Photo: Ines P
So. I’ve taken to slathering my skin with snail shit of late. OK, not exactly snail poop, but certainly their secretions (bleurgh, what a word – and basically still denotes ‘shit’ if you ask me, but whatevs…).
I first heard about snail slime being good for your skin when snail facials became a ‘thing’ in Japan (I think it was Japan; it usually is) and then one of the Pussycat Dolls was raving about the stuff at the start of the year.
However, it wasn’t until I saw celeb chef and amazing beehive owner (as in hair, not abodes for bees), Stacie Stewart, post a pic of Dr. Organic Snail Gel on Instagram, that I decided to invest. Why? A) she has AMAZINGLY glow-y, youthful skin that you’d be a fool no to want to emulate b) she’s been on a massive health kick of late, eating clean and doing likewise with her beauty regime and I want in on that, and c) the clincher for me: SHE SAID IT’S BETTER THAN CREME DE LA MER, which goes for, like, £200 a pop. SOLD!
But who on Earth figured out that snail slime is good for the skin? How d’ya just stumble across that? Well, the benefits were uncovered by chance when Chilean snail farmers (sure) noticed their skin healed quickly without scarring when they handled snails they were exporting to the French food industry. I can’t say that I’ve ever looked at a snail and thought, ‘my, what lovely skin you have’ but hey-ho. The slime, or Helix Aspersa Muller if you want to use the technical term, is harvested by allowing the snails to crawl freely (and slowly, I’m guessing) over specially-built glass and plastic structures. The mucus contains proteins, glycolic acids, allantoin, hyaluronic acid and elastin intended help with regeneration and repair of snails’ membranes and shells. And don’t worry, it doesn’t actually smell of snails (not that I’ve ever sniffed a snail, but I imagine the aroma is midway between a blocked drain and a pair of sweaty socks).
“To avoid too much of an ‘eew factor’, we have combined the natural snail gel with Aloe Vera and Lemongrass to ensure it smells and feels as good as it works,” – Lucy Pottinger, Holland & Barrett’s senior beauty buyer.
So it has a refreshing citrusy scent, that compliments the cooling feel of the gel a treat. As you’d expect with any good organic product, it’s free from parabens, SLS, artificial colours, preservatives and fragrance and other nasties. So, is this mollusc moisturiser a must-have? I’d bloody say so. I’ve been using the snail gel as a serum for the last three weeks, applying before my moisturiser in the morning – or sometimes just using the gel and a BB cream – and *sometimes* another cheeky application at night. I’m not usually a fan of citrus scents (Impulse ‘O2’ body spray circa 1994, anyone?) but a) I’m just thankful t doesn’t smell of snail arse and b) the aroma is actually the perfect pick-me-up of a morning. The gel absorbs quickly, and you can feel a tightening of your akin but NOT in that horrible washed-your-face-with-soap-and-now-it’s-so-tight-it’s-turning-into-a-mask-of-concrete-and-I-might-DDDDIIIIIIEEEE way. After just a few days my skin was softer, smoother AND spot-free. Since I started using it, several people have commented on the radiance of my skin (srsly). PEOPLE NEVER COMMENT ON MY SKIN. It’s reduced a small patch of pigmentation on my cheek from acne scarring AND it’s even smoothed out some of the fine lines on my face. You’re well gel, right? Sorrynotsorry. But the best bit for me? I’ve been making a conscious effort to put less chemicals on my uber sensitive skin, so I love that this natural product is free from all petro-chemicals and harsh additives. For twenty squid, I think it’s a bloody bargain (especially when you think the likes of Creme de la Mer), and I managed to pick up a couple of pots of the stuff on a ‘buy one get one half price’ dealio at Holland and Barrett. I’m now looking forward to trying the rest of the range (or at least, the eye gel) that’s just launched in store, too:
NOTE – NO SNAILS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS PRODUCT (it says so on the packaging):
“Dr Organic Snail Gel is produced from snails that are farmed under humane and certified organic conditions. The snails are able to roam freely and the mucus secretion is collected from glass panes that they travel over. The secretion is collected, filtered and then concentrated by vacuum evaporation to reduce its water content before a mild preservative is added to maintain its shelf life.”
And I’ma try REAL hard not to accidentally crush one underfoot EVER again. I owe those little snail dudes BIG time.
Dr Organic Snail Gel, £19.99 for 50ml, available exclusively at Holland and Barrett.