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Snail mucin may not seem like the most glamorous thing to slather on your skin, but shoppers are coming out of their shells to reap the ingredient’s hydrating, skin-smoothing benefits. We tested the TikTok-famous CosRx’s snail mucin essence to pen an honest review.
Before you jump to conclusions — the CosRx snail mucin essence doesn’t smell, leave you sticky, or turn you into an invertebrate. The main ingredient, commonly listed as snail secretion filtrate on labels, is a processed version of the mucin that snails naturally excrete while they’re on the move. In skin care, it’s purported to help decrease inflammation and deliver moisture, and it’s even been studied for its wrinkle-smoothing benefits (more on that below). Because snail mucin is gentle and well-tolerated, nearly anyone can give it a try (although you should always double check with your doctor, particularly if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding).
Many trending beauty and wellness practices (like gua sha, dry brushing, and ice baths) aren’t new at all. Same goes for snail mucin. Ancient Greeks may have used snail excretions as skin treatments — Hippocrates reportedly advised using crushed snails to relieve inflamed skin, according to a 2018 article published in the Middle East Journal of Science. By the 20th century, snail mucin experienced a renaissance with South American snail mucin-based skin care brand Elicina, created after Chilean farmers discovered that minor cuts and scrapes healed quickly after handling snails.
Mucin is officially mainstream today, and no snail mucin product is more popular than CosRx’s snail mucin serum. The gel-textured essence is the number one bestseller in beauty and personal care on Amazon, with over 28,000 five-star ratings to boot. On TikTok, CosRx’s snail mucin essence has 50.3 million views and counting. And model Josephine Skriver recently told WWD that this is one of her top beauty picks to shop on Amazon. This beauty editor had no choice but to order it up and put it to the test.
Read on for our testing review of CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, more information on snail mucin benefits, and how to incorporate the serum into your skin care routine.
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How We Tested CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- Product tested: CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- Period of testing: Six weeks
- Number of testers: One
- Key ingredients: Snail secretion filtrate, sodium hyaluronate, allantoin, and betaine
- Inexpensive and large amount of product
- Hydrates skin on contact
- Doesn’t pill when layered under other moisturizers and makeup
- Not for those who prefer vegan skin care products
- Editor testing review notes: CosRx snail mucin essence feels like a lightweight gel on your skin, and dries down to a dewy finish that made my complexion look hydrated and feel silky. After six weeks of testing, I’ve noticed less redness and a subtle plumping effect that’s smoothed fine lines, particularly on my forehead and around my eyes.
CosRx Snail Mucin Ingredients
Before we detail our testing experience with this budget-friendly hydrating serum, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what’s inside the popular snail serum. Here’s are the key ingredients in CosRx’s snail mucin essence:
- 96% snail secretion filtrate: Otherwise known as snail mucin, this ingredient delivers hydration and may help soothe irritation, strengthen your skin barrier, and smooth fine lines.
- Sodium hyaluronate: This hyaluronic acid derivative is a humectant that draws water into your skin for increased hydration.
- Allantoin: With anti-inflammatory benefits, allantoin’s primary benefit is soothing and calming irritated skin.
- Betaine: Like sodium hyaluronate, this ingredient is a humectant that increases skin hydration.
CosRx Snail Mucin Essence Review — Editor Testing Notes
My combination skin goes haywire during summertime and when the seasons transition. I always experience more redness, breakouts, and, despite the balmy weather, dry patches. So as soon as CosRx’s snail mucin essence arrived at my door, I got to testing. The first benefit I noticed from using this gel-textured essence was a cooling sensation and immediate hydration that made my skin look dewy without feeling slick (similar to the effect of a great hyaluronic acid serum). Products with a watery consistency tend to pill on my skin with the face serums and tinted sunscreen I apply afterwards, but this one absorbs in under a minute and plays well with everything I layered on top.
Apart from the instant moisture boost, I didn’t notice much of a difference in my skin tone or texture during the first week of usage. But after two weeks of consistent, twice-a-day use, I noticed a drastic decrease in redness, and a subtle smoothing of the fine lines on my forehead — and the only change I made in my skin care routine was the addition of the CosRx snail mucin essence. After six weeks of testing, my complexion is clearer and brighter than before. Throughout the course of testing, I did not notice any breakouts or acne due to the CosRx snail mucin (and my skin is typically reactive to new ingredients).
For a product at this price point, I expected lackluster packaging, so the heft and durability of the container had me pleasantly surprised. This product is a tad goopy (to be expected!), but I’m pleased to report that the pump dispenser doesn’t leak or get clogged. It’s a budget-friendly win in my book.
How to Use the CosRx Snail Mucin Essence
As this CosRx product is an essence, it should be the first step in your skin care routine after cleanser. For max benefits, use the product at morning and night: Wash your face and lightly pat it dry with a washcloth, then apply two pumps of the product onto your face, neck and décolleté. Use your fingertips to lightly pat the product onto your skin, focusing on dry patches or areas where you’re experiencing redness or irritation. CosRx’s snail mucin power essence is best applied before you layer on vitamin C and niacinamide products. In the morning, pair the snail serum with your favorite brightening serums, face sunscreens, and foundations or skin tints.
At night, you can couple the CosRx snail mucin essence with retinol products and night cream. The snail serum pairs particularly well with retinol creams and serums, as its allantoin helps to reduce irritation. Massage it onto your skin before applying a pea-size amount of retinol.
What Are the Benefits of CosRx Snail Mucin Essence?
Are you wondering, “what does snail mucin do?” You’re not alone! Searches on TikTok point to increasing curiosity about this ingredient, with “snail mucin benefits” garnering over 508 million views on TikTok. And there’s more than anecdotal evidence and snail mucin before and after videos to support what the ingredient can do for your skin.
A 2013 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed that snail mucin improved the look of crow’s feet and facial fine lines, with a significant degree of improvement noticed at eight weeks. So if you’re going to give snail mucin a shot, stick with it for a minimum of two months.
On top of promising line-smoothing benefits, snail mucin is also inherently hydrating, as the ingredient locks moisture on your skin. This beauty editor can speak to the CosRx serum’s ability to soothe skin, particularly if you find yourself irritated from retinol use — the serum reduced redness and irritation our editor otherwise experiences with vitamin A skin care products.
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To pen this review, one WWD Shop editor purchased CosRx snail mucin and tested the product over a six-week period. The editor did not make any other changes to her skin care routine during the testing window to accurately note any changes in the texture, tone, and feel of her skin. During testing, our editor took note of how the product interacted with other skin care products and makeup, and noted how the essence wore throughout the day.
Meet the Author
Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits beauty, fashion and lifestyle stories. She has over six years of experience as a writer and editor for national media outlets including Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She’s tested hundreds of products during her time as an editor, so she’s well-versed in selecting the essences, serums, and face creams that make a meaningful difference in your skin. Sullivan wrote the original version of this CosRx snail mucin review, and updated the story on August 3, 2023 with additional notes after six weeks of testing the snail mucin serum. Learn more about us here.