All About the Snail: COSRX Advanced Snail Skincare FAQs
There’s a lot to love in the COSRX product portfolio. Cica, propolis, vitamin C, gentle acids, acne care—there’s something for everyone.
My heart belongs to COSRX’s Advanced Snail line. For my skin, no other brand’s snail products compare.
That’s why it feels right to come to the COSRX blog and answer the most frequently asked questions the brand receives about their snails. So let’s get down to it. And as we cover the most frequently asked questions, we’ll do a quick runthrough of the entire snail line and what I love about each product!
1. Who best suits these products?
I often find myself explaining that while skin types are a good starting point for choosing products, they’re not a fixed, rigid system. Just as importantly, many products suit a variety of skin types. For me, the COSRX Advanced Snail line falls into this category. Because they rely primarily on snail mucin as the key emollient ingredient, they don’t leave an oily residue, making them suitable for oilier skin. And because they layer well with other products, they play well in routines geared towards drier skin.
2. What are the products good for?
Where we can drill down further is in the skin issues that snail works best for. With its soothing, healing, and reparative properties, I find snail excellent for very sensitive or compromised skin. The Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence in particular has saved my skin more than a few times after excessive exfoliation or an irritation event. Though non-greasy, it forms a protective film over skin, helping keep moisture in and additional irritants out. I find my skin bounces back from reactions, breakouts, and general abuse faster when I pile the snail on in the aftermath of my poor choices.
Snail mucin also fits well in a skincare routine geared towards reducing visible signs of skin aging. There’s some evidence that it can repair sun damage, and its antioxidant content may help defend against free radicals that can also cause premature skin aging. Finally, for skin with hyperpigmentation concerns, the COSRX Advanced Snail Radiance Dual Essence contains niacinamide alongside snail mucin, to tackle dark spots and help further improve skin’s elasticity and texture.
3. How should I use the products, and how much should I use at a time?
Back when the Advanced Snail line only contained two products, product use and order were easier to figure out. Now that the line has expanded, there’s more to consider. Here are rules of thumb for each Advanced Snail product.
Advanced Snail Mucin Gel Cleanser: This is a water-soluble, foaming gel cleanser. Use it on its own in the morning to wash your face, and use it in the evening after makeup remover or oil-based first cleanser. Use about a dime- to a nickel-sized amount of product each time. I’m on my second tube of this. It cleanses my skin thoroughly but without drying me out, and leaves my face feeling silky and fresh.
Advanced Snail Radiance Dual Essence: This is a hydrating, lightweight gel product. Use it once or twice a day on clean skin, applying after any thinner layers and before any thicker layers like serum or cream. Use one to two pumps if applying on face only, three or four pumps if applying to face, neck, and upper chest.
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence: Although it fits into about the same step in a skincare routine as the Radiance Dual Essence, the original Mucin Power Essence is a little thicker, providing a heavier protective barrier over skin. Keep that in mind as you layer your products, applying it after anything thinner but before anything thicker. Use two to three pumps for face or four to five pumps for face, neck, and upper chest. Apply once or twice a day as desired.
Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream: As the name suggests, this is a very versatile product. Dry skin types can use it as a cream-textured serum, after thinner products but before a heavier cream. Normal and oily skin types can use it as a regular moisturizer. Some of us love it as an eye cream. In all cases, feel free to use it morning and night if desired, and scoop out enough product to comfortably cover your face (and neck and upper chest if you take your skincare below the chin too).
Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream: If you want the smoothing, strengthening, anti-aging benefits of snail around your eyes, but with a lighter finish than the All In One Cream and a little more emphasis on anti-aging, use about a half a pea-sized drop of this eye cream on upper and lower eyelids twice a day.
Advanced Snail Mucin Power Sheet Mask: It didn’t take me very long to fall in love with these snail-infused sheet masks, especially in dry weather or when my skin feels irritated. The tea tree in the ingredients helps balance oil production and ease breakouts, while the snail does its snail thing, nourishing skin and leaving it with a brilliant glow. Use these either on clean skin after cleansing or, as I do, after toners, essences, and serums. After removing the mask, follow up with your choice of moisturizer to seal in the goodness.
Advanced Snail Hydrogel Eye Patch: In both design and formulation, these patch-style hydrogel masks are superb. 15-20 minutes with the patches on works to plump up and iron out any fine lines I put them on. I like using the large pieces under my eyes, especially since they cover my cheeks as well for bonus glow and moisture. The small pieces work well on nasolabial folds or upper eyelids. Use these in the same step that you would use a regular sheet mask, and follow up with an eye cream.
4. What’s the texture like?
For those unfamiliar with snail mucin skincare products, the textures of some of the products may take a little getting used to.
The Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is the most “snaily” of the bunch. Its unique texture is sometimes described as “stretchy” or “stringy” and speaks to its barrier-forming properties. The Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream is similarly stretchy, though with a softer cream texture. The Advanced Snail Radiance Dual Essence cuts the “snaily” texture with its water-based niacinamide portion, for a more traditional essence consistency.
Moving down from there, the Advanced Snail Mucin Power Sheet Mask and Advanced Snail Mucin Gel Cleanser have a noticeably slippery feel without the stretchy, snaily stringiness. The Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream and Advanced Snail Hydrogel Eye Patch, on the other hand, feel the same as any other eye cream or hydrogel patch, without any particular “snaily” skinfeel.
5. Can pregnant / breastfeeding mothers use the snail line?
Questions about safety of use during pregnancy and breastfeeding are among some of the most common that any cosmetic brand or beauty blogger will receive.
These questions aren’t the easiest or most appropriate for anyone but your OB/GYN to answer. There’s a generally understood list of cosmetic ingredients to avoid when pregnant and breastfeeding, which a doctor friend of mine contributed in a guest post on my blog, but it’s understandable that aspiring, expecting, and new mothers want extra reassurance that their beauty routine is safe to use.
According to the COSRX R&D team, "COSRX products are formulated with clean, gentle ingredients and are thus used by many individuals, pregnant and nursing mothers included. Additionally, there is no single entity that determines whether certain products or ingredients can be used by pregnant/breastfeeding women. However, we at COSRX strongly advise avoiding products that contain AHA, BHA, and fragrances."
By this metric, the Advanced Snail line should be appropriate for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Of course, the best judge of this will be your doctor, so both I and the COSRX team recommend that you consult your physician before use—bring the ingredients lists for the products you want to use if you can!
6. Are any snails harmed during the collection process?
If you’ve been wondering this, you’re not the only one. As a person who likes to move snails off the sidewalk so they don’t get stepped on, I wondered too, and remember asking the brand this question all the way back in the mid-2010s. The proliferation of myths about snail mucin extract processes (and the conflation of snails being used for their mucin and snails being farmed for escargot) doesn’t help to ease concerns about our sluggish little friends.
Per the COSRX R&D team, snails are not harmed—or even stressed out—in the making of the Advanced Snail line. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They live pampered little lives.
“Snails are placed over a mesh net in a dark and quiet room. As nocturnal creatures, this provides them with a comfortable space to freely roam about. After about an hour, the snails are transferred back to their homes while the mucin is collected and processed for use. Note, no external stress is applied to the snails or the mesh net for two different reasons. First, it is prohibited to manufacture, distribute and sell products that have undergone animal testing in Korea. Second, optimal mucin production occurs when snails are well-rested and content. So, no snails are hurt during the collection process!”
So while I can’t speak for any other brands or their snail mucin suppliers, I can feel confident that the mucin in my favorite products is collected without injury to the snails. It’s yet another reason I choose not to explore other snail products very often.
So that’s it—the Advanced Snail line in a nutshell (snailshell?). I could talk about snail until the end of time, so I enjoyed answering these questions. I hope they help you as you decide on your first (or next) snail acquisitions!