When I first heard that New York creative hub Milk Studios was launching a beauty line—made up of nearly 40 products; more than 80 if you count the different shades—I knew I had to try it. I originally saw the line’s Instagram page full of gorgeous obscure images and knew something big was coming. After all, this was founded by the same people who made Fashion Week feel cooler and more relevant through Milk Made, a set of shows held downtown that represent a variety of under-the-radar designers. If they could do makeup and skin care in the same way—making it feel fun, fresh, and different—I was already sold.
Then I visited the website and saw that the models looked like cool girls I’d want to hang out with, rather than conventionally airbrushed models with pretty, if generic, beauty. The products officially launched this week, and you can get them via Milk’s website, at Sephora, and at Urban Outfitters.
The all-important packaging is spot-on and definitely gives a nod to the ’90s. Think: roller-ball blushes, push-up products, and colors and textures that look straight out of fashion’s favorite decade. Read on to see our review of the line, then shop each product mentioned in the order they appear.
This chisel tip on this eyeliner is ideal for creating a high-impact cat eye. I’ve always preferred using a marker for black eyeliner, but the angle of the tip makes this one a breeze to achieve drama. I wore it all day and even (accidentally!) slept in it, and it didn’t budge. Plus, there’s a bit of shine in the formula which I love and have yet to find in a felt-tip liner. The cute packaging makes it look like a highlighter.
The pearlescence of this shadow is super-pigmented, so you only need to dab a tiny smudge to get a smoky, creamy, colorful look. It comes in a thin tube making it super-portable, and I tested it out as a liner (using an angled brush), which gave me a very ’80s look. But Milk also encourages you to use your fingers for application. I recommend the shade Mermaid Parade, which is a sultry, shiny green.
Hands down, this is my favorite product from the line. The clicky pen delivers high shine (in a beige neutral or charcoal black) to your lids. The glossy-lid look is definitely one we’ve seen on the runway, but this is the first product I’ve liked to get the look IRL, short of using Vaseline. It works best over a skin-colored primer.
I was insanely excited to try a mascara that promised to last through an entire weekend. Unfortunately, the formula didn’t separate my lashes as much as I would have liked. Still, it did impart a deep hue on my lashes for the full weekend, but I ended up using another normal mascara on top to add volume and make it a little less clumpy.
This is honestly my new favorite brow pencil. The gel-like formula is something I’ve been looking for, since most pencils don’t allow me to add the arch I like without powder on top. It also lasts all day, and it’s waterproof.
I’m usually opposed to any lip product that comes in a pot (ugh, germs), but I was sold because of the velvety, plush texture. I used a lip brush, and the color was intense—it is a pigment, after all—and stayed on through a dinner and a glass of wine. The only problem: It’s pretty drying after application, but I found layering a clear lip balm underneath helps.
As soon as I swatched these colors on the back of my hand, I was psyched to try them. They’re about as pigmented as lipsticks come in truly interesting shades, ranging from a red-orange poppy to deep mauve. Unfortunately, they’re so drying that my lips felt like they were cracking—even after a fresh scrub and intensive balm.
Like the Eye Vinyl, I think this is one of the line’s more innovative, fashion-forward products. You can apply the gloss—which is thick and not unlike clear honey—anywhere you want, but I’ve been dabbing it on as a natural highlighter along my cheekbones.
I was afraid this stick would be too dark at first—it has a deep bronzy shade—but it’s not. The twist-up packaging is adorable, and the highlighter gives just the right about of glow (think: candlelight) while also moisturizing.
This product shares the same packaging as the highlighter and might just be my new favorite way to moisturize. I’ve been using it as sort of a primer before applying foundation. Beware, it’s seriously oily, but it’s precisely what my dried-out winter skin needs. I also like to use it on cheekbones (like Face Gloss) as an alternative to highlighter.
As a hair-dye addict who lives off of dry shampoo, I had high hopes for this. Unfortunately, it left white residue on my hair (which took a good amount of brushing to come out), and my personal opinion is that it’s fairly pricey ($14) for one measly ounce.
The idea of a roller-ball moisturizer makes me nostalgic for late-’90s makeup and lip balms (Bonne Bell, anyone?), and that’s a good thing. The Sunshine Oil smells divine (with ingredients like grapeseed, avocado, grapefruit peel, tangerine peel, mandarin orange peel, and lemon peel) and is designed to be used anywhere. It claims to brighten skin, though for me, it just makes my skin softer.