategist contributor and beauty writer Natasha Marsh likes to use it on days when her rosacea flares up; she says the lightweight formula cools her skin and reduces redness.

Beauty of Joseon Revive Serum: Ginseng + Snail Mucin

Mariah Poitier, an educator at Stanford University who’s tried more than 60 products over the last four years to treat her hyperpigmentation, says this snail mucin serum has “helped bring down the color of my dark spots and smooth out my texture.” She also highlights the addition of ginseng, which, according to Dr. Jaimie DeRosa, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, adds moisture while the snail mucin heals, making this serum effective in boosting skin rejuvenation.

SeoulCeuticals Korean Skin Care Snail Repair Cream
Very Good Deal

This SeoulCeuticals Korean Skin Care Snail Repair Cream is another recommendation from Marsh, who travels frequently and often suffers dry patches as a result of changing climates and time zones. Marsh likes to sandwich the cream between her cleanser and vitamin C to help calm small hyperpigmentation spots and rosacea. Elizabeth Grace Hand, an aesthetician and founder of Ställe Studios, also shouted out the jojoba oil and shea butter in the formula, which she credits with restoring moisture.

Elicina Crema de Caracol Snail Cream

Hand says Elicina Crema de Caracol Snail Cream is the “OG snail mucin product,” thanks to its intense brightening formula. Eighty percent of the cream is composed of snail secretion extract, which is rich in glycoproteins to attract and retain moisture and can smooth texture and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well. The secretion also contains peptides to stimulate collagen production, which can further improve the appearance of aging skin, and allantoin, a synthetically derived compound that regenerates skin cells.

Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum 40 Ampoules

Two of our dermatologist sources give their stamps of approval to this Biopelle serum for deep hydration and anti-aging. Dr. Karan Lal, a double board-certified dermatologist, recommends Biopelle to clients whose primary skin concern is premature aging, as the vitamins A and C keep the skin looking youthful and glowy. And while you’ve probably gathered by now that moisturizing is one of snail mucin’s top benefits, it can also trigger the production of new collagen, which results in firmer skin. As such, Dr. Corey L. Hartman, the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, notes that this humectant moisturizer is a good choice for those looking for tighter, more hydrated skin.

MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream

Beauty journalist Donna Kim doesn’t especially care for the texture of snail mucin but finds she doesn’t mind it in this lightweight cream from MISSHA. “I love how fast and effective it is when you want to get extra moisture,” Kim says, adding that she’ll reach for it more frequently in colder weather “when my skin is feeling particularly dry and doesn’t look glowy.” Even though Kim has combination skin, it hasn’t exacerbated her oily spots. The formula contains 70 percent snail mucin as well as baobab-tree extract and seawater for extra hydration.

Caracol Natural Skincare Day & Night Facial Cleanser Foam

Hand says she encourages clients to use this cleanser to remove impurities and pollutants without compromising the skin barrier. And Emily Perrone, a production coordinator and skin-care obsessive, says she uses it to help treat the sun spots she has developed from spending most of her free time outdoors. Within two months of consistent use, she reports that it noticeably softened the hyperpigmentation and made her skin glow as if she “came back from a really good vacation.” Packed with rosemary, aloe vera, and sage, the cleanser also aims to restore skin elasticity while calming irritation.

LA PURE Korean Face Mask

For an even tone and brightening, Dr. Hartman recommends this La PURE mask, which contains glycolic acid and a higher concentration of snail-secretion filtrate than most other masks on the market. This means it can help your skin rejuvenate faster, allowing you to see results more quickly.

Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

If improved elasticity is one of your skin goals, Hand suggests Mizon’s Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule, noting that the glycerin and panthenol formula stimulates collagen production, which is key for tight, youthful skin. Nicole Doswell, an executive director at a PR agency who frequently tries new skin-care products and treatments, calls it the “under-eye killer” of her beauty routine. “I suck at using anything regularly, but this is the only product I’ve used that made a difference,” she says. “The skin finally feels hydrated and my bags are lighter in color.”

Mizon All-in-One Repair Snail Cream

For those who simply can’t stomach the stickiness of snail mucin, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jenny Liu assures that, after trying it herself, Mizon’s snail cream has a “lovely lightweight texture” that’s not at all tacky or slimy, but still very hydrating. The formula also contains natural ingredients such raspberry and mugwort extract that are optimized to replenish moisture.

Nerea Milano Gorgolaio Snail Slime Serum

Made with enzymatic snail-secretion filtrate extract, this serum from Nerea Milano nourishes and provides long-lasting hydration. Because snail mucin is packed with hyaluronic acid, Dr. Hartman says it can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while plumping the skin. Gina Maruschak, a New York–based publicist who’s used it daily for years, also notes its moisturizing abilities, calling it a “miracle product.”

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