So like everyone else I jumped on the milk of magnesia as a primer bandwagon a while ago. I rarely wear primers but when I do, I use the famous Infamous milk of magnesia. I found out about this D.I.Y method on YouTube and it seemed to work, so I was like why not?  Its affordable and keeps my makeup in place.

Only recently I noticed my skin had started becoming rough. I couldn’t pinpoint what was changing the texture so I just decided to stay clear makeup. In about a week my regular skin texture had returned, so I knew something must have triggered it. The only new thing I was using was M.O.M. I was using it often so I decided to do a full research. You won’t believe what I found out.

I would try to simplify all the scientific gibberish, and just speak in lay man terms. 

MILK OF MAGNESIA: produced for use as an antacid and laxative (Relieves you of stomach upsets)

Formulation:  Magnesium hydroxide suspended in water with a bit of sodium hypochlorite. Magnesium hydroxide is an inorganic compound patented in 1818 for digestive issues. It is formed by a simple salt metathesis reaction in which magnesium salt is added to ammonium hydroxide.  Mg2+ + 2OH —> Mg(OH)2

Why it makes sense as a primer: Magnesium hydroxide is effective at breaking down wax esters and steryl esters extracted from human skin. And this is basically what causes oil formation on the face. Meaning  M.O.M is a de-greaser, so It definitely would minimize oiliness and subsequently prolong makeup wear.

Why You shouldn’t use it as a Primer: First would you put an antiseptic like Dettol in your drinking water? of course No, because its made for external uses, so why do we use something formulated for the intestine on the skin. Remember magnesium hydroxide is used as an antacid, meaning it neutralizes any acid that may come its way. This is possible because its highly alkaline . It has a pH of 10.5.  Ammonia used in dyes has a pH of 11 while baking soda has a pH of 8.3. Would you use either of these on your skin, no matter the remedy?

Naturally, the human skin needs to maintain a mildly acidic pH to ward off bacteria that causes things like acne or dermatisis.  Hence our sebaceous glands secrete a thin layer of an acidic film called the acid mantle. This protects us from viruses, bacteria, and other potential threats.

THE PROBLEM: Milk of Magnesia was formulated to neutralize acids. It’s going to do exactly that to your face. Since the natural acid level on the face is mild, using M.O.M completely destroys your acid mantle, leaving your skin unprotected. In other words, using it a primer is the best way to attract bacteria. With this, you are prone to acne, rashes and other skin conditions. Further more, without this acid mantle you are interfering  with the skin’s ability to shed its dead layers and carry out other extracellular lipid processes.

In comparison to regular primers that create a barrier between your skin and products, M.O.M destroys the natural acidic film that protects your skin, then breaks down the oil components of the face as its produced.

When I was done with my research I just knew that I had to share. Lets not because of quick fixes harm ourselves.

It works but it’s not at all a healthy option. 

Hope this helped. 

Do let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, 




  1. I was using it before, initially it worked great. Overtime, i noticed I had a lot of dead cells on my face. Had to stop using it cause a smooth face worth more than oily face in my books. Using regular primers like Mac now. Not as effective as MOM but it gets the job done.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Its known to be used for only special occasions where extended makeup wear is required based on its harmful effect over prolonged usage. This is very helpful in understanding the science behind why its not advisable for daily usage.

  3. I totally agree. I tried it for a few months and it was a disaster. My skin is really oily so it was my no 1 choice until i started breaking out badly. I now use no7 primer. Would totally recommend it.

  4. Thanks for the information. I noticed the use of M.O.M. first on a professional make-up artist’s blog and thought if trying it out but never get around to doing so. This makeup artist actually has problem skin and I wonder if she knows this information about M.O.M.

  5. Hi Tosin,

    I don’t use any coverage products on my face because of the fear of clogging my pores, but I recall that a number of articles that I’ve read regarding beauty hacks always praised MoM as a cheapo primer alternative.

    I like how you did this exposé by breaking it right down to the scientific nitty-gritties. Sometimes, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. 😀

    Very informative and well-written post.

  6. Hello!
    I never thought milk of magnesia wouldn’t be harmful, its not even something that should be near your skin not to talk of your face.
    I use it, but only occasionally, maybe like three or four times a year, its super effective but cannot be replaced with your every day primer.
    I like this post.

  7. Thank you Tosin, just two days ago another makeup artist argued with me that it was the best for her. I tried it twice 2years ago and disposed of it. Because apart from the fact that it made my face grayish , I heard it causes the face to age fast. I’ll blast this article far and wide though half of the science in it glad someone finally’s done an expose on this MOM craze. Thanks Tosin. 😘

  8. I only tried it once as a bridesmaid and my makeup lasted all day. Surprisingly as I have a super oily face and I was going to get for personal use but reading this has changed my mind.. I’ll go back to my ELF. Haha. Thanks for sharing!


  9. I’ve heard that Milk of Magnesium was no bueno great article. I’ve never used it but its always great to pass on information. New follower xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: