A Tale of Two Bentons
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times when I first encountered a Benton product. ’Twas the Snail Bee Steam Cream and my clog prone skin was in love.
Okay but seriously, this stuff was the first skincare product where I actually noticed a difference in my skin. My skin was a little different back then, oily and clog prone with a serious case of dehydration (well maybe not that different, but it was out of control then).
Over the years, my love for Benton products has only grown and at any given time you are likely to find at least one of their products in my routines.
This year, Benton started to roll out quite a few new products and even a new line.
Being the Benton fan that I am, I knew I had to get my hands on them! I have recently been testing out two new serums from Benton, the Cacao Moist and Mild Serum and the Snail Bee Ultimate Serum.
Let’s talk about the Cacao serum first!
A Cacao Carol
The Moist and Mild line is a new addition to the Benton family and definitely looks a little different from its siblings. The Cacao line is light and pastel colored, while other Benton lines use darker colors and darker bottles. The Cacao line is a breath of fresh air for Benton’s packaging.
So who’s this line for and why Cacao?
The Cacao Moist and Mild line is specifically designed for dehydrated skin and claims to help skin’s oil/water balance. So far the cacao line offers a toner, this serum and its very own steam cream!
So why choose Cacao as the star of this product line? Well turns out, Cacao is actually a really beneficial ingredient for dehydrated skin.
Cacao can actually help to restore the natural lipid layer of skin. We know this as our moisture barrier. Dehydrated skin types usually deal with weak moisture barriers, and some research has shown dehydrated skin often is deficient in producing enough of the natural lipids that make up a healthy moisture barrier.
Just a quick reminder — the lipid layer is the ‘glue’ that holds the skin cells that create the moisture barrier in place. This barrier helps to keep moisture in the skin and also defends against external irritants, pollution and even helps fight acne bacteria.
Dehydrated skin suffers when this barrier is weakened. The term dehydrated comes from the fact that the compromised barrier allows skin to lose its moisture throughout the day resulting in tight, dry and uncomfortable skin. Skin that loses moisture will also start to produce more oil to compensate for the loss. When that barrier doesn’t work to shield against outside irritants, acne becomes much more prevalent, not to mention clogged pores from all that extra oil on the skin.
So, long story short, you want to take care of that lipid layer!
Cacao also helps to protect from environmental damage and free radicals, which is always important but may be even more so for those suffering from a weak barrier function.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention, this serum included three different types of Cacao. Cacao seed extract, Cacao flower extract and the first listed ingredient, theobroma Cacao. That accounts for about 80% of the serum. Don’t underestimate its Cacao powers.
Allantoin is another interesting ingredient here. Allantoin is often found in products for infants and babies because it is a very gentle ingredient perfect for sensitive skin. Allantoin is perfect for hydrating and repairing the skin while fighting irritation.
Madecassoside is an ingredient you may be familiar with, as it has hit the K-Beauty scene with a splash that might rival that of centella in the coming years. Madecassoside is excellent to fight redness and inflammation associated with irritated and acne prone skin.
And if all that didn’t seem like enough for you to get on board, Benton has even patented its very own special blend of plant extracts called MultiEX BSASM Plus. Here you’ll find some of your favorites, including centella, green tea, chamomile, Japanese knotweed, rosemary and baikal skullcap.
Suffering a recent setback in the strength of my moisture barrier, my dehydrated skin went into a state of emergency. I needed to get my barrier back on track.
So when I was researching this serum I knew I was going to have high expectations for it.
However, this product might seem slightly disappointing if you expect too much from it. (What product ever truly lives up to extremely high expectations?)
There are some products that wow you, just absolutely meet every expectation with amazing results. We call these products holy grails. On the other end of the spectrum are those products that you’d like to see rot in eternal fire, we call these products satan’s child (I do anyways).
And of course in the middle are those products that were underwhelming and you’re not sure you’ll repurchase.
But I propose one other category that I think this Cacao serum fits into. Somewhere between holy grail and underwhelming is a category of product I like to call silent but effective. And that is where I place this serum.
Look, this thing isn’t going to make you wake up with suddenly plumped up, juicy skin or a glowing complexion that could be seen from outer space and oh, by the way, it also made you breakfast in bed. That ain’t gonna happen with this serum.
What will happen is you’ll start to notice your skin is feeling more deeply hydrated, your redness and irritation might be improved and you will slowly notice your skin is no longer loosing moisture throughout the day.
To me, that’s all this serum claims to do and it lives up to every one of its claims. It’s not the single product that will save your skin, but an excellent addition for anyone suffering from a poor oil/water balance on the skin.
This one will be best for oily, acne prone and dehydrated skin types.
But I saved the best for last.
Nicholas Snail Bee
As I said before, I’m a snail bee OG. I’ve tried everything in the line, and the Snail Bee High Content Essence is one of my two all-time, holy grail snail products! Read about those here. To say I was excited for a new product in this line would have been an understatement.
And what was it called? The Ultimate Snail Bee Serum! Ultimate! Oh my god, I was finally going to die and go to snail heaven.
The Snail Bee line, for those of you who may not be as familiar with Benton, is a mix of snail secretion and bee venom. It’s geared towards those that have acne prone and combination to oily skin.
The main claims of this serum are similar to those of its sister the Snail Bee High Content Essence. This claims to soothe redness and inflammation on the skin, hydrate, brighten and fight wrinkles.
Let’s see how the ingredients check out:
Snail secretion. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny it has amazing benefits for skin. When you think about a snail crawling around on all those rocks and dirt, you start to see a clear picture of why its secretion is so powerful in skincare. The secretion protects the snail’s body from irritation, helps speed up wound healing, keeps the snail moist in dry environments, has the ability to protect from damaging UV rays and also acts as an anti-bacterial coating.
And all those benefits work on human skin too. Snail secretion can help moisturize your skin, protect from bacteria and UV rays, deter acne, fight inflammation and irritation, speed up wound healing, minimize pores, fade hyper pigmentation and firm the skin.
This Snail Bee serum contains 70% snail secretion while the essence contains 90% snail secretion. So why in the world is this called the Ultimate serum if it contains less snail than its sister product?
The answer, my friend, is fermentation. The 70% snail secretion in the Ultimate Serum is fermented, we’re talking Saccharomyces here, not your average Snail Secretion Filtrate.
The fermentation process happens with yeast derived from grapes and this is exciting because it has been shown that fermented ingredients are accepted by the skin better.
That means it works better and faster.
Of course we need to put the bee in Snail Bee and that is done in the form of bee venom. Now this sounds like scary stuff, but fear not (unless you are allergic to bees, then fear much and don’t use). Bee venom has been used for centuries for its ability to reduce redness and inflammation.
We got tea tree, we got camellia sinensis leaf water! Both excellent acne soothers and great for prevention.
Finally, what I think makes the Snail Bee line unique from other snail products (besides the bee, boy that is unique!), is the inclusion of brightening ingredients. Not only will these products fight acne but they will also fade the dark mark traces of acne. The serum is no different from the other products in this line with the inclusion of niacinamide and adenosine. These are excellent skin brighteners, but did you know they are also effective at fighting wrinkles? These two gems will help maintain the elasticity of your skin!
Let me tell you, I did not like this serum when I first started using it.
Wait! Wha…. you the snail bee OG, tho’…?
I know, I was surprised too. When I first started to use this, I slotted it into my routines right after my beloved Snail Bee Essence (double snail!). This serum was hard to spread across my face, like it was drying too quickly. Add to that my makeup pilled whenever I used this…. ugh.
So, was it possible the great and powerful Benton had released a dud?
I like to think of myself as a fair product tester; I do believe there is such a thing as user error and I’m willing to give a product another go as long as it didn’t make my face fall off.
So I decided to try this serum again, this time without the essence in my routine. No more double snail, let’s just give this one snail a shot.
Well, whadya know? This stuff spread like butter across my face! Beautiful slip and sunk in immediately. And my makeup? Applied like a dream.
My conclusion was that double snail might be too much snail and it’s probably a good idea to chose either the essence or serum, and don’t use them in the same routine. (dang, I never thought the phrase “too much snail” would even leave my lips.)
So what about the results? Nothing short of Snail Bee goodness. My redness was controlled, inflammation soothed and my complexion had a beautiful and even glow.
But what really sets this apart from the other Snail Bee products was the speed at which it worked. With the essence I noticed a difference in my skin in about a month. Using the Ultimate Serum, I noticed a change after about two weeks! Must be that fermentation.
The only other Snail Bee product that gives that quick of a noticeable result is the Snail Bee Sheet Mask (seriously, this thing will flatten break outs and give a glow in one use!).
I think I might have a new snail love, especially since the serum is a bit thicker than the essence making it a perfect winter and dry weather choice.
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Whew, that was a long review, but when it comes to Benton I get really excited! If this was a little TL:DR you know I got you covered with my YouTube reviews: