Style

Do or Don’t: Snail Masks

Joni Mitchell

The other day, I was group texting with my friends, and one of them brought up her new obsession with snail masks. “They work so well,” she told us. “I look like a baby. An INFANT.”

Our jaws were dropping (snails? really?), but our friend explained that her skin has gotten tighter, less blotchy and more even. She uses Skin Food masks, which you wear for 15 minutes. Apparently, snail trails contain proteins, glycolic acids and elastin, and they help firm skin, regenerate cells and replenishes moisture. “It feels the same as any nourishing mask, but not heavy or sticky,” she wrote.

My expression still looked like this until I got her next text: “Lit from within would not be an inaccurate way of describing the results.”

And, with that, I ordered one. Snails, here we come.

Thoughts? Have you tried them? It kind of reminds me of the Baby Foot nuttiness, which I was also totally into.

P.S. A weird deodorant trick.

(Photo of Joni Mitchell by Graham Nash.)

  1. Tammie Adams says...

    I just did a snail mask and my skin feel and looks great! I kept envisioning snails on my face, but got over it. They smell great, was worried about that too as I cannot take bad smells AND something from my garden on my face!! I bought a pack of 10 off of Amazon so will be doing one again, or 9 more times! 😀

  2. Skully says...

    I think snail stuff is in some of the IT cosmetics stuff also. My friend wanted me to check out the ingredients. Maybe the CC or the tinted moisturizer? It’s interesting to see ingredients have their own trends.

  3. Grace Kim says...

    This is such a funny thread :) Here in Korea you can find these sort of bizarre/amazing beauty products (think: donkey milk cream, pig collagen jelly mask, salmon egg cream, fermented grain cream…the list never ends!!! ha!) literally wherever you go (shopping marts, department stores, small shops on every corner, in the underground shopping areas near most subway stops, etc.). It’s overwhelming and makes you a little doe-eyed as a foreigner at first, but it’s really fun to go and try them out. Also, a little tidbit of info: Korean beauty shops/brands are known for giving you a million samples when you buy stuff. It’s great! Enjoy the world of Korea’s beauty obsession! ;) xo

  4. Ohhhhh….yucky. Nope. Not doin it.

  5. Oh Joanna please do try it! Skin Food snail masks are super popular in Singapore where I come from :) It really does give my face a babyface glow! And “lit from within” is really not an exaggeration!!
    I would use it more often if it was less expensive! (There are many other Korean beauty brands available so you are tempted to try all!)
    bisous

  6. Christine says...

    I’m such a sucker for a face mask that promises eternal youth! Ordered this.

  7. Ann says...

    Glad you are trying out the whole Korean beauty phenomenon! I dove in headfirst and bought the Soko Glam! book about K-beauty and now I’m totally obsessed, snail masks and all. I actually wear a snail serum every single day and for the first time ever, I get lots of compliments on how dewy my skin looks!

  8. Judy says...

    How about a post about Korean skin care? You could go to the new store and try some things out! I’d be curious!

  9. abbey says...

    I’m curious if this works. Please update us!

    I had made an amazon purchase of snail serum one night after researching the snails were not harmed in the making of the product — which they are NOT, thank goodness — and it did absolutely nothing to my skin. No. Thing. I’d be willing to try the mask if it gets the Joanna seal of approval though :)

    • Lora says...

      Thanks for doing the research, Abbey! Glad to hear they don’t suffer for our faces! ;)

  10. Jane Pak says...

    omg yes! I do a face mask once a week as part of my skin regime :) I do them at night right before I sleep, take it off (air dry my face) and put on some night cream. The next day my skin is smooth like butter!

    the animal masks are fun too!!!! :)
    http://www.amazon.com/SNP-Panda-Whitening-Mask-Pound/dp/B00TX2F8FI

  11. JIW says...

    does this mean snails crawl across your face? Because I just threw up a little bit thinking of it. I hate snails. Detest them. Want to buy a duck to eat the ones in my tiny, container garden.

  12. Nobody needs this. Drink more water and get outside on the fresh air. With the snails.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha, you make a good point, annie! still, i can’t help trying it :)

  13. CW says...

    I want to try this out! Also, I love that picture of Joni :)

  14. Sheet masks are my obsession—snail masks included. I get the Beauteque monthly “Mask Maven” subscription, which sends you 10 masks each month from various Asian brands for $15. It’s a great way to try things out and I have a MASSIVE mask backlog to use whenever I want to:

    http://www.beauteque.com/subscriptions/

    • Ann says...

      SO glad to know about this. My mask habit was getting expensive! Thanks!

  15. GRACE says...

    I live in New York City and noticed the other day that they opened a shop entirely devoted to face masks in Korea Town (near the Herald Sq./32nd St.). They also opened a “Face Shop.” Like many have mentioned, these masks are a must for every Korean (even men!). “Skin Food” has yet to open a stand alone shop in the city but Face Shop is just a good an option for masks and other skin care needs! I’m a huge fan of their Aloe Vera tub!

    • Angela says...

      Ooooh. Do you know the name of the face mask one in KTown?

    • Katie says...

      is it the tony moly flagship shop? i go to the skin foods in flushing, it’s been there for decades and has a lot of great products.

  16. TC says...

    Something about prizing the properties of an animal for beauty reasons really creeps me out. Where is the regulation on an industry collecting snail excretion? A quick look on Amazon also shows products that use both snails and bee venom — I’m guessing the bees don’t make it past the extraction process alive, and that’s a scary thing because they’re fairly essential to an ecosystem. These obsessions with magical/medicinal properties of animals have also led to extreme rhino poaching, leading them to the brink of extinction (look up Save the Rhino. org). I’m not vegan/vegetarian, but I do believe in practicing critical thinking before jumping into the latest beauty fad that likely comes at the expense of another life, no matter how small.

    • Geny says...

      Very interesting thinking!

    • Katherine says...

      Good points. Lots of makeup emphasises that it is not tested on animals. Not sure how these types of products, which are also just to beautify, and not for medical benefit/nutrition, should be different. I would also like to see proof of your friend looking like an infant ;)

    • Erin says...

      Here is how bee venom is collected:
      “Beekeepers start with fabric-covered plates that have conductor wires stretched flat across them. When a bee lands on the plate, the wires deliver a mild electric current that agitates the bee just enough to make it sting, causing the venom to drop onto the plate. Since the fabric on the plate is very thin, it doesn’t trap the stinger the way plastic or rubber used to do, leaving the bee free to fly away unharmed. “More venom is collected when other bees sense the chemical odors of the freshly-released venom, which signals them to start stinging, too,” says Karen Wassmer, a beekeeper and owner of K&W Apiary in Jacksonville, Florida.

      And in case you were wondering, collecting bee venom does not contribute to colony collapse disorder.”

    • NSH says...

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment! I agree.

    • Jennifer says...

      I agree with you completely. It’s the first thing that came to mind after reading this.

  17. Lauren says...

    Yep, it’s all about the snail masks here in South Korea. I was given a free snail mask when I bought some makeup remover the other day, and I will probably go back to get some more soon.

  18. Flor says...

    Do a before and after pic!!

  19. I have used your “deodorant” trick several times since you shared it! Perfect for refreshing before I run into the coffee shop after yoga!

  20. Heather says...

    Do a before and after!

  21. katie says...

    Ah, what amazing timing you have! I’m traveling in SE Asia and am always buying the weird $1 masks at the drug stores to try to fix my crazy skin (sunscreen + constant sweat + pollution = breakout central). I’ve seen so many snail masks but didn’t know what they would do! I actually thought they were for whitening skin, since that’s what most masks here do… anyway, guess I’ll have to try it out!

  22. I’ve tried it, it’s good. People get scared about the stupidest things sometimes

  23. Sarah says...

    Have you seen this website

    http://sokoglam.com/search?q=snail

    Many products with snail and all of them amazing! Also just to let you know I understand they do not hurt the snails in any way when they collect the mucous.

    By the way I love your website :)

  24. Sarah says...

    Gurrrl….embrace the snail! LOL. Korean chicks have been using snail mucin products for years, and we are obsessed with skincare. Your friend is right when she says it makes you “lit from within.” Especially good for acne.

  25. EK says...

    Korean beauty products are amazing. So excited to see that you’re trying this out! You should check out sokoglam.com – it’s a great resource!

  26. Yes!! I used to live in South Korea and while I was there I had a few moles removed from my face. They gave me this special cream to put over the lazer-removed moles to help with scarring. I looked up the cream and it was pure snail excretion!!!! I used it anyway, and let me tell you those areas on my face (they were large moles too) didn’t scar or make a single mark after using that cream. You would never know I used to have moles there! I’ve always called it miracle cream because of that.

  27. Peg says...

    My husband bought the snail-bee lotion for himself, and last night I noticed that his skin looked amazing, I didn’t do the connection until now! So now I’m going to try it of course. Can’t have him looking all glowy without me…

  28. Kim C. says...

    I use Toly Moly tea tree sheet masks and I like them because they leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated (my skin is dry) but wanted to try the snail sheet masks after my current supply is done. There are some amazing Korean beauty products out there! Good luck and let us know how you liked the masks!

  29. I have to say I will try all Korean Skin Care, masks especially because they are fun and results are palpable. I bought Mizon Snail recovery gel on Amazon, great price, and I use it after washing my face prior to moisturizing. If you think of it like Aloe it helps you inform it’s use. It helps hydrate skin topically so I love it. I have to say I am also constantly experimenting with new Korean Face masks- they are fun and healthy in my experience!

  30. RC says...

    Consider me a devotee. Have a sheet mask on right now, and use a snail mousturizer regularly. I had my skin tested at sk11 and they analyzed it at age 19. I’ll be 31 this month so I’m gonna say it’s working.

    • RC, what’s the snail moisturizer brand you use?

  31. Answer to your question…just added it to my Amazon cart! After having Luna my skin is a hot mess! No matter what I try its needs a lot more coverage. I have some rosacea too which I’ve never had. Ohhhh motherhood!

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  32. Andrea says...

    I’ve been reading rave reviews for It! Cosmetics CC cream and when I read the ingredient list (because I’m trying to use more natural/clean beauty products) I saw snail secretions was pretty close to the top. Of course this got me researching, and I’m not sure how I feel about it, even though I know animal products are used in lots of beauty products. Also, I eat escargot, so…anyway, haven’t decided, but damn my skin felt nice after I tested the It! CC cream at Ulta. :-D

    • I love It! Cosmetics! All their products that I’ve tried actually work (or at least that’s what I think).

  33. I’m totally not the squeamish type (I used to play with snails, lizards and even some types of insects on the reg as a kid) but I’m also not the beauty-guru type, so I will probably leave snails off my face and in the garden. But please share a photo of your experience! Kind of reminds me of the fish pedicures you can get in other countries.

  34. Claire says...

    They’ve been around for several years in Korea and amongst Korean Americans here in the U.S. as far as I know. It’s hardly a new thing, maybe “new” to mainstream America. Just like with any beauty fad, it’s just an ingredient that is touted as special and nothing to be scared of. I’ve used snail masks before and they seemed pretty good. At the end of the day, my experience has been that going with a better brand/better equality/more expensive mask (around $8 as opposed to the $2 ones) will get you the best results regardless of the “fancy” ingredient. There’s a caviar mask by Missha that is amazing– not sure if it’s really the caviar or just the fact that it’s a high quality mask made with high quality ingredients. Go to Ktown in Manhattan and have a ball browsing in any of the many Korean beauty shops! You’ll soon discover that there are a lot of face masks to choose featuring any number of “new” ingredients, not just snail serum. There are a lot of great options out there. Korean beauty products kill it in terms of quality for price point, creative ingredients, and amazing scents.

    • Sarah says...

      That would be what the cosmetic companies want consumers to believe -the more expensive, the better the product. There’s no way for a regular customer to know that if an $8 per sheet mask isn’t just a much higher mark-up than a $2 per sheet mask.

      For the Missha Prime Gold 24K Collegen Caviar Hydro-gel Mask (It’s Missha’s most expensive mask, and I believe that’s the one you refered to), it is sold at $30 (for 10 sheets) at Korean airport (and with VIP card, I got it for $20 per pack/10 sheets, so $2 per sheet). That’s the $2 per sheet mask you claimed to be “amazing” with “high quality ingredients”.

  35. Alison says...

    Maybe it’s the wine but I just ordered one immediately after reading this

    • Brandi says...

      This made me giggle ;)

  36. Alice Quin says...

    I’m in! Ha!

  37. Hania says...

    I love trying new and different beauty products and I’ve tried the Tony Moly snail mask and was actually pretty pleasantly surprised with the results! It left my skin feeling super soft and smooth. This is the one I tried: http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod12812997&skuId=2293105&cmpid=PS_Non!google!Product_Listing_Ads&cagpspn=pla&CAWELAID=330000200000338610&catargetid=330000200000525937&cadevice=c&gclid=CK_lru6YxMwCFQFkhgodkpIP4g

  38. I bought Baby Foot Peel and did the treatment on my mom’s feet. It was weird but it worked!

  39. Hm…that’s a new one for me. I’ve never heard of a snail mask. I’d be happy to give you all the snails from my garden if this becomes a thing. I can’t wait to hear how this all pans out…

    KK @preppycrocodile

    • Alice Quin says...

      You could be rich! ;)

  40. Annie says...

    Snail products are AMAZING. Mizon makes a great line!

  41. i’d be a bit less skeptical if the product linked to had any info at all about it. seems like a bit of a sham to me. :/ interested to hear what you think.

  42. Madie says...

    Well, I don’t know about the snail goo masks, but I’ve just spent the better part of an hour reading reviews and looking at dozens of photos of people’s peeling, shedding feet. I had not heard of the Baby Foot nuttiness, but now I’m intrigued… Did you try that too? If yes, any thoughts? :)

    • Anna says...

      I use Baby Foot twice a year and am pleased with the results.
      Here’s the thing: Soak your feet in hot water first. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. Give up any kind of callus removal harsher than your bath towel (ie rub your heels thoroughly when you get out of the bath and before you lotion). If your feet are really scary, you might have to do it twice. It takes a good three or four days before your skin starts to peel, but it will. Soak your feet (in the shower is fine) every day till it stops for best results.
      I sound like a package insert, but I swear I’m a convert.

    • Brandi says...

      Oh my gosh that sounds awful lol! I’m way too foot squeamish to even venture down this path of exploration.

    • Allegra says...

      To add to Anna’s reply: I did not soak my feet in hot water or do any tricks (and had kind of scary feet) and it still worked, so it’s a really, really easy treatment :)

  43. This is never something I’d be drawn to unless someone recommended it. I can’t wait to hear your review! I’ll totally try it if you say it works. I’ve had a lot of luck with our new Kypris products, but they’re spendy!

  44. jeannie says...

    I’m in! Glow from within, here I come…

  45. Sarah says...

    I’m a gardener. I’d try it. The little stinkers owe me!

    • Madie says...

      Haha! Love it.

  46. Jamie says...

    Eek, I’m all for new beauty trends, but I’m curious how they’re harvested. Sounds potentially pretty cruel!

    • Melissa says...

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • Jess says...

      I have previously read that the snails are not harmed and are kept alive!

  47. Mary McDaniel says...

    Please oh please give us an update on your experience with it in a couple weeks!!! So intriguing!

  48. Isabella says...

    I wonder if it’s snail nutrient so much as snail toxin that has an effect on skin. Some slugs and snails contain compounds that are numbing, paralyzing, and — deducing from their effects on my occasionally slug-ingesting cat — stupor-inducing. Maybe it’s like snail Botox?

  49. Miki says...

    I use them as well as snail gel cream! They are worth every penny!

  50. Jen says...

    Heck yeah, I do! Tony Moly makes a really great one and it’s quick and easy. Beware, though, I think face masks in general are a gateway beauty product . . .

  51. Roxana says...

    Would totally do it! My sister is currently obsessed with a whole line of snail skin care products from Korea. OBSESSED. Her skin looks great, though. I need to get on board, but am working through Bentonite clay masks and full-fat Greek yogurt masks (the latter is straight from the fridge). The yogurt masks really do well. . . In addition to moisturizing, they supposedly help even out skin tone, too.

    Anyway, please report back on snail mask results! :)

  52. Aidel.K says...

    What a great portrait of Joni Mitchell–taken by Graham Nash! I dunno about this. I’d love to look “lit from within,” but I think snails and slugs are among the most disgusting creatures around.

    • Monica B. says...

      Ditto! A repeating image in my mind is the slug slugging across a sidewalk leaving a shiny gooey trail behind….I just don’t know……

  53. Ashley says...

    I haven’t tried snail masks but I was recently prescribed doxycyclin for hormonal acne and for the first time in my life I have the “lit from within” glow. It’s an amazing!

  54. Please report back!

  55. Without a doubt I would try this, especially after hearing rave reviews from a friend. There’s a lot of sense in using naturally occurring ingredients like those found in snail trails as opposed to loading our skin up with a concoction of chemicals. Here’s hoping Mother Nature pulls through on this one :)

    http://www.typeatypeb.com

  56. Anna says...

    Just a grammar thing: I think you mean obsession with snail masks?

    I would totally do this. Agree with Jessica above, and also: there’s already lots of stuff we put on our faces that are derived from (if you think about it) weird animal/insect parts!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, anna!

  57. Amy says...

    Yeeeah I don’t know…I’ve heard of it but I think it’s just another trend that mostly celebrities promote and then we all waste our money trying to look like someone that actually did a face peel for hundreds of dollars or some other expensive procedure they didn’t mention.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i see your point. i’ll report back with how it works for me!

  58. Vanessa says...

    They work so well! All of my Korean friends use it pretty often. It really makes your skin look like fine eggshells. So smooth!!

  59. Katie K says...

    I’d love to try this! After comparing the Skin Food one to the Benton one that the other commenter mentioned, I think I’ll go with Benton. I didn’t see any parabens listed in the ingredients, and snail secretion was the second ingredient (after camellia sinensis leaf water). In the Skin Food one the snail secretion is the 7th ingredient.

    • Korean beauty devotee here — just be aware, Korean companies do not list ingredients in order of concentration. Benton is a pretty good brand but has had issues in the past because they don’t use preservatives in their products, which sounds good at first until you get something with mold in it or a bottle of product goes bad after a couple of weeks! Skin Food, Etude House, and Missha all have good snail products and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want an ingredient analysis of any beauty/skincare product (Asian or Western), the CosDNA website is a great resource.

  60. Yep they are pretty great. I buy them in sheet masks!

  61. I’ve actually never heard of this, but with my wedding coming up (3 months, ahh!!!) and we’re getting married in Paris, the mecca of skin care, I feel like I need my skin on point!! Lol, I also wouldn’t mind my skin looking like my infants (minus the baby acne, lol!) Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  62. jill c says...

    i have never heard of this…not sure i’m up for it but the whole “lit from within” really makes me curious. My only question….how do they get this snail trail stuff? they don’t have to kill the poor slimy creatures do they?

    • Charlotte says...

      That was my first thought! I pictured a room full of snails being forced to slide along a table and lab-coated technicians following (slowly) along behind, scraping up the trails.

    • Darcy says...

      Right. How is this collected? hrmmmm

    • Emma says...

      Yeah, I wouldn’t do it if only because I use only cruelty-free face products. I don’t eat any animals and I’m not going to put them on my face, either.

  63. Jessica says...

    I use the Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence every day, it’s really been a great addition to my skincare routine. I don’t really find it that super weird – if you think about it, people eat pigs and drink cow’s milk. To me, that’s way more gross than putting a snail’s secretion (which didn’t harm the snail at all!) on my face.

    • Peg says...

      I completely agree :-)