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Alicia Keys talks affirmations, beauty standards and her new 'make you' line

"It's not about makeup or covering up — it's about making you."
Keys Soulcare

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It's almost impossible to talk about the no-makeup movement without mentioning Alicia Keys. The singer-songwriter became its unofficial fresh-faced spokesperson back in 2016 when she took a very public break from wearing makeup, in an industry where full coverage is the standard.

That's why some people might be surprised to learn that the newest collection from her beauty and lifestyle brand Keys Soulcare is centered around colored cosmetics. But, don't get us wrong — these aren't your typical makeup products. The new releases, which include tinted lip balms, cheek tints and a brow gel, are described as color-skin care hybrids. They blend good-for-your-skin ingredients with colors that Keys said "give you a chance to play." And naturally, they seem to perfectly encapsulate her own personal journey with makeup.

"The beauty standard that exists for me is the beauty standard that I create," Keys said on a recent Zoom with Shop TODAY. "And I was discovering that I was falling into a false pretense of what I thought I was supposed to be as opposed to just honoring who I actually am. And so that's why this skin-color hybrid, we're calling it 'make you.' And I think that's just so powerful, because it's not about makeup or covering up — it's about making you, and whatever that looks like."

The "offerings," as Keys and her team call them, provide versatility and customizability, allowing you to build on the color, so you can go as "full-wattage" or "fresh-faced" as you'd like. While Keys used the new products for her Met Gala glam look, the brand sent me the items to try and I've been incorporating a handful of them into my everyday, fuss-free look, adding just a swipe of color to my lips and cheeks when I feel like I need a boost. So far, I've loved how soft the balms make my lips feel and how subtle the tint is.

Since the brand first came onto the scene in 2020, it has launched a number of skin and body products, all of which come with an affirmation on the packaging. The affirmations, which are written by Keys, include phrases like "I put myself first," and "I choose my own path," that are meant to be incorporated into your beauty ritual (Keys said that the foundation of Keys Soulcare is about "turning routine into ritual"). "It kind of grounds you and reminds you of what you can be, as opposed to just rushing through and being done and then going off into the world and feeling scattered," she said.

"One of the things that I like to do is I pick an affirmation and I keep saying it all day," Keys added. "It's like a meditation in my head that just keeps playing, and I do find that it starts to shift my mood."

The collection is now available to shop on the Keys Soulcare site and will launch at Ulta on May 9. Below, we breaking down everything you need to know about each of the new offerings.

Keys Soulcare Color Collection

Keys Soulcare Sheer Flush Cheek Tint

Made with sunflower seed oil and safflower seed oil, these sheer flush cheek tints are designed to moisturize and nourish skin, while providing a pop of color. They come in eight different shades, ranging from Magnetic (orange) to Sensual (deep purple), and are said to be buildable and easy to blend.

Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm

Soften and smooth your pout with this Tinted Lip Balm from the brand. It's formulated with moisturizing ingredients like avocado oil and camellia seed oil, so the brand says that it "drenches lips in moisture and comfort." Get the clear shade or go bold with one of the five colorful hues.

Keys Soulcare Soft Stay Brow Gel

Hate when gel leaves your brows feeling stiff and crunchy? This gel was designed to have a "soft, non-crunchy finish," while still providing a strong but flexible hold.

Keys Soulcare Natural Flush Complexion Brush

Made to be paired with liquid or cream formulas, this brush can be used to blend or apply makeup to help complete any look. It features soft bristles, which are said to be gentle on your skin.

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