Snail slime is believed to have an anti-ageing effect on human skin and beauty product companies have been using as an ingredient for around two decades. Now, a Japanese beauty salon is taking things to a whole new level by offering a treatment where live snails are put directly on clients’ faces to cover them in slime.
For a lot of women, having snails crawling on their faces is the stuff of nightmares, but the owners of Tokyo-based beauty salon Ci:z Labo are hoping some will actually be willing to pay for it.
According to Ci:z Labo spokeswoman Manami Takamura, snail slime removes old cells from a person’s skin, moisturizes it and treats sun burn effects.
The treatment, called the Celebrity Escargot Course, costs Y24,150 ($241) and involves four snails bought from an organic snail breeder in Japan and kept in sterile conditions. An assistant gently places the snails on the patient’s previously washed face and let’s them crawl freely.
If they get too close to the person’s mouth, eyes or nostrils, she picks them up and places them back on an area where they feel less uncomfortable. The slimy facial is a central part of this 60-minute treatment and is followed by a series of massages, masks and electrical pulse machines using creams infused with snail mucus which ensure the secretions penetrate the skin properly.
The Celebrity Escargot Course officially launched yesterday, but a correspondent had the privilege of testing it early and reported that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. "Apparently the snails feel slow, heavy, cool and slightly ticklish. The sensation is surprising when they are first placed on your skin, but you get used to it pretty fast."
Sayaka Ito, another early recipient of the treatment, said it was a relaxing experience which left her face feeling smooth and hydrated. Snail slime has been used as a beauty treatment in Japan for some time now, but according to Yoko Minami, the Ci:z Labo salon is “the only place in Japan where you can try a live snail facial.”