Sure, you could load up on pricey cleansers and moisturizers—or you could use a product that’s practically free and probably already in your kitchen: milk. Natural-beauty expert Paige Padgett says the ingredient can help soften, tone, and exfoliate your skin—and more. Here, she shares her favorite beauty uses for the dairy product.
Have sensitive skin that seizes up at the thought of being touched by a traditional foamy cleanser? Padgett recommends trying out whole milk as your daily cleanser. “It’s gentle, yet effective in removing excess oil and makeup,” she says.
Milk contains lactic acid, which is a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), the same ingredient in upscale chemical exfoliants. AHAs work to reduce wrinkles and boost collagen while smoothing skin overall—without irritating skin with gritty exfoliants. Simply soak a cotton pad in milk, and sweep it over your face and down your neck. “It’s a gentle exfoliation,” says Padgett. “Not like a fruit acid or enzyme, which can be harsher.”
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Rumor has it that Cleopatra took luxurious milk baths to get super-soft skin. While you may not need to fill your entire tub with gallon upon gallon of milk to achieve silky smooth stems, you certainly can add a couple of cups to warm water for a lavish soak. “[A milk bath] feels decadent and makes skin soft and smooth,” says Padgett.
Other dairy products are great for your skin, too. Padgett recommends using yogurt as a mask to even skin tone, gently exfoliate, and soften skin. “Yogurt works great for masks because of its consistency,” she says. Apply a thin layer over your skin, and let sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing.
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The lactic acid in milk brightens and exfoliates—and also treats breakouts, says Padgett. “[Milk] will also hydrate, something that many people who suffer from acne forget to do.” She recommends mixing milk with flour to create a thin paste. Apply it before bedtime, leave it on overnight, and rinse in the morning.
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