Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Nancy Agrahari (Journalist)  on 18th Jan 2021

What is a milk cleanser? How to use it in your skincare routine

What is a milk cleanser?

Applying milk on the skin is generally considered to be great for cleansing, exfoliating, or regular tan removal. We Indians love to use home products, and DIY skincare masks and tips have become popular with us.

Over the decades, the skincare industry has started using milk for cleansing and as cleansers. Milk is an excellent ingredient for our skin. Milk is jam-packed with Vitamin A, D, and lactic acid that boosts your skin collagen formation reducing the signs of aging and dark patches on the skin.

Cleansing milk is a wonderful skincare product that efficiently removes all the dirt (accumulated from the day), along with your makeup. People often use it only to clean their makeup, but it can easily clean off dirt and dead skin cells from the skin.

The main difference between milk cleansers and other cleansers is that milk cleansers do not contain any harsh ingredients making these suitable for any skin type. Milk cleansers don't need water to emulsify and are made with natural ingredients that calm the skin. To know more about milk cleansers, how to apply them and the benefits of using milk cleansers, keep scrolling below.  

What is a milk cleanser? 

A milk cleanser is usually light and delicate and won't strip your skin of its natural oils. It focuses on making your skin plump and clean while ensuring that it is naturally hydrated and nourished.

Milk cleanser can be used at any time of the day, be it day or night. Whether you're utilizing cleansing milk in the first part of the day or the night, it is sufficiently delicate to be used twice. It also focuses on endeavoring to eliminate all traces of cosmetics as well.  

Why use cleansing milk for your skin? 

Even though cleansing milk is delicate, its cleansing function is intense and can eliminate the dirt from your skin. When you apply cleansing milk, it penetrates the skin, reaches your pores, and cleans your skin off any dirt or makeup. For best results, use cleansing milk once you have used a cleanser or follow a double cleansing routine.

The double cleansing routine is the process in which you clean your skin twice using the cleansing milk. First, you start by cleaning any makeup from the skin. After that, you clean your skin with the cleansing milk again to allow the ingredients to sink deep into the skin and work on reducing any purging or skin irritation.

By cleaning your skin every day and night with cleansing milk, you are not just eliminating any dirt or cosmetics that developed on your skin over the period (day and night). You are also improving your skin by adding the necessary hydration, nourishment and assisting it by keeping it delicate and graceful.

Consider cleansing milk as a stripped-back, alleviating, unwinding yet dedicated cream that sneaks up all of a sudden and gives your skin a clean yet glowing appearance.

You need to use a milk-based cleanser if you have dry or acne-prone skin because most other cleansers for dry or acne-prone skin contain salicylic acid that might dry out the skin. And when the skin becomes dry, it signals the organs to produce more oil, resulting in excessive oil on the skin leading to more purging or breakouts.  

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To keep the skin hydrated, consider adding a smooth ingredient like milk to your skincare routine in case you're additionally utilizing items for skin break out and oil.

Let's put it simply: drying out of the skin won't fix things. You need to bring the skin back to its original state- hydrated and full of oils. It would help if you also focused on balancing the natural pH level of the skin. Milk cleansers help there as well.  

How and when to apply cleansing milk?


 As mentioned before, you can use cleaning milk, preferably during the morning and night. If your work requires you to leave the house and be exposed to pollution, dirt, or makeup, consider applying cleansing milk at night.

You can also add cleansing milk to your skincare routine every day and at night too. If you are skeptical about using cleansing milk, add it to your skincare regimen gradually.  

How To:

Wash your face with lukewarm water, and once dry. Pour cleansing milk into a cotton pad and clean your entire face with it.

In case you have makeup on, add cleansing milk to cotton and delicately knead your cleansing milk into your face and neck, covering all zones.

When you're set, wipe away either with a cotton cushion, sprinkle with water, or utilize a wet towel or cloth to wipe it off delicately.  

Important points to remember while using milk cleansers 

Cleansing milk can have many great characteristics that include combinations with aloe vera and other ingredients to calm and soothe skin. When it comes to other skincare routines, cleansing milk is in a league of its own. 

  • Cleansing milk, once applied, shouldn't be washed off. Instead, the ingredients should be left to be consumed by the skin for better results. 
  • In case you have applied the milk cleanser in excess, you can easily clean it using a cotton ball or cotton cloth.  
  • Cleansing milk is one of a kind cleanser in a way that they are extraordinary and perfect for any skin type. Regardless of the skin, be it sensitive, dry, or even dehydrated, you can easily use cleansing milk to clear your skin. 
  • Since they lock in dampness, dry and dehydrated skin can use it efficiently and benefit from its ingredients.  
  • The same theory applies to irritated or acne-prone skin. In this case, milk cleansers can be used because they do not contain harsh ingredients and will not purge the skin or irritate it. 

What does "milky" mean?

When we say that the cleanser is milky, unlike other milk cleansers, these do not create foam. It can take some time to get used to the idea of foamless cleansing, as many of us believe that the ones that have foam work and others wouldn't.

Instead of having foaming agents in the ingredient box, these cleansers have emollient-rich ingredients like jojoba oil or squalene oil and other Vitamins like Vitamin E that focus on cleaning dirt or any residue of your skin. These ingredients in the cleansing milk are emollients and stick to the dirt and grime on your skin to remove it slowly, without roughly stripping off essential oils from your skin.  

Can milk cleansers clean the skin for real? 

Yes, milk cleansers help clean the skin of any dirt or residue efficiently. Excluding other cleaning ingredients, milk contains lactic acid.

Lactic acid is a direct acid that helps reduce acne, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and breakouts.

It is one of the mildest direct acids in the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) family tree and is loved for its acne-treating capabilities. Lactic acid increases the skin's epidermis and dermis layers' thickness and firmness. It also inhibits melanin production. Milk cleansers thus are efficient when it comes to cleaning the skin. 

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Can I use milk at home as a cleanser?  

If you're not looking to invest in a milk cleanser, you could try a simple cleaning test with milk at home.

Use unboiled milk and dip soak it in cotton, then clean your skin with it. You will find dirt sticking in the cotton balls. Try doing that for a few weeks, and if you are satisfied with the result, you might not need to invest in a separate milk cleanser. 

Final Word 

Milk cleansers are suitable for any skin type and help remove dirt and makeup from the skin without leaving the skin dry or dehydrated. Go ahead and invest in one if you are not allergic to lactose. This will help you get clearer skin and a super-easy way to remove makeup.