Milky Toner Is the Latest ‘It’ Skincare Product—but What Does It Actually Do?

The idea of drenching your skin in milk is nothing new. After all, Cleopatra was the trailblazer of milk baths, reportedly using them as a skincare practice. Unlike Cleopatra, though, most of us don’t have time to take a milk bath regularly—but the good news is we no longer have to to reap the benefits of them. Thanks to the beauty world, we now have something just as good—if not better—than a traditional milk soak: skin milk. Regardless of your skin type or concerns, this trend works wonders on all skin types. Ahead, everything you need to know about milky skincare, including what milky toners and serums do and how to use them, as well as products to shop that’ll elevate your routine.

What is milky skincare?

Despite what the name suggests, most milky skincare products don’t contain dairy. Instead, their name describes the fact that they have a milk-like color, consistency, and feel. They’re thicker than gel or water-based solutions to penetrate the skin barrier and replenish in lock-in moisture, yet light enough to leave skin glowing instead of greasy. So you don’t have to worry about the formula clogging your pores.

What’s more, milky skincare is suitable for all skin types, including dry, sensitive skin. Plus, because it can cleanse, hydrate, and soothe, it can also act as a multi-tasking hero in your skincare routine. Which can help you cut down on the amount of products you use and in turn save you money because you have to buy less.

Whether it’s a toner or serum, milky skincare will leave skin looking dewy and plump—and that’s something we can all get behind.

What do milky toners and serums do?

In juxtaposition to the standard toners with watery formulas, milky toners have a thicker consistency that hydrates, soothes, and balances the skin. Typically, they contain humectants like glycerin, emollients, antioxidants, and occasionally, gentle exfoliants like gluconolactone. The beauty of milk toners is that their formulas are gentle; they remove excess dirt and grime without stripping skin of its natural oils since it’s formulated with nourishing, skin-loving ingredients. Redness and irritation? Don’t know her.

Similarly, milky serums also have the ability to hydrate, restore, and soothe skin as well. Thicker than a water or oil-based formula but lighter than a moisturizer, these serums commonly use ingredients found in milky toners, along with ingredients like jojoba oil and water to both retain and deliver moisture. Furthermore, they can also act as a lightweight moisturizer or deliver an extra dose of hydration. No matter how you use it, though, a milky serum will definitely leave your skin looking brighter, dewier, and more plump, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.

How to use a milky toner and serum

Although everyone has their own unique skincare routine, the order in which you apply milky toner and serum will be the same. So, start by applying milky toner after cleansing or as the first step in your skincare routine if you’re not a daily face cleanser. To do this, squeeze a few drops onto a cotton pad and gently sweep across your neck, face, and décolletage in upward motions. Or dispense some product onto the palm of your hand and gently press the product into those areas instead.

Since face serum should be applied before moisturizer, you should apply your milky serum after milky toner. Squeeze a few drops onto the palm of your hand, then apply to the face and neck using upward circular motions and patting in the excess. Follow this up with moisturizer and SPF, or adjust as needed.

The best milky skincare products to try

milky skincare


Claimed to be Rhode Skin’s essential prep layer, this essence has a lightweight, smooth, and milky formula. And with standout ingredients like beta glucan, magnesium, copper, zinc, and a ceramide trio, you’ll get lasting hydration and a luminous skin glow.

milky skincare


This product has snow mushroom, hyaluronic acid, and elderflower water to soothe and nourish the skin. Plus, it’s pH balanced, safe for sensitive skin, and affordable AF.

milky skincare


With rose flower extract, jojoba oil, aloe vera nourish, and glycerin, this serum restores dehydrated skin and boosts its radiance.

milky skincare


This cream skin toner is a hybrid of a rich moisturizer and lightweight liquid toner with a ceramide and peptide complex that’ll make skin look firmer, brighter, and healthier.

milky skincare


This is a great option for anyone with sensitive, dry skin, or skin conditions like rosacea or eczema since it’s formulated with a combination of B vitamins, metal ions, and postbiotic ferment to visibly brighten, reduce redness, and even skin tone.

milky skincare

Good Light

This hydrating and exfoliating toner has a gentle formula with star ingredients like hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom to deeply penetrate the skin’s moisture barrier and leave it as radiant and bright as a full moon.

milky skincare


Formulated with barrier lipids and a barrier-supporting duo of Polyglutamic Acid and Cica, BYOMA’S Hydrating Milky Toner deeply hydrates and instantly transforms dry, dehydrated skin.

milky skincare


Blume’s Milky Fade Serum has niacinamide, glycerin, centella asiatica, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and billberry to target and fade unwanted spots while simultaneously strengthening the skin.

milky skincare


This tonic goes on after cleanser and contains vegan collagen and plant extracts and hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture and make skin more supple.

milky skincare

Provence Beauty

This milky nighttime serum has a cool blend of .5 percent retinol, 5 percent niacinamide, and 1 percent P5 peptide to restore skin overnight by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightening, and toning.

milky skincare


If you’re in the mood to splurge, this one’s for you. The Base Face Milk is an essence-moisturizer hybrid with a lightweight formula that can be applied after cleansing to reduce redness, smooth texture, and hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier.

milky skincare


Formulated with 10% AHA and an oat soothing exfoliant, this milky serum has a silky formula that deeply exfoliates the skin and targets dullness, uneven texture, dryness, and a damaged skin barrier and provides an instant glow.

milky skincare

La Roche-Posay

If you want to make your entire skincare routine milky, this facial cleanser is the perfect choice. Not only does it have a milky texture, but the formula is safe to use on dry, sensitive and normal skin because it replenishes the skin barrier rather than stripping it.

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