The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence was the second new step I added into my skincare regime, after adding the Benton BHA Aloe Toner. An essence, in the Asian skincare regime, is akin to a serum – generally it’s a potion of higher-than-normal concentration, meant to be applied to the face and neck after the toning step, but before the application of lotions and creams. Basically, it’s a booster of whatever you characteristic you desire: moisturizing, lightening, anti-irritation, anti-aging – if you have a problem, I guarantee you there is an essence/ampoule/serum to help solve it.
Now, I have to admit, I am extremely dubious of most skincare claims, except for maybe moisturization. I don’t think any product can tighten your pores, anything that claims to “lighten” your under-eye circles permanently without the use of color makeup or lasers is bunk, and the best anti-aging treatment is always going to be sunblock. With that said, I am coming around to the idea that skincare can be very anti-irritation and anti-inflammatory, and the product I am about to review is the reason why.
The Benton Snail Bee line is generally marketed as an anti-irritation line, and to that end, the ad copy for the essence states:
“Snail Bee High Content Essence is for all types of skins including sensitive and troubled ones. Instead of water, the product uses snail secretion filtrate, bee venom, and EGF to cleanse your rough and damaged skin from various stresses and pollution. In addition to the skin-trouble care, moisture supply and skin tone improvement functions, Arbutin and Adenosine contents of the contents of the product help you whitening your skin and improve wrinkles.”
I chose the Benton line simply because they are formulated without perfume or fragrance, which I can find irritating. I didn’t want a potential reaction to fragrance to taint my reaction to the use of snail mucin and bee venom in the essence. These are totally new ingredients to me, and I wasn’t sure how I would react. The ingredients are as follows:
- Snail Secretion Filtrate
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
- Butylene Glycol
- Human Oligopeptide-1
- Bee Venom
- Plantago Asiatia extract (aka Chinese plantain)
- Laminaria Digitata Extract (aka algae aka oarweed)
- Diospyros Kaki leaf extract (aka persimmon)
- Salix Alba Bark extract (aka willow bark)
- Ulmus cam pestris extract (aka elm)
- Bacillus Ferment
- Azelaic Acid
- Althaea rosea flower extract (aka hollyhock)
- Aloe barbadensis leaf extract
- Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer
- Zanthoxylum Piperatum Fruit Extract (aka sichuan pepper)
- Usnea Barbata extract (aka lichen)
- Pulsatilla Koreana Extract (aka Korean pasque flower)
The essence comes in a serious brown plastic bottle which holds 60 milliliters. I particularly like the packaging of this essence – it comes in a pump dispensary form, which I like more than the dropper format more commonly seen. It’s easy to control how much product you want, and also easy to avoid losing any product due to carelessly knocking the container over.
The actual product is a clear, scentless gel. it’s not sticky or gooey at all, but nor is it very runny. This makes it very easy to apply to my face. I simply pump three times, and that amount is enough to cover my whole face and neck. The product is lightly moisturizing; I generally need to wait a few moments for it to soak in before I can apply my creams.
I’ve been using this essence a little over three weeks now, and I was pleasantly surprised that the advertising is actually backed up by performance. I started taking this after experiencing some very bad reactions due to some Philosophy skincare samples. As you can see from the picture below, I was very flushed and irritated, and I know from previous experience that it can take a week or more for my skin to settle down, during which time it feels painful and tight, and I’m unable to even wear makeup while I’m waiting for my skin to heal.
I can safely say the results were pretty amazing. The photo below is my face a week after using the essence once a day, during my night routine. However, my face returned to it’s normal state within three days. That’s right, the redness, burning sensation, and slight facial swelling were resolved within three days, allowing me to sleep better without putting a wet washcloth on my face and also allowing me to wear a little make-up for work without wanting to sand my skin off.
Final comment: this gel is lightly moisturizing, but more importantly, it is strongly anti-inflammatory. If you have issues with flushing or irritation, I absolutely think this would be a great starting essence. You can pick it up from various import sites for $15-20 a bottle, which I think is reasonable. I’m going to try a few other snail mucus essences, but I will definitely come back around to this one, especially given the wonderful results!