PARIS — There’s a battle brewing in France over snail slime and its purported beauty benefits.
Emmanuelle Taulet, founder and chief of beauty brand Jeanne M that markets snail slime-based products, sent an open letter Wednesday to Mathilde Thomas, cofounder of Caudalie, about that label’s recent YouTube video.
On May 12, the skin-care brand had mounted a 48-second spot entitled “Caudelie Stop Recette Miracle” (or “Caudalie Stops Miracle Cures”). The video claimed it’s “inspired by real facts” and opens with a search being typed online for “how to get rid of cutaneous facial spots.”
The spot then delineates a series of “cures,” with the number-one being “escargot slime” with a woman shown trying to build up the courage to put one of the creatures on her face. Others include a massage based on flowers, an onion mask and pearl powder.
“Forget miracle cures,” Caudalie counsels and then shows an image of its Vinoperfect radiance serum as a way to correct the complexion. It is billed as the number-one product in French pharmacies in the category.
In her letter, Taulet recognizes the importance of competition as long as it is “fair” and “healthy.” However, she takes issue with the video calling snail slime — and the others — miracle cures.
“You advocate with the words ‘stop miracle cures’ to benefit the use of ‘one real product’ existing on the market – namely your own,” continued Taulet.
She outlined the benefits of her brand’s products, including how they use a unique research-and-development method that’s trademarked and protect the environment with recyclable packaging. Taulet wrote that snail slime has been used in the medical world for a long while and in cosmetics for dozens of years. Jeanne M has run tests to prove that its products help improve five signs of aging, including loss of firmness and dryness, she added.
“In your spot you don’t cite brands, but the actives — therefore implicitly the brands that use them — and this without proving their inefficiency,” wrote Taulet. “But beyond that, you pass a line that I have never seen and never thought possible: to instrumentalize, to ridicule clients that use these actives. I dare remind you that our clients are also your clients.”
Caudalie’s Thomas responded with a letter to Taulet, saying the “skits” were meant to be funny. She wrote that the scenes were “exaggerated and [the homemade treatments] especially uncomfortable to realize.”
“These films at no moment make reference to other brands and/or their products, let alone your company, but only spotlight the usage of ‘raw’ natural elements, such as flowers, snail slime or pearls,” continued Thomas, adding that the films are not derogatory about brands’ active ingredients.
She maintained that the humor in the spots doesn’t leave room to believe anyone is being ridiculed and that the response to them has been positive, making women laugh.
“For me, I confess, it is an immense pleasure!” wrote Thomas. “Is there a more beautiful gift for the creator of cosmetics than to beautify and make women smile? I hope that these words have reassured you and sincerely wish your brand lots of success.”