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Alicia Keys Talks About Giving Up Make Up And No Longer Hiding

Alicia Keys has been promoting her new music lately and you may have noticed that she’s completely eschewed the whole beat face honey movement

This week Alicia wrote about her decision to go makeup free for Lenny Letter.

We’ve excerpted a few portions below:

Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked.

I realized that during this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding.

I needed these songs because I was really feeling those insecurities.

I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know HOW to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be?

In one song I wrote, called “When a Girl Can’t Be Herself,” it says,

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

No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.

Sounds like Cover Girl dodged a bullet. But barely. Alicia is still giving up makeup after all…

Speaking of which. Despite writing the song, Keys didn’t immediately arrive at the decision to give up cosmetics. Initially she had a lot of fears about being caught looking busted.

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. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.

Keys began practicing meditation, which seemed to help give her some clarity, but her real aha moment came when she had a less than glamorous photoshoot:

It wasn’t until I walked into one of my first shoots for my new album recently that the issue was front and center again. I’d just come from the gym, had a scarf under my baseball cap, and the beautiful photographer Paola (never met a Paola I didn’t like) 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. 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!!”

And that was it. She started to shoot me.

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.

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.

I hope to God it’s a revolution.

‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.

What do you think about Alicia’s revelations? Will you be adopting the #nomakeup hashtag and lifestyle as well?

Hit the flip to find out what Swizz thinks of his wife’s new look and see more photos of Alicia going barefaced.


Swizz is a huge fan of his wife’s new look! And we can’t help but to notice this Vanity Fair photo of Alicia EVERYWHERE. Do you love it?

AKM-GSI Alicia Keys, husband Swizz Beatz Kevin Hart Novikov Restaurant London dinner

Alicia and Swizz had a night out in London with Kevin Hart Thursday, grabbing dinner at Novikov Restaurant, then Friday Alicia showed up at BBC studios to promote her new single.


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Vibin in Londontown… Sending love! 💜

A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on

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