Everything you need to know about cult beauty brand Milk Makeup

31 March 2021

New York-born Milk Makeup has finally touched down in New Zealand at Sephora. Here's everything you need to know about the sought-after brand.

WORDS BY Nicole Saunders

Image: Supplied/Milk Makeup

After being founded in 1996 Milk Studios – a hive of creativity – quickly became a platform for a new  generation and a home for fashion, photography, film and art icons. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the bustling New York City creative hub of art, fashion, beauty, film and photography was the birthplace of Milk Makeup – a new-age beauty brand dedicated to forging a more inclusive beauty industry. 

Fashion Quarterly caught up with a couple of the founders as the brand touched down in New Zealand at Sephora for the very first time.

Milk was born because the founders wanted to help forge a more inclusive beauty industry.

“The genesis of Milk Makeup was Milk Studios downtown NYC! A hub for creativity that connected emerging and established talent across numerous industries — art, fashion, beauty and music,” explains Zanna Roberts Rassi, beauty and fashion editor and Milk Makeup co-founder. 

“There were no clear trends or gender lines—everything was fluid and each person who walked through our doors had a style that was uniquely their own. We wanted to challenge the idea of predictable (one-size-fits-all) beauty and provide products to this diverse community with makeup that serves as an extension of their creativity and a way to express themselves.”

“Since our inception, we have always championed “beauty for all” and our products are designed to be used by everyone. We’re committed to diversity and inclusivity, and we strive to ensure the people in our marketing campaigns and on our social feeds–the people you see wearing our products–are representative of that commitment.”


Image: Supplied/Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup is 100 per cent vegan without sacrificing serious skincare ingredients.

Dianna Ruth, product design and formula innovation and Milk Makeup Co-Founder, explains that clean, vegan and cruelty-free have always been a priority for the brand. And while she admits there’s no universal definition for what a ‘clean’ beauty product is, she says the brand is constantly evolving and holding themselves accountable to the highest standards. 

But going vegan doesn’t mean the brand has sacrificed serious skincare ingredients. A handful of Milk Makeups skin-nourishing ingredients include vegan plant-derived collagen – “It moisturises to improve the appearance of skin texture, elasticity and firmness,” says Ruth – hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, and olive-derived squalane.

The brand’s arrival has been highly anticipated by its Kiwi fans.

“It’s no coincidence that 70% of our international DM’s, Emails, and messages over the last 5 years have been from Australia and NZ!!!’ says Roberts Rassi.

“The demand is real and we are thrilled the values align with those of Milk Makeup. From the sleek packaging, ease of use, easy pay off, multitasking, mess free, skincare meets colour,  epic payoff, the best ingredients.”

These are three cult products you need to get your hands on, stat.

“KUSH High Volume Mascara is one of our most beloved products,” says Ruth. “The clean formula uses conditioning hemp-derived cannabis seed oil and heart shaped fibres to leave lashes fluffy, full, with lots of volume. Never crunchy!”

Next up is Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 which Ruth describes as an amazing three-in-one formula – a tinted moisturiser, face oil and SPF in one. “The shades are flexible and the formula leaves skin looking dewy. It also comes in a refillable dispenser which is better for the environment and your wallet.”

But before you apply the Sunshine Skin Tint, you might want to prep your skin with iconic Hydro Grip Primer. While primers have traditionally used by heavy makeup wearers, Ruth explains that it gives bare skin a beautiful, glassy sheen. “Unlike most makeup primers, it’s super hydrating and 94% natural.”

Milk Makeup is available at Sephora now.

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