Alicia Keys, the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, has been giving beauty, wellness and self-care a lot of thought lately. You could chalk up some of the musings to the pandemic, but Ms. Keys, 39, has also been masterminding a beauty-meets-self-care line called Keys Soulcare, which will debut on Dec. 3.
The line, which includes skin care and home scents, is inspired by beauty rituals that make her feel good — aptly timed for these stressful days. See what she likes below.
Day and Night
I love both routines — day and night. Both are really special and important in their own ways. If it’s morning, my routine depends on the day. Sometimes I’m super rush-y. More mornings are like the rush-y ones, but sometimes I have time to luxuriate. I definitely have oily skin, and I’ve been prone to breakouts.
At the beginning of my career, I didn’t know what was going on. I was under the camera and under hot lights, and that definitely did not help. I didn’t have any skin experience. My mother wasn’t a big beauty type of girl. She’d just say, “Here’s a wash, here’s a lotion, now go about your day.” I had to try a lot of different things, from makeup artists and other experts I’ve met, and it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I figured out, “Oh, this is how people do this.”
For creams, I’m really excited about the Keys Soulcare Transformation Cream because it doesn’t clog you up or make you greasy. I’m launching this line because I love the idea of easy and doable rituals that we can bring to our lives. I find that these routines, along with meditation every morning, give me a center and a calm.
I also love the Epicuren Propolis Sunscreen. It’s quite heavy, though.
I recently met Tiffany Masterson, who founded Drunk Elephant. We ended up finding out we have similar thinking and connected over our stories. She’s so D.I.Y., which is so awesome. She has a tinted sunscreen that’s so lightweight.
I really like the Chanel Le Volume waterproof mascara in brown. The color is called 27 Mirage. In general, I like a lot of Chanel makeup products.
I’m big, big on scents and I’m big on incense and I’m big on candles. As an artist, I’m always lighting candles and incense in the studio. That’s why, as part of the first offering of Keys Soulcare, we have the most gorgeous candle. It’s sage and oat milk. There’s something about creating the space around you with scent that contributes to the creative process.
Scent is deep in the meditation practice as well. If you burn sage, you purify the space. And bringing that into the self-care routine is very powerful. When getting ready or unready at night, a great part of that is lighting a candle and setting an intention.
When I think about lighting the candle, I think, “I shine at full wattage.” That’s a big thing I’ve been thinking about personally — not holding back and just being completely bright and brilliant and bold. I love that mantra.
I also like scented oils — lavender or eucalyptus. If it’s for the bath, I’ll drop about eight or 10 drops of essential oil in there. If it’s on my skin, I’ll put a little bit on my finger and just do pulse points. I get mine at Whole Foods, and then there’s the Young Living brand. Their oils are really amazing, and I order them online.
I go crazy with my bath. I go bananas. There are these amazing bath boxes from Mama Medicine, which we are going to work with for Keys Soulcare. The founder, Deborah Hanekamp, she’s a beautiful artisan. She’ll fill the box with rose petals and certain crystals and certain oils and different incense.
Then she’ll give you a menu of what you need to do to release tension, or if you’re feeling depleted, how to restore yourself. During this time, with everything feeling so crazy, the bath is such a restorative place.
Actually, one of the most beautiful things about this new normal we’re living through is that it’s obviously not so much about the external. It’s so much more about the internal. With my hair, I’m enjoying the simplicity of it all. I’ve never worn more ponytails in all my life. Also, I definitely wear my hair out and curly and natural a lot.
I use a lot of different things. There’s a new brand by Gabrielle Union and Larry Sims — he’s my hairstylist — called Flawless. I use their items because they’re quite simple and also really good. I also like Ouidad because the products are rich. My hair is very curly, and if I’m wearing it curly, the more hydrated the better.
I love a good hair mask — I have one by Gotu Kola. Most of the time, I’m lazy and don’t dry my hair. If I do use a blow dryer, I use it with a diffuser attachment.
Making Time for Self Care
I got one of those Theragun massage things. It’s partially terrifying. You look at it and it looks like it’s going to hurt. It does hurt a little, bit but then doesn’t.
I love face rollers. I’ve been doing them for quite a while. Mine is an obsidian stone. It feels so good using stones and crystals in my life. For me, it’s a big part of what feels good. I love to call the energy I’m looking for toward me. Lord knows we need good energy.
I also have an LED light. It’s very portable. It’s almost like a book and you open it in front of your face. It’s called Dpl II.
Diet and Fitness
There are so many accessible online ways to work out now. I enjoy my meditation, but the fitness side of my routine makes me feel clearer and more in my element. Otherwise I might be moody and not want to create.
Taryn Toomey’s the Class is awesome. I also work out with Jeanette Jenkins, who’s called the Hollywood trainer. She does a whole lot on Instagram, and if my kids are at the park and they’re playing basketball, I’ll pull out her IG and do a few minutes of it.
I don’t eat meat. That’s how I’ve been since I was a kid. I don’t do dairy. I do a cheat day, though. I try my best to save it all for Sunday. It really helps. By the time you eat all the things you want on Sunday, you don’t want it. It’s too much.
I try not to go totally bananas. If it’s something I want, I eat half of it. The other day my friend, who is from Mexico, she brought me over pan de muerto. It’s basically butter and sugar on bread. Me, I’m a bread fanatic. Why did you bring me this? Don’t you know it’s hard for me? So I just told myself to have half.