The musician, 38, swore off makeup in 2016 in an essay for Lenny Letter entitled “Time to Uncover.” In the piece, Keys explained that she’d joined the #nomakeup movement after deciding to stop putting so much stake in other people’s opinions, particularly when it came to her appearance.
Alicia Keys went without makeup at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.Getty Images
“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of,” Keys explained. “And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect.”
After daring to go barefaced in a photoshoot for her album “Here,” the Grammy winner continued, “I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt … 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.”
Keys went on to skip the cosmetics at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards (along with multiple other awards shows) as well as while filming “The Voice.”
But in her February 2017 cover story for Allure, the “Girl on Fire” singer switched things up, appearing barefaced on the cover but sporting several bold beauty looks inside the issue. “I’m not a slave to makeup,” Keys told the magazine. “I’m not a slave to not wearing makeup either. I get to choose at [any] given moment. That’s my right.”
Continued the star: “I think makeup can be self-expression. I have no intention to shame anyone at all [who chooses to wear it]. No one should be ashamed by the way you choose to express yourself. And that’s exactly the point. However, if you want to do that for yourself, you should do that.”