I Tried A Bunch of Snail Creams So You Don’t Have To

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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:

  • Scinic Snail Matrix Cream
  • Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream
  • Caolion Snails Mucin Water
  • Skinwatchers Green Snail Hydrating Gel

Imported / rehashed from the aforementioned previous comparison post:

  • Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream
  • Mizon Snail Recovery Gel
  • Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream

Let’s get started, shall we?

Scinic Snail Matrix Cream

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here.
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Butylene Glycol (1), PEG-100 Stearate (1), Cetyl Alcohol (2), Dimethicone (1), Beeswax (0-2), and Triethanolamide (2)
  • Potential Irritants: Cetyl Alcohol (2), Carbomer (1), Beeswax (0-2), and Sorbitan Stearate (1)
  • Snail: 23%
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Adenosine, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Human Oligopeptide-1, Amino Acids (alanine, glycine, leucine, serine), Extracts (Licorice Root, Panax Ginseng, Hordeum Vulgare Seed, Cucumis Sativus Seed, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed, Punica Granatum Seed, Borago Officinalis), Oils (Caprylic / Capric Triglycerides, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed, Sunflower, Brassica Campestris Seed, Shea Butter), Beeswax

Impressions

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.

Pros

Luxurious packaging, impressive ingredient list, soothing, minimally fragranced

Cons

Stringy texture makes it difficult to apply, not moisturizing enough for very dry skin

I purchased this from Koreadepart. It is also available on amazon and ebay

Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Cetearyl Alcohol (2), Stearic Acid (2), Dimethicone (1)
  • Potential Irritants: Cetearyl Alcohol (2), Carbomer (1)
  • Snail: 92%
  • Other notable ingredients: Capric / Caprylic Triglyceride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Adenosine

Impressions

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.

Pros

High snail content, makes skin super soft, no fragrance, easy to layer with or to mix oils into

Cons

Not moisturizing enough for dry skin

I purchased this from Jolse. It is also available on Amazon, Memebox, RoseRoseShop, and Wishtrend

Caolion Lte Mucin’s Cream Water aka LTE V3 Mucin’s Hydration Cream

Ingredients Roundup

  • Because I am SO intelligent, I took a picture of what I assumed were the ingredients and threw out the packaging before I translated the ingredient list. Turns out, that wasn’t the full list so I only have the first 30 or so items, which you can see here. If/when I repurchase, I will translate the rest. 
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Cetearyl Alcohol (2), Butylene Glycol (1)
  • Potential Irritants: Cetearyl Alcohol (2)
  • Snail: Unknown. Not very much
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Sugar Maple Sap, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bambusa Arundinacea Juice, Beta-Glucan, Adenosine, Extracts (Tremella Fuciformis Mushroom, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Leaf, Mistletoe Ferment, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment, Anise Fruit, Dioscorea Japonica Root, Lotus Root, Limonia Acidissima, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf, Oldenlandia DIffusa, Honeysuckle, Lactobacillus/Silkworm Cocoon Extract Ferment Filtrate, Camellia Japonica Flower, Tagetes Erecta Flower Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root, Paecilomyces Japonica/Saussurea Involucrata Ferment Extract Filtrate, Centella Asiatica, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root, Camellia Sinensis Leaf, Licorice Root Extract), Oils (Capric / Caprylic Triglycerides, Anthemis Nobilis Flower, Matricaria Flower, Orbignya Oleifera Seed)

Impressions

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.

Pros

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

Cons

Not very much snail, leaves a film which may bother some people

I purchased this from ebay. It is also available in the larger size on Peach & Lily (get $10 off your first order of $50 or more with this link) and Caolion.

Skinwatchers Green Snail Hydrating Gel

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here.
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Cetearyl Alcohol (2), PEG-100 Stearate (1), Stearic Acid (2), Beeswax (0-2), Triethanolamine (2), Chamomile (2)
  • Potential Irritants: Cetearyl Alcohol (2), Sorbitan Stearate (1), Beeswax (0-2), Carbomer (1)
  • Snail: Unknown, but not very much
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Beeswax, Adenosine, Green Tea, Guava, Witch Hazel, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 and Copper Tripeptide-1

Impressions

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.

Pros

Great texture, very economical, absorbs easily, soothing

Cons

Heavily fragranced, not very hydrating despite its name, contains very little snail

I purchased this from Jolse. It is also available on amazon and ebay.

Mizon Snail Recovery Gel

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here.
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Butylene Glycol (1), Triethanolamine (2), Dimethicone (1), Olea Europa Fruit Oil (2)
  • Potential Irritants: Carbomer (1)
  • Snail: 74%
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water, Extracts (Centella Asiatica, Portulaca Oleracea, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Bark), Oils (Olive, sunflower)

Impressions

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.

Pros

High snail content, practical packaging, light gel-like texture that sinks in quickly, very soothing, very faintly scented

Cons

Not moisturizing enough by itself for my dry skin

I purchased this from RoseRoseShop (free shipping!). It is also available on amazon and Jolse

 

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.

Benton Mizon Missha Snail Creams

Top dot is Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. Middle dot is Mizon Snail Recovery Gel. Bottom dot is Benton High Content Snail Bee Steam Cream.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here.
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Butylene Glycol (1), Stearic Acid (2)
  • Potential Irritants: Carbomer (1)
  • Snail: 64%
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide, Human Oligopeptide-1, Bee Venom, Arbutin, Adenosine, Arginine, Urea, Salix Alba, Oils (Sunflower, Safflower, Argan), Extracts (Plantago Asiatica, Laminaria Digitata, Diospyros Kaki Leaf, Ulmes Campestris, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit, Pulsatilla Koreana, Usnea Barbata)

Impressions

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.

Pros

High snail content, superstar ingredient list, fragrance-free, helps with fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Cons

Feels heavy yet is not very occlusive or moisturizing

I purchased this from RoseRoseShop. It is also available on Memebox and Jolse

Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream

Ingredients Roundup

  • See full ingredients here.
  • Potential Acne Triggers: Dimethicone (1), Triethanolamine (2)
  • Potential Irritants: Alcohol Denat (5), Carbomer (1)
  • Snail: 70%
  • Other notable ingredients: Glycerin, Arbutin, Adenosine, Extracts (Adansonia Digitata Seed, Portulaca Oleracea)

Impressions

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.

Pros

High snail content, helps with fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Cons

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.

 

The Takeaway

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. 

 

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