Glossier pink

The Glossier Cleanser: Milky Jelly Is Here!

M_JELLY_Bottle squeeze_437
M_JELLY_Bottle squeeze_437
M_JELLY_Bottle squeeze_437

Today, we’re very happy to officially introduce you to the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. The making of it’s been a collaborative effort, really (a year ago we asked you to describe your dream face wash, and you very much delivered). At that point, we also asked who would play your ideal cleanser in a movie—well, if Milky Jelly was about to get its own biopic, this would be the script. The entire process—from the idea to the campaign to now, when it joins the ranks of the Phase 1 Set—is below, as told by us.


Lindsey Manas, Physical Product Coordinator : “So Milky Jelly’s been going on for centuries, since the birth of Christ. [Laughs] It’s been a very long time in the making.”

Emily Weiss, Founder & CEO : “It actually started before we launched—we took our time because it was something we were really conscious of getting right. Cleanser is an essential part of a daily routine, but none of us had found the perfect, holy grail cleanser yet.”

Annie Kreighbaum, Executive Editor : “After years and years of using so many different face washes, it finally dawned on me that a cleanser is not supposed to exfoliate, it’s not supposed to smell like grapefruit extract, it’s not supposed to foam up like dish wash. You need it to clean your face really well, but not suck everything good out of your skin.”

Emily : “I wanted something that was super, super gentle, but worked really hard. Something that gets the job done without stripping or drying your skin. My favorite cleansers have all been able to take off my mascara because it eliminates that two-step process of taking your makeup off and then washing your face. But we also wanted to know what our customer wanted, which is how we came up with the idea of the ‘ What’s Your Dream Face Wash?’ story.”

Annie : “It was the first time we really brought the ITG audience into the process of product development. We had no idea if people wanted to talk about it. Or if people even wanted a new cleanser. But the response was so positive. People not only wanted the same kind of cleanser we wanted, but they wanted to be in on the development process with us.”

Lindsey : “The story was huge. Almost 400 comments—all of which we recorded and consolidated and sent right to our chemist. There were key words like ‘mild,’ ‘glowy,’ ‘moist.’ That became the checklist for everything we wanted in the final product.”

Emily : “Basically everyone wanted what we wanted—we were all thinking about it the same way. What we settled on is basically a jellified micellar water. Our formula is based around the same cleansing ingredient you find in contact lens solution—so super gentle—but with conditioning elements like comfrey root extract and betaine that moisturize and soothe the skin while you clean it. Once we had that down, it became about really nailing the right texture.”

Lindsey : “You know, there are oils that are too liquidy and they drip down your arms…and then there are balms that are too thick and you have to keep sticking your hand in there. We knew we wanted something that was going to be a pleasure to use, that felt rich and moveable and non-dripping, with a bit of a bounce to it.”

Annie : “Once we knew what we wanted it to look like—a milky jelly—then the name was obvious. It’s fun to say. I actually don’t remember a time when we didn’t call it Milky Jelly—sort of like with Boy Brow or Balm Dotcom. Those names were always the names.”

Lindsey : “We did tons and tons of trials, just continually refining the milkiness and the color, testing it against other cleansers we’ve loved over the years, trying it wet or dry…That part was key. When we finally tried it on dry skin versus wet skin, we found that Milky Jelly had really great makeup removing power.”

Helen Steed, Creative Director : “Packaging is a big part of our point of view of Glossier. Nothing too precious or complicated to figure out. There shouldn’t be extraneous caps that are going to fall off or disappear—our pump locks on its own.”

Linda Bui, Operations Manager : “Production on packaging couldn’t start until we nailed down the formula—we needed to know the viscosity to figure out the tube size. We needed to know the ingredients to print on the back of the bottles. It’s small, but we needed to know the milkiness of the cleanser to determine how cloudy the bottle would be. But while we were waiting on that to be finalized, we were working on finding the vendors for our bottle, our tube, our pump…”

Adriana Deleo, Head of Design : “We’ve had the bottle layout for a long time. Everything on the front of the bottle—the G, the name, and everything—is very pared-back and easy to print on just about anything. Building on the idea of ‘Milky Jelly,’ we wanted the plastic to be translucent and milky, but that had to be completely customized. We sent our manufacturer targets and Pantone chips on how opaque or white or thick it should be and went through several rounds with that.”

Annie : “With every campaign, Emily, Helen, Adriana, and I start with an iPhone photo stream where we all post inspiration images as we find them or take them. ‘Milky Jelly’ is such a loaded term already that the theme we started seeing was a pastel world that was really comforting and soft. We started pulling all these weird texture references because we knew we wanted to tell a story about the duality of the product. The Physical Product team worked so hard on the efficacy of Milky Jelly for both wet and dry cleansing—how gentle but strong it was—which sparked a lot of ideas around the campaign.”

Helen : “Finding the right girl was hard…we had this image of a redheaded model and Annie had pointed it out several times because with red eyelashes, you could really see when mascara’s on and when it’s not. That’s key when you only have a few images to show the effectiveness of the cleanser. So we started looking for someone with red hair, plus everything else you’re always looking for when casting—someone who feels fresh, has the right energy, but not too young. Liana found our model, Georgie, on Instagram and we flew her in from London for the shoot.”

Annie : “This was the first shoot we had in our studio we converted from our old office space up in the Penthouse, which was really exciting. Shooting in-house gave us the budget to have Romain Duquesne shoot it, who we’d been dying to work with for a while. It’s actually a funny story—a stylist I was working with, Anna Santangelo, saw one of his photos for Oyster magazine on a moodboard in our office and said he’s a good friend of hers from Australia. So we brought them both on for the shoot. They like each other a lot, which makes them a dream team to work with. It was a really good day.”

Dilan Walpola, Designer : “What’s cool about the Penthouse is that we’re transforming it into the physical Milky Jelly world for people to shop for two days next week [ed note: January 16–17, from 12–6pm!]. The entire space is going to be painted white, almost like a gallery, with plastic bits of bubble and balloon to feel very liquid and floaty. And because the development started on ITG, with the readers telling us what their best cleanser would be, we’re taking our old desks and turning them into a moodboard with all of the quotes and prototypes we used along the way.”

Emily : “So much of Glossier is about experience, so we’re going to do a little pop-up with every product launch moving forward. Visceral experiences are so important in a digital world, and I think it keeps your senses alert. I hope people can be inspired in some way that’s more than beauty, even if that means charging your phone or washing your face or reading something interesting. Every time we do something, I want it to be a little different—a little capsule that’s finite.”

Helen : “Of all our products, this one is the most exciting for us because we know, right out of the gate, people will love it. I say that because it was created over such a long period of time with so much input from the ITG community. I’m not sure what our cleanser world would have looked like without all that.”

Emily : “I hope it’s the cleanser of all cleansers. Like, who wants to worry about cleanser? Don’t you just want to have it there and know that it does its job and move on to the rest of your skincare? It’s going to make you clean, but not squeaky.”

Georgie Hobday photographed by Romain Duquesne.

_ Shop Milky Jelly at

Discover the road to Milky Jelly—including the Open Thread that started it all— right here. And let Emily Weiss show you how to use Milky Jelly in the below video:

Let us come to you!