Ever since I was introduced to THEFACESHOP last summer I’ve become obsessed. You can spot me in the local shop periodically checking out all their newness and chatting with the sales representatives, who are always so knowledgeable and welcoming. Their products range from affordable makeup and body care to entry-level skin care inspired by Korean technology and tradition. This spring I was fortunate enough to receive their latest skin care innovation for review consideration, which is lucky as I was contemplating purchasing it myself (phew!).
This is THEFACESHOP’s HWANSAENGGO ESCARGOT Golden Firming Cream, retailing for $69*. This is the latest expansion in the company’s prestige range, which caught my attention back in September with a deer’s antler velvet cream that claims to make your skin more elastic (!). The range is inspired by exclusive, expensive ingredients that come from nature – not unlike the popular Fresh. The price is higher up there for a private label (Sephora Collection’s priciest moisturizer is $43*, and The Body Shop’s is $44*), but nowhere near something like La Mer, which seems to be a good comparison based on ingredients and claims. The type of clientele who will be interested in the ESCARGOT collection is indeed the more mature, well-to-do crowd.
I don’t like talking about packaging when it comes to skin care, because it rarely has to do anything with the actual product. But how can we NOT talk about this gorgeous piece of art?! The cream comes nestled in a bronze cardboard box decorated with golden branches, leaves, and of course snail shells. Much of the writing is in Korean, but you can find directions and ingredients in English on the bottom. The jar of cream itself is made of plastic that has been molded into the most gorgeous symmetrical shapes. This is not something you keep tucked high on bathroom shelves, but rather display prominently on the vanity. The box also includes a handy plastic scoop.
The cream itself has a neutral earthy smell and light brown color with tiny flecks of 24 K gold. The first ingredient is indeed “snail secretion filtrate,” but you’ll also find shea butter, cocoa extract, ginseng root extract, garlic bulb extract, mushroom stem extract, and a handful of other pantry essentials in there. You might be wondering why you should go through the trouble and expense of rubbing snail secretion on your face, but there’s a reason for this. In Asia and Europe spa-goers can experience live snails gliding peacefully across their cheeks in facials that they swear improve complexion, scarring, and even pore size. The science behind the snail slime basically says that the little guys produce allantoin, a cellular regenerator, as well as collagen, elastin and glycolic acid. All of this essentially makes them living serums! The ethics of harvesting this strange yet magical ingredient are somewhat of a grey zone, but if you’re willing to fork over the money and are not too squeamish, I think you’ll enjoy the benefits.
For me the application was the most fun part of the experience. The nature of the cream is to gel quickly and therefore firm the skin, which means it can give a bit of a tug as you pull it across your face. It sinks in rather quickly for such a heavy substance, and I kid you not when I say you can feel the results rather than see them. Even though my skin is young and lacks any real sagging, my cheeks and forehead in particular felt more supple after a week of usage. It was almost like receiving a face lift, that’s how it made me feel. I’m of the school of thought that it is never too early to begin anti-aging skin care rituals, and this is an excellent start. I highly recommend picking up a sample, just to make sure you’re not sensitive to the potent ingredients. I’m now super excited to explore more of this range!
As well as THEFACESHOP, Charlotte Tilbury was also kind enough to send a little something over. This is her Goddess Skin Clay Mask ($80*), which doesn’t get talked about as much as her Magic Cream and other skin care products. Now, I won’t lie: eighty bucks is a lot of money for a mud mask, especially when great (and cheaper) alternatives exist. I was hesitant to try it out because most mud-based masks (like GLAMGLOW, for example) are designed for oilier complexions to detoxify and clear. My skin is troubled by acne, but it is also quite dry; mud masks are typically too harsh for me.
Charlotte’s mask, however, is designed for all skin types (hallelujah!). The nutrient-rich Spanish clay never actually dries on the skin, rather infuses it with almond and rosehip oils to soften and nourish. After 10 minutes you add warm water and the mask turns into a luxurious gel that you massage gently before washing off. My skin felt very fresh after using, not dry or tight like I’m used to. The only downside is a heavy, heavy, HEAVY floral perfume that even I found a little off-putting. If you want to try this cool mask I recommend picking up the Gift of Red Carpet set ($100*), which includes a small size of Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Multi Miracle Glow, Magic Cream, WonderGlow, Supermodel Body and Take It All Off.
Huge thank you to Mia and Kevin for helping to organize this review, and making my skin feel so good! This was my first foray into CT, so I’m excited to try more from her line including the hyped makeup. Make sure to keep an eye on my Instagram for a few more skin care goodies I will be putting to the test in the coming weeks!
*Prices true at time of writing.
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