is big business and despite what many think, beauty encompasses more
than just your face. Hair is a massive part of beauty and oftentimes
ingredients in beauty products for our face and body are beneficial for
our tresses. We hear about amazing ingredients that can do almost
everything from strengthening to imparting shine. From the fairly common
to the strange or to the downright weird, our world has many plants
that aid in keeping our tresses gorgeous and healthy.
One of the weirdest and most secretive hair care ingredients has been
kept quiet by women from the Caribbean. For generations snail slime has
been used for skin and scalp ailments while also keeping hair in
pristine condition. You may look at a pesky and slow moving member of
the Mollusca family and cringe but if you knew just how amazing their
slime was you would think twice about it.
It is not the snail itself that has been the secret weapon for
gorgeous hair but rather its enriching slime. Yes, the Dominican hair
secret is none other than snail slime with its regenerative properties
that are great for treating acne, fighting wrinkles, scar removal along
while aiding irritations, burns, stretch marks, and healing wounds. The
mucus that snails excrete is called Helix Aspersa Müller Glycoconjugates
that is supposed to contain proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid,
which help to retain moisture in skin and hair. According to cosmetic
chemist Randy Schueller,
“Chemically speaking, snail slime is a complex mixture of
proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, glycoprotein enzymes, hyaluronic
acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides and trace elements
including copper, zinc, and iron.”
There has been a surge of snail slime in cosmetics and the substance even has an International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients code,
which means it is registered on the international list of cosmetic
ingredients as snail secretion filtrate (SSF). Snail slime is big
business and there are even women getting snail facials where a
therapist places snails on a client’s face and let the roam around the
face freely. The snails leave behind a trail of mucus slime that is
packed with glycolic acid and elastin, which also protects the snail
from cuts, bacteria, and UV rays.
Here are a few reasons snail slime is making its way into cosmetics:
Snail slime is actually a blend of two types of mucus where one is
more watery and acts like a lubricant while the other is more viscous
and elastic. Together they behave like an adhesive. The second mucus
acts as a natural gel and can aid individual curls fibers to meld
together into more defined curls.
With the highly fluid translucent secretion, the watery slime is a
natural lubricant that applies smoothly. This allows your fingers,
brushes, and even combs to slide through when hair is coated in the
slime, which makes detangling sessions shorter and decreases breakage.
The snail uses its mucus to keep its delicate surface hydrated. Its
slime or extract is over 90% water blended with natural proteins and
other polymers that make it highly hygroscopic. This can have a
hydrating effect on your hair and helps to seal in the moisture.
With the mix of proteins, enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, and trace
elements, this natural gel performs as a natural protective layer to
your tresses by cushioning and shielding your strands from the UV rays.
This is a big reason why Dominicans use it to shields their skin and
hair from the rays of the beaming sun. The extract also protects your
strands from day-to-day styling.
No surprise on this benefit, as the snail’s slime encases strands in a
smooth, sealing layer, filling in cracks, and smoothing over rough
sections of the hair. Hair feels silkier, smoother, and softer.
Many curlies complain about hair not giving off a glossy look like
our straighter sisters but with snail slime will smooth your cuticle to
reflect light better giving it gleam and shininess.