It’s here! The COSRX snail sheet mask that COSRX snail lovers like me have been dreaming of ever since our favorite kooky-clinical-affordable-whimsical K-beauty skincare brand let me announce it all the way back in May is finally here! I’ve had mine since Saturday, and I’ve been busily masking and thinking and second-guessing what I’ve been thinking. Now down to just
a couple one out of the seven I got, I’m ready to talk. Read on for my review of the COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask!
The product featured in this post was provided by Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor COSRX. Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk(*).
But first, let me tell you how I got my hands on my ration of Holy Moly Snail Masks, because this makes me so happy.
One of the things I was most excited to do at my first KCON was to meet COSRX’s Lee Hye Young in person. I’ve known Hye Young online for over a year, ever since I interviewed her about the brand, but our IRL paths have never crossed before. On Saturday, I met up with her and her fellow COSRX brand representative Kim Dae Lee. They’re just as sweet, friendly, and down-to-earth as I’d expected. Yay!
Also, they came bearing gifts. Specifically, a COSRX goodie bag stuffed with samples, pamphlets, a poster, A FLIPPIN’ MR. RX FAN for this Mr. Rx fan, and enough of the newly launched sheet masks to make me insufferable with glee.
So that was awesome. I wish I had planned better so that we could have hung out more, but I really can’t complain. I made a couple of new friends and came out of it with a week’s worth of COSRX Holy Moly Snail Masks to review!
Review: COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask
I didn’t want to rush this review. I stayed as quiet as I could and used several of them before writing because I needed to be sure of how I felt about the Holy Moly Snail Mask as a sheet mask. Not just how I felt about it as The First COSRX Sheet Mask, Which Also Happens to Contain Snails and Ginseng. COSRX’s skincare generally works out well for me, but it takes a lot for a sheet mask to stand out, and the Holy Moly Snail Mask is the brand’s first entry into the super crowded, super competitive Korean sheet mask arena.
Purpose: The COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask claims to plump, firm, improve elasticity, and deliver lasting moisture and nutrients to fatigued skin.
Best suited for: Normal, combo/dry, dry, or dehydrated skin; sensitive skin; skin stressed by UV exposure, fatigue, or, well, plain old stress.
Do not use if: You have a sensitivity or aversion to snail mucin or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Cleanse and tone skin. Apply sheet mask immediately after toning if desired (as indicated on the instructions) or at the desired step in your skincare routine. Leave on for at least 15-20 minutes. Pat in any unabsorbed essence and follow with your choice of moisturizer.
COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask ingredients: Red ginseng water, snail secretion filtrate, methylpropanediol, butylene glycol, glycerin, 1,2-hexanediol, allantoin, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, sodium polyacrylate, sodium hyaluronate, arginine, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol
Notable ingredients: COSRX is known for comparatively short ingredients lists, little to no fillers or fancy-sounding but often pointless (and sometimes irritating) plant extracts, and no artificial fragrances. I’m not opposed to fun extracts and pretty smells, but COSRX’s distinctively clean formulations make their products low-risk choices for sensitive or reactive skin. The Holy Moly Snail Mask is no exception. Main ingredients right at the top, much less Other Stuff than you’ll find in most comparable products.
In such a simple formulation, the main ingredients had better be good. Lately, I’ve been frustrated by the impossibility of knowing the relative quality or potency of ingredients used by different brands. Is X Ingredient used by Brand Y the same or more potent or less so than the “same” X Ingredient that a different supplier sells to Brand Z? Does that even make sense? Let’s not even get into the possibility of a change in suppliers, because my head already hurts a little. Point is, even with ingredients nicely listed out, there are so many unknowns.
All I have to go on for now is how my skin responds to the “same” main ingredient in different brands’ products. My skin’s lusty embrace of Sulwhasoo ginseng is the reason I suspect that Sulwhasoo may use particularly high-quality ginseng extracts, for example. My face’s love for COSRX snail products above all others, meanwhile, leads me to believe that COSRX’s snail mucin supplier slings the good stuff. At its best, snail mucin is wonderfully soothing and emollient and shows promise for wound healing and UV damage repair. I’m happy to see it so high up in the list.
I also like the first ingredient, red ginseng water. COSRX often substitutes various plant “waters” for plain water as a product base. It’s a nice touch that I appreciate more after having asked my homegirl Chel, skincare formulator of Holy Snails and Shark Sauce fame, about the differences between “waters” and “extracts.” To me, “waters” sound much more diluted and less potent than “extracts.” Apparently that’s not always correct. Good thing I asked.
In skincare, Chel explained, plant “waters” are often hydrosols, the liquid left over from distilling raw ingredients into substances such as essential oils. Hydrosols can contain many of the same beneficial components as extracts or oils. And the (infuriating) lack of standardization of ingredients means that it’s possible for a hydrosol to actually provide more benefit than some very watered-down extract from the same plant!
Again, there’s no sure way for someone on the consumer side to tell whether that’s the case with any specific product, but even if COSRX’s red ginseng water isn’t remarkably potent, just a trace amount of ginseng’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, and skin brightening goodness is still better than the nothing that plain old H2O would provide.
Ginseng and snails are two of my favorite things. It’s rare to see them in a single product and even more special to find them in a single product made by a brand that works well for me. But ingredients lists are just paper. Let’s find out how the masks actually perform.
Fresh from the little square pouch, the COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask feels like a fairly standard Korean sheet mask. Cut from rayon dyed peachy pale pink with camellia oil extract (another nice touch), each mask has a couple of slits to customize fit. The sheets fit my face fine, with just a little bit of tucking needed under my chin. If your face is on the bigger side, however, you may find the Holy Moly Snail Mask lacking in coverage.
I can’t think of any other rayon sheet masks I’ve used. The material is a little thicker and stiffer than silk or cupro/cupra (my current favorite mask material) and doesn’t hug my face quite as tightly. It isn’t quite as plush as microfiber, either. The rayon is serviceable, though. It stays put, feels comfortable, and doesn’t give me any bunching or tenting problems that a quick snip with sheet mask scissors can’t fix. The smooth texture of the rayon feels super gentle and should reduce the risk of irritation on touch-sensitive skin, which I’m guessing is one of the reasons COSRX chose to use this fabric. The essence, meanwhile, has a dense consistency and a very faint herbal(???) scent.
These masks are initially drippy, maybe because the rayon is poorly suited to holding on to liquid. Whenever I unfold one and put it on, it hemorrhages big fat drops of essence down my chest. The Holy Moly Snail Masks also only come with 21ml of product rather than the more generous 25ml I’ve been seeing around these days, so the loss of those drops right at the beginning makes a difference. I prefer my masks juicier, but people who dislike the sensation of being waterboarded by their skincare will probably enjoy the COSRX masks more than, say, My Beauty Diary or My Scheming masks.
Now what about the results?
The Holy Moly Snail Masks’ cocktail of ginseng, snail, and humectants is visibly hydrating and highly, highly moisturizing. When I use them after my essence and serum steps as I do with all other sheet masks, they straddle the line between “just enough” and “huh, that’s a little too much,” leaving a film of rich residue that takes a few minutes of diligent patting to dry down. If you know about the tretinoin-induced dryness struggles I’ve had in the not-so-distant past, you’ll understand how impressive this is. My skin typically sucks in all product with nothing left behind and still usually does so now that I’ve mostly recovered from my tretface. A mask that gives my face more than it can take is a rare thing.
These are the only sheet masks I’ve tried that I actually prefer to use all on their own after cleansing and toning, no essences or serums necessary. For me, the Holy Moly Snail Masks deliver more than enough hydration to replace a multilayered routine. If they contained a wider variety of the extracts and actives I like to get from my daily skincare routines, I’d happily replace my routine with one of them several times a week. (But if they had more of my preferred actives and extracts all packed into one product, they wouldn’t be very COSRX, I suppose.) The Holy Moly mask essence is even emollient enough to let me get away with lighter moisturizers than usual. I follow these masks up with emulsions, light snail creams, or gel-type sleeping packs instead of heavier occlusives even on arid nights, no problem.
Intensive moisturization is the most immediate result of the Holy Moly Snail Masks, but not the only one. These masks take some time to show their full effects. When I use one at night, I wake up smooth, soft, supple, and bouncy the next morning even if I skipped everything else but moisturizer. A Holy Moly Snail Mask at bedtime also helps give me even-toned skin first thing in the morning so that I don’t look all drawn and blotchy from too little sleep. And speaking of drawn and blotchy (and too little sleep), I’m pretty sure these masks helped my skin hide the stress and fatigue I’ve been feeling for the past couple of days, even though I’ve gone and neglected some of my skincare again.
What to expect from COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask: Immediate, intense, and lasting moisturization; firm and resilient skin the next morning; a deceptively rested and healthy appearance during trying times.
Conclusion: These masks aren’t perfect. I think they’d work better with a more pliant and more absorbent mask sheet material (hello, cupro please), and the lack of a noticeable brightening effect disqualifies them from all-kill status. They do what they claim to do, however, and they do what they do exceptionally well–better than the majority of sheet masks I’ve tried and discarded. Would I use them instead of my usual routine every day? No, but I’m definitely going to hoard some for those times when I’m too tired or too busy to do my usual routine but don’t want to sacrifice bouncy happy skin.
To me, the Holy Moly Snail Masks are very characteristic of COSRX in the way their pretty basic user experience delivers surprisingly solid results. And I have a feeling that if the brand decides to make any more sheet masks, the next ones will be even better. They should totally make more sheet masks.
Where can I buy COSRX Holy Moly Snail Masks?
I imagine these masks will become much more widely available soon, but for now, COSRX Holy Moly Snail Masks are sold at:
- Wishtrend, which sells the masks as singles for $3 apiece, as a pack of 5 for $12.75, or as a pack of 10 (with 1 more free) for $24*
- Jolse, which builds shipping into the price and sells single masks for $3.98 apiece, packs of 5 for $13.98, and packs of 10 for $25.98.
- TesterKorea, which sells single masks for 2,000 won (currently about $1.84), but please be aware that TesterKorea is known for unpredictable and sometimes unreasonably long order processing times.
So what do you think? Does the COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask sound like something you want to try, or are you going to sit this one out?