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.
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!