Milk makeup in stores

Where To Buy Milk Makeup, Because This New Cosmetics Line Is Too Cool To Miss — PHOTOS

As if you didn’t already have enough makeup in your life, the fashion gurus over at Milk Studios just released an obsession-worthy makeup line, aptly named Milk Makeup. If you’re wondering whether shelling out for some new makeup is worth it, let me tell you — it is. This new makeup line is definitely one of a kind. I promise you that anyone who is anyone will be sporting this stuff, and you’re going to want to know where you can get your hands on it.

Lucky for you, this makeup line will be pretty easy to find. Although the official release date isn’t until February 8th, there is a way to get these products in your shopping cart today. Since the line will be available at Sephora, V.I.B. Rouge members can shop the line right now! Otherwise you can scoop it up at the Milk Makeup website once the line officially launches.

You Can Shop Milk Makeup At Sephora.com

Milk Makeup is unlike any other makeup range I’ve seen before. On the website it states that this makeup is meant for experimentation and self-expression — i.e. no rules apply! Any girl (or guy for that matter) can take these easy to use products and create a look that screams individuality. Just check out the . They cover all beauty categories, with looks for the face, eyes, lips, and even some hair and skin care. Not only are the products totally wearable, they have some pretty great ingredients too, filled with hydrating oils and fruit and vegetable butters. Count me in.

These products are meant “for the girl on the go who spends less time getting done, more time getting stuff done,” according to the website. Not a bad motto to live by! If you’re a fan of any of the rad makeup looks on the website, take a look at some of the star products from the line and try them out for yourself.

1. Cooling Water

Milk Makeup Cooling Water, $24, Sephora

Use this hydrating gel, complete with caffeine to energize skin and seawater for moisture, as a primer before applying makeup or to give your skin a hydration boost throughout the day.

2. Oil Lip Stain

Milk Makeup Oil Lip Stain, $18, Sephora

This lip stain is filled with oil and Vitamin E to moisturize the lips, but it also packs a colorful punch. The roller ball makes for easy, mess-free application, which is good considering this stuff lasts all day.

3. Sunshine Oil

Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil, $38, Sephora

This oil boasts a bunch of moisturizing ingredients perfect for the face and body. It also comes in an easy to use roller ball for super fast application.

4. Weekend Lash Stain

Weekend Lash Stain,$22, Milk Makeup

This tube contains a waterproof two-day lash stain fit for a weekend getaway in the sun. Fine bristles distribute the stain that defines and lengthens lashes.

5. Lip Pigment

Milk Makeup Lip Pigment, $24, Sephora

This pure pigment mixed with oils gives the best matte finish and can easily be applied to both lips and cheeks.

6. Eye Marker

Milk Makeup Eye Marker,$20, Sephora

As Refinery 29 points out, this felt tip eyeliner look suspiciously similar to something you would normally carry in your pencil case. The waterproof formula claims to last 24 hours without fading, smudging, or feathering.

7. Milk Girl Kit

Milk Girl Kit, $125,Milk Makeup

If you want to jump into the Milk Makeup line full force, try out this kit stocked with the perfect mix of products to get you started.

Want more beauty tips? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!

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Images: Milk Makeup

Is Milk Makeup as Good as Its Marketing?

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Racked’s shopping editor Tiffany has asked me the question posed in this headline several times in a semi-anguished voice. Last week, she finally gave in to the siren call of Milk Makeup at Sephora, buying the Hero Salve, which she says she loves despite buying it drunk. (“This is how I do all my Sephora shopping!” she clarified to me on Slack.)

However, Milk Makeup is also compelling even if you’re stone cold sober. It’s one of those brands whose packaging just grabs you. I’ve heard this from beauty editors and consumers alike, from New York City millennials to 40-something moms. And everyone seems to have the same question: But is it good?

Photo: Milk Makeup

Before I answer that, some background on the brand is in order. Milk Makeup seems to have come out of nowhere, and it has had a charmed first year that other beauty company startups would kill for. It was started by the founders of Milk Studios, which has locations in Los Angeles and NYC. They work with the worlds of fashion, art, and other generally creative types, so “cool kid” is in its DNA. (It might seem weird for a studio to start a makeup brand, but that’s how Smashbox got its start, too.)

It could be easy to confuse Milk Makeup with Glossier, at least in terms of its coolness factor, but Milk is a lot more about hardcore makeup than Glossier. It also launched with a full collection, while Glossier does more of a drop model, releasing one category at a time. Glossier is still only sold on its own site, while Milk’s first retailer was Sephora.

Mazdack Rassi and his wife Zanna Roberts Rassi, who is also an editor at Marie Claire, launched the collection last January along with Georgie Greville, the creative director of Milk’s in-house production company, and Dianna Ruth, a product formulator who did stints at Hard Candy, Bliss, and Benefit. Greville told me last year that Milk had been doing creative work for some beauty brands and worked closely with MAC, so it seemed to make sense to launch its own brand.

The Milk team pitched it to Sephora before it even had products to show. The retailer was impressed when it actually saw the line and picked up the brand, according to Business of Fashion. It’s now in 150 stores, with an expansion to Canada and Europe planned for the near future. Milk Makeup is also sold at 50 Urban Outfitters stores. In January of this year, Milk landed its first outside investment from Main Post Partners, which was an investor in Too Faced and many non-beauty brands.

So who, exactly, is the Milk Makeup customer? Upon launch, the products, which mostly come in stick and tube form and are meant to be applied with the fingers, were intended for “girls who do their makeup quick.” That has evolved, according to Greville.

“What we’ve realized is that the people who are attracted to Milk are a very broad group of people. It’s not just the 18 to 24 , although we’re definitely resonating with that group,” she says. “It’s also moms and women in their 50s and 60s and a lot of boys. It’s been amazing to see the breadth of how it’s resonating.” A just-launched campaign called “Live Your Look” features a video that pretty much tells you visually what Milk is about.

Cooling Water Stick ($24), Sunshine Oil ($38), Ubame Mascara ($24), Lip Color ($22), and Holographic Stick ($28)

Now the important part: Yes, the products are good. As in sell-out good. There are 120 products in the collection, and the twist-up sticks, like the Cooling Water stick, Holographic stick, and Blur stick, have proven to be the standouts of the collection.

“We appeal to such a diverse audience because of the sticks, which are really intuitive. You know exactly what to do when you see it,” says Greville. “Sticks have existed in the world obviously, but there’s just something about our formulations and how modern the products are, like the silicone-free Blur stick.” Greville says that Milk’s ingredients are one of the things that sets the brand apart. While not a “natural” brand, per se, Ruth tries to use ingredients deemed “good for you.”

The Blur stick is a new launch that acts as a primer and makes pores and fine lines seemingly disappear. There are dozens of products on the market that claim to do it, but this one does it without dimethicone or other silicones, an ingredient used in tons of cosmetics that acts as an emollient and feels smooth and silky on the skin. It also gets a bad rap for clogging pores. (Spoiler: It really doesn’t, but some people — like me — hate that slippery feeling.) I loved the non-slippery texture of Blur, and it’s great as a primer under makeup or used alone just to cover up the large pores on my nose.

Other notable products include the Eye Pigment, which is creamy shadow in a tube; Sunshine Oil, which is face oil in a roller ball; and Blush Oil, a roller ball blush that gives you the freshest, dewiest look. Quirky things, like a temporary tattoo stamper or blotting papers that “can also be used as rolling papers,” are what set the brand apart.

Photo: Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup tries hard to be innovative and mostly succeeds, but Greville acknowledges that not every product works. Milk is phasing out its Lip Marker and Weekend Lash Stain, a product that in theory was meant to provide a bit of color to lashes for two or three days but in practice was just a mediocre mascara. Greville says that other products may show up in new iterations, with either improved packaging or formulations.

You can expect to see new products every quarter or so. While Milk said at the beginning that it wouldn’t offer full coverage foundation (too fussy), it’s since pivoted on that, thanks to what Greville calls the “full face crowd:” YouTubers and Instagrammers. “We felt like we didn’t want to do it unless we had a really cool angle on it. I will say that getting feedback from this year, it’s definitely in the cards. We’re working on more full face products, but they will have a unique aspect to them.”

Like many makeup brands, Milk is wise not to ignore the so-called influencers. Holographic stick got a huge bump in exposure and sales when YouTuber Jeffree Star featured it. Ditto with Thomas Halbert and the Blur stick.

And of course, expect more sticks. Greville says Milk is expanding on the success of its sticks and will release new forms of Holographic and Blur, among other things.

“We feel momentum out there,” she says. “It’s all about newness and amazing product offerings and connecting with our audience.” Which, let’s face it, will probably be you soon, because how much longer can you resist?

Take a look at some Milk products in action:

We’re trying Milk Makeup to create a full face – from marshmallow concealer to face gloss, these products are next level pretty. Got questions? Ask away! ✨

Posted by Racked on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Racked occasionally accepts products for research and reviewing purposes. For more information, see our ethics policy here.

How to get your hands on Milk Makeup’s cult products

There are some beauty brands that just hit all the right notes. Milk Makeup is one of those. Their stuff is playful, innovative, Insta-worthy and surprisingly fuss-free. But then you go to buy *all* the things and realise they’re not stocked in any Australian stores. But it’s too late – you’ve already fallen hard and you need answers.

So we’ve got them for you. Here’s what you need to know about the cult-favourite Milk Makeup brand and where to buy it in Australia.

What you need to know about Milk beauty products

Milk Makeup launched in 2016 by Milk Studios, a photography studio and creative agency in New York and Los Angeles. Milk Makeup was the brainchild of founders fashion and beauty editor Mazdack Rassi, E! News correspondent Zanna Roberts Rassi, creative director Georgie Greville, and product developer Dianna Ruth, who just wanted to create cool beauty products. And more specifically, products that hadn’t been done before.

Another thing Milk Makeup prides itself on is being a clean beauty brand. Their products are all cruelty-free, leaping bunny certified and 100 per cent vegan, and you won’t find any parabens, sulfates, SLS, SLES, formaldehyde, mineral oil, or talc in their formulas. Ever.

Why the world loves Milk Makeup

Plain and simple: They make makeup and skin care that are multipurpose and perfect for time-poor busy gals who want to look great without spending hours in front of the mirror and fussing about with tools (their products go straight onto the skin and all you have to do is blend with your fingers. No makeup brushes required). On-the-go stick formulas are their speciality.

A lot of their formulas use Milk Melt Technology, which is this glorious blend of coconut waxes that melt into skin upon contact with body heat. It’s everything you love in products like cream blushes, in every step of your beauty routine. Read: They are DA BOMB for those of us who live for glowing, natural-looking versions of ourselves.

Ok, so now that you’re as equally hooked on the idea of these Milk cosmetics and skin care products as we are, we need to answer the all-important question – where can I buy Milk Makeup in Australia?

The Milk Makeup Best-Sellers You Need To Add To Your Cart, Stat

Milk Makeup isn’t your average cosmetics company. In 2018 alone, the beauty brand released a lipstick collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan and turned heads with a suite of cannabis oil-infused products — and that barely begins to cover its years of innovation. So which Milk Makeup products should you buy? It’s hard to pick, but shopping the top 2018 Milk Makeup best-sellers will cover all your bases.

While your mind may instantly go to the glittery Holographic Stick highlighters when you think of Milk Makeup, the list shows that its shoppers stocked up the most on basics in 2018. Four of the seven 2018 best-sellers help build a great makeup foundation: the $36 Blur Stick, the $40 Blur Liquid Matte Foundation, the $42 Sunshine Skin Tint, and the $28 Flex Concealer. Go with the Blur Liquid Matte Foundation if you like a full-coverage application, and the Sunshine Skin Tint for buildable coverage that evens out your skin tone.

Of course, Milk Makeup’s now-iconic KUSH High Volume Mascara comes out on top — though you probably had no doubts about that. Formulated to condition your lashes with hemp-derived cannabis oil, the CBD oil mascara made waves when it launched last April, and not just because of its eye-catching ingredients list. The vegan formula uses heart-shaped fibers to lengthen lashes without creating clumps, with the cannabis oil filling in the fibers for extra volume. The much-loved $24 mascara landed a spot on Sephora’s 2018 best-seller list, too.

Courtesy of Milk Makeup

Sold in Milk Makeup’s signature stick applicators, the Lip + Cheek tint and famous Cooling Water de-puffer both retail for $24. Lip + Cheek shows off Milk Makeup’s cool, effortless aesthetic — the color tint can be swiped on your lips, cheeks, or anywhere you want to look warm and rosy. However, if this is your first time shopping Milk Makeup and you can only pick one product, go with the Cooling Water caffeine stick; it’s been a cult hit since 2016, and inspired the recently released Cooling Water Eye Patches ($22).

Below, the seven best-selling Milk Makeup products of 2018, in order of most sold. And don’t forget: While the brand is huge online, you can always go to your local Sephora to test out Milk Makeup’s cosmetics IRL.

What to buy from Milk Makeup

The Instagram-famous brand has just made its UK debut on Cult Beauty. These are the products that we’ll be stocking up on

With every new year, comes a bevy of new beauty brands that have made their way from US to UK shores. While Drunk Elephant and Kate Somerville made waves in 2018, 2019 already looks set for even bigger things with the arrival of Milk Makeup. The brand has just launched on Cult Beauty, much to the delight of the 17,000 people who signed up to the waitlist (the e-tailer’s biggest waitlist ever).

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A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup) on Jan 13, 2019 at 8:05am PST

Created by a New York and LA-based photo studio called Milk, the brand has already built up a cult following in America and from one look at its Instagram page, it’s easy to see why. Its innovative range of multi-use makeup and fuss-free skincare is all about practicality and creativity, a point perfectly demonstrated by their list of bestsellers – cannabis oil-infused KUSH mascara, Blur Stick, Tattoo Stamp, Lip + Cheek Stick and Matcha Toner (to name but a few).

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A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup) on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:15am PST

What’s more, the range is paraben-free and 100 per cent vegan too. The launch comes hot off the heels of the success of Milk Makeup’s first-ever pop-up in London over the weekend, which saw hundreds queue around the block on both days and a staggering 4,575 shoppers go through its doors.

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A post shared by Get The Gloss (@getthegloss) on Jan 26, 2019 at 4:25am PST

Milk Makeup co-founder & CEO, Mazdack Rassi said: “The response in the UK for the launch of Milk Makeup has been incredible and beyond our expectations. At the Covent Garden pop-up shop, we witnessed a new generation of beauty enthusiasts who loved our brand and most importantly what it stands for – self-expression and creativity.”

Our top Milk Makeup picks

It’s hard to pick favourites here, but if we had to…

Milk Makeup Cooling Water Stick, £20.50

Tired eyes will drink up this refreshing under-eye de-puffer. Containing caffeine to reenergise and aloe to soothe away the signs of screen fatigue, it’s a handbag staple.

Buy it now

Milk Makeup Flex Concealer, £23.75

A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup) on Jan 4, 2019 at 8:00am PST

‘Flex’ seems a pretty apt way of describing this superfluid medium to full coverage concealer – its malleable texture covers up everything from dark circles to blemishes with equal efficiency. There are 16 shades available to provide an option for a wide range of skin tones.

Buy it now

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Stick, £20.50

If you love a multitasker, you’ll love this. A sheer blush and juicy lip tint in one, just swipe, blot and go – it’s minimal effort, maximum output.

Buy it now

Milk Makeup Tattoo Stamp, £10.25

A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup) on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:56pm PST

It’s one of the best makeup stamps we’ve tried. Available in a range of different designs (the peace and star ones are our favourites), they stamp on crisply (no blurred lines) and have impressive staying power too. More importantly, they’re just really fun to apply.

Buy it now

Milk Makeup Eye Pigment, £20.50

Offering incredible payoff, this fast-setting cream eyeshadow is high impact and extremely long lasting. There are 10 shades in the range, personal favourites being the gunmental All Nighter and gilded Gig.

Buy it now

Shop the full collection at Cult Beauty here.

Mega US beauty brand, Milk Makeup, has finally arrived in the UK (!!) and we haven’t been this excited since Glossier hit our shores.

Born in a photo studio in NY and LA, Milk have amassed a cult following across the pond for good reason. Their versatile range of multi-use makeup and skincare products are all 100% vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free, making them super nourishing and brimming with skincare benefits (tick, tick). Just like the brand, their packaging is sleek, simple and oh-so practical – what’s not to love?

Well, as with all super-hyped beauty products, we put Milk Makeup to the test in our Beauty Lab YouTube series, which, if you’re new to these parts, is where we test all sorts of weird and wonderful beauty products on camera.

Check out the video above to watch three Cosmo Editors try out the makeup brand for the first time, and find out whether we think it’s really worth all that Insta hype.

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TAG someone to let them know you want Milk Makeup for Christmas 👇🏻👇🏽👇🏿

A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup) on Dec 13, 2018 at 3:03pm PST

So, what should you be splashing your cash on? We’re most excited about their savvy makeup and skincare sticks, which are the dream for taking and using on the go and look pretty darn retro, too.

Scroll down to see our top five picks that we’re sure you’ll want to add to your cart more than just once.

1. Cooling Water eye de-puffer, £20.50

Courtesy of brand Cooling Water Milk Makeup cultbeauty.co.uk £20.50

Coined sleep in a stick, this little beauty will soon be your BFF post nights out, on the plane, or just when you’ve not managed to get your full eight hours. The cooling gel formula is enriched with caffeine to de-puff and brighten, as well as hydrating seawater to soothe.

2. Blur Liquid Matte Foundation, £34

Courtesy of brand Blur Liquid Matte Foundation Milk Makeup cultbeauty.co.uk £34.00

Forget about your old base, this blurring formula will revolutionise the way you do your makeup – trust. The ultra lightweight foundation feels like a serum but provides full coverage, smoothing and filling fine lines on application thanks to blurring microspheres that leave a velvety matte finish. Plus, it’s oil and silicone-free (woo!).

3. KUSH High Volume Mascara, £20.50

Courtesy of brand KUSH High Volume Mascara Milk Makeup cultbeauty.co.uk £20.50

If you’re on the eco-beauty bandwagon, you’ll know how difficult it is to lock down a really good, green mascara. This one really is THE one. The secret ingredient is (yep, you guessed it) derived cannabis oil, which gives the mascara its ultra conditioning, clump free finish. Hollow heart shaped fibres fuse to each lash to deliver extreme length and volume. It’s the magic wand we’ve all been waiting for.

4. Lip + Cheek, £20.50

Courtesy of brand Lip + Cheek Milk Makeup cultbeauty.co.uk £20.50

Is it a blush, is it a lippy? This dual stick does both, so you can use it to make your cheeks pop or slick it onto lips for a sheer wash colour. The moisturising formula contains a blend of avocado oil, mango butter and peach nectar – swipe on and blend with fingers to leave your skin glossy and hydrated.

5. Watermelon Brightening Serum, £32.50

Courtesy of brand Watermelon Brightening Serum Milk Makeup cultbeauty.co.uk £32.50

Get your glow back with this handy solid serum. Watermelon fruit extract, Swiss garden cress sprout and vitamins A, C and E will perk up dull complexions and diminish dark spots in a flash.

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Related Story Related Story Gabrielle Dyer Senior Beauty Writer Gaby is the Senior Beauty Writer here at Cosmopolitan.com/UK.

Calling All Beauty Addicts, Milk Makeup Is Launching in the UK

UK-based cosmetics junkies rejoice – cult U.S. beauty brand Milk Makeup has just revealed it will finally be making itself available to eager shoppers through beauty e-tailer, Cult Beauty. To celebrate its arrival in Great Britain, the brand will also be hosting a pop-up shop in London’s Covent Garden prior to the launch, offering fans the opportunity to try and buy products 48 hours ahead of the online release.

The two-day pop-up store will have Milk Makeup artists on hand to talk you through the product range and help you test out products, including some of the brand’s best-loved items, like the Blur Stick and dreamy Matcha Toner. It’s also a great chance to grab the Meet The Fam set (comprising of mini versions of the Cooling Water, Watermelon Serum, Blur Stick, Lip + Cheek in Werk, a highlighter, a holographic highlighter stick and a sample of Kush Mascara), which sold out stateside.

In case you needed yet another excuse to check out the temporary store, Milk Makeup will be giving out free goodie bags to the first 100 people in line. The pop-up will be open on January 26-27, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area and if not, you can shop the brand on Cult Beauty’s web store from January 28.

Milk Makeup London pop-up shop
6a Langley Street,
WC2H 9JA

Inside Milk Makeup’s Formula for Success

NEW YORK, United States — In March 2016, Milk Makeup launched in 50 Sephora stores in the US with dedicated, six-foot gondolas and a “rager” featuring musical performances by Salt-N-Pepa and Santigold. It was an audacious beginning for an upstart company, whose founders had little experience in the cosmetics industry. Milk Makeup is the latest venture hatched by Milk Studios, the photo studio-cum-creative agency that sold another concept, MADE Fashion Week, to WME-IMG in 2015.

The party was a hit, and so was the kit. Milk’s unconventional tool-free product offering, unisex packaging and edgy campaign quickly won over Sephora’s clientele. In just six months, Milk Makeup tripled its doors, expanding to 100 Sephoras as well as 50 Urban Outfitters. Today, the brand shows no signs of cooling; although Milk Makeup declined to disclose sales revenue, the company revealed to BoF it will be in 150 Sephoras by spring 2017 and is already planning its international expansion, starting with Sephora Canada next year. “Milk Makeup has really surpassed our expectations,” says Alison Hahn, vice president of color merchandising at Sephora, who leads the retailer’s colour makeup business.

Mazdack Rassi | Source: Courtesy

But Milk’s success is less of a surprise when you consider who is behind it. Surpassing expectations has become something of a habit for Mazdack Rassi, Milk’s charismatic co-founder. Rassi got his start in the industry in 1996 when he convinced the owners of what was once the headquarters of the National Biscuit Company to open a photo studio in the building — located on West 14th Street in the then-wasteland of New York’s Meatpacking District — and let him run it.

Milk Studios — rather improbably — quickly became a hub for established photographers and designers. Then came MADE fashion week, a showcase for emerging designers that Rassi co-founded with Jenné Lombardo and Keith Baptista in 2009, an equally out-of-the-box endeavour that proved to be a huge success, helping to launch the careers of Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Joseph Altuzarra and others. Meanwhile, Milk has birthed a full-fledged creative agency, pumping out content for large-scale consumer brands, as well as its own editorial platform.

On the decision to move into makeup, Rassi says: “I sat down with my partners at Milk and I said to them, ‘You know, I think we have a new business and that business is our brand. If we do anything, we should create product.” He banded together with his wife, Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rassi, and Georgie Greville — who cofounded Milk’s film production arm, Legs, with husband Geremy Jasper — to start brainstorming. All three were taken with the idea that makeup could be an “accessory that had the power to lift people up and make people feel beautiful,” explains Rassi. Of course, it wasn’t new for a photo studio to create a cosmetics line. Smashbox did it in 1996, finding success with a product offering inspired by the images shot in their studio. But what Rassi and his co-conspirators had in mind was different.

“The makeup line has nothing to do with our studios,” he says. Instead, Milk Makeup was built around another powerful asset: the company’s online following of over 1.4 million people, many of whom are young, creative and uninterested in following trends dictated by traditional beauty editors and brands. “We knew how to throw an event and have 5,000 kids lining up outside,” says Rassi. “After 20 years, we already knew how to create these little movements in fashion and music… We saw our community, we felt our community and we decided we wanted to do something for them,” he adds. “That’s how it all started.”

“We knew right away it would play on the concept of fun,” Rassi continues. “The word ‘cosmetics’ scared the hell out of me. It seemed so serious. But when we started throwing around the word makeup, and paint and fun, it became clear that the ethos of the line could be about highlighting who you are, as opposed to covering you up.”

The word ‘cosmetics’ scared the hell out of me. It seemed so serious.

Then Rassi and his co-founders did something unheard of: without so much as a single product, they pitched the idea to Sephora, a client of their studio business. “We sort of showed up at doorstep in San Francisco,” recalls Rassi. “We showed them our concept and they just looked at us and said, ‘If you build this, we’re very interested.’”

With Sephora on side, they just needed the product. But Rassi decided not to partner with an established beauty player. “Many think licensing is an easier route, but it can actually be more difficult even when you do have some level of creative control. We wanted to be in control of all aspects of the brand, from product to marketing and everything in between. We believed that our independence would be a key asset.”

Instead, he turned to Dianna Ruth, Milk Makeup’s fourth co-founder. Ruth was a beauty industry veteran, who had developed products for Bliss and Sugar while at Li & Fung, and for Benefit, Hard Candy and Lipstick Queen, while at Nu World. “Her name kept coming up in meetings as one of the most talented product developers out there,” says Rassi.

“I went in to meet with Rassi and Georgie and it was one of those meetings you think is going to be 30 minutes and you end up spending four hours,” remembers Ruth. “They explained to me what they had done — that they had gone forward and pitched it without any physical product. I was shocked. I had never heard of a company doing anything like that before.” Ruth first joined the venture as a consultant, becoming chief operating officer a few months later.

“One of the first things I told the team is, ‘I’m not coming to build this line just to copy what’s already out there,’” says Ruth. “The world has enough concealers. So I didn’t want to bring anything out that wasn’t totally game-changing. That’s why, for every product, we made sure there was a unique formula, unique application and unique packaging.”

Here, the company’s lack of experience in cosmetics became an asset. “What I realise now is that many people, when they launch new lines, they usually look at everybody’s best-sellers and then they do their version of that,” says Rassi. “We didn’t look at anyone’s best-sellers. We didn’t have the industry baggage that perhaps a lot of companies in that industry would. We just looked at everything from fresh eyes.”

Milk’s other major asset was its physical studio space and staff, who proved to be useful guinea pigs. Rassi, his wife, Ruth and Greville would cook up ideas and products in their workshop — a windowless room, which had previously served as Kanye West’s studio while he was developing his shoes — and then run out and have Milk employees try them. “We really used all 80,000 square feet of Milk New York and Los Angeles as a research and development space,” says Rassi.

Several revelations came out of these free-flowing focus groups: For one thing, Milk girls and guys didn’t use tools, preferring instead to do their makeup on the fly, often just as they were running out the door. Likewise, they didn’t have the time — or the desire — to reapply their makeup midday. They cared about what went into their products, expecting companies to use paraben-free, mostly natural ingredients. They also didn’t treat their products with kid gloves; they dropped tubes of foundation on the floor and chucked concealer into purses already laden with the detritus of a busy life: spare change, receipts, gum wrappers, lint.

So, Milk Makeup had to be easy to apply; it had to be crafted from high-quality ingredients and it had to last. Most importantly, it had to stand up to a constantly-on-the-go urban lifestyle with all of its mess. It was this last imperative that lead to what was perhaps Milk Makeup’s biggest innovation: Packaging infused with antimicrobial silver so that, according to Ruth, “It could be dropped on the bathroom floor and still stay safe and won’t discolour.”

When you listen good, it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to the CMO of a major company or a girl in Ohio.

When the Milk Makeup team returned to Sephora, it was with an offering that included lip markers, shadow-liner hybrids and multi-purpose skin formulas in rollerball or stick packaging that eliminated the need for brushes.

“Their products were like nothing out there,” says Sephora’s Hahn. “The concept, the look and feel of the products was all very unique.” Sephora signed on to carry the new line in 50 of its stores, allotting the brand prime real estate in its spaces. Milk Makeup immediately went into production and Rassi began thinking about the gondola design. It was important to make a big impact as, for most of the country, particularly those living outside Los Angeles and New York, it would be the first time they’d ever heard of Milk. “We wanted to use the gondola as a billboard and do something that no one’s ever done before,” says Rassi, who eventually landed on the idea of lighting up the entire structure, ensuring that it would shine among a sea of glossy black displays.

“The trust that Sephora put into us and our crazy ideas was just incredible,” continues Rassi, who credits the beauty behemoth with helping to make Milk Makeup’s success so immediate. “If it weren’t for them, I would have made 10 mistakes by now,” he says. In addition to offering up valuable retail space, Sephora has acted as a sort of unofficial mentor to the fledgling brand, advising its founders on everything from what new shades to produce to how to scale its team. “Right now as a company we have to get two things right: we have to scale, and we have to market,” says Rassi.

“The greatest competition we have is ourselves — that’s it,” he adds. “We don’t really look at what other people are doing, we just listen and we just think about the community. I would say the most difficult part was internally going from a B2B company to a B2C company.” As for how Milk managed that transition smoothly, Rassi explains: “We just did it. We had to. When you listen good, it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to the CMO of a major company or a girl in Ohio.”

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Before going global it is not uncommon for brands of all kinds — and particularly beauty brands, in the age of the Instagram influencer — to try to build up a bit of buzz abroad before leaving the safe confines of their home market.

New York-based brand Milk Makeup is much like its fellows in this regard, and as it plans its leap across the pond into the U.K. market it has started hosting pop-up shops in the greater London area. But what sets Milk apart is just how successful it has been at building up buzz. Its pop-up shop in Covent Garden a few weeks ago surprised even its organizers when 4,500 people showed up to get a two-day early sneak peak at the makeup line’s debut in England on exclusive makeup marketplace Cult Beauty.

In the run-up to that launch, notably, Milk Makeup picked up a 17,000 member waiting list — the biggest ever in the history of the Cult Beauty marketplace.

So why all the excitement bordering on obsession with a niche beauty brand that few have ever even heard of?

Milk Makeup is, for one, on trend — across a variety of metrics. Despite its name, there is no actual milk in the product, as Milk’s products are all vegan. The brand also checks the “cruelty-free” and “no paraben” boxes that in recent years have become increasingly meaningful to consumers.

And those ethical commitments, Co-Founder Zanna Roberts Rassi noted in an interview, are about more than just offering an ethical product, though she noted that Milk is highly committed to doing so. The time and design that has gone into creating vegan products, on the other hand, has pushed the firm to build products that are just better across the board.

“Kush mascara is our number one best-seller and the first mascara to use hemp derived cannabis oil. Being 100% vegan, we don’t use beeswax as a binding agent, therefore cannabis oil is the best alternative as it not only helps the mascara to go on smoothly, giving the desired tug-free application, it also nourishes lashes. Since then, we’ve continued to include hemp derived cannabis oil in many of our hero products, for its caring benefits,” Roberts Rassi said.

Milk customers, she noted, insist on cruelty-free — it is a non-negotiable proposition and a standard the firm is unlikely to deviate from. Ditto, she said, on parabens and animal testing. That centers the production process for Milk and in many ways gives them a “north star” to guide the ship by.

But to capture customers and their spend, it isn’t enough to just not be things they don’t like or don’t want. No one has ever bought any product because it is not something — people buy products for what they are.

And what Milk Makeup products are designed to be, according to Roberts Rassi, is a method of self-expression and individuality for wearers.

Admittedly, Milk products aren’t the only brand trying to make that match. Axiology, Pacifica and INIKA are all startups pursuing a similar line — and larger bigger name players are noticing the emerging niche and trying to build it out, like Hourglass and BECCA.

But Milk is unique in some regards. The two-year-old brand was founded by Roberts Rassi and her husband Mazdack Rassi, who together had previously founded Milk Studios, which has locations in Los Angeles and NYC. Milk Studios works with players in fashion, art, and other generally creative types — which means it has a better than average inside track on trends and what “cool kids” are into these days. Zanna Roberts Rassi is also an editor with Marie Claire.

And, according to the reviews across sources, Milk’s makeup actually lives up to its marketing, from the packaging to the product itself. And as those review have spread, so has the brands market. What started as a makeup brand for Gen Z consumers, according to Georgie Greville, the creative director of Milk’s in-house production company, has now become a brand with appeal across the market.

“What we’ve realized is that the people who are attracted to Milk are a very broad group of people. It’s not just the 18 to 24 , although we’re definitely resonating with that group,” she said. “It’s also moms and women in their 50s and 60s and a lot of boys. It’s been amazing to see the breadth of how it’s resonating.”

And, with customers lining up 17,000 deep in the U.K. for a chance to buy their own Milk makeup, it is fair to say that resonating across wider geographies every day.

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