Snail Slime Facial Coats Skin in Mollusk Mucus

"You can feel the snails moving on your face. At first it's surprising but it's actually rather nice," says one devotee of the cleansing technique

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YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP / Getty Images

Snails crawls on the face of a woman for the demonstration of a new beauty treatment at the beauty salon 'Ci:z.Labo' in Tokyo, on July 13, 2013.

Natural beauty is going to new heights – or depths, depending on your perspective – with a live snail facial. Snail slime has been a coveted, if surprising, ingredient in beauty products for years, prized for its supposed anti-aging and skin-rejuvenating properties. Now, a Tokyo spa is giving its patrons the unique opportunity to let snails crawl across their face and apply the slimy elixir themselves.

The treatment, an add-on to a so-called “celeb escargot” facial, is only available at the Ci:z.Labo salon in Tokyo for now. During the escargot facial, the client’s face is washed before the mollusks are gently placed on the cheeks and forehead and left to their slimy devices for five minutes. The slithering around is followed by face masks and other beauty treatments.

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According to the Telegraph, the secret to the beauty routine lies in the snail’s slime. The snails’ secretions reportedly contain proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid– all ingredients that beauty product mavens will recognizes as components of some of the most expensive moisturizers on the market. These natural chemicals can purportedly help skin retain moisture, reduce inflammation, remove dead skin and help alleviate skin conditions like burns and rashes. “Slime from snails helps remove old cells, heal the skin after sun burn and moisturize it,” Manami Takamura, a spokeswoman for Ci:z.Labo, told AFP.

The salon’s snails are fed a diet of  organic vegetables “to ensure that they are clean and healthy before being placed on customers’ faces.” Customers are reportedly satisfied with the treatment, although they do admit it takes some getting used to. “You can feel the snails moving on your face,” said Sayaka Ito, who tried the treatment. “At first, it’s surprising but it’s actually rather nice.”

Beauty comes at a price, though, and like most beauty treatments at high-end spas, the escargot facial isn’t cheap. The 60-minute escargot extract treatment is priced at 24,150 yen (US$240) and the chance to have live snails spread their slime across your face for five minutes will add another 10,500 yen (US$100) to the bill.

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