Review: Holy Snails Shark Sauce (Updated Feb. 4, 2021)

A full sized bottle of Holy Snail Honey Shark serum, perched atop a lotus incense burner, surrounded by three sample sized bottles, crystals, a candle, and a lit Himalayan salt lamp

A while back, I bought the Holy Snails Shark Bites Gift Set. The set includes 10 ML bottles of Honey Shark, Hanbang Shark, & Spooky Shark. This brand has a broad selection. There’s something for everyone! I haven’t tried the original Shark Sauce yet. Here is a rundown of these serums.

The entire Shark Sauce line includes the following ingredients:
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5% Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Reduces impact of environmental damage, improves skin barrier, regulates oil production to a normal level, protects against moisture loss, increases production of ceramides, repairs signs of past damage, and evens out skin tone. New users may experience flushing, so tolerance must be built.
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3% N-Acetylglucosamine (NAG): Derived from shellfish, so those with allergies must avoid this ingredient. This is a melanin inhibitor. Combined with niacinamide, the look of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma decreases significantly with consistent use. NAG is also used to reduce wrinkles and increase elasticity.
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Licorice Root Extract: Also inhibits melanin production. Reduces redness & irritation. Brightens.
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Sea Kelp Bioferment: A source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins & fatty acids, it improves skin elasticity & ability to heal.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Panthenol (Vitamin B5): Reduces inflammation, accelerates healing, increases moisture. Penetrates lower skin layers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Green Tea Extract: Possesses powerful antioxidant and skin soothing properties that improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin significantly.

Hyaluronic Acid: A humectant that draws water molecules into the epidermis. It is capable of holding one thousand times its weight in water. Most serums and moisturizers contain this ingredient and usually have it listed as sodium hyaluronate.
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Now, onto individual reviews.

I started with Honey Shark. This contains manuka honey, royal jelly, & propolis, all of which are thought to be antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal and restorative. Out of the 3, I was most impressed with this one. Using this with Dermalogica’s Calm Water Gel provides the exact amount of moisture I’ve been needing. I bought the 30 ML bottle so I can see the benefits of using the same serum for an extended period. They’ve since released an improved formula, which I’m excited to try! Update 2/4/21: After using this for about two years, I can confidently say that this serum is effective in reduction of redness and sensitivity.

Next, I used Hanbang Shark. This version is marketed as best for sensitive types. With ginseng, horse chestnut, chamomile, ginger root, goji berry, and centella asiatica, this serum is based on the Korean concept of hanbang: A holistic approach to medicine while using herbal ingredients, and techniques, such as fermentation. It also includes ceramides and calendula. I was expecting to favor this one, but I feel it pales in comparison to Honey Shark, in terms of visible results.

Finally, I began testing Spooky Shark. It contains turmeric, which I already knew I have a sensitivity to, but I went for it anyway because I feel it is my duty as an Esthetician to experiment with skincare using whatever means possible! FYI, I don’t typically encourage the use of turmeric in skincare. It definitely counts as an exfoliant, so if you choose to use it, please proceed with caution. I convinced myself that the other ingredients would act as a buffer. At first, I experienced some irritation, so I used it every 2 nights. I thought I built a tolerance, so I increased my usage to OK results, but then my skin became irritated even while cleansing. Unfortunately, I had to discontinue my usage of this serum. Spooky Shark also contains donkey milk (weird) and pumpkin seed extract.

VERDICT: There has been a gradual lightening of my dark spots, reduction of fine lines (I have few to begin with), and a slight improvement of texture when when I use these serums consistently. I feel niacinamide and NAG are definite must haves for anyone that is experiencing pigmentation issues. As I said earlier, there is something for everyone in Holy Snails‘ lineup. I found one that I’m happy with very quickly. Plus, their products are affordable for those on a budget! I love to support small businesses and will continue to do so. Let me know what you all think about Holy Snails in the comments below.

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