Snail mucus, believed to have superior skin-repairing properties is commonly used in Asian cosmetics. European consumers, however, tend to react squeamishly when confronted with the slime of helix aspersa.
Snail secretion, properly filtrated and processed, is rich in peptides, elastin, amino acids and minerals. As such, it can indeed act as a very effective anti-ageing ingredient, improving skin tone and condition. Even so, look at the shelves of any European drugstore and chances are there won’t be a single snail cream.
For the majority of European C&T companies, snail mucus cosmetics appear to be a taboo subject. However, organic manufacturers might just think differently. At this year’s Vivaness trade show, the exhibitor list included two companies presenting snail mucus product ranges.
Italian company Bioearth was founded in the 1990s and currently offers nine product ranges. One of these is the Loom snail beauty range. The line-up comprises an intensive serum, a light face cream, a richer face cream, an eye cream, hand cream and body cream. All products are certified by Italian association ICEA.
The second brand, Helixium, comes from Spain. Helixium is produced by Skin Nature which also has a second product range, Skin Nature. Helixium is a fairly recent brand launch; the range comprises a micellar cleansing water, an intensive serum and an eye roll-on and the products carry the Cosmos Organic seal.
Admittedly both of these companies are fairly small, with limited distribution outside of their home markets. And the presence of two snail product brands at a trade show will not mean a sudden influx of snail-based beauty products in the European market. But perhaps organic cosmetics users really are a suitable test demographic for beauty companies thinking about venturing into the snail cosmetics sector.
As a rule, organic product fans pay attention to what is in a product. They will often buy a cream or lotion based on the ingredients that are included, rather than purchasing it because of the glamorous brand name or fancy packaging. The majority of organic cosmetics users will have made the transition at some point from non-organic to organic cosmetics, so they tend to be more open towards – and curious about – new ingredients than the average conventional cosmetics user.
According to the Bioearth representative at Vivaness, Loom is one of the company’s bestselling ranges in Italy. Helixium is still too new on the market to make any predictions but presumably Skin Nature would not have launched a snail range without anticipating a certain consumer interest. In Germany, both brands are currently available online; Loom is sold by organic online perfumery Ecco Verde whilst Helixium is retailed through amazon.de. It should be interesting to see whether the two brands will manage to broaden their customer base in Germany and Europe.