Skin Benefits of Milk Bath Recipe Inspired by Cleopatra

Woman's hand trying out a milk bath.

JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images


  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups (1 servings)

Cleopatra is legendary for many things—she was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, she was smart and stunningly beautiful, and she formed alliances with both ancient Rome's Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She also bathed in milk, and that's also the stuff of legend since she was known for her beautiful skin. Cleopatra reportedly used donkey milk for her baths, and it's believed she also added honey and lavender to the milk, with scattered rose petals floating in her bath.

Milk Bath Benefits

While it might seem like just a wasteful decadence, there's actually a reason why milk is good for your skin. The lactic acid in milk is an alpha hydroxy acid, which helps cleanse the skin and release dead skin cells. That allows the skin to rejuvenate itself more quickly, resulting in radiantly glowing, satiny smooth and soft skin.

Alpha hydroxy acids are commonly added to moisturizers, cleansers, toners, and masks and are good for the skin in the same way milk is—they act as an exfoliant. Over time, they are especially effective in decreasing the look of wrinkles and roughness. So taking a milk bath is the natural way to get these benefits for your skin—and from head to toe, at that.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups powdered milk (goat, cow, or buttermilk)
  • 1/2 ounce lavender essential oil or any other fragrance you prefer
  • Optional: 1 cup Epsom salts
  • Optional: 1 cup sea salt
  • Optional: 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Optional: 1 cup Natrasorb Bath

How to Make It

  1. Measure out the milk into a large, wide stainless steel bowl.
  2. Add the Epsom and sea salts, the baking soda and the Natrasorb Bath if you are using these ingredients and mix everything together well, making sure to break up any clumps.
  3. Add the fragrance or essential oil. Lavender is a favorite in bath blends, but honey, almond, vanilla, mint, rose and other flowery and fruity fragrances also are appealing. 
  1. Mix everything together well.
  2. Scoop the milk mixture into jars or other air-tight containers.
  3. For your bath, add a half cup or so to briskly running bath water and enjoy a soothing soak.


This simple recipe is flexible and customizable to your own desires. You can modify the choice of salts, types of milk, fragrance and other ingredients to give you the kind of luxurious bath experience you want.

Salts are included in the recipe, but they are optional—the main point here is the milk. The salts help with cleansing (sea salt), detoxifying (baking soda) and relaxing (Epsom). Include any or all of them as desired. ​Natrasorb Bath is also a really great, silky, luxurious additive that is lovely in bath milk blends. Be sure to note the "best by" date of your powdered milk. It doesn't last as long on the shelf as regular salts do.