‘I tried a $430 snail facial to see what all the fuss was about’

Of all my body parts – all of them – I am most finicky about my face. To the point I’ve never even had my eyebrows waxed. I just really don’t like people touching my mug. You know that scene in every movie ever where the man reaches out and lovingly caresses the woman’s face before leaning in to kiss her? That’s the kind of moment that doesn’t go well for me.

Do you know what I am into, though? Not having people tell me I look tired. I am tired of looking tired. So this is one of those B>A equations, where B is not looking tired and A is letting things touch my face.

At least I’m hoping it is, because I’ve agreed to undergo a snail facial. Sadly, this does not involve a rosewater-scented woman named Stacey slathering me in a dreamy cream impregnated with Essence d’Escargot. This is having several jumbo-sized slugs crawl over my face in an effort to get my pores to soak up snail mucus.

So this is it, then. This is where we’ve landed as a society. At mucus. Maybe it’s not actually as grotesque as it sounds, but the word mucus generally reminds me of the word membrane in an unpleasant Pavlovian thought parade. And those words together usually end in me walking away with a prescription for antibiotics. I’m incredulous from the start.

But in I go. Because snail secretions are chockers with – among other things – hyaluronic acid, which is something of a Holy Grail beauty ingredient. My spa technician (whose name is not Stacey) assures me there will be lots of facial massage afterwards to really get that slime to sink in. So that’s reassuring.

As she heads for the box I’m assuming is home to half-a-dozen shelled slugs, I have to wonder how we became so obsessed with youth in the first place. It’s not something earned – like, say, age. It’s just something we’re all given at birth, to be replaced by experience, wisdom and smile lines. I may be intent on not looking tired, but I have no problem whatsoever looking my age. Not-Stacey is already moving a snail towards my forehead, though, so in for a penny, I guess.

I close my eyes and hold my breath as she places more of the creatures on my cheeks and chin. They feel, well, exactly like snails crawling on my face. I get to three snails – and I’d have to guess about 20 seconds of actual slime time – before I lose it. “Get them off! Get them off!” I yell. The technician adeptly pulls them away and I wipe the slime off my face in a panicked frenzy, like a toddler wiping away broccoli puree – all exaggeration and disgust.

I apologise profusely to Not-Stacey before begging her to skip straight to the massage. Turns out source-secreted mucus is a line in the sand I just cannot cross. Is there even any evidence this works? That it’s good for you? That it’s not, in fact, cruel to the snails? Not that I can tell. Maybe you’d fair better than me, but I’ve decided eight hours of uninterrupted sleep trumps snail mucus in this equation. You never know, maybe one day we’ll even learn to love our wrinkles for the feat of existence they are. Until then… I thoroughly enjoyed the reminder there are far worse things in this world than looking tired. And mucus is definitely one of them!

Emma is a comedian, writer and b+s’ intrepid trend guinea pig. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @markyknowsbest

The Lowdown

WHAT IS IT: Snail mucus. On your face.

WHERE: If you want to try it, go large at the Ci:z.Labo flagship salon in Tokyo. Watch this space for its arrival Down Under.

HOW MUCH: The primo version will cost you about $430.

I LOVED: Finding out that snails are hermaphrodites – an entire species of unisex creatures that have, to my knowledge, had zero wars. Coincidence? I think not!

I QUESTION: The beauty bloggers who are doing this at home with garden snails for a handful of likes. The beauty-spa snails are eating organic vegies… do you know where yours have been slithering?