When we talked about Gabrielle Union joining Alicia Keys‘ #NoMakeup movement last week the response was “meh” at best, with many of you noting in the spirit of Rico from Paid in Full, “Women leave the house without makeup every day B.” Still, for a woman in entertainment whose face is spread across TV screens and billboards on a regular basis, Alicia’s move to go natural was a pretty brave one. But now it’s come out that the singer’s move may not be as brave as some once thought because Alicia’s definition of no makeup isn’t quite as literal as we once believed.
W magazine recently interviewed the woman behind Alicia Keys’ no makeup look, a makeup artist named Dotti, and it turns out that on top of the expected facial treatments and products used to keep the 35-year-old’s skin glowing like it does, her face isn’t exactly au natural.
“While Alicia rides her makeup-free wave, Dotti is there to keep the natural look looking, well, good,” W mag reported. “She might fill her brows with individual lashes or enhance her freckles with an Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer. She’ll give her cheeks a warm glow with Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti-Age Serum or curb shine with Mally Ever Colour Poreless Face Definer Mattifier.”
While I agree with Dotti regarding this routine that, “Compared to the world of makeup, there is minimal,” minimal and none are not one in the same. So foes that mean Alicia has duped us with her whole “movement”? Well, yes and no.
As many of you already pointed out, there wasn’t much need for this personal decision to be made into a global movement. While Alicia may have felt like she was hiding behind the mask of makeup, that spoke more to her personal insecurities, as she pointed out in her Lenny Letter on the matter, than the use of makeup by woman at large. And since that sense of hiding was the catalyst for the #NoMakeup movement, Alicia should’ve been equally transparent about the fact that even in realizing that she’s used makeup as a crutch to feel good enough, she is still only able to cut back on makeup rather than cut it off altogether as she works through her self-esteem issues. The world would’ve still respected — and took notice, since that is likely what this movement is about anyway — if the singer simply said she’s feeling more natural these days; hence the toned down look. But when you declare it’s “Time to Uncover” and you’re still covering somewhat, the motivation for the declaration comes off just a bit disingenuous.
But there have been times when Alicia has completely forsaken her glam squad, like during the shoot for her latest album when she noted “My face was totally raw.” Sure, we’ve seen women, black and white alike, do this before, but it still makes a statement when a person in the spotlight who’s subject to scrutiny even after being nipped, tucked, primped, polished, and photoshopped decides to let the world see them as they truly are. Yes, you may step into your cubicle every day with nothing but Burt’s Bees on your lips to keep them from cracking, but that’s not the same as exposing yourself as you truly are for the masses to critique beyond a quick Snapchat or filtered Instagram post.
Yes, Alicia Keys should have been a little more honest about what “no makeup” really entails for her at this stage in her life. But should her effort at loving herself more naturally be discredited just because she adds a little bronzer to her cheeks every now and then and fills in her brows while performing or hosting The Voice? I think not.