Published on March 11, 2019

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

Although spring is technically only a few short weeks away, it still feels like we’re smack-dab in the middle of winter—cut to a balmy 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside and blistering winds. Mother Nature has not been kind, and regrettably, this striking change of weather can show up dramatically on our skin too. Cue dry, itchy skin that’s begging for moisture. (Sound familiar?)

While slathering on thick balms, creams, and oils is an admirable start, why not make the first step in your routine just as moisturizing? That’s where milky cleansers or cleansing milks enter the picture. They are gentle, non-foaming and meant to cleanse skin without stripping it of natural oils and moisture, so your face stays hydrated and balanced.

Most cleansing milks can be used the same way: Pour a teaspoon into your palm, massage it into dry skin for as long as you’d like, allow it to set for a few seconds, and then wash off. While they’re great for most skin types, they’re less ideal for acne-prone skin, as they’ll leave a moisturizing residue behind which might prevent acne medications and retinoids from fully penetrating into pores.

If your skin is crying out for an extra dose of hydration, allow these eight options to wash over you.

For the Shelfie Taker

Launching April 2, this skin-nourishing cleanser is designed to reduce moisture loss, leaving skin clean yet soft. Formulated with vitamin B5, sandalwood, and lavender, the ingredients are known for both their sensitivity and aromatic properties.

For the Francophile

The iconic Collosol Eau De Lait is a staple in almost all French medicine cabinets. The moisturizing milk and micellar water hybrid can do practically anything it’s put to task: It cleanses, removes makeup, and moisturizes—all in one fell swoop. It was known to be used by the late, great Karl Lagerfeld, who put a whole bottle of Eau De Lait in his daily bath.

For the Acne-Prone

True, cleansing milks aren’t ideal for acneic skin, but this is the one exception. Created by Renée Rouleau, the expert in all things skincare and acne related, this creamy, citrus-scented cleanser removes oils and makeup while comforting sensitive and combination skin.

For the Irritated

Specifically designed to reduce redness and irritation, this cleansing milk soothes irritation while boosting skin’s resistance to harmful free radicals. The milk is made with hydration superstars, such as seabuckthorn, black currant seed oil, and shea butter. Massage on and feel its soothing benefits ASAP.

For the Naturalist

Leave it to Malibu-based and family-owned brand OSEA to make a cleansing milk perfectly formulated for rejuvenating and healing irritated skin. This ultra-gentle blend showcases organic algae, lily, and rose waters, which cleanse while also reducing redness. It also includes DPHP, which the brand describes as “an amino acid compound,” an ingredient known to visibly minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

For the Millennial

Just launched by beloved French brand Clarins, MyClarins is the millennial-focused collection concentrated on being ethically sourced and formulated for woes like acne, oily skin, and dryness—all while being accessibly priced. This light cleansing milk is made with fig and moringa extract, so it gently removes makeup, and yet it doesn’t irritate even the most sensitive skin.

For the Emily Weiss Fan

Technically a little more gel-like than milk-esque, this product nevertheless makes the cut because of its gentle formula. The blend can be used as both a makeup remover and cleanser, so feel free to apply generously and massage away. Bonus points for the light, spring-like scent that comes courtesy of a generous dose of rose water.

For the Amazon Prime Regular

1,226 reviews and counting, this cleansing milk by humble OG organic brand Avalon is positively trending. It’s an effective milky cleanser, with an extra boost of vitamin C to fight environmental stress and damage.

Keep Cleansing:
The Best Way to Wash Your Face Is Actually a 200-Year-Old Method

Would You Stop Using All Your Skincare Products If It Meant Perfect Skin?
No-Poo Shampoo: What It Is and Why You’ll Love It

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