Skin Milk: Diving Into The Skincare Trend Taking Over Summer Routines

Skincare is a massive multi-billion dollar industry poised to rake in over $20 billion in 2023 alone, according to Statista. When viewed within this context, it's easy to see why it feels like there are so many different types of skincare products touted as essential. Skincare trends blow up, take over social media and the beauty community, and then disappear in favor of a new trendy product type a few months later. In this sea of consumerism, it can be hard to spot a trend that really might benefit your skin in the long run.


When it comes to summer 2023, the trendy must-have skincare product is skin milk. This is due in part to the very recent release of Rhode by Hailey Bieber's new Glazing Milk Ceramide Essence. If you're still scratching your head trying to figure out what the deal is with skin milk, this is the guide for you. 

What exactly is skin milk?

The kind of milk that comes from cows and other mammals is naturally rich in lactic acid, which happens to be one of the gentlest, most hydrating chemical exfoliants. It also contains proteins that can both boost elasticity and form a humectant layer to hold in moisture. These benefits are why ancient beauty seekers like Cleopatra are reported to have bathed in milk on a regular basis to keep their skin glowing and hydrated.


Today, it is well known that dairy products are not shelf stable and that many people are intolerant to the proteins and sugars found in milk. However, the same skin-friendly components found in dairy milk can be extracted from plant sources to create a "milk" specifically formulated for topical application to the skin. This is exactly what skincare companies have done to create products known as skin milk, aka lightweight liquid moisturizers with added gentle exfoliant powers. 

Skin milk vs. moisturizer

You might wonder why a skin milk product would be necessary if you already use a daily (or nightly) moisturizer. While skin milk does offer a hydration boost, its main goal is absorption. This is accomplished by using a thin, watery formula that allows the product to quickly penetrate the skin's protective barrier. In this regard, the consistency of skin milk is more comparable to a serum than a lotion or cream moisturizer.


Moisturizers in the form of lotions and creams are typically higher in oils and emulsifying waxes, which create a thicker consistency. This can cause these products to sit on top of the skin and prevent thinner formulas applied on top from being absorbed. However, this barrier helps to seal in the moisture being absorbed by the skin, preventing water loss and skin dehydration. Ideally, a thicker moisturizer should be layered over a thinner one for maximum hydration.

Benefits of skin milk

For most people, the main benefit of skin milk products is their lightweight and quick absorption rate. This is especially true during the hot, humid days of summer. Applying a heavy lotion, oil, or cream to your skin during warm weather months can leave your skin feeling weighed down. When you add sweat into the equation, you could be facing the reality of clogged pores and acne breakouts, especially if you are already prone to these issues.


Skin milk offers hydration without the heavy oils and waxes found in lotions and creams. If you struggle with oily skin or summer acne, trying skin milk alone could allow you to hydrate and gently exfoliate your skin without risking clogged pores and pimples. If you struggle to follow a moisturizing routine at all because you find the multiple steps and greasiness too overwhelming, applying a rapidly absorbing skin milk once or twice a day is far better for your skin than skipping out on moisturizing entirely.

How to use skin milk

Ideally, skin milk should be applied after cleansing your skin and before applying a standard moisturizer. If you intend to apply a serum that feels heavier than your skin milk, put it on after your cleanser and skin milk but before your moisturizer. Any serums that feel lighter than your skin milk should be applied before it, immediately after cleansing. Applying heavier products after lighter ones allows the benefits of the lighter products to be amplified by the humectant barrier created by the heavier ones.


If you don't currently have a skincare routine, a skin milk product is a great place to start. For a bare minimum skincare routine, try simply washing your face with a warm washcloth every morning and night and then applying skin milk. If your skin feels oily, add a cleanser to your routine. If it feels tight or dry, add a moisturizer. A good skincare routine doesn't have to be time-consuming or complicated.

Popular skin milk products

Convinced to give a skin milk product a try? Fortunately, there is a skin milk for every budget and every skin type. If you're only interested in high-quality, luxury skincare brands and products, consider Albion Garden's EXCIA EMBEAGE Extra Milk for toning and rejuvenation. On a tighter budget? Give Beekman 1802 Milk Drops a try. For those looking for a mid-range skin milk option, Rhode Glazing Milk by Hailey Bieber might just fit the bill.


No matter how popular a particular skincare product might become, the right skincare routine for you is always the one that gets the best results for your individual skin. Figuring out what the ideal routine is for you typically requires patience, trial and error, and flexibility. What works in the winter may not work in the summer. Just be sure to always check every new product's ingredient label, if you've identified any skin sensitivities.