No makeup, no problem! Alicia Keys has been rocking a fresh-faced look for a couple of years now, and we love that the singer is redefining beauty standards for celebrities. From fashion shows to The Voice stage, the songstress isn’t afraid to show off her natural self.
After fans freaked out on social media when she walked the red carpet without a stitch of product, the mother-of-two addressed her decision to live more simply. She wrote on Twitter in Aug. 2016, “Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you! ??.”
Since then, the singer has regularly been vocal about why she decided to go makeup-free. She frequently name-checks her 2016 inspirational song, “Girl Can’t Be Herself,” which she wrote while she was diving into questions about her own self-image and grappling with her own insecurities. The lyrics go: “In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem.”
Really, though. Why doesn’t Alicia Keys wear makeup anymore?
Although she admits that she has nothing against makeup (or Maybelline, for that matter), she wants to encourage society — women, in particular — to free themselves from the pressure to look a certain way. It’s not just for her; it’s for her children. Alicia said in an interview that her drive to go makeup-free stemmed from her realization that society’s pressures strongly impacted her day-to-day life. She realized she was too worried about what other people thought of her appearance.
“I was becoming very, very overly concerned with other people’s opinions of me, to the point where I would be freaked out if I was leaving the house and didn’t have makeup on,” the singer said.
Alicia with her husband Swizz Beatz at the 2018 Grammys
What was Alicia’s no makeup turning point?
While shooting photos for her 2016 album cover, photographer Paola Kudacki encouraged her take some pics while she was clean-faced and fresh from the gym. In an open letter, Alicia wrote that the moment was transformative. Although she felt nervous and uncomfortable being so raw and vulnerable in front of the camera, it changed her life.
“It was just a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately relating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic circulating. And I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt,” she wrote. “I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself! The universe was listening to those things I’d promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that’s how this whole #nomakeup thing began. Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song ‘In Common,’ it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me.”
Wait, but… Alicia Keys has definitely worn makeup recently, right?
Although Alicia proudly goes makeup-free, that doesn’t mean she won’t use cosmetics. While appearing on the TODAY show to encourage the hosts to take off their makeup for an episode, Alicia said that her beef isn’t with lipstick or eye shadow or blush; it’s about having the confidence to be yourself no matter what you look like. She said, “Look, I love makeup too. And [wearing makeup]’s all good. It’s about how you feel; it’s about who you are. It’s just about being who you are and not letting anyone tell you who you should be.”
Wise words! And when her The Voice co-star Adam Levine called her out for putting on makeup, she responded, “I do what the f–k I want.” Exactly. We’re still over here clapping for ladies doing whatever they want in 2018! To see more stunning makeup-free photos of the star, scroll through the gallery below.