Review: Cleansing Milk Smackdown | Acne Struggles


A year and a half ago, I’d hit another low, skin-wise, and I had to visit the derm again for yet another round of extractions and antibiotics. I just hate the fact that I am living proof that adult acne does not seem to have an expiry date, no matter how careful you think you are being with your skincare routine and lifestyle factors. I’m in my thirties now, bloody hell! I am sharing my experience, hoping that it can help others in the same boat.

Back then, the derm recommended that I switch from cleansing oils to cleansing milks. My skin is in much better condition now as I have made a number of changes and as I am on the cusp of finishing my current cleansing milk, I figured it was time to review in more depth some of the milks that I have been trialling these past few months.

While I have many fond memories of cleansing milks being sold everywhere in the 2000s and 2010s, they do not seem to be a massively popular product in 2020s Korea. I have only been able to find a few. Read on for my favourite of the bunch at the bottom of this post.

Disclaimer: I use both an eye makeup remover and a micellar cleansing water to remove the first few layers of sunscreen and makeup, so my cleansing milks do not actually have to do much in the way of heavy lifting.

But first, a quick visual overview. O meaning Hit, X meaning Miss.

NamePriceEfficacySkin feelWould I Buy Again
Bioturm ReinigungsmilchXOOO
Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing LotionOOXX
Nuxe Very Rose Creamy Makeup Remover Milk OXXX
Dewy Tree All Cleansing MilkOOOO

Bioturm Reinigungsmilch

I actually really enjoyed using this milk that I got from Olive Young. It went on nice and smooth, rinsed off clean, and left skin clean and comfortable. The scent was barely there – it did not contain artificial fragrance, as far as I remember, though cosDNA throws up a few ingredients that could simultaneously act as perfuming agents.

There are however two things that prevent me from repurchasing:

  1. The label says that a little goes a VERY long way. I disagree, hard. If anything, this yields less than other cleansing milks.
  2. The price is hefty for the quantity offered. For this little 100 ml bottle, I paid KRW 13,000… while I can get 200-250 ml (so double what I got) from other brands.

I would repurchase in a heartbeat provided they halved the price.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleansing Lotion

This is, I am saddened to say, a mediocre product at best but also the one I repurchased the most, simply because of availability and price. At first, it seemed ok, but with continued use, I noticed that it irritated the skin around my eyes and lashes over time. Every time I used it, the skin would start to burn and start to blister. Do bear in mind that my skin is sensitive, so you might not experience the same sensitivities. The ingredients list does not seem to list anything in the way of irritants, I just cannot explain what it was – and yet I would get small red papules in my orbital area after each use.

I cannot even tell you why I bought it more than once? This was more of an abusive relationship than a cornerstone of a skincare routine.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Nuxe – Very Rose Creamy Makeup Remover Milk

My skin is so dehydrated and I love a product that is nourishing! In this case however, I found it hard to use up the bottle. First off, the smell is just mad – crazy, heavy, artificial rose potpourri. Second, it leaves behind a waxy film that does not easily wash off.

I found that I had to use at least twice the amount of my second step cleanser to get my face to feel clean, and I had to go in hard with my toner to remove any remnants of the stuff sticking to my face. I just hated every application of this. It was not particularly good at removing makeup either but then again, as mentioned, I do not rely on cleansing milks to do the heavy lifting for me. Even so, however, I want my cleansers to at least rinse clean when emulsified, or at the very least, to remove easily with a second step cleanser. This did more harm than good and was just a plain hassle. I live for Nuxe’s lip balms, so I was disappointed that the cleansing milk was such a massive letdown.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Dewy Tree – Hi Amino All Cleansing Milk

Ignore the cleanser. It came as a GWP, and it is not a very good one, at that.

And finally we get to the hero product of the bunch. This is my most recent discovery and I can definitely see myself returning to this offering. It is unscented and goes on like a slightly liquidy dream. It feels refreshing on skin and has enough slip to spread around easily. It washes off completely clean without having to emulsify and leaves skin very comfortable. This is what I had been waiting for all along! It is somewhat basic and I was expecting to find this a lot sooner than I did. No huge marketing, no massive claims, nothing particular in the way of sensorial experience – it is just a cleanser that washes off well and leaves skin feeling not stripped – but I really enjoyed the basicness of it all.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Final Thoughts

This should come as no surprise, but of course, Dewy Tree’s cleansing lotion is today’s top pick for me personally. While cleansing milks don’t seem to be very trendy, I guess it depends, like anything, on the product and brand that you have at hand. They work very well for me if done right! I will be venturing into a cleansing balm for the first time in many months in the next few days and will keep the blog updated as I go along.

© 2021 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

7 thoughts on “Review: Cleansing Milk Smackdown | Acne Struggles

    1. Wasn’t it though!! It reminded me of that blue Japanese cleanser that is super fluffy but oh so stripping (Senka something?), plus I found that it left a waxy layer on skin.

      No wonder they included it as a GWP – probably because no one wants to buy it and they have to get rid of it somehow. Thank god the milk was lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t suffered from any acne in my whole life but the only way to keep breakouts at bay is by keeping away from oil based skincare. This includes oil cleansers as well. All the oil cleansers I tried in the past resulted in breakouts and had to stop using them. Cleansing milks are definitely much better for my skin type. I haven’t tried any of these in your post though. Always felt curious about Nuxe Very Rose, but I’ll give it a miss after reading your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a tad nervous about going back to a non-cleansing milk option. Here’s hoping the cleansing balm that I have on hand won’t break me out.

      As for Nuxe, you’d need another first step cleanser or micellar water after using it… but what’s the point of it then? Especially if you have sensitive skin, I personally wouldn’t recommend Nuxe Very Rose.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are great cleansing milks out there so no need to go back to oil cleansers.

        The Nuxe Very Rose is a definite no for me.

        Thank you so much for your helpful review!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Trying new products is terrifying when you have problem skin! Have you been able to identify what works or doesn’t work for you? Any acne triggers?

      For me personally, I’ve found that gentle daily chemical exfoliation, ample hydrating / soothing ingredients, and products that contain no fragrance, denatured alcohol or colorants have made all the difference.


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