Even Alicia Keys isn't immune to the toll 2020 has taken on almost everyone. On a recent Zoom with Elite Daily, Keys softly says, "Wait a second, Gen Gen," before briefly stepping away with a smile as her 5-year-old son Genesis repeats "Mommy!" and tugs on her arm. If anything, this confirms that for her, too, the lines between home as a relaxing safe haven and home as a daycare, school, office, meeting room, and place to launch your own business are blurred as ever. You could argue Keys' Keys Soulcare, a lifestyle beauty brand conceived out of a need for self-care and during a period when feelings of purpose are scarce, couldn't have come at a better time.
"I think, sometimes, in the skin care space and in the beauty space overall, [beauty] can become very superficial or very physical," says Keys. Keys Soulcare is Keys' means of filling the market with something meaningful at its core. "I want to feel fulfilled. I want to feel purposeful," she says. "I want to feel like there's a reason behind what I'm doing, and I like it when those things nurture me on a different level, as opposed to being only physical."
With Keys Soulcare, meaning comes in the form of an online community dedicated to soulful communication, self-affirming mantras accompanying each product, crystal-infused formulas, and offerings developed around rituals and routines. You can purchase Keys Soulcare's offerings separately, but Keys' first-released items comprise the first "ritual," centering on transformation. Light the Sage + Oat Milk Candle ($38, Keys Soulcare) while setting an intention, massage the Skin Transformation Cream ($30, Keys Soulcare) into your face, and power down with the Obsidian Facial Roller ($25, Keys Soulcare), meant to expel negative energy.
"We sought out ingredients that were true to [Alicia], and we sought out to make products that were never included in skincare. Within the transformation cream is malachite," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Renée Snyder, who worked with Keys Soulcare to develop its offerings. "It's a very powerful crystal that Alicia mentioned at our first meeting and has been used since the ancient Egyptian era to help clean and heal the skin. Malachite is packed with copper, which has such fabulous anti-radical properties."
Sometimes, a self-care ritual for Keys can be as simple as a brief moment of solitude, intention, and skincare, and she's developed a rolodex of rituals that carry her through challenging times. "My rituals are on multiple levels. I have my way deep, I-really-need-to-pull-myself-out-of-the-rut meditation ritual, which takes an hour, an hour and a half," says Keys. Her offerings are intended to mimic those moments in life and provide solace, escape, or relief.
Over the years, something as simple as "precisely and immediately" verbalizing her feelings has become one of her more surprising rituals. "I used to be like an internalizer, and [I'd] internalize and internalize, and then, three years later, I'm so pissed off, and I can't even put it into words anymore," she says. "If something strikes me in my gut, I identify it, and I say it right away." In turn, verbalizing and self-expression have become things Keys frequently practices in her household, particularly with her sons Egypt, 10, and Genesis. She says she wants them to feel comfortable expressing their true feelings with kindness above all else. "I speak pretty openly about how I am disgusted with how society treats boys when they want to express themselves," says Keys.
She did so in a November 2019 video on Instagram recalling a conversation she had with Genesis, who went with her to the nail salon and asked for a rainbow manicure. After, Genesis told Keys he didn't want the manicure anymore, saying, "People are not gonna like it." At the time, Keys was shocked. "He's 4 years old. 4. And he already understands the concept that someone's going to judge him because he chose a rainbow color on his nails," she said in the video.
Through rituals like positive self-talk, reassurance, and space for self-expression — tenets of Keys Soulcare — Keys hopes her sons can experiment with beauty however they feel comfortable. "If they want to paint their nails or put on a shiny shirt or put on a freaking shiny skirt — whatever they want to put on — let them put it on without labeling people with all these judgments and assuming something's wrong with them or they're somehow deformed or defective," she says.
According to Keys, her sons have taken to her emphasis on soulcare, spirituality, and self-care well. Maybe a little too well. "Sometimes, I see [Egypt] use it against me. It was time to go back to school, and he was all, 'Mom, I just really don't think I want to go back to school ... I just, you know, my spirit is telling me that I am not ready to go back to school,'" says Keys. "I said, 'Your spirit? You're going to drop the spirit on me?' ... He was good, but when he said, 'My spirit is telling me,' I was like, 'That's what I get.'"
Keys is keenly aware that what works for her (and her sons) won't work for everyone. So if verbalizing your emotions sounds like a ritual from your personal hell, don't discount the power of a simple bath. According to Keys, a little Epsom salt from Rite Aid, some rose petals, and a little essential oil make for a restorative moment. "I think water is very transformative," she says. "It's such a conduit, so [it's] another place that's beautiful to release things."
Spend enough time releasing the bad, and Keys is sure what you exude will be beautiful. "I think that beauty is when ... you're just drawn to this aura, to this spirit, to this undefinable thing," says Keys. "I think that's the purest form of beauty."
Shop the offerings in Keys Soulcare's first ritual below:
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