It’s summer and the struggle for ladies with oily skin is real. Thankfully, makeup artists are touting a miracle product that soothes and manages slick skin. The only thing is that to get it, you have to walk right past the makeup aisle and head to… the antacids?
Milk of Magnesia, that chalky white stuff your grandpa chugs straight out of the bottle every time your sister talks about going to film school, is the same product that many makeup experts swear by as the best primer for oily skin.
“A lot of the water-based primers on the market just feel like another moisturizer and the silicone-based primers feel waxy or, while they’ll matte you down, they still don’t stick,” explained Julianne Kaye, who has worked on the faces of celebs like Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford and Britney Spears. “When you put Milk of Magnesia on your face, you can actually feel that veil over the skin.” She added that the liquid’s high concentration of magnesium hydroxide (it’s pretty much the only ingredient) combats oiliness by breaking down wax and other chemicals in the skin.
But is this drugstore cure social media hype or the real deal? It’s actually not a bad idea, says Stephen Stahr, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of San Antonio. “People probably like to paint it on like a liquid foundation; when the vehicle dries, the powdery Mg(OH)2 remains and absorbs oil and people probably like that,” he says. “It might take a light reflecting oily sheen off of the skin.”
However, Stahr adds that topical magnesium is not recognized by the American Board of Dermatology as having any “evidence-based medical applications” and that, because it’s mildly basic in pH, it might cause some redness and itching for people with sensitive skin. So try a small patch test on the inside of your arm before slathering your face with the white stuff.
Bonus: Keeping a backup bottle in your purse will allow for quick makeup touch-ups during a fun date night and provide minty relief if you OD on the onion rings!