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Many skincare ingredients have been used for centuries but none quite as famously as milk. 

Queen Cleopatra, we're calling her the world's first skinfluencer, was known to love bathing in milk as an early form of exfoliation and hydration thanks to its high lactic acid content but these days, formulas are a little more sophisticated and a lot less wasteful. 

Is milk good for skin?

woman with eyes closed and glowing skin© Getty
Milk's been used in skincare for over 2,000 years

Two thousand years ago Ancient Egyptians probably weren't aware of why milk was so beneficial but now we understand its beauty benefits. Rich in alpha hydroxy acid and lactic acid, milk is a fantastic source of chemical exfoliation. "Lactic acid is an exfoliant derived from the fermentation of lactose found in milk," says consultant dermatologist, Dr Emma Craythorne. 

It works by breaking down the bonds holding dead skin cells together, which allows them to slough off more easily. This exfoliation reveals the brighter, fresher and smoother skin from underneath. It's also effective in hydrating the skin as lactic acid is able to bind to water, unlike other exfoliating acids. 

READ: The 12 best luxury facial oils, tried, tested & reviewed

RELATED: How to look less tired: facialist-approved hacks for brighter, energised skin

What are the skin benefits of milk?

There are plenty of benefits to using skincare containing milk. Its natural exfoliating properties mean dead, dull and drab skin cells are encouraged off the surface of the skin to reveal brighter, newer skin cells and its ability to hydrate means those skin cells are kept plump and full of moisture. 

This means your skin is kept healthy and youthful and looks at its best. 

How we chose:

  • Performance and personal testimony: The buys chosen below are products that I (Hello! Fashion's deputy beauty editor Emma North) personally really rate. I've tried every milk-based skincare product you can think of and these ones came out on top.
  • Texture and results: After testing an infinite number of milk products during my career, these are the formulations that are pleasant to use and feel incredible on the skin. I judged the results over many uses to give a well-rounded opinion on their efficacy and looked at my skin with a magnifying mirror to determine their skin-smoothing ability.

Hello! Fashion shares the best milky skincare products to nourish your skin:  

  • Dermalogica daily microfoliant

    Daily Milkfoliant


    A finely ground powder you turn to a paste with a few drops of water, this gentle exfoliant leaves skin soft and polished. Its blend of coconut and almond milk holds both AHAs and BHAs for a superior softening effect.

  • Fresh Milk Body Lotion

    Milk Body Lotion


    Although formulated with plant milks, the benefits of this body lotion are the same. It's lightweight, hydrating and soothing on the skin and provides all-day moisture. It has a pleasant, delicate scent but it won't interfere with your favourite fragrance. 

  • Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturising Cleanser

    Goat Milk Moisturising Cleanser

    Kate Somerville

    Formulated with natural goat milk, moisturising Manuka honey softening jojoba and avocado oils, this cult-favourite cleanser is great for getting grime off without being harsh on the skin.

  • Elemis Skin Nourishing Bath Milk

    Skin Nourishing Bath Milk


    This luxury bath milk is formulated with a milk proteins to nourish skin and give you the Cleopatra experience. It turns bath water a milky white and smells amazing for moments you need a treat.

  • Kiehl's Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner

    Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner


    Containing lipo hydroxy acid and chock-full of emollients, this toner gentle exfoliates dead skin cells to reveal fresh new skin. It's incredibly gentle and suitable for everyday. 

  • Gallinée Probiotic Hydrating Milk

    Probiotic Hydrating Milk


    Developed to simultaneously exfoliate and hydrate the skin, this lightweight lotion is a total powerhouse. The medley of lactic acid, sweet almond oil and probiotics enhance your skin's microbiome for healthy, glowing, soft skin and its non-greasy texture makes it a pleasure to apply. 

Why you should trust me:

Emma is Hello! Fashion’s Deputy Beauty Editor. Focusing on all things hair, makeup and skin related, there's not a foundation she hasn't tried nor a cleanser that hasn't graced her bathroom. When not writing about beauty, you’ll often find her trawling the Beauty Halls of Harrods, seeking new launches and discovering the latest formula developments.

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.