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Well gel? Slather your skin with snail secretions

If like me, you like to spend time you could be enjoying much-needed sleep pre-occupied with ridiculous unanswered questions, then you might have wondered who discovered where milk came from.

Perhaps some deviant herder up a mountain up to no good, or a smitten farmer who only had eyes for his bovine beau? Well, raise a glass of the white stuff to them as we've all slowed the demise of osteoporosis, cured rickets, and got really handsome, on-trend 'taches since their happy yet unusual discovery.

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In a similar fashion, one day we may thank the discoverer of the skin-boosting properties of having a gang of snails slither all over your face.

The 'Snail Facial' started in Japan (the country that invented the bull semen hair treatment) and was discreetly described as the 'Celebrity Escargot Course', but snails have been used as a skin treatment since Ancient Greek times. The Japanese are the real snail hipsters: "We had snails before they were cool, now they are too mainstream… same thing happened with orgies."

As per the status quo, the facial's popularity skyrocketed when celebrity praise followed, with both Katie Holmes and Ashley Roberts (the Pussycat Doll that isn't Nicole, or the one that does the leg thing, or the one that looks like her out Destiny's Child, or the redhead) swearing by it. Holland & Barrett reported a distinctly unsnail-like surge in sales of their mollusc must-have, Dr Organic Snail Gel (£19.99), when Ashley revealed in an interview late last year that she was a fan.

It was with more than a touch of scepticism I awaited the delivery of the Dr Organic gel last month. I'll try anything once - twice if it doesn't incriminate or intimidate - but slathering on gel derived from mucus didn't exactly seem like a snail of a time. In skin terms I'm fair to middling. No Dita Von Teese after an oxygen facial but still nice to enough to be chosen to be a lampshade in a serial killer's living room.

My willingness to experiment coincides with my first month outside the youthful confines of the 19-25 age bracket - I'm paranoid I've started to always look like I've had a bit of a rough night. Vino-permo is the Latin phrase I think.

Upon opening the jar I was pleasantly surprised by how normal it looked, and when I applied it to my face I was in borderline ecstasy. Instead of the whiff of secretions I'd nervously anticipated, I was confronted with the sharp and sweet smell of lemon sherbet. By adding aloe vera leaf juice, lime oil and lemongrass oil, the Snail Gel smells delicious and its citrus smell is great for waking you up if applying first thing in the morning. The magic ingredient 'Helix Aspersia Muller' is a unique substance produced by snails to regenerate their shells when damaged, a sort of snail Polyfilla that smoothes over the cracks.

After a few days I noticed a massive change to my winter-ravaged skin. It eradicated the persistent dry patch on my forehead that no amount of serum had shifted, and my skin looked smoother and softer. It also cleared up a little blemish on my cheek, and from the reviews on the Holland & Barrett website it seems the natural antibiotics and antioxidants had worked for others with spots and breakouts. It also absorbs quickly, so if you are tempted by the extra five minutes in bed that always leads to rushing in the morning it's a brilliant buy. At £19.99 it's more expensive than your average off-the-shelf moisturiser, but unlike many expensive creams it is inexpensive enough to take a chance and try it out.

One of the unique selling points is that it's an extremely natural product - if your skin is feeling clogged with chemicals then it will be a welcome change as it's free from parabens, artificial colours, fragrances and harsh preservatives (all the additives that can strip skin of essential moisture). And before you go all 'I'd rather go naked that use Snail Gel' on us, it's produced in humane conditions. The snails get to go about their snail-ey business on glass panels in their farm and the mucus secretion (nope, no matter how many times I write it I still don't like the word) is collected, filtered and concentrated afterwards.

I never expected to spend the first Kooky & Creams praising a product, let alone discovering something I would add to my own beauty regime, but with noticeably clearer skin that garnered several compliments, it can go down as my own personal udder-ly surprising discovery.

Dr Organic Snail Gel, £19.99, available from Holland and Barrett, stores nationwide or www.hollandandbarrett.com

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