Review: Tony Moly Intense Care Snail Hydro Gel Mask

Tony Moly Intense Care Snail Hydro Gel Mask Review

What They Say: “Contains over 10,000 ppm of snail mucus filtrate which provides intense hydration, radiance, and resilience to skin.”

What We Say: Like applying a cold, wet condom to your face

The Review: Travel is murder on your skin. Want to see what you’ll look like in 10 years? Check a mirror on your way out of the airport after an overnight flight: Eight hours of dry air, at altitude, and little sleep are like a reverse face mask. (It makes you look terrible.)

I bought this mask to wear on the plane, like a serial killer, but I chickened out at the last minute—which was why I was instead applying it at a hostel in Venice. I’m a latecomer to the snail mucin trend, which seems way too much like one of those “It’s so gross so it’s gotta be effective!” paradigms that’s (a) ridiculous and (b) untrue. And indeed, applying this mask was exactly that. I’ve put raw eggs on my face, and that was more appealing. This gel mask is exceptionally cold, and wet, and slippery, and it took me a frustrating 10 minutes to maneuver both halves of the mask into their proper position. Once correctly positioned, it stayed cold and wet. I’m pretty good at forgetting I’m wearing a mask, sheet or otherwise, but there is no forgetting you’re wearing this one. All I could do was sift through various ideas of what to compare it to: raw cake batter? Runny ice cream? However small a percentage of product is actually take up by snail mucin—mucus—it was impossible to land on anything but viscous bodily fluids. I was delighted to take it off in 30 minutes. As instructed, I smooshed the remaining product into my face.

Now, I love a well-moisturized face. I love cleansing oils and moisturizing oils. After I tried the (drying!) Sea & Sky pink mask, I covered my face in my stand-by Aesop Parsley Seed moisturizer, and then went back for a round of Josie Maran argan oil. In this case, however, my face just looked wet. A half-hour later, it was past glowy and headed for shiny, though I did notice some of the promised brightening: my cheeks had more color than they’d had pre-application. That’s something, I guess…though not enough.

Buy It Again? Nope.

Further Reading: Koreans Don’t Actually Like Tony Moly” (NYLON), “The Ethics of Snail Mucin” (The Outline)

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