From BTS and BLACKPINK to Parasite and Squid Game, there’s no doubt about it – in recent years, South Korea has delivered some incredible music, movies, and shows to the entire world! But aside from K-pop and “Hallyuwood,” there’s another segment of South Korean culture that’s making big waves around the world:
K-Beauty is an all-encompassing term for Korean skin care products and beauty trends that have originated in South Korea – and there are A LOT of them. Maybe one of these days, we’ll write a post on all of the most popular K-Beauty trends, but for today, we’re focusing on one that’s been getting a whole lot of attention:
From what it is to what it can do for your skin, here’s what you need to know about mucin serum, plus seven to try now!
What Is Mucin Serum?
So what exactly is mucin?
Sometimes called snail mucin, or snail secretion filtrate, mucin is – simply put – snail slime.
We know, we know … it sounds super gross! But it’s not as odd as it may seem.
Because it’s natural.
That makes it an organically better skincare ingredient than the manmade parabens, sulfates, and phthalates used in the thousands of beauty products that people use every day.
If you’ve ever watched a snail crawl through your garden bed or across your patio, you already know they often leave a tiny little trail of slime behind. Snails create mucus naturally as a way to protect themselves, so much so that snails can hibernate for months without drying out. When used in skincare and beauty products, it can have an incredible effect on the skin!
Snail mucin can be found in all sorts of beauty products, including face creams, lotions, eye creams, and powerful serums. It’s safe for use on all skin types, including oily skin and sensitive skin, but it’s especially effective for people with dry skin, as it has natural nourishing powers that help to hydrate. What makes it so unique is that the mucin itself contains hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and allantoin.
Snail mucin is not vegan, but it can be cruelty-free, depending on how it is extracted. To be sure that no snails were harmed in the making of your serum, look for products labeled as cruelty-free.
If your skincare routine already includes an effective facial cleanser, a great toner, and a hydrating moisturizer, adding mucin serum to the mix might be just the thing you need to take your skin from good to gorgeous!
The Benefits of Mucin Serum
Okay, let’s forget the slime factor for a moment. The fact is that mucin, when incorporated into a serum, doesn’t feel slimy or mucusy at all. And it has a lot of benefits that make it easy to get past the idea of where it originated from.
Mucin serum is super hydrating!
Even if your main skin concern isn’t dryness, mucin serum is beneficial. Mucin serum helps to lock in moisture and also helps to protect the skin barrier from environmental irritants and pollutants that can do further damage to the skin.
If you’re prone to blemishes and breakouts or have hyperpigmentation, mucin serum can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and acne scars on all skin tones.
Mucin serum promotes collagen production, which improves skin regeneration and encourages skin repair. Snail mucin contains allantoin, which is found organically in aloe vera (which we all know is great for healing damaged skin). It soothes inflammation and helps to improve the overall texture of the skin.
The collagen in mucin serum also helps make skin look younger. Mucin contains peptides that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, aid in firming the skin and improve elasticity.
Related: Why Is Retinol Serum So Popular?
7 Mucin Serums to Try for Brighter, Smoother, Younger Looking Skin
Think mucin serum is the wonder product missing from your skincare routine? Here are seven of the best ones to try now.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a best seller on Amazon and has 4.6 stars with over 27,000 ratings. Paraben free and sulfate free, this hydrating serum contains 96.3% snail secretion filtrate as well as other dermatologist tested ingredients that are all 100% natural.
COSRX mucin serum repairs acne scars, hydrates, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. It’s also fragrance-free and has a lightweight formula that feels wonderful on the skin!
Cruelty-free and fragrance-free, the Beauty of Joseon Revive Serum provides anti-aging benefits for skin that has lost its vitality and elasticity. It’s safe to use on sensitive skin and formulated to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles and repair damaged skin.
The key ingredients in this snail repair serum include filtered and purified mucin, ginseng root water, centella asiatica extract, and mushroom extract. Ginseng root water has long been used in Korean culture as a way to promote and improve moisture in the skin.
The iUNIK Black Snail Restore Serum is made with 70% black snail secretion filtrate as well as five black superfoods: black rice, black beans, black sesame, kelp, and eggplant. These natural superfoods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, making this iUNIK serum a powerful tool in fighting acne scars, wrinkles, and dull skin.
This serum is unscented, hypoallergenic, and dermatologist tested. It’s safe for use on all skin types, including people with irritated skin and rosacea.
With 97.5% snail mucin filtrate and hyaluronic acid, the Seoul Ceuticals Snail Mucin Serum delivers incredible hydration to give your skin a gorgeous glow! This glow serum includes organic aloe, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and jojoba oil, all of which provide nourishing benefits to the skin.
Use it nightly to stimulate collagen production, protect the skin barrier, and replenish the skin with moisture while you sleep!
Snails aren’t the only creatures whose bodily secretions benefit the skin – bees do too! The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence includes snail secretion filtrate, niacinamide, aloe leaf juice, and bee venom, which is known to prevent and improve the look of wrinkles.
This product absorbs deep into the skin to deliver a better skin tone and texture while also treating acne-prone skin. It’s formulated to fight wrinkles, prevent dryness, strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, and restore elasticity all at the same time.
Lyfetrition Snail Mucin 98% Extract Serum contains more snail mucin than most other serums on the market, making it an excellent choice for people with dry skin that need as much hydration as they can get. This product boosts collagen production, and in addition to hydrating, it also reduces dark spots, minimizes wrinkles, and makes the skin feel soft and supple.
Other key ingredients in this serum include grapefruit seed extract, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid.
Peptides, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, antioxidant-rich cocoa, and 4% snail mucus filtrate combine in the Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. Safe for use on sensitive skin, this serum is anti-aging, ultra-hydrating, and perfect for people with acne scars and other visible signs of damage.
In comparison to other mucin serums, this one contains very little snail slime, but it still delivers great results.
When to Apply Serum
Whether you use mucin, hyaluronic acid, retinol, or some other variety of serum, it’s important to know when to apply it during your daily skincare routine. Here’s a quick refresher on the order in which you should use your daily skincare products:
- Eye creams
- Spot treatments
In general, you want to apply products from thinnest to thickest or from liquid or gel form to cream and lotion form.
Does Mucin Serum Work?
People swear by mucin serum, but, like all skincare products, the only real way to know how it works is to try it and judge for yourself. The good news is that there are a lot of great mucin serums available that are super affordable (under $20), so it’s a product that you don’t have to go into debt to buy.
Whether you’re ready to try mucin serum now or don’t think it’s the right product for you, there’s one thing we know for sure:
You’ll probably never look at snails the same way again.
You may also be interested in: The 10 Best Natural Skincare Products
The 7 Best Mucin Serums:
- COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- Beauty of Joseon Revive Serum
- iUNIK Black Snail Restore Serum
- Seoul Ceuticals Snail Mucin Serum
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
- Lyfetrition Snail Mucin 98% Extract Serum
- Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule