By Hannah Silverman
You’re a smart, gorgeous woman. You’re armed with your BB creams and primers, heck you probably swear by your threaded eyebrows and your brilliant collection of shellac nail polishes. So why have you never heard of snail cream as a cheap Asian solution for perfect skin? In Thailand, like many countries, you inevitably start and end the night with a trip to the seven eleven.
But instead of rushing for the chilled water, I delighted in slowing down to peruse the general beauty supplies. Here I learnt that either the Western world is fashionably late in beauty wizardry or the Asian market is peddling some seriously elaborate promises. Naturally I road tested a bunch. Here’s a list of the weird and potentially too-good-to-be-true treasures you can pick up from a Thai convenience store for as little as AUD$0.45.
1. Sappe Beauti Drink, Collagen Not only are the “cool” kids putting it in their faces, they’re putting it in their stomachs. The pretty range, sold alongside Red Bull and fruit juice, also offers Beauti Drinks with Fiber and Coenzyme Q10, but this floral pink elixir of youth was far more eye catching. The drink itself has a thick, juice-like texture and tastes similar to apple juice. Unfortunately, one bottle won’t make your skin firmer, but its pleasant flavour makes on-going experimentation worthy of consideration. And no, I could not “taste” the collagen. In general, the Western world is slowly catching on to the collagen craze, but the Asians seem to already be in love. Still, I’m yet to see a bottle of this wonder juice at Woolies or Tesco. 20THB (AUD $0.60, approx).
2. Six Sense Soap No, it won’t help you see dead people but apparently it will “detox, burn, firm, fit, lift, white”. Who knew a humble bar of soap could be so powerful? It had me at detox, but it lost me by the time I opened the box to reveal a bland brown bar of soap. Yes, I was underwhelmed. It does perform well as a moisturiser but I really doubt my thighs were firmer and I certainly still needed to use the treadmill. Still, long term continued use could prove otherwise. Six Sense Soap smells a bit like Granny’s bathroom so you might want to wash your hands with, um, soap, after use. 69THB (AUD $2.10, approx).
3. Snail Cream with Aloe Vera As the sachet says, it’s “for perfectly skin”. A cartoon plant and a chirpy looking snail dress up this wonder cream, which I would suggest is much more appealing than a photograph of a backyard snail. Among several other world-wide snail creams, Chile offers a range they say is the original, Elicina. Its products are made from snail secretion which, according to its website, is the stuff snails use to repair their broken shells. Elicina claims the ingredient can help erase fine lines, improve texture and skin discoloration and remove dead skin cells. Asia’s SnailStreet has also had a crack, using imported snail secretion filtrate from Chile in its own line. Most recently I’ve discovered Holland and Barrett promoting Dr Organic Snail Gel for £20 as an anti-aging solution. The product I found in Thailand was, well, a little slimy. It comes out clear, like a serum, and as it sets into the skin it is initially sticky to the touch. However, after about an hour my skin felt surprisingly supple. 35THB (AUD $1.00, approx).
4. Boo Ben Woww, Breast Enhancer Cream Who doesn’t want to get them some of this? For much less than the price of a bra, you can have fabulous breasts, and all in an easy to use cream. All you have to do is “apply the cream to the breast without massage twice daily in the morning and before bedtime” and I’m guessing you’re supposed to wake up with the ultimate cleavage. I didn’t see instant results, but I’m optimistic with a marketing promise like that. Who wouldn’t be? It has a subtle smell and a smooth texture with a good moisturising agent. Woww’s several neighbouring competitors on the shelves also promised the same firming and lifting results for breasts, proving a strong demand in Thailand. Well, it is the lady boy capital after all. 199THB (AUD $6.25, approx).
5. Kuan IM From the outside this looks like a bag of incense cones or some oriental mints. Inside is a small lip-balm sized pot containing a freckle remover, which was actually what you were thinking, wasn’t it? It feels like a soft zinc cream as you use your fingers to paint it on your face and it leaves a light base of white. Meanwhile the smell reminds me of the cheap powder I bought as a teenager. I used Kuan IM on my face where the freckle population is around one million and one, but found the freckles seemed to stand out even more because of the light, pasty colour of the cream. The product contains saltwater pearl extract, salicylic acid and the very ambiguous, “Thai herbals”. The product should supposedly be used nightly after cleansing your face. 14THB (AUD $0.45, approx).
Snail cream, collagen juice, magic soap – really it’s just same same, but different isn’t it?
Have you seen an odd, but potentially magical, beauty product overseas? Tell us about it…