Attention, curly queens & kings—there’s a new hair care game-changer in town. Say hello to the moisturizing & styling powers of hair milk.
If you’re wondering “what is hair milk?,” it’s time to get acquainted. This multi-use product could be the missing ingredient in your recipe for glossy, defined curls.
However, there’s no one single type of hair milk or one single way to use it. To learn how to reap the benefits of this product, let’s dive into the lush world of hair milk.
What is Hair Milk?
Imagine a silky, creamy formula that leaves your hair looking & feeling soft, healthy & luscious. That’s the magic of hair milk—it’s a product that’s equal parts moisturizing, styling, & curl-defining.
But what exactly is a “hair milk?”
Hair Milk combines the qualities of a leave-in conditioner with a detangler.1 It’s lightweight, liquidy texture makes for even distribution, spreading across curls without weighing them down. Depending on the thickness, hair milks can be packaged in pourable or sprayable containers.
While it doesn't actually contain milk (fear not, lactose-intolerant curlies, coiles & tight textures!), hair milk does often feature one or more of these nourishing ingredients:
- Shea butter
- Coconut oil
- Aloe vera
- Silk proteins
- Botanical extracts
Benefits of Hair Milk for Nourishing Curls
Why should hair milk earn a spot on your hair care shelf? Put simply, this product packs a punch of benefits, particularly for curly hair types.
With its unique texture, nourishing ingredients & range of formulas, hair milk brings something to the table for any style of curl. If you’re curious what hair milk is for, let’s explore the benefits of this versatile product:1,2
- Moisture, moisture & more moisture – Due to the structure of curly hair, natural oils don’t always make it all the way down the hair shaft from the scalp.1 But hair milk can swoop in as the ultimate hydration hero, coating strands from root to tip in a rich yet lightweight moisturizing formula.
- Detangling – Hair milk features ingredients that detangle & even prevent natural hair breakage during post-wash brushing sessions. Use hair milk before you style your curls, & you’ll have a silky smooth texture to play with.
- Curl definition – The lightweight formula of hair milk is effective at coating curls in a way that enhances your natural curl pattern.
- Enhanced texture – Product buildup can weigh down your curls & change their texture. Fortunately, the nourishing ingredients of hair milk can soften your curls during styling so that you can maintain your springy & pillowy locks while achieving your desired look.
Which Hair Milk is Right For You?
Oat milk, dairy milk, almond milk—there's milk to fit every diet these days, but what about every curl type?
Luckily, hair milk has a similar level of variety for different curls & coils.
In fact, hair milk is more of an umbrella category than a singular product. From lightweight sprays with glycerin to thicker lotions with coconut oil, there’s a wide range of formulas available. To reap the benefits of hair milk, it’s important to know which one’s right for your hair.
Let’s explore the top factors you should consider before picking a hair milk.
As you already know, curls are not one-size-fits-all. Your unique curl pattern is the particular shape, tightness & quality of your curls—essentially, what makes your curls uniquely yours & uniquely beautiful.
Curl pattern plays a large factor in determining your best hair care products. To pick a fitting hair milk, check out these different curl patterns & the formulas that work best for them:3
- Type 2 (wavy curls) – As the family of waves, Type 2 curls are less curls & more curls-ish. The subtypes include 2A (loose & fine S-shaped waves), 2B (defined S-shaped waves with more volume) & 2C (defined waves with a thicker texture). If you have wavy hair, a lighter & sprayable hair milk formula can enhance your natural texture without weighing down your luscious locks.
- Type 3 (spiral curls) – Like beautiful springs, Type 3 curls are known for their spiral shape. These can range from 3A curls (well-defined & loose curls with a wide circumference) to 3B curls (springy curls with a medium circumference) & 3C curls (tighter corkscrew-like curls with the circumference of a pencil). Typically, these curls will prefer a hair milk that’s medium-weight & equal parts moisturizing & defining.
- Type 4 (coils) – In the world of beautiful coils, Type 4 hair can be divided into 4A texture (tight coils with a defined “S” pattern), 4B texture (zigzag-shaped coils with less definition) & 4C texture (dense coils with a tight “Z” pattern & high shrinkage). For Type 4 coils, hair milks with heavier formulas & richer moisture will help bring out definition naturally.
Remember—it’s very common to have more than one curl pattern. If you can’t easily place your curl pattern, experiment with a few different hair milk textures before settling on one.
No matter the curl pattern category, there’s a range of hair thicknesses. This can be determined by the amount of hairs on your head or the actual thickness of individual strands.
When picking hair milk, keep in mind this general rule regarding hair thickness—the thicker the hair, the heavier the product you need. This means that those with thin hair should use more lightweight & sprayable formulas, while those with thicker hair may need heavier & creamier formulas.
Formula & Ingredients
There’s no one way to “drink in” hair milk. Depending on the formula, hair milk can come in a variety of packaging & textures. Consider these different types of hair milk when determining what will work best for your curls:
- Cream-based – Like a lotion, these creamier products have a thicker consistency that provides intense hydration & moisture. Typically, they work well for hair that’s in need of a bit of extra nourishment.
- Spray or liquid – With a more liquidy texture, these lighter products often come in a spray bottle for convenient application. For fine & low-density hair, spray or liquid hair milk is great for refreshing & revitalizing curls without weighing them down, similar to a hydrating mist.
- Foam or mousse – While less common, a foam or mousse hair milk is a great choice for light-to-medium density curls. The foam texture gives excellent hold & definition without leaving your hair with that old-school “crunch.”
How to Incorporate Hair Milk Into Your Hair Care Routine
If you’re wondering, “Just how does this product fit in between shampoo & hair oil?,” don’t worry. We’re here to help you unlock the full potential of hair milk by showing you how to effortlessly comb it into your hair care routine.
To incorporate hair milk, just follow these simple steps:
- Cleanse & condition – Begin your hair care routine by washing your curls with a shampoo & conditioner formulated for curly hair. If you have particularly dry curls, use the co-washing method & switch out shampoo for just conditioner.
- Towel-dry or dampen – After rinsing out your conditioner, gently towel dry your hair with our Microfiber Towel or a cotton t-shirt. Hair milk is most effective when applied to damp hair, as it helps seal in hydration.
- Apply hair milk – Divide your hair into sections, using clips if needed. Put a small amount of our creamy Moisture Milk in your palms & rub them together. Starting from the ends of your hair, work your way up, gently smoothing the hair milk through each section. If working with a spray-on formula, spritz each section thoroughly from ends to roots, using your hands to work in the product.
- Style & define – Now, it's time to unleash your creativity. Style your hair by scrunching, finger-coiling, braiding or twisting your curls with your hands. Your hair milk should provide some hold to your style. However, you can always add PATTERN’s Styling Cream if you need extra hold. If you’ll be styling with heat, it’s also essential to add a product like our Heat Protectant at this time to protect your juicy & joyful locks.
- Air dry or diffuse – Allow your hair to air dry or diffuse your curls on a low heat setting. Avoid excessive heat from blow dryers whenever possible, as the heat can cause moisture loss & potentially damage your curls. Consider using PATTERN’s Blow Dryer on its low heat setting to ensure a controlled and gentle drying process while maintaining the health and vitality of your curls.
- Refresh & revive – Hair milk is also one of the best products for dry curly hair. Whenever you need to revive your look with a little extra moisture, simply spritz some water on your hair to dampen it lightly, then apply a small amount of hair milk to rehydrate your curls. Scrunch gently to encourage product absorption & give your locks a little extra bounce.
Unlock All-Day Hydration & Nourishment with PATTERN
Whether you have silky waves or tight coils, you can find the right hair products for dry curly hair & your everyday routine to celebrate & nourish your natural texture with PATTERN.
At PATTERN, we’re all about natural—from natural hair to natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil & rice water extract. In fact, all of our enriching products are made only with the best natural ingredients so that you can give your curls the love & care they deserve.
Find the natural curl enhancers that will work best for your unique hair by exploring our line of products & tools for curly hair today.
- Marsh, Natasha. "Why Hair Milk Products Are Essential For Nourished Curls." The Zoe Report. 22 March, 2022. https://www.thezoereport.com/beauty/hair-milk-products
- Lapidos, Rachel. "Why hair milk products are great for shine." Well + Good. 23 August, 2019. https://www.wellandgood.com/hair-milk-products/
- Amay, Joane. "Curly Hair Types Chart: How to Find Your Curl Pattern." Allure. 31 December, 2021. https://www.allure.com/gallery/curl-hair-type-guide