The Weird Milk That Cleared My Skin

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I’d like to begin by thanking my colleagues at Glossier HQ for the recent stream of compliments about my glowing skin. Feeling really good—no, great. I repaid you all by taking a note from Alessandra Steinherr’s Top Shelf playbook and...well, I don’t want to say I lied, but let’s say I got funky with the facts. For example, when I said “I just self-tanned” and that “I’ve been really good about using my serums blah blah blah,” that was kind of a reinterpretation of the truth. Truth 2.0! Reality TV does it all the time—look it up. But now I’m ready to come clean. I’ve been using… drumroll... .

Google wants me to call it Colossal, but it is Collosol—a milky liquid in a conspicuously pink rectangular bottle. Is it a toner? A micellar water? Bath soap? Lemon Pledge? Because it smells like lemon Pledge. It smells so strongly and so much like lemon Pledge that it took about a week for me to build up the courage to put it on my skin. It’s technically a “softening milk,” but that sounds terrifying (I would like soft skin, not softened skin, please), so I reasoned it was just an odd translation from French.

The more I researched, the more mysterious it became. Apparently Karl Lagerfeld bathes with this stuff, and I read that daily Collosol face pats make the robots (humans?) on Westworld look so good. It’s made mostly of castor oil, water, and glycerin. You can buy it in French pharmacies and, as of last year, at C.O. Bigelow—but according to Collosol’s website, knowledge of the product is “jealously transmitted from mother to daughter.” Guess they do things a little different in France. I found a bottle on Amazon. For the French readers here—just call me mère.

I figured a safe way to start was to use it in place of my , after I got home from work but before I fully cleansed with . My skin felt clean but not tight, and it took my makeup off—all in all a job well done, but certainly nothing major. I decided to up the ante. I would use my Bioderma when I came home from work, cleanse like normal, and then follow with a swipe of Collosol on a cotton round, keeping my tried-and-true routine but adding it as an extra step.

Here’s the real secret no one’s telling you—your face is dirty. Right now, even. Because mine was—after cleansing with micellar water and a regular face wash, the cotton round with Collosol pulled up all kinds of dirt my good reason tells me shouldn’t have still been there. Thinking it was maybe leftover makeup my previous cleansing didn’t get, I tried it in the morning and on days I didn’t wear any makeup at all—same result. You know how people tell you your pillowcase may not be as clean as you think, or that air pollution shows up on your skin? They were right—with a quick swipe around my face, the Collosol cotton round turned a dingy grayish brown, every. single. time.

So, gross. But! Effective. I haven’t had a breakout since using it. Seriously, not one. And my skin looks glowier, probably because I’ve eliminated the layer of grime between me and My Best Self. If you have a daughter, please feel free to pass on this wisdom to her, jealously. If not, well, . Do with that information what you will.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG.