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What Is Bath Milk?

By Marissa Meyer
Updated May 21, 2024
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Commercial bath products and DIY concoctions may include powdered milk. The milk works in tandem with other ingredients, such as essential oils and Epsom salts, to create a bath that sufficiently nourishes and cleanses the skin. The powder used in this bath milk does not spoil as quickly as liquid milk, and may be derived from cows, goats, or coconuts. Benefits of using this kind of milk in the bath include emollients and additional vitamins, which may improve the way skin looks and feels.

Mass-produced bath milk is often available in drugstores, salons, and boutiques. In these products, powdered milk is usually combined with ingredients like water, fragrance, and extracts, such as honey or vanilla, that nourish the skin. Sulfates may also be used to create foam or bubbles, and preservatives may be added to prolong shelf life. These products may be marketed with emphasis on the proteins and vitamins present in the milk. Some store-bought products may be called bath milk even when milk is not an ingredient. Some manufacturers may use artificial moisturizers to create an appearance similar to milk.

Homemade bath milk is typically made when when sulfates and preservatives are not desired, or if commercial products are too costly. Powdered milk can be purchased from beauty supply wholesalers, or at some health food stores. The milk can be combined with various essential oils, depending on the desired fragrance. Baking soda or Epsom salts can also be used to create a bath that foams slightly and cleanses the skin.

Sometimes fresh, liquid milk may be used in the bath. This should only be for one-time use, since fresh milk will not keep when combined with oils. Whole milk is usually recommended, since it is the most moisturizing, and organic milk should be used since the antibiotics present in regular milk may irritate the skin.

The lactic acid and fat in the milk moisturizes the skin when liquid milk is used, so it protects skin from dryness and irritation due to weather or allergies. The acid also serves as a natural exfoliant, buffing away old skin cells to reveal more vibrant skin. Animal proteins present in cow's or goat's milk also hydrate the skin, as do vitamins A and B12. Additionally, the soft texture and creamy appearance of bath milk may help the bather feel calm and relaxed. Thick, smooth milk is an ideal carrier for other beneficial ingredients, such as essential oils or extracts, that may be added to the mixture and used in the bath.

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Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Jun 12, 2014

Was it Cleopatra who used to bathe in milk and honey? Most people don't have that kind of luxury these days. Bath products with milk powder is as luxurious as it gets for me!

By stoneMason — On Jun 11, 2014

@discographer-- Have you ever used a bath milk (the product is called "milk" but it's like liquid soap and lotion) with goat milk in it? Goat milk is also great for skin.

I found out about bath milk when I was in Europe. I used a great product with goat milk, lavender oil, aloe vera and vitamin E. It is the best thing ever for my dry, itchy skin. Thankfully, it's available online so I continue to use it here in the US.

By discographer — On Jun 10, 2014

One day, I was cooking with coconut milk and had some left over. I didn't know what to do with it and decided to add it to my bath that evening along with some sea salt and lavender essential oil. It turned out to be a great bath. Not only did it smell great but it also made my skin very soft and moisturized.

Unfortunately, coconut milk is not cheap enough to splurge as a bath product and it can't be kept for later after it is opened because it spoils. But I loved how the coconut milk made my skin feel and started searching for a commercial product with the ingredient. It took some time but I finally found a bath product that contains coconut milk. It smells even better than the real thing and also makes my skin very soft.

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