15 Milky Skin Care Products That Deliver Nourishing TLC From Head To Toe

Think creamy.

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Milk is having a moment. If you stop and look around, you’ll realize that milky nail colors of all different varieties are reigning supreme, for one. Also of note? Milky skin care products have been taking over the beauty shelves, much to the benefit of your complexion.

This trend might conjure up images of Cleopatra, Egyptian queen and actual beauty icon who’s known for her purported penchant for bathing in milk to improve the appearance of her skin. (An OG.) While the burgeoning product category is certainly luxe, it doesn’t actually require dousing yourself in animal-based milk; milky skin care is more about a feeling than a particular ingredient. Most formulas rely on a special blend of oils, emulsifiers, and something like coconut water to create a milk-like appearance and texture, says Dr. Brendan Camp, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. The end result? Skin that’s happy, healthy, and hydrated.

Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, believes the boom of milky skin care has to do with an increased emphasis on supporting the skin barrier — something these formulas definitely do. “Milky products not only provide a nourishing sensorial experience, but they also help to leave the skin feeling calmer, softer, and smoother,” she tells Bustle.

That’s why you’ve been seeing countless beauty brands introduce skin milks to their lineup. Most notably: Rhode, Hailey Bieber’s skin care line, which launched its Glazing Milk in June. Fragrance and body care brand By/Rosie Jane is also serving up the beauty-boosting leche with its recently-dropped Body Milk, a creamy elixir meant to moisturize the skin beneath the neck. Then there’s French beauty house Biologique Recherche, which just expanded its line of Lait (read: milk) cleansers to target various skin concerns. In short: Expect your beauty shelf to look a lot creamier in the coming months. Read on for what to know about the special benefits of milky skin care, according to dermatologists.

What Is Milky Skin Care?

As mentioned above, vegan girlies can totally get in on the milky skin care trend. “While some products may include a type of animal milk, such as goat milk, or plant-based milk, many products described as milky may simply have a white, watery, and creamy consistency, resembling milk without actually containing any milk ingredients,” says Garshick. So there aren’t specific actives to look for — it’s all about what the product feels and looks like. BTW, you can find this lightweight, creamy texture in a wide range of different product categories, from body care and essences to cleansers, serums, and creams.

Still, although milky skin care product formulas are greatly varied, they generally offer the same benefits. “These kinds of products are typically lightweight moisturizers and skin nourishers that soothe and hydrate without occluding pores,” says Dr. Blair Murphy Rose, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Laser Skin Surgery in NYC. Milky skin care can also help improve the overall appearance of your complexion, adds Camp. “Ingredients like vitamins, antioxidants, and botanical extracts provide additional nourishment to the skin, and hydrating ingredients keep skin plump and minimize the appearance of fine lines,” he says.

Since milky formulas are so gentle, derms say they work well on all skin types, though may be especially beneficial for dry and sensitive complexions. “They can also be great for oily and normal skin types during more humid seasons and climates,” says Garshick.

How To Incorporate Milky Skin Care Into Your Routine

Milky skin care is clearly that all-around good friend that you can rely on for supporting you (your skin barrier, in this case) and not bringing the drama, so trust that it’s easy to add to your existing beauty regimen. “In general, since milky products tend to be hydrating and nourishing, they’re easy to use alongside any other products and ingredients as it may help to calm irritation and soothe the skin,” says Garshick.

That said, there are just a handful of things to watch out for. First, Camp points out that milky formulas tend to be lightweight, so they complement other lightweight skin care products — but layering them with heavier formulations can leave behind a heavy or greasy feeling on the skin.

If you’re using an exfoliating milk of some sort, you’ll want to be extra diligent about sun protection and ensure you’re not over-exfoliating, says Garshick. And, if your skin runs dry, Rose cautions that a milky moisturizer might not be sufficient. “Be sure to use something with occlusive ingredients to lock in that moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss,” she says.

Whatever type of milky formula you’re working with, you’ll want to follow the general skin care routine order of application guidelines: “Apply products in order of weight, from thinnest to heaviest,” says Rose.

Shop Milky Skin Care

The Body Hydrator

If you want to live like a queen, swap out your traditional body lotion/cream/butter for this light-as-air milk. IMHO, it’s the most delightful, luxurious way to moisturize your limbs — think of it as a toner-slash-hydrator that splashes your skin with moisture as it brightens (via turmeric root and witch hazel), all while smelling divine.

The Milky Essence

Bieber really slayed with this one. The milky essence provides the perfect dose of hydration to your skin between cleansing and applying serums, and it’s a product Rose is a big fan of. “It nourishes and moisturizes with a smart blend of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, zinc, and copper, plus ceramides to protect the skin barrier,” she tells Bustle.

The Creamy Cleanser

Biologique Recherche’s Lait U is a master class in creamy facial cleansers: It’s ultra soft, melts into the skin, and removes every last bit of gunk from your pores. Once you rinse it off, your skin is left feeling fresh and smooth — and not the least bit dry.

The Exfoliant

Consider this the ultimate gentle exfoliant, thanks to its milky properties. “Coconut milk and oat are combined with fruit-based alpha and beta-hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate the skin and reveal a brighter, healthier glow,” says Camp.

The Milky Lotion

If Cleopatra were around today, she’d def use this to moisturize her body with (after taking a milk bath, of course). “Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane are included in this body lotion that also contains plant-based milks like centella, rice, and linseed,” says Camp.

The Milky Multitasker

Get you a product that can do both: Laneige’s Cream Skin works as a toner and moisturizer, clarifying and hydrating all in one go. The formula is chock-full of nourishing staples like ceramides, peptides, and glycerin, so your skin will slurp it right up.

The Drugstore Buy

Garshick recommends this milky toner for dry or sensitive skin girlies. “It contains key hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom which together help to draw moisture in and keep the skin feeling hydrated,” she says. “For this reason, it will effectively cleanse, without leaving the skin feeling dry or stripped.”

The Toning Elixir

Another must-buy milky toner: This one from Versed, which Garshick says is super gentle and will help restore the skin’s natural pH thanks to its blend of hydrating coconut water, algae, and bamboo extract.

The Cleansing Milk

Remove both makeup and debris with Caudalie’s creamy cleanser, which contains sweet almond and castor oils, cornflower water, and antioxidant-rich polyphenols. “This provides an effective cleanse while being gentle enough on the skin, making it a good option to help remove makeup from the eyes and face,” says Garshick.

The Moisture Booster

If your skin could use some extra hydration, slip this milk into your regimen post-cleansing and before applying the rest of your products. The luxe emulsion has peptides, glycerin, and meadowfoam seed oil, and works to infuse your complexion with bouncy hydration, all without feeling heavy or clogging your pores.

The Transforming Cleanser

Any product that provides a double cleanse in one go is a win, and this baby does it by starting off as an oil — to take off all makeup — before transforming into a milky elixir that leaves your skin soft and smooth upon rinsing.

The Soothing Serum

Offering a soft and hydrating shield, Plant Milk Serum coddles and calms the skin after a rough day using nature-grown products — including seeds, roots, leaves, petals, fruits, and potent traditional plant remedies such as white lily, mountain arnica, and milk thistle.

The Micellar Milk

Having a rough day? Payot’s Cleansing Micellar Milk gently removes all the grease, oil, and makeup suffocating your pores, leaving you with soft and delicate skin. It also happens to smell like beautiful florals.

The After-Sun Lotion

Unlike the many sun lotions that leave your skin greasy and sticky, Lait Apres-Soleil by Yonka melts and soaks into your limbs with a botanical-based formula, leaving you soothed and protected — all while feeling light-as-air on your skin.

The Exfoliant

Due to its powder form, Embryolisse’s Exfoliation Milk Powder leaves the ball in your court, allowing you to control the thickness of the paste based on your skin needs. Although it’s gentle with its use of coconut-based exfoliants, it cleanses thoroughly to give your skin a soft baby glow.

Herbivore Botanicals puts a milky twist on its new exfoliating serum by combining soothing oat and ceramides, plus hydrating hyaluronic acid, with 10% AHA + 3% PHA. Your skin will drink it up.


Dr. Brendan Camp, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., FAAD, board-certified dermatologist based in NYC

Dr. Blair Murphy Rose, M.D., board-certified dermatologist with Laser Skin Surgery in NYC