My relationship with beauty products is a little bit like my relationships with men. Sometimes, products seem exciting and awesome at first only to be revealed as duds a few weeks later. Other times, my love for the item grows with time, as the effects no my skin are revealed. This is why, for the most part, I try to give all products a month of use before making any judgements on it. Occasionally though, a hasty judgement can’t be helped. This is one of these times. This toner? No bueno.
This toner comes in a beige, plastic bottle that isn’t very fancy, but feels sturdy. It has the consistency of water but has more slip to it than water does.
Per the name of this product, snail secretion filtrate and EGF are the star ingredients:
Snail secretion filtrate is a skin repairing superstar. It contains chondroitin sulphuric acid, which is an important structural component of cartilage and used to treat osteoporosis.
EGF stands for epidermal growth factor. This toner contains oligopeptide-1, which has an identical chemical structure to an epidermal growth factor and has been shown to increase the rate of healing and renewal of the skin. The jury seems to be out on whether or not putting this stuff in skincare does anything, but it certainly sounds nice.
In addition to these two ingredients, this toner also includes a number of extracts. The full ingredient list, with cosdna acne triggers and irritants indicated, is below:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Snail Secretion Filtrate, Beta-Glucan, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Saccharomyces / Caragana sinica root ferment extract, Oligopeptide-1, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Extract, PEG-60, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
Despite snail secretion filtrate and EGF being the star ingredients, they are found 6th and 10th on an ingredient list with 18 items listed. Although no specific percentages are included, there certainly is not a lot of either ingredient in the actual toner. The first three ingredients on the list are water, butylene glycol, and alcohol denatured (aka ethanol), none of which are very exciting.
Despite this, I opted to give this toner a shot. After washing my face, I poured some on a cotton pad and swiped it over my face. Immediately, there was a problem. It didn’t bother me when I tested this on my arm, but on my face, this toner stunk of alcohol. A frequent refrain in Asian Beauty communities I hear is that AB toners are not supposed to be harsh, astringent, or drying, like Western toners are known to be. Snail or no snail, this toner should be strongly classified as a Western style toner. Also, despite the high alcohol content, it is slow to absorb, which considering the first ingredient is water, boggles my mind.
Final thoughts: Sometimes, AB products are just as bad as their Western counterparts can be. This is one of those cases. Hugely disappointing toner. The high alcohol content and low concentration of its star ingredients makes it not worth using. Every once in awhile it’s good to be reminded that Asian Beauty products are not infallible.
I purchased this through Koreadepart, where it is priced very cheaply and has strangely positive reviews.
Edit: it has been brought to my attention that my bottle of toner is different from the one some other people have. Also, while the Koreadepart has this listed as a Snail + EGF toner, the bottle only says snail (the ingredients do include EGF), which makes me think this toner was recently reformulated. It also may be worth mentioning the person who alerted me of this has had better luck with her version!