Back in January of this year, beauty girls and editors lost their collective shit—myself included—when New York City beauty brand Milk Makeup finally launched in the UK. Despite it having only launched stateside in 2016, it had already felt like a lifetime of having to beg U.S.-bound friends to hit up Sephora on my behalf for a Milk Makeup fix. And I clearly wasn't alone—the brand launched to an incredible 17,000-person waiting list on Cult Beauty. Yes, this was one beauty brand that had a serious amount of social media hype, and I was already obsessed.
If you haven't heard of Milk Makeup before, then the premise of the brand is all about good ingredients, clean formulas and payoff that you can actually see. Every product is cruelty-free, paraben-free and 100% vegan and a lot of the products come in twist-up, stick formulations for easy, fuss-free application—even when you're on-the-go. The skincare products are simple and slip effortlessly into your existing routines, and the makeup products offer sheer pops of colour that can be built up to customise your look. In short, this is a beauty brand that even women who aren't that into beauty can get on board with.
Launching exclusively onto Cult Beauty with a great initial drop, there have been new arrivals landing thick and fast, with 37 products currently on site to shop. (Although, seriously, Milk—will your Sunshine Skin Tint ever be landing on British soil?) With such an array of product categories and names like Glitter Sticks, Tattoo Stamps and Cannabis Face Masks to decipher, it can be a bit of a beauty minefield to shop if you haven't already dabbled with the brand.
Luckily, I've now tried pretty much everything that Milk Makeup has to offer, and while it was lust at first sight for me and everything in the collection, there are a few products that have transitioned into true, long-term beauty loves. Yes, packaging aside, these are the products that I honestly think are worth splashing your cash on. Not only do they genuinely work, but they've also become staples in my beauty routine.
The ultimate product for girls who don't really do makeup or just don't have time for it in the mornings. Just twist up the creamy colour and swipe it onto your cheeks and lips, then pat in with your fingertips for an effortlessly pretty flush of colour. I always have one of these Lip + Cheek sticks in my handbag for when my complexion needs a little livening up during the day. Werk, this dusky rose shade, is my favourite everyday hue but I must mention Quickie as a close second—a lively berry that would look amazing on deeper skin tones too.
This is basically a stick of solidified water infused with aloe, but honestly, it's like magic. I recently gave a stick to a colleague who is heading on a humid holiday to China thanks to the way that it cools and refreshes skin like nothing else. I like to use this after cleansing my skin on mornings when I'm feeling particularly puffy and congested as it really helps to calm things down. But you can apply it over makeup to boost glow throughout the day too.
I'm a big fan of using face powders to keep my oily skin in check during the day, but it can be difficult to find ones that don't cling to dry patches and end up looking cakey. This one is a revelation thanks to an infusion of moisturising hyaluronic acid and avocado powder. It might sound counterintuitive, but what it actually means is that this powder blurs over fine lines and unevenness while keeping oil under control.
This mascara was the best-selling Milk Makeup product at the brand's UK launch and pretty much everyone that tries it raves about it. It's the first-ever mascara to contain hemp-derived cannabis oil and has a seriously creamy formula infused with fibres that glide onto lashes and impart them with mega volume. Hannah Almassi, our very own editor in chief, has even be converted to its charms. If you're looking for a new mascara in your life then make it this one.
This features the same formulation technology as the Kush Mascara (hydrating cannabis oil and volumising fibres), but for your brows. I'm very loyal to my Benefit Gimme Brow, so I really wasn't expecting to like this product as much as I do. But I have to say that on days when I want to get really bushy, glossy cool-girl brows, this really does the trick. It does a great job of boosting volume and setting hairs in place without leaving them feeling stiff or set either.
One of the newer Milk Makeup drops, this primer promises to keep skin hydrated all day. For me, however, the thing that I love most about it is the way that (as the name suggests) it "grips" to the makeup you apply on top to improve longevity. To apply, you smooth a couple of pumps onto clean skin and leave it for a minute to set. I love that my skin always looks glowy and moisturised before I apply my base. Oh, and I'm also here for the all-day hold.
At first, these cream eye shadows might look a little intimidating. They are seriously pigmented (as in, you literally just need a tiny dot for full coverage colour on your eye) and come in some pretty out-there shades, including sea greens and electric blues. However, these are now one of my favourite formulas to reach for on a night out. The shade Hotel Lobby, in particular, is a really wearable champagne-gold with a beautiful shimmer. I apply to the eyelids using my fingertips, and then blend out the edges with a fluffy brush. Once they're on, the waterproof formulas stay put for hours without creasing or shifting.
If you don't love a really high-shine glow to your skin, then the Milk Makeup Highlighter Stick might be more up your street for a more subtly luminous glow. These Holographic Sticks are for a major sheen. They contain real meteorite powder (seriously) for a holographic finish that I happen to love applied to the tops of cheekbones. The shade Mars is my favourite (a gorgeous golden peach), but there are some more intense colour options if lavender or pink highlight is up your alley.
Rich in olive and jojoba oils, this lip balm does an amazing job of moisturising parched lips and boasts a minty taste that is wonderfully refreshing. It comes in a clear formula (which actually looks green in the tube), and if it's purely hydration that you're after, this is a tinted formula that treats and looks good.
Toner is often one of those skincare steps that I'll skip entirely, but since discovering this one from Milk Makeup, it's become more of a regular part of my skincare routine. It's the world's first every solid toner, and it's crammed with matcha green tea and witch hazel to decongest and purify oily-combination skin types. I just swipe it over skin after cleansing to calm any inflamed areas and control oily patches before my moisturiser.
I was a bit dubious about the idea of a face mask in a stick, but I have to say that this application method is a dream if the thought of applying a face mask always seems like way too much effort. I apply it to clean, damp skin (but you can also apply it to dry skin) and leave it to dry for around 10 minutes before rinsing it off. It's clay-based, so it has detoxifying benefits, but it also contains protective vitamins C and E, hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening watermelon extract for more luminous skin.
As someone who doesn't really use bronzer, it's a big deal to be recommending one in this list. I don't know if it's the blendable texture, the matte colour or the way that it hydrates skin at the same time, but this is possibly one of the best bronzers I've ever tried. I basically just scrawl it over my cheeks, nose and forehead, and then blend it out with my fingers for a really subtle, sunkissed glow. Although it looks deep in the tube, it's surprisingly sheer, so I've never overdone it while applying it.
While I wasn't blown away by Milk Makeup's original Blur Stick, this new illuminating version is right up my street. It uses golden blur pigments and blurring microspheres to both brighten skin and absorb excess oil at the same time. On weekends when I'm just pottering about the house, I'll apply just this over moisturiser to brighten and even out my skin tone, but on normal days, I'll apply it under makeup, focusing on my cheeks and forehead (where my pores tend to be most visible).
The newest launch from Milk Makeup comes courtesy of these mini multipurpose formulas. The same concept as the brand's original Lip + Cheek sticks (you can use them to add colour all over your face), these ones have more of a sheer formula with a beautifully dewy finish. Astro is my favourite—a soft, radiant blackberry hue that I think would work well on all skin tones. These will really come into their own during summer.