Should you bathe in milk?

Luxury bathtub with running water

Legend has it that Cleopatra use to bathe in milk daily. Well-known for her radiant beauty, it’s said her silky soft skin was thanks to the milk of 700 donkeys…

She must have smelt a bit though!

Of all the weird beauty fads, I’m surprised bathing in milk has not become ‘a thing’. Throughout history milk has been used for its apparent rejuvenating and moisturising properties. Even as we become wiser to the chemicals found in body washes and bath soaks, we’ve still yet to take things back to basics.

Is it safe to bathe in milk?

Unless you have a milk allergy, it’s unlikely that adding milk to your bath will cause you any harm. The lactic acid in milk breaks down dead skin cells and aids exfoliation. Shifting dirt and softening skin, milk is a true miracle. Why then, must we be so quick to write it off?

You’ve probably been using milk (or a version of it) in your beauty routine for a while now. Lactic acid is the secret of many beauty potions and it’s sourced from milk or made synthetically in labs. It is one of the most common alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and lurks in some of the most popular products in the land. Whilst you might not be chugging from the bottle for the good of your skin, you may have unknowingly already incorporated milk into your beauty routine.

Soap & Glory the fab pore cleanser includes lactic acid

Recognise these? They contain lactic acid, the gentle exfoliation aid found in milk. If these are part of your beauty arsenal already, you should be absolutely fine to add a dash of milk to your running bath water. After all, if it’s good enough for Cleopatra, it’s got to be good enough for us!

Will bathing in milk make me smell funny?

Look, I’m not going to lie, when I tried this out I gave myself an extra rinse in the shower afterwards. I just didn’t want to risk it. Can you imagine how it would smell once you dried out if any was still on your skin?

The bath water itself doesn’t smell when you get in. I thought the heat may have curdled the milk, but thankfully there was no peculiar smell at all. You can add honey or lavender to give your milk bath a subtle fragrance if you wish. Adding bubble bath or similar products would really take away the natural feel – so don’t go over board! A hint of herbs or botanicals will really bring your milk bath to life and give your skin a well-deserved break from harmful chemicals.

There are also plenty of pre-made mixes if you don’t fancy stealing all your flatmate’s milk. Queen Tea Cosmetics create brilliant blends of cocoa butter, non-fat dry milk and oat bran for moisturising miracles. Little potions like this definitely offer a more luxury feel, especially compared to using milk straight from the carton! It’s also worth noting that the cuties behind Queen Tea Cosmetics offer food substitutes to malnourished children every purchase made. It’s not often to you find a cosmetics company with a one-for-one business model!

Milk baths, do they work?

As I immersed myself into the water, I didn’t feel relaxed; I felt like a tea bag. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the milk was eventually going to smell. It was probably more psychological than anything. Plus, I’ve been put off milk ever since I left a White Russian cocktail in the sun, whilst on holiday. What heat does to milk is magical and alcohol acts as a catalyst – cue a warm lumpy mess.

Thankfully however, that didn’t happen to me! I heaved myself out of the bath and gave myself a quick rinse (just in case). My skin felt soft to the touch, as if I’d bathed in pure moisturiser. Milk worked just as good as my favourite body cream and I’m going to make it part of my monthly routine, just to offer my skin some respite from all of the crazy bath concoctions I come up with!

I won’t be giving up all my potions just yet, but milk baths certainly are a luxurious treat.

Cleopatra was clearly on to something!

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  1. January 15, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Oooo I’m intrigued! How much milk did you put in? milk to water ratio?

    • Admin
      January 15, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      The tiniest splash, just a bit more than how you like your cup of tea :’)!

  2. Hannah Latoya
    January 15, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    I don’t think I would want to bathe in milk, but if it works for you then go for it x

    • Admin
      January 16, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      Honestly Hannah, I was skeptical myself at first! You only need to add a little bit to your water though and you soon forget about it once you’re relaxing.

  3. January 16, 2016 / 7:59 am

    “I felt like a tea bag,” is my favourite line! Interesting experiment though, and I certainly didn’t know about lactic acid. Lots of mums swear by breastmilk for helping their baby’s skin (rubbed in, not just drunk), so it makes sense.

  4. January 16, 2016 / 10:57 pm

    This sounds like such a good idea. I’m in the same boat as you though I don’t know if I’d actually “feel” clean with it in my bath.

    Can’t believe you only put so little in, I’m glad it worked.

    Jenna Von x

  5. January 16, 2016 / 11:19 pm

    This is really interesting, I am going to try this! The other day, I had a chance to try some exfoliating body lotion with lots of lactic acid in it and I really loved the effect!

    Thanks for sharing!


  6. Jam
    January 18, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    Such an informative and fab article! Thank you Jessica for mentioning our product!

    350g of milk with naturally nourishing ingredients, our ‘OatMilk’ lasts you ages!


  7. January 18, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    I like bath milk products but can’t imagine bathing in actual milk, it has a slightly silky smell doesn’t it!

    • Admin
      January 19, 2016 / 10:37 am

      It’s a peculiar one to describe to be honest! It doesn’t smell the same way as it does in the carton. Once it’s diluted you hardly notice it at all :).

  8. January 21, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Sounds great – the perfect little treatment for your skin, especially in the winter months when nobody wants to moisturise. It’s a shame really the the smell / taste of milk actually makes me gag. 🙁
    Lovely post though. A neat trick I will remember 🙂
    Elephant stories and more

    • Admin
      January 21, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      The powder versions might be a bit better for you Ellie!
      They tend to sneak milk into a few things these days, so you get the benefits without the smell :).
      I used to know someone with a milk phobia actually, so it’s quite common for people to avoid milk baths.

  9. January 21, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I’ve never really thought about adding it my bath because I think like you I would worry about the smell a little too much to enjoy it. I am glad it did work for you though 🙂

  10. My Make Up Life
    January 23, 2016 / 5:14 pm

    Don’t think I’d fancy that! I love a bit of coco butter in the bath but that’s as far as I’ll go haha

  11. Angelina
    January 23, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    I’ve never heard of this, but the title was so intriguing! I originally thought you just replaced water with milk, and I was wondering how many cartons of milk you’d have bought haha. A splash of milk doesn’t sound too out there though, I think I’d try it!

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

  12. January 24, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    Would never have thought of this! So strange how it works! I would probably try this if their was a bath product version, but I’d be too scared to smell funny too! Sour isn’t a good smell hahah xx


  13. MissMagic
    January 31, 2016 / 1:32 am

    What on Earth would be the point in using “non fat” powdered versions? The fats in the milk are hardly going to go and wedge themselves straight on to your hips or thighs when you’re bathing in it instead of drinking it. If anything those natural lipids and oils that have been skimmed off would likely have great natural moisturising properties. Low fat diet rubbish really does get everywhere!

    • Admin
      January 31, 2016 / 9:33 am

      Don’t worry, I think it’s more to do with the build up of oils and fats in your plug I guess! I’d also assume that the fats would interfere with the preserving prosess and cause unnecessary moisture over time.

  14. January 31, 2016 / 11:22 am

    Ha, the one thing that has always put me off is how it would smell after bathing x

  15. May 13, 2016 / 9:06 am

    I’ll definitely give this a whirl (with an extra shower afterwards as well, I think!).

  16. May 13, 2016 / 9:11 am

    What an interesting post – as you say the Egyptians must be on to something but I would be worried about smelling of gone off milk too!

    • Admin
      May 13, 2016 / 9:35 am

      I must admit Mellissa, I had to have an extra rinse in the shower because I was so worried of a lingering smell. Thankfully there was nothing left behind but it’s better to be safe than sorry haha!