I spent all last week furious with Grammy-winning recording artist Alicia Keys and my husband (R) – for the same reason.
No. They didn’t have an affair.
If R had an affair with Alicia Keys I would be deeply sad but also very impressed and somewhat jealous. It would be an incredibly conflicted emotional time in my life. Right now I’m not conflicted, I’m mad.
Neither Alicia Keys nor R have to wear make up.
Alicia Keys is no longer wearing make up on purpose. She wrote a letter about it in Lenny Letter (Lena Dunham and Jeni Konner’s e-pub). R never wore make up and will never have to because he is a man.
I, on the other hand, am not a man or a woman blessed with the skin of Alicia Keys and so I wear make up. Every single day.
I try to wear as little make up as possible because that’s my preferred look. This is only because I don’t know how to do any other kinds of looks. If I could do whatever kind of look the Kardashians are doing every day I would obviously do that. We would all obviously do that. Those woman are millionaires due in large part to the way they apply their foundation. I, however, am not a millionaire because my personal make up skill level only includes light liquid foundation, bronzer I’m 75% sure I’m putting in the wrong places, mascara that always always always ends up smudged under my eyes and some form of lip gloss. I prefer Baby Lips by Maybelline because it promises what we all subconsciously want for our faces – the lips of a baby.
This is the process if I’m going to, say, Target. If I’m going to a business meeting there are seventeen more items and twenty seven additional steps, but this post is already getting long and also I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than an hour writing about how mad I am that my husband and Alicia Keys don’t have to wear make up.
But back to that because as I dug more into this #nomakeup Alicia thing, I got angry for a different reason.
In the Lenny Letter where she takes her #nomakeup stand, Alicia references her song “When A Girl Can’t Be Herself”:
In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem
This made me assume that A. Alicia Keys also uses Baby Lips by Maybelline and B. Alicia Keys has absolutely perfect skin like my husband.
Like I said, R doesn’t wear make up because he is a man, but he doesn’t have to because his skin is excellent. It’s a nice color and doesn’t have pimples or scars from old acne or pock marks or red zones or oil in strange places. His self esteem and skin are in no way connected. Never does he look in the mirror and think ugh gross but also thank god I can fix this with make up. So I guessed Alicia Keys was in that same boat. Make up was just this annoying thing she had to wear to be conventionally beautiful by magazine standards.
Regular facials. Expensive serums. Acupuncture? Clean eating. Exercise. This is all directed by a skin care specialist named Dotti. Think of her like a personal trainer but for your face because that’s what she is:
“Right now, we’re doing a lot of ice work to tighten skin, bring the blood to the surface. To basically give it the pop that you need,” she says. “I stick a jade roller in ice, so it’s basically freezing when I roll it over her skin. I really, really work into all those areas where I want blood and water and energy brought to the surface. It brings her skin to life, it practically makes her skin say, ‘Hi. I love you.’”
Next: Hi, I love you Dotti. I love you because you made me go from being mad at Alicia Keys and my husband for the same reason – their God given genetics – to being mad at my husband for genetics (and being a man) and Alicia Keys for being rich and also lying to me.
Yeah, she’s right, the make up industry is a shit show of lies and marketing tricks reinforced by the media, which is a shit show of lies and lies. But isn’t going make up free and then spending the equivalent cost of a ton of make up to make your natural skin look perfect its own kind of lie? Isn’t your serum and your acupuncture and your Dotti just another way of covering up my self esteem? Can you technically cry damn the Maybelline man and then spend hundreds of $$ a month on other, fancier stuff?
The answer is: you can do whatever you damn well please. This is America (at least for the next few days) and all of the options are on the table. Make up. No make up. A ski mask.
But what you can’t do – as far as I’m concerned – is start a movement about being comfortable in your own skin, literally, and then change your own skin with money and experts and time.
The Alicia Keys #nomakeup movement isn’t about real skin being beautiful. It’s about perfect skin being beautiful. I don’t see the difference between that and what Maybelline is selling me, except for the fact that one includes the lips of a baby and one does not.
I would love to be comfortable in my own skin. I would love to not wear make up. Unfortunately I have shitty skin and can’t afford to get it to perfection. So what am I supposed to do?
Stop listening to what celebrities tell me and live my life.
Cool. I’ll work on that.
(But I will absolutely not stop watching The Voice. #TEAMALICIA)