Alicia Keys is not only beloved for her Grammy-winning voice, but also her relaxed, soulful vibe that radiates every time she addresses a crowd on stage. Now, the singer-songwriter enters the beauty space with Keys Soulcare, a collection of eight skin-care and self-care products that focus on the mind-body-spirit (and skin) connection. On a recent Zoom meeting, Keys shared what inspired the brand, the message she hopes to project and her thoughts on each “offering.”
“At its core, Keys Soulcare is really about knowing that you are enough,” says Keys. “And that’s something I’ve also personally struggled with too. Always looking for validation and people’s opinions—do they match with mine, and if they do, then that’s OK, but if they don’t, am I brave enough to stand on my own? And self-care, which, to me, is also self-love, really has always important to me and now I think I understand it more. We want Keys Soulcare to be a destination where we can all embrace our light, our power, we can connect deeply, we can laugh, we can share. This is what we’re building. We are calling and bringing together those who bring energy, who bring individuality, who bring light into the darkness, and who are warriors of light—I love that, you know what I mean, because there’s a lot we have to fight for, ourselves first.”
One thing unique to the brand is that Keys doesn’t want to call the products “products.” Instead, “I like to call them ‘offerings,’” she says. “I don’t resonate with the word product very well. I don’t personally want to sell you a bunch of things. I want us to be building and growing and creating together. I want us to find things that are enhancing our wellness and reminding us of who we are and who we want to be.”
The first offering is the Sage + Oatmilk Candle ($38), which Alicia created with the help of perfumer Catherine Selig from Takasago. “I’m big on rituals. I always feel like I’m looking for them, and I don’t feel we actually have enough rituals built into our lives. That’s why I’m very fascinated by Ancient cultures and native cultures. To me, candles are a big part of a ritual that’s easy to create. It starts with just lighting a candle and making an intention. That’s so powerful in itself. The scent of this signature candle is me in a bottle. It has a smoky, calming warmth from the sage and also a clarity, which I’m always looking for. The oatmilk helps to soothe the mind and body and has a sweet, nutty fragrance. I’m all about the kind of woodsy, nutty fragrances as I create music, in my studio, wherever I am. I feel like scents are a beautiful way to bring an energy to you.”
Each of the Keys Soulcare offerings also has a powerful mantra attached to it, written by Keys herself. “It’s something you can read daily that you can hopefully say out loud. I’m a big big believer that we have to speak what we want. We’ve got to say what we want, even if we don’t feel it, we don’t believe it, we don’t know it. Otherwise how is anybody going to answer you if they don’t know what you want. On the candle, it says ‘I shine at full wattage.” We have to remind ourselves to shine—no dimming down, no holding back. On my new album Alicia, I have a song called ‘So Done,’ because I’m so done with dimming down.”
To create the skin-care offerings, which Keys says is at the heart of her beauty routine, the singer teamed up with dermatologist and cofounder of W3LL People, Dr. Renee Snyder. The first product is the Skin Transformation Cream ($30), which is also available in a fragrance-free option.
“Who doesn’t want to transform? That’s what we’re here to do—we are here to constantly grow and constantly transform,” says Keys. “But, creams are scary to me, I’ll be honest. You give me a random cream and I’m like ehhh because our skin is such a delicate thing and our largest organ, and it’s going to take in whatever we put on it. And because I’m terrified to try something new, I’m sure you might feel the same way, so we worked a long time to really make this one was not only beautiful and really hydrating but also thin and very simple. When you put it on, you feel great—it doesn’t feel like a grease effect, which I like on my body, but not on my face.”
The cream features ceramides, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and also bakuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative. “This is a skin-loving moisturizer that calms, nourishes and brings radiance,” Keys says. “It has ingredients that I trust—obviously it’s from a dermatologist. I didn’t have a dermatologist very early, but later on I did recognize that I needed some assistance.” The mantra for this offering is: “I welcome all circumstances as a catalyst for change,” which Keys stresses is a mantra we all need right now as we’re experiencing so much change in the world, especially due to the pandemic.
These six products currently round out the collection, which is available at both ULTA and keyssoulcare.com, but Keys says there will be more to come:
Obsidian Facial Roller ($25).
“I’ve had a lot of fun exploring rollers,” says Keys. “I love the feeling of this on my skin. It’s wonderful for congested-prone skin, which I do have, and many of us have. It can relax the facial muscle tension and reduce the appearance of puffiness. You can use it with the cream—I also love to put it in a bucket of ice and use it in the morning. And all the powerful properties stones offer, too. This is bringing you wellness and goodness.” The affirmation connected to the roller is “I am strong, capable and unstoppable,” which Keys recommends saying as you’re using the roller in the morning to start your day.
Golden Cleanser ($20)
“I love it, love it, love it. It purifies, soothes and nourishes your skin and spirit. It smells amazing. It’s light and beautiful. I love the consistency—it’s not too super foamy, but it feels really good and makes me feel like my skin is clean. Our mantra for this one is ‘I am devoted to this moment.’ I feel like as we find these moments to pamper ourselves, even in the smallest way like washing our face, we can be devoted to the moment and not rushing to the next one.” The cleanser contains manuka honey, which gives it its golden hue, as well as detoxifying turmeric, and chamomile.
Be Luminous Exfoliator ($22)
“This exfoliator is so gorgeous. It’s a light powder, and once you put the water to it, it becomes creamy and then completely dissolves. The microgranules buff away the dullness but it’s not stripping. It’s so gentle and nourishing. It’s so gentle, it can be used daily. The mantra for this one is ‘I am layered, complex and divine.’ This speaks to me because it’s part of what I’ve been recognizing in myself is that there is this complexity to us and all of that is divine; we don’t have to be just one way or one person or one attitude. I think that’s a beautiful reminder as you brush it all away.” Formulated with antioxidant-rich Japanese hojicha powder, mung beans, oats and lactic acid, the exfoliator helps brighten skin with each use—Keys likes to use it two to three days a week.
Harmony Mask ($28)
“This mask is a whole vibe. When I put this mask on, my son will look at me and say, ‘Mommy, can I try it?’ I love a very beautifully strong mask. This mask is full of goodness. It’s the smell of sandalwood, it’s creamy, it’s rich, it detoxifies, it balances, it nourishes. Sometimes when my skin is not cooperating and really wants to drive me crazy, I will definitely put on the harmony mask and it starts to just get me right. The mantra on this is ‘I walk in my own strength.’” The manuka honey in the mask draws in the moisture while the charcoal draws out the impurities, oil and debris.
Comforting Balm ($12)
“We have to take care of our whole selves, which is why I knew we needed body care in the line as well. When I tell you, no BS, my serious favorite product is what we’re calling the Comforting Balm. It can be used all over the body—it quenches thirsty skin anywhere and the vanilla fragrance is amazingly yummy. I love it on my eyelids, I love it on my elbows and I love it on my lips. It feels good and lasts a long time. There’s nothing worse than putting on some lip ointment and three seconds later, you have to put it on again. So annoying. This is not that. The mantra is ‘I surround myself with things that are good for me.’ That’s a good reminder because sometimes you know we get tripped up on that.” Camellia seed oil, Rose of Jericho and avocado oil deeply hydrate dry skin, and the balm can also be used on the ends of the hair too.
Reviving Aura Mist ($22)
“I’ve been using face mists for years and I love them. I love it to end a routine or to refresh during the day. I knew I needed a mist to be part of the collection. Spray it around you or directly on your face—it brightens you up; it opens your third eye to a clearer sense of self. It smells like rose and I use it every second I can. The mantra is ‘I am free as the air.’”