I haven’t done an empties post since February, so there are lots of items in this post!
Previously reviewed. This is the best cleansing oil I’ve ever used! Continue reading
I used to swim 2 hours a day, 11 months out of the year, and I played water polo before my high school even had a team, so when I moved to Southern California and decided to take up surfing, I assumed it would come naturally. I have probably a record number of battle scars from playing little league as a kid, but in water? Pffft. I’m practically a mermaid!
Turns out, swimming in the ocean is totally different than swimming in a pool, and I’m considerably worse at it than I care to admit. Something about the salt and lack of lane lines throws me for a loop, although I’m convinced if I could only wear goggles while surfing, I would be at least 300% better at it.
In a way, CosRX snail essence is the ocean to CosRX snail cream’s pool. My skin loves snails and specifically, my snail loves the snail cream. They’re practically the same product yet my skin refuses to love this essence, despite my many efforts. It just doesn’t make any logical sense!
This Advanced Snail Gel Lotion is protects skin from moisutre loss and keeps skin smooth, and healthy without the use of heavy oils.
Where does it fit in your routine?
This is an essence but due to its thicker texture, follow the thin to thick rule when applying. I usually apply this after other essences and toners but before emulsions or creams.
Size and Price
This bottle contains 1o0ml of product. I purchased this as part of the Fiddy Snails set at Memebox (now sold out). It is also available individually for $18, or on Amazon for $17.98, RoseRoseShop for $11.50 (plus shipping), or Jolse for $16.50.
(PS you can get 8% cash back from all memebox purchases from TopCashBack)
This comes in a plastic bottle with a pump dispenser on top. The set I got it in also came with two sheets of awesome CosRX stickers. I highly recommend getting some CosRX stickers whenever you have the chance!
No fragrance detected.
Color and texture
This essence is completely clear and has slimy, mucus-y texture, like, well, snail slime!
What’s in it?
The ingredient list is simple and this essence boasts the highest amount of snail secretion filtrate I’ve seen in any product. If you’re trying to find something as close to pure snail as possible, this is probably what you want!
Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies Butylene Glycol (1) as an acne trigger and carbomer (1) as a potential irritant.
Snail Secretion Filtrate, Betaine, Butylene Glycol,1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Arginine, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol
As mentioned earlier, this essence has a very slimey and mucus-y texture. I follow the instructions and apply heavily to my cheeks and lightly to my t-zone. The CosRX snail cream is mucus-y as well, but feels more whipped in comparison. It certainly feels nice, like a gluey gel, takes a minute to sink in, but once in doesn’t leave a film or residue on my skin.
Unfortunately, this essence doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything. Whereas the very similar CosRX snail cream left my skin soft and bouncy, my skin feels very much unchanged after using this essence. I suppose it does add a bit of hydration, but not enough for me to use it as a hydrating product.
I also noticed that when I use this essence, I tend to develop clusters of small pimples around my nose area and mouth, which is not an area I’m prone to breakouts. These bumps clear up quickly, but they quickly clear up when I stop using this essence. This is especially puzzling because I do not have any issues with the CosRX cream and the two products are extremely similar in their composition. There are a total of 2 ingredients in the essence that are not in the cream (if anyone is curious, these are butylene glycol and 1,2-Hexanediol), so I was very surprised to be getting breakouts from the essence. My theory (I’m not a biologist – this might be utter nonsense) is that something about the slimy texture doesn’t sit well with my skin.
Everyone’s skin is different, but on my skin this essence does not seem to do much of anything except to give me minor breakouts. This is totally bizarre and exceptionally disappointing considering how much I love the sister cream to this product.
Disclaimer: This product was purchased by me. This post contains an affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.
I don’t write a lot about sheet masks because I don’t actually know very much about them. Unlike most steps in skincare, sheet masks are one area where I don’t like trying new things. There are just too many potential pitfalls and ways for a mask to go wrong. Like this mask. I really, really wanted to like this mask and there is actually a lot to like, but it’s just not for me.
MASK TYPE: Hydrogel Sheet Mask
INGREDIENTS: Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, snail secretion filtrate, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) fruit extract, hydrolyzed ceratonia siliqua gum extract, chondrus crispus (carrageenan) powder, cellulose gum, polyacrylate-13, disodium EDTA, sodium polyacrylate, polyisobutene, polysorbate 20, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, sea water, camellia sinensis leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, thymus vulgaris (thyme) flower/leaf extract, pelargonium graveolens extract, melissa officinalis leaf extract, origanum vulgare leaf extract, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf extract, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract, eucalyptus globulus leaf extract, mentha spicata flower/leaf/stem extract, sodium oleate, hydrogenated lecithin, acetyl hexapeptide-8
Butylene Glycol (1) identified as an acne trigger.
Snail secretion filtrate is the star ingredient. See here for more snails.
FRAGRANCE: None detected
I like hydrogel masks, but it bothers me that they so rarely achieve a good wetness level. Some are too dry from the beginning (i.e. Guerrison, Innisfree), which not only makes them feel very rubbery and condom-like but also results in their drying out too quickly. Considering hydrogels are sometimes many times the price of cotton sheet masks, I want them to stay moist on my face as long as possible! Other hydrogels (i.e. LJH) have more essence than the material can seemingly handle, which means I have to lay on my back for the first couple of minutes or the mask will slowly slide down my face. Ciracle gets it right! This mask is drenched in snailey goodness yet stays completely put on my face. I can easily get an hour of masking time in before the texture becomes uncomfortably rubbery.
On top of that, the fit of this mask is fantastic. It is comfortable to wear with well placed holes for the eyes and mouth, and is the only hydrogel I’ve used so far where the mask can cover my entire forehead. I don’t have a large forehead either, so if you do, you would likely appreciate this even more!
So wearing this mask is great. It’s comfortable, wet, and stays put, but all of this only makes the lack of visible skin benefits all he more disappointing. The mask doesn’t do anything bad, in fact my skin emerges from it looking and feeling substantially hydrated, but not any more so than what your average cotton sheet mask can do. Considering this mask easily costs 5X as much as a regular old cotton mask, I was expecting more. I also do not experience any calming effects which I get from snail cream. My skin is very prone to redness and suffers from inflammatory acne, so I need all the skin calming I can get from skincare products that I can get!
My biggest complaint with this mask is that it leaves my face uncomfortably sticky. Most sheet masks that I have tried do this, which is actually the main reason why I hate trying new sheet masks (the other being terrible fragrances). This mask is far from the worst – in fact, some of the Evercos masks that I use regularly are worse perpetrators of leaving this residual stickiness than this mask, but again, at $5 a pop, my expectations are higher.
This is an exceptionally comfortable hydrogel mask that sadly did not deliver any benefits beyond hydration for my skin to justify its cost.
Disclosure: Mask was purchased by me. This post contains affiliate links. Please see here for my full disclosure policy.
A few months ago, I wrote a post comparing three different snail creams. Because I am a maximizer, I’ve since went out and tried 5 more.
Snail secretion filtrate is one of the cornerstone ingredients of Korean Skincare. It’s known anecdotally for its skin-repairing properties, particularly useful in healing the skin post-breakout, and more scientifically, its constituents should make it a good humectant.
My experience with snail mucus has been less stunning than the experience of some others and if you are new to the world of rubbing snail mucus on your face, I think it’s important to set reasonable expectations. I have very dry skin and most snail products I’ve tried are nowhere near moisturizing enough for my skin. Snail may have humectant properties, but it’s not going to be a replacement for something like glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Also, because I have acne, I was hoping snail secretion filtrate products would help minimize my breakouts or at least reduce the post-inflammatory pigmentation from my breakouts. If it made any sort of difference, I didn’t notice. It’s definitely not going to be as effective as something like salicylic acid in that regard. It may seem unfair to expect snail secretion filtrate to perform like these other powerhouse active ingredients with tons of scientific backing, but if you’re like me, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype around snail mucus and be disappointed when it turns out to be anything less than a do-it-all, miracle-working wunderkind. Snail’s a good ingredient, but it’s not going to fix everything wrong with your skin, do your taxes, and tuck you in at night. If it did, Korea would not be known as the land of the 21-step skincare routine.
Furthermore, there are about a million different skincare products on the market these days, and they can perform very differently, despite all featuring snail mucus. Today, we will talk about 8. These are:
Imported / rehashed from the aforementioned previous comparison post:
Let’s get started, shall we?
This cream is housed in a heavy, glass jar and feels very luxurious. It is very white colored, looks richer than it actually is, and is VERY stringy. It leaves the skin a little tacky but not sticky. For this reason, I find it best to use this cream at night because it’s a little difficult to apply sunscreen and makeup over it until it sinks in completely, which takes time. The cream feels very occlusive but is not enough to keep my (very dry) skin hydrated overnight by itself.
Even though this cream does not have the highest snail content, it (true to Scinic’s reputation) is brimming with a large variety of other useful ingredients and various extracts! I actually do find this cream to be nicely soothing on my skin, which can either be from the snail mucus or the other ingredients.
Luxurious packaging, impressive ingredient list, soothing, minimally fragranced
Stringy texture makes it difficult to apply, not moisturizing enough for very dry skin
This cream is housed in a huge, plastic tub and has a texture that resembles what I would imagine a tub of snail mucus looks like. It’s gooey, translucent, and, well, mucus-y. Luckily, on my skin it is light, sinks in immediately, and does not leave any greasy residue or really any residue at all.
The main thing this cream does is make my skin really, really soft. The first couple of times I used it, I couldn’t stop touching my face! My skin also stays soft for the whole day. Unfortunately, I do not find this cream to be very moisturizing at all, but because it sinks in so quickly and is so light, I remedy this problem one of two ways. Either I use this cream as an ampoule or emulsion step and layer another, more moisturizing product over it, or I mix it with a few drops of face oil. Because it is scentless and not sticky, it is one of my two go-to creams to mix oils into.
High snail content, makes skin super soft, no fragrance, easy to layer with or to mix oils into
Not moisturizing enough for dry skin
This cream has very little snail in it, but I included it in this listing because 1) mucin is in the name, 2) it’s AWESOME, and 3) translating the endless array of ingredients was such a pain there was no way I wasn’t going to publish it somewhere.
I live in LA but travel somewhat frequently to Chicago for work and Colorado for fun / snowboarding. This is the cream I rely on to protect my wussy West Coast skin when that happens. This cream is dense but spreadable, smells like candied ginger, provides a good amount of hydration but mostly is a damn good occlusive. It forms a physical barrier, like a cocoon, that protects my skin from the elements of the world. Yes, it does leave a film on my face, which is something I usually cannot stand, but unlike the plethora of moisturizers my skin hasn’t liked for that very reason, the resulting residue with this cream is intentional which makes it less bothersome for me.
Really, really excellent occlusive cream for dry skin or for normal skin subjected to harsh winds and cold, impressive ingredient list, delicious candied ginger smell
Not very much snail, leaves a film which may bother some people
Another cream with snail in the name that does not actually contain very much snail at all. Booooo. The best thing about this product is that the texture is light and quite lovely. It’s a watery gel with enough cohesion to hold its shape when you scoop it, but without any stickiness, stringiness, or tackiness at all.
Unfortunately, this hydrating cream is not very hydrating at all and is instead heavily fragranced. It’s not an unpleasant smell – to me, it smells like generic cologne- but it’s not a scent I want to apply on my face.
That said, I had no trouble using up this gel on my body. It packs enough hydration that it works well layered under a heavier cream, and the texture really is quite lovely, kind of like aloe but a little less wet.
Great texture, very economical, absorbs easily, soothing
Heavily fragranced, not very hydrating despite its name, contains very little snail
This gel was the winner of my original battle of the snails comparison post. It’s got a lovely gel-like texture, sinks into my skin nicely, and has a nice soothing effect. It’s also packaged in tube, which I prefer over jars for ease-of-use reasons, and is mostly fragrance-free. It’s not super hydrating, unfortunately, but it’s one of my go-to moisturizers in warmer months and one of the few products I rely on for a quick mid-day post-gym skincare routines.
High snail content, practical packaging, light gel-like texture that sinks in quickly, very soothing, very faintly scented
Not moisturizing enough by itself for my dry skin
Disclaimer: It’s been more than half a year since I’ve used the tworemaining two snail creams I discuss. I’m working off of memory and my old notes, so take that for what its worth.
Given its ingredient list, this product should be pretty amazing, but on my skin it was unremarkable. I did not find it very hydrating, despite all the humectants and moisturizing ingredients it contains, and I was annoyed by the fact that this cream would never fully absorb into my skin. I did experience some pigmentation-lightening effects from this cream, likely due to its arbutin content, but even that effect was subtle.
High snail content, superstar ingredient list, fragrance-free, helps with fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Feels heavy yet is not very occlusive or moisturizing
It’s a shame I didn’t like this “cream” more, because I actually find it to have the most noticeable lightening effects on my skin, which again is likely due to the arbutin content and not the snail. It has a gel-like texture that is lovely by itself, but has the tendency to ball up and pill if I try to apply anything over it. This is a huge problem because I almost always want to layer either sunscreen and/or a heavier cream over this. The other big issue I have with this product is like the Skinwatchers cream, it smells like generic cologne. If memory serves, the fragrance is less strong than SW, but it’s definitely a deal-breaker for me.
High snail content, helps with fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Pills when layered, heavily fragranced
I think I purchased this from Beautynetkorea but I can no longer find it there. It is available on Missha US.
I guess the winner here is Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream. I see it almost as a treatment product because it leaves my skin feeling soft and renewed. I am also encouraged that it contains 92% snail secretion filtrate, because that likely means the effects are indeed coming from snail mucus! For fellow dry skinned boys and girls, I would be remiss not to give an honorable mention to the Caolion Mucin’s Cream Water. Even though it does not contain very much snail, it’s a hardcore moisturizing and occlusive product, and those are hard to find!
Disclaimer: 100% of products mentioned here are purchased by me. This post contains some affiliate links. See here for my full disclosure policy.
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.
Please see here for my updated snails comparison post.
Salicylic acid, a Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA), is a magical ingredient. It is derived from willow tree bark and like Alpha Hydroxy acids (i.e. lactic acid and glycolic acid), it is frequently used as a chemical exfoliant. However, while AHAs are water-soluble and work on the outer layer of your skin, BHAs are oil-soluble, allowing them to get into your pores. For this reason, they are frequently recommended for oily-skinned folks and commonly touted for their ability to shrink pores.
As a dry-skinned girl, I have a tortured relationship with BHAs. I want to experience salicylic acid’s magical, anti-inflammatory, pore-cleaning effects, but a lot of products I have tried in the past have proved to be too harsh. Specifically, I gave certain salicylic-acid-containing pads a try a few years ago only to have my face turn beet red and, when I frantically attempt to rinse the product off my face, I couldn’t. It was the worst feeling in the world and all I could do was sit around, hoping my face didn’t burn off, until the burning subsided.
Turns out, salicylic acid is pretty heavily regulated in Korea (there’s a .5% formulation limit) and as such, many Korean skincare products, including Korean formulations of Paula’s Choice products, use betaine salicylate instead. Even if you don’t know anything about chemistry, you may have noticed betaine salicylate sounds suspiciously similar to salicylic acid, and you would be right! Betaine salicylate is a chemical compound of salicylic acid and betaine. It promises to do what salicylic acid can do, but in a milder, gentler way, making it an awesome alternative not only for dry skinned folk but also people just getting started with chemical exfoliation. It is also the star ingredient in Beta Salic 2.0!
I’ll keep this quick because there is already a lot written about these two products. I was really excited to try out this combo due to the nearly unanimously positive reviews, but sadly the products didn’t live up to the hype.
First the essence. Thin, jelly like texture. It feels really nice to apply and I think I prefer this kind of thicker essence to the watery first treatment essences. Click here for ingredients and cosdna analysis. Continue reading