Wednesday, May 25, 2022




We live in an age where baked under eyes and overlined, Kylie Jenner-esque lips have become the prevailing trends within the beauty industry—or perhaps, the standard. With the internet serving as the fountain of inspiration for makeup and beauty looks, it is easy to lose ourselves in the extravagance found all over Instagram’s Explore Page. The bold and detailed looks we find on social media are a form of artistry all on their own, but it is easy to start to wonder, Am I supposed to be wearing this much makeup all the time? Or any at all?

When considering whether or not to glam up or bare our natural skin, one person should always come to mind: Alicia Keys. In 2016, Keys went public with her decision to abstain from wearing makeup in her personal life, as well as to public outings, concerts and television appearances. 

In her essay entitled, Alicia Keys: Time to Uncover,” she details her relationship with the concepts of beauty and perfectionism in ways that we can all relate to. As she touches on the difficulties of conforming to normalized standards of beauty while growing up, she reminds us of when, why and how we began our relationship with makeup. Fueled by her newfound confidence and power, Keys writes, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” 

Thus, the #nomakeup revolution was unleashed. Just four months after Keys published her powerful essay, the hashtag garnered over 12 million tags, and presumably millions more since then. Sounds like she had the right idea, huh?

That’s what we thought … until we read Untamed. In Glennon Doyle’s New York Times best-seller, she recounts a story:

“A few years ago, Alicia Keys announced to the world that she was done wearing makeup. She said, ‘I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles… Nothing.’

That’s it, I thought.

A while later, I read an interview with Adam Levine. He said that while they were filming a show together, he poked his head into Alicia Keys’s dressing room. She had her back to him, and she was leaning into the mirror, putting on lipstick.

He smiled and said, ‘Oh! I thought Alicia doesn’t wear makeup.’

She turned around, looked at him, lipstick in her hand.

She said, ‘I do what the f**k I want.’ That’s it.

Need we say more?

We revisit the questions: Am I supposed to be wearing this much makeup all the time? Or any at all?

The answer is simple: yes and no. The fact of the matter is, whether you choose to wear makeup or not is all about personal preference; it’s about how you feel, how makeup makes you feel. You are entitled to own the same kind of power in full glam as you own in nothing but moisturizer and SPF. No one—not even 12 million hashtags or Adam Levine himself—can tell you how to look. 

If you ever are considering the notion of “to makeup or not to makeup,” just remember the wise words of Alicia Keys. Unsure of which ones I am referencing? Exactly.

Chelsea Jankowski Fashion Contributor
Chelsea is currently a senior at the University of South Carolina studying Retailing and Fashion Merchandising. Her hobbies include daydreaming about New Jersey bagels, her beloved dog named Dory, and listening to SZA. Her goal is to one day open up her own part-bridal, part-vintage boutique and to also get paid to watch The Office.