In 2016, Alicia Keys took a stand against the entertainment industry’s beauty standards by opting for a makeup-free lifestyle. She reached a point in her career where she no longer felt the need to compromise the health of her skin for public appearances. Although she was met with mixed emotions, she followed through with her #NoMakeup protest by hosting award shows, appearing on magazine covers, and attending speaking engagements with nothing but some moisturizer and lipgloss.
In the AW20-21 issue of Glamour UK Magazine, the singer gets candid about her struggles with makeup and adult acne. “Make-up was a big thing for me; I had been wearing it since I was, like, 16 years old,” she says. “And then, as I got into the music world, it was what you did every day to do your television, or to do your shoot. So, I did it because I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do. And I realised I became addicted to it; I didn’t feel comfortable without it.”
As Alicia grew into herself as an artist, she began to realize that she is not the over-dressed, makeup wearing artist that she was once molded to be. “I started changing more because I was growing more later on. Not because somebody said, ‘You should change.’ But you do internalise what’s around you a lot. I think when you see images and standards of beauty, you can automatically think to yourself, ‘Oh, isn’t that what beautiful is? Shouldn’t I emulate that?’ [There are] all these standards you can subscribe to, without even realising it.”
Now that Alicia has fully embraced exactly who she is as an artist, she is using her platform to help others find their peace and their beauty via her social platform Keys SoulCare. The brand aims to educate other on the best ways to take care of their mind, body, spirit and skin. Because Alicia has struggled publicly with her skin, developing an outlet for women with the same issues is sacred to her.
“I’ve always had a challenging time with my skin and having to figure out how to manage it, and be in the spotlight,” she says. “Having to constantly be in this crazy cycle of putting on make-up to cover the bumps and scars and then because I had make-up on under the hot lights, there were more bumps and scars. I felt like I had to hide everything and I felt really self-conscious.
“I struggled so much in my skin and really even being clear about my self-confidence and self-worth. So, it’s a dream come true, [as] I’ve always wanted to create something [like this] because I wanted something that would work for me when I was having difficult times; that would make me feel great and that was also good for me.”
This is completely relatable especially since we live in a world that doesn’t always offer grace for people who are struggling with their insecurities. The entertainment industry is built on the perception of perfection. Keys SoulCare provides resources that’ll teach you the importance of accepting your flaws and finding the beauty in them. What a welcoming shift managing society’s beauty standards.
You can read the rest of Alicia Key’s interview with Glamour UK here.