Why did Alicia Keys stop wearing makeup?
It all started in 2016 when Alicia rocked up to a photo shoot for her album cover, Here. She had just been to the gym and rocked up to the set wearing a scarf under her baseball cap and the photographer wanted to shoot her like that.
In an open letter for Lenny Letter, Alicia revealed how this experience made her feel “the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt.”
“The beautiful photographer Paola said, "I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too! I was shocked," she wrote.
"Instantly, I became a bit nervous and slightly uncomfortable. My face was totally raw. I had on a sweatshirt! As far as I was concerned, this was my quick run-to-the-shoot-so-I-can-get-ready look, not the actual photo-shoot look. So I asked her, "Now?! Like right now? I want to be real, but this might be too real!!"
This day on set encouraged the 38-year-old to go makeup free indefinitely, which was a big deal for the singer who had previously had an attachment to makeup much like we all do.
“Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn't put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking,” she wrote in Lenny Letter.
Did Alicia ever wear makeup?
Yes, she did. But since 2016, she hasn’t really worn it and has attended many public occasions sans makeup. And it’s not that she’s against makeup, she just wanted to make a change.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with makeup or no makeup,” Alicia said during a Grammy’s press conference in 2016. “It has to do with who are you, what makes you feel good, how do you want to express that and even just asking the questions — What do I feel? How do I feel good? However that is, you should do it.”
"I love my lip gloss, I love my blush, I love my eyeliner. It's not about that. At the same time, I don't want to feel beholden — to have to do it," told the Today show in the US.
Alicia Keys sans makeup
While we have makeup-free days every now and then, we usually wait until our skin is looking clear before we do this. But, Alicia doesn’t always have perfect skin and she is still brave enough to let her natural beauty shine through.
1. The BET Awards – June 2016
Alicia rocked a scarf on her head and no makeup at the BET Awards in Los Angeles.
2. MTV Video Music Awards – August 2016
The singer bundled her hair up into a big bun and wore no makeup to the MTV Video Music Awards in New York.
3. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Concert – November 2017
Alicia wore colourful braids and bare skin at the 8th Annual Concert For UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
4. Grammy Awards – January 2018
The 'Raise A Man' singer opted for a chic black dress with two braids at the Grammy's in New York City.
5. Billboard's Annual Women in Music Event – December 2018
Alicia wore a red outfit and black hat to the 13th Annual Women in Music Event hosted by Billboard in New York City. The fierce ensemble pulled full focus to her lovely face.
6. Grammy Awards – February 2019
The singer donned another red outfit at this year's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
How Alicia maintains her skin
It might seem strange that Alicia has a makeup artist when she doesn’t wear makeup, but she has been working with her makeup artist Dotti for years now and Dotti has helped Alicia maintain skin. "I am very, very much behind women stripping back and, embracing their beauty and wearing their skin front and centre," Dotti told People.
1. She mastered her skincare routine
Alicia even went makeup free (except for a smidge of blush) on the cover of Elle Brazil in 2017 and she emphasised how important her skincare routine is in making your skin look good. “It took me forever to get this skin,” she said. “I mean, I know how it feels to have a face full of bumps and pimples. I lived through that in the public eye.”
2. She uses a jade roller and face mist
Even when her skin is looking clear, her makeup artist Dotti uses a clever trick to make Alicia look extra awake and fresh. “I stick a jade roller in ice, so it’s basically freezing when I roll it over [Alicia’s] skin,” Dotti told W Magazine. “I really, really work into all those areas where I want blood and water and energy brought to the surface. It brings her skin to life, it practically makes her skin say, 'Hi. I love you.'”
If she’s not using a face roller, Dotti uses a mist on Alicia’s skin. “There’s a beautiful brand called MV Organic Skincare and they make beautiful oils and rosewater,” Dotti told Into The Gloss. “Sometimes I use the Instant Revival with the rose mist as a treatment. That alone makes her look really glowy and beautiful. Because when you strip back all of the makeup, you begin to realize how youthful you actually are.”
3. She eats healthy
“Alicia gets regular facials, does acupuncture and she eats healthy and exercises,” Dotti told W Magazine. “She knows you have to invest internally for your skin to look great externally.” The makeup artist told Into The Gloss that Alicia always prioritises her health as it impacts on her skin. “Alicia isn’t raw or vegan or anything, but she looks after her diet and eats in a very balanced way, which a lot of people do when you’ve got a lot on your plate to deal with.”