Milk Makeup’s Solid Toner is a Travel Essential

I  know I  know, everyone has already freaked out about this but I want to join in the chorus. I love Milk because it’s an independent brand whose items are cruelty free, preservative free, and made in the USA. They also do a lot of work to further the acceptance of gender nonconforming individuals and the use of makeup as an extension of the self, which is the definition of beautiful. I’m also obsessed with matcha, a traditional Japanese tea made from finely ground tea leaves, so it was an obvious choice that I try this TSA-approved toner.

This is incredibly easy to use. It’s very creamy, and has almost a gel-like consistency. I’m still kind of amazed that it works, given that it’s a solid toner, something I’ve never seen before. It glides onto the skin without pulling, and I usually put it all over my face, focusing on oily sections. I gently pat it in and  move on. It soothes my skin right after cleansing and slightly takes away some of the redness I get after coming out of  the shower. I wouldn’t really say it’s exfoliating, but rather clarifying. It definitely helps with redness or roughness, but doesn’t go beyond that. It also doesn’t shrink my pores, but no toner in the history of toners could do that beyond on a temporary, topical level.

product swatch from Milk Makeup

Compared to my other toner (which is also great for lazy people), Lyes and Lathers’ White Willow Bark spray, I’d say Milk’s is better for normal to dry skin and Lyes and Lathers’s is better for combo to oily skin. I’m sort of right in between, feeling drier some days and oily others, so I’m not sure which one I’ll defer to as my go-to.

Again, I love matcha just as a general rule: matcha lattes, matcha desserts, matcha mochi, I am obsessed with them all. It’s also a more potent version of green tea since you’re imbibing the entire leaf rather than steeped water. Besides being my favorite green thing to eat, it really is a great ingredient.


Matcha is a powerful antioxidant which is less irritating than Vitamin C which isn’t recommended for sensitive skin types. Antioxidants act like shields for skin cells, taking the brunt of the free radical damage, but they need to be replenished. You can’t just use one matcha mask or eat one pomegranate and assume you’re protected for days. It also contains witch hazel leaf extract and sake for exfoliation, and glycerin for hydration,

Matcha is pulverized green tea, made from the entire leaf. It contains catechins, a type of polyphenol, making it into a powerful antioxidant. The catechins help trap and inactivate free radicals in the skin, thus thwarting many of the signs of aging. The powder form is much more concentrated than the liquid form we drink. Green tea is an amazing anti-inflammatory agent, so it helps treat rosacea and even acne.

— dermatologist Judith Hellman to Allure

Milk loses some points for listing matcha in the bottom half of its ingredients despite being top billed. I know why this is, you don’t  need much of it, since it’s a powder, but it still seems a little disingenuous. There are also artificial dyes in the toner to boost the green, which could irritate some very sensitive skin, and are generally unnecessary. It’s also in a plastic tube, which isn’t a huge mark against it, but I prefer using products in glass because it’s inert and is easier on the planet. It is a recyclable container, at least.

Overall, I’d absolutely recommend absolutely as a travel essential, and possibly as a daily toner depending on your needs and skin sensitivity. Not only can this fly with you as a solid, even for day trips, I’d rather take a solid than risk a spill. It’s a really innovative formula, and I’m glad Milk Makeup is still pushing the envelope in the beauty world.

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