TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty trends and the latest to catch our eye uses an ingredient you probably already have in your kitchen. Yup, content creators are now using milk for DIY beauty hacks. Take Korean-based creator @azian_beauti19 who previously demonstrated warming up milk in the microwave for 15 seconds and then applying the lukewarm liquid to the face using a cotton pad. Racking up thousands of views, people all around the world are giving it a go.
Could skincare really be this simple? Well, using milk as a beauty ingredient is nothing new. Cleopatra — and others in Ancient Egyptian times — bathed in milk for its skin-nourishing properties. Similarly, in Korea, a hotbed for skincare innovation, milk has long been part of a standard skincare routine. In fact, in @azian_beauti19’s aforementioned video, she shares how many Korean celebrities are fans of the technique.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Lauren Hamilton is a dermatologist based in London.
The glowing benefits of milk
When it comes to the science behind it, milk naturally renews the skin. “It contains lactic acid which contains mildly exfoliating properties,” confirms dermatologist Dr. Lauren Hamilton. If you have dry skin, this helps to shed the excess skin cells and reveal brighter skin underneath while those who are prone to acne might notice that it helps break down bacteria, leaving skin better balanced and with less spots. Beyond this, milk’s vitamin content also helps the skin. “It contains vitamins A and D which are crucial for maintaining a healthy skin barrier,” adds Dr. Hamilton.
However, Dr. Hamilton does warn that it isn’t a cure-all ingredient for everyone. “For those who suffer from lactose intolerance, applying milk directly to the face can result in negative side effects such as rashes or skin flare-ups,” she shares. For those who suffer from this — or those who follow a vegan lifestyle — using plant-based milks might be a better option. “Oats contain skin-soothing products so an oat milk may help nourish skin,” recommends Dr. Hamilton.
Beyond DIY ideas that utilize either dairy or plant-based milks, there’s a new wave of products using milk as an ingredient or paying homage to its texture within formulations. Dermalogica’s aptly named Daily Milkfoliant is a new vegan formula that features oat and coconut milk. The gentle exfoliating powder helps polish away dead skin cells to reveal smoother, softer skin. Also maximizing milk’s exfoliating properties is GOOPGLOW’s Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk. This serum-style product works overnight and over time to regenerate, and uses so-called “desert milk,” which is sourced from Kalahari melon, jojoba, and aloe. Rihanna’s Fenty Skin is never far from a new trend and its just-launched Fat Water Hydrating Milky Toner Essence taps into this idea. While it doesn’t contain any milk per se, it embraces the consistency, offering “milkier moisture for silkier skin.” The toner hydrates and strengthens the skin barrier while feeling super soft on the skin.
It’s just not traditional skin that’s had a milk makeover, milk in all its guises is being used across beauty. In the hair world, milky textures are proving popular for those looking for smooth and silky locks. Take organic brand Oway’s Sublime Hair Mask, a regenerating and anti-frizz hair milk. Or Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Joia Milky Leave-In Conditioner, which offers lightweight hydration while detangling, fighting frizz, and repairing split ends.
As the lines between skincare and makeup blur, we’re demanding more from our cosmetics and looking for products that take things beyond the purely aesthetic and instead prioritize nourishing benefits. For those who don’t want to commit to a bright lip and still want to keep their pout nourished, reach for HIGHR California Lip Milk, a soft gloss, active lip treatment with a sparkle suspension that uses organic Californian sunflower seed oil and wild harvested meadowfoam seed oil to soften skin.
Whether you dabble with DIY treatments or stock up on some new products, milk is a trend that’s set to stay all year.
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