I Tried Alicia Keys’ New ‘No-Makeup Makeup’ Products—Here Are My Honest Thoughts

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Alicia Keys is known for her less-is-more approach to beauty. She stopped wearing makeup in 2016 after she says she became "addicted to it," but has slowly begun to reintroduce it into her routine in the years since—this time, though, she's doing it in a way that works for her, and is bringing that ethos into the latest launch from her brand, Keys Soulcare.

This month, she expanded her namesake skin-care line (which launched in 2020) to include a brow gel, lip balm, cream blush, and complexion brush—which she's calling "MakeYou" instead of "makeup." If the brand's initial products were meant to help you achieve your best skin ever, these new additions allow you to take your look to the next level... and have a little bit of feel-good fun while doing it.

"The beautiful thing about being a human is that you get to choose how you want to rock," Keys said at a launch event in early May. "Sometimes you wanna be a little more, sometimes you wanna turn it down, sometimes you want to turn it up. And that's what the meaning of MakeYou is all about. That's the reason why these Keys Soulcare skin-color hybrids are such a beautiful moment. Because honestly for me, this is so special because it signifies my freedom. It signifies that on my own journey, I've learned that I get to define who and what I want to be. And so do you."

Keys Soulcare's four newbies pair beautifully with the line's preexisting Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum ($26) to deliver a gorgeous no-makeup makeup look (Keys modeled it herself on the 2022 Met Gala red carpet). The idea is that instead of using foundation and concealer, you can enhance your natural skin with the serum and then use the MakeYou products to add a little oomph.

When testing out the goodies for myself, I took a page from Keys' book and kept my look au natural. I skipped my standard complexion products, and simply used the blush, brow gel, and lip balm along with a little bit of brow pencil and mascara from my own collection. Though I don't typically wear much makeup, this routine was still far more minimal than what I'm used to, but it still left me with a subtle glow and flush of color.  Keep reading for my honest thoughts on each of the products in the line.

Using Keys Soulcare MakeYou for a no-makeup makeup look

Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum — $26.00

This serum serves as the perfect glowy base. Apply it as the serum step in your routine and allow it to fully dry before going in with your moisturizer and SPF—I find that this helps prevent any shimmery splotches. I love the blurring glow this gives my skin, but wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a foundation alternative. It enhances my skin but doesn’t provide any coverage, meaning my (minimal) dark spots from old pimples remain on full display.


Keys Soulcare Soft Stay Brow Gel
Keys Soulcare Soft Stay Brow Gel — $15.00

Next, I tackled my brows. Although I can appreciate the just-gel look, I have a deep attachment to a fuller-looking brow. So first, I used my Kosas Brow Pop Pencil to lightly fill my brows before fluffing them out with this gel. It lives up to its name, providing a very soft hold. Like most brow gels, this isn’t gonna make your brows unmoveable—pull on a tight shirt after application and you’ll see that your brow hairs have moved downward. But, with care, this gel will allow you to shape your brows and keep them in place.

Keys Soulcare Sheer Flush Cheek Tint
Keys Soulcare Sheer Flush Cheek Tint — $22.00

I used the shade Sensual to add a deep berry flush to my cheeks. This cream blush is made with sunflower oil, meaning it’s super moisturizing. I love how effortlessly it melted into my cheeks, delivering a natural flush of color that didn’t look like “too much” on top of my natural skin. Plus, it’s buildable so you can get as much pigment as you like.

Keys Soulcare Natural Flush Complexion Brush
Keys Soulcare Natural Flush Complexion Brush — $18.00

One of the perks of using cream beauty products is that you can easily apply them with your fingers. However, I find that applying cream blush with a brush allows me to get more even coverage, so I was really pleased to see that this brush was a part of the MakeYou collection. It’s small yet fluffy, which provides nice control while putting on the cheek tint.

Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm
Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm — $18.00

I instantly fell in love with this tinted lip balm. Even with the most moisturizing lip glosses and sticks, I feel like I need to apply a bit of Aquaphor to really nourish and soften my pout. But, this balm treats my lips while it tints. That’s because it’s made with a blend of deeply moisturizing camellia seed oil and avocado oil. I used the berry hue Inspiration to complement Sensual on my cheeks. The formula is buildable, and with it, I’m able to get much more pigment than tinted lip blams usually allow.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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