I rip on makeup brands and products in general because I am, admittedly, a crotchety old bitch. But I must confess that I'm rougher on Milk Makeup. I'd blame it on their trying-too-hard-to-be-quirky "tutorials" featuring naturally gorgeous hipsters and obnoxious editing techniques if there weren't more practical concerns. Namely, a lot of their products are housed in packaging that's more funky than functional, and while I'm a fan of "getting your money's worth," I know I'm not the only person who thinks an ounce of cream blush is absurd. Just half the amount of product and drop the price a little! Geez.
Cranking aside, I'm clearly a hypocrite, because I keep trying their stuff. Not only have they made a few products that are genuinely good, like the Gel Brow pencil I wore for these review photos, but they also create the sorts of quick-and-easy cream and liquid formulas I'm attracted to. That's why I decided to get sample sizes of their Lip + Cheek in Perk and their original highlighter in Lit. Thanks, eBay!
The full sizes of these babies contain a full ounce of product and retail for $24. While you're definitely getting your money's worth, I repeat that you're probably never going to finish a full ounce of cheek product, even if you use it every day for a year. The minis are 0.1 ounces each (so a tenth of a full size) and currently are only available in subscription boxes or kits like this one. I wish Milk would sell the minis separately; I think they'd go like gangbusters. The packaging is simple plastic twist-up tubes with clear lids that snap on tightly.
Both of these products contain a host of potential cloggers, including (but not limited to) ethylhexyl palmitate, castor oil, coconut oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and some citrus oils and waxes. They're also fragranced, the highlighter with an actual perfume and the lip and cheek product with those citrus oils. Honestly, I'd recommend that those with acne-prone or sensitive skin give these a hard pass, even if you plan on patch testing.
The formulas for these sticks are not quite as creamy as many other cream-based cheek products; in fact, I find they're a little tacky and can feel rubbery during application. With that said, they glide across the skin with relative ease and are easy to blend out with a finger or a brush. I noticed that these did make my foundation move a bit if I applied too much pressure or swept them back and forth, so I just drag them across on my cheeks in a C-shape and blend out with my finger. They don't dry down completely, either, although it's nothing too extreme; your hair won't get stuck on your cheeks, for example.
While both of these products look okay on me, they have their issues. Lit is a bit more metallic and shimmery than I would like, but it does provide a lot of glow and reflect light very well. However, it seems to emphasize texture on my face. You can see this in the above photo: the rest of my face looks weirdly smooth compared to the spots where I've applied the highlighter. Perk isn't quite as pigmented as I expected it to be, and I had to apply two layers to get it to show up in real life and on camera. I can't imagine this shade showing up on anybody with medium to dark skin. I didn't care for it on my lips, either, because it had a vague "filmy" texture and didn't last long.
Here are the Milk products compared to two of my staples, the Glossier Haloscope in Quartz and the Becca Beach Tint in Dragonfruit. (The picture lies: this shade is Dragonfruit, not Lychee.) Quartz is lighter and more "natural" than Lit, with no real obvious shimmer. Dragonfruit is brighter than Perk, and it has a satin finish. I'd say these two alternatives are frankly superior to the Milk products, although I must admit that some will find Haloscope's persistent stickiness less appealing.
I'm glad I got the minis of these products for roughly $5 each, because they're small enough that I can finish them relatively quickly. Once they're gone, I won't repurchase them. They're just really "meh," and there's much better stuff available on the market.
RATING: 3 out of 5
You can purchase these products at Milk Makeup's website.