skin deep

If Your Face Is Thirsty, Try Feeding It This Cleansing Milk

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer

Cows are undeniably having a moment across beauty, fashion, pop culture, and even the breaking news cycle. We want to know them, root for them, be them (even if we don’t necessarily want to drink from them). Thus, the stage is perfectly set for cleansing milks, the gentlest of cleansers, to make their way to the front. Aesop’s new Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk may be the Face Milk that herds the herd forward.

This cleansing milk from the Australian brand has been a whole two years in the making; long before we even knew who Knickers was. Cleansers have always been a big part of the brand identity, dating all the way back to their cream cleanser that launched 25 years ago. But considering most of us these days say our skin is as sensitive as Drake, Aesop’s in-house chemist and general manager of product Kate Forbes recognized the need for a very gentle, yet effective cleanser in the lineup.

“Some people don’t feel like their skin is clean unless they see the foam on their face, which shows a surfactant is present; but if your skin is prone to dryness or sensitivity, it can be too harsh and damage the uppermost level of skin,” Forbes explains. This is where the milk comes in: “With cleansing milks, the surfactant level is much lower and, in our case, oil-based, so it works on a more like-for-like basis: ‘Oilier’ ingredients dissolve the dirt, grime, and sebum on your skin, and the mild surfactant washes it all away with water.”

Basically, if your skin is thirsty or fragile, you may want something (like this formula’s grape-seed oil) that gently carries unwanted things away, rather than something foamy that draws it (and the moisture) out of your face. This milk also contains the brand’s star humectant panthenol (a.k.a. provitamin B5) that prevents moisture loss. Jojoba and mimosa waxes leave a nourishing film on the skin, and soothing sandalwood and lavender make the entire experience all the more pleasant. Also, zero dairy. “The milk really refers more to the texture,” Forbes assures me, and Aesop’s formula is extremely milky and silky.

If you’ve ever fantasized about pouring a bottle of oat or almond or macadamia or hemp milk all over your face during a particularly irritated spell, or have ever described your skin as “tight” or “stripped,” this is your face’s beverage of choice. “Once it touches the skin, it becomes really light, spreads really easily, and has a gentle emollient texture that is more moisturizing than the foaming cleansers people are used to,” Forbes explained, correctly echoing the cleansing experience that left my face feeling really flexible and limber.

This milk cleanser is also as easy as it is gentle, and Forbes specifically designed it to be that way so our tired, busy, and overworked selves remember to cleanse, at the very least. Just shake well, massage onto your face and neck, and rinse with tepid water — no need to wait for your sink to get hot or expend energy with a double-cleanse.

Your skin can drink this twice a day, every day, and it’ll probably want to. Like the roughly 100 other products now in Aesop’s range, the milk comes in the signature aesthetically pleasing packaging and has that nature-y Aesop smell that makes you feel like a guest in a fancy, high-end hotel bathroom, or the proud owner of a photogenic shower complete with fragrant eucalyptus branch.


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If Your Face Is Thirsty, Try Feeding It This Cleansing Milk