This is my first time trying a Tony Moly product and I’ll start with something slimy: the snail mask! Beauty products infused with snail filtrate have been around for 7 to 8 years, and Tony Moly caries a whole range of snail slime skincare ranging from cleansers and toners to gels, creams and essences.
When it comes to biological ingredients like sheep placenta, snake venom and snail slime, our questions are: 1. Is it safe to use? 2. Is it ethical? 3. Does it really work?
Is it safe to use?
According to a research from Stanford University, snail mucus contains 91-98% water and a small amount of glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, collagen and elastin to protect snail skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays. Cosmetic snail filtrate is normally harvested from lab-grown common garden snail Helix Aspersa. The mucus is then filtered multiple times to ensure its purity.
Snail spas have been popular for some time, where which living snails are put on the target’s face and left to slither around. Compared to this rather surreal experience, a decently packaged snail mask does seem to be the safer way.
Image: Audrey Magazine
Snail slime is, after all, a natural ingredient. And if escargots are good enough to eat, they should be fine for external use, right?
Is it ethical?
Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to this question. Some snail beauty products claim that they stimulate the snails to enable the creatures to secrete the needed filtrate without causing harm. Again, if they can be treated as food, I can’t see why they can’t be used in skincare.
Doe it really work?
Let’s find out!
Tony Moly Intense Care Snail Hydro-Gel Mask uses organically farmed snails from Gunsan City in South Korea’s Chungnam province. Each sheet mask contains 10,000ppm of snail secretion filtrate which helps to nourish and moisturize skin, boost vitality, solidify skin’s hydration barrier, heal acne and scars as well as reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The mask is also infused with Ceramium Kondol plant extract to supply nutrients to skin.
The mask comes in a copper-colored pouch with Korean and English instructions on the back. The manufacturing date is at the bottom.
Before putting it on I did a little “skin test” – I caught a real snail from the garden and tried it on my skin to get a feel of the slime and the suction. At first, it felt a bit gross but after a few seconds I only got a cool sensation. The slime isn’t that sticky or terrible to touch. So yes, I’m ready for the snail mask!
Inside a pouch are two folded masks, one for the upper half of the face and one for the bottom area. Each mask is sandwiched between two plastic sheets – a semi-sheer one above and a pearlescent one beneath. A rectangular transparent film offers further support to the masks.
I urge you to cover your desk or bathroom counter with paper towels before pulling the masks out because it can get quite messy. Perhaps due to the snail filtrate content, the masks were quite slippery and the layers of plastic sheets did not help. Luckily there was no excess essence in the pouch and no dripping. I’d suggest securing the mask for the upper half first before applying the other, but do pull out both at the same time.
The masks are scented, slightly transparent and textured. Maybe the texture provides a little anti-sliding effect, but my masks were still sliding down slowly during the 40 minutes of use, to such an extent that I decided to lie down and rest. Despite that, the masks were able to fit my facial contours and there were no irritations.
I peeled off the masks after they became dry. I could feel that my face became smoother, more supple and refined, though I’ve yet to use more for a more significant, long-lasting effect. Using the mask also makes it easier to put on makeup the next day.
At US$20.27 per 5 pieces, this mask is worth its value as a rescue treatment for dry skin. If you’re into new and natural anti-aging remedies, this one is for you!