Alicia Keys says short-lived decision to ditch makeup in 2016 was a rebellious moment

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This girl’s beauty routine is on fire.

Alicia Keys famously gave up wearing makeup in 2016, but she’s back in the glam game again, with InStyle’s June 2023 cover girl telling the mag that she eventually realized her journey toward feeling comfortable in her skin was “not about makeup.”

“I went through my own experience of really feeling rebellious about what people were telling me, what the world, society was telling me, what I was supposed to look like because I fell into that, I subscribed to it,” the 42-year-old singer said of her decision to stop wearing cosmetics.

The “Fallin’” singer continued, “When I had my rebellious moment, which obviously the world witnessed with me, I was just getting to know myself. You know what I mean?” 

Keys — who recently rocked a brightly patterned bikini at a yacht party — told InStyle that it took some self-reflection to realize, “It’s not about makeup or no makeup. It’s not about mascara or no mascara. It’s not about lipstick or no lipstick.”

The songstress continued that she felt that focusing on how “you want to express yourself, and what space do you want to claim for yourself” was a major step in her growth, including deciding, “what boundaries do you want for yourself?”

It might seem surprising that someone who went years without wearing makeup decided to launch her own beauty brand, Keys Soulcare, but the Grammy winner said she focuses on keeping it “simple.”

“Sometimes you need more, sometimes you want less,” Keys said of her beauty routine, explaining that her brand’s skin tint ($28) is a no-fuss option for “whatever you are today.”

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This isn’t the first time Keys has spoken out about her choice to go cosmetics-free, sharing in a February 2017 Allure cover story that she wasn’t “a slave to makeup.”

“I’m not a slave to not wearing makeup either,” she added. “I get to choose at [any] given moment. That’s my right.”

Whether she’s barefaced or glowing glam, this star is always gorgeous in our books.

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