Alicia Keys Didn't Wear Makeup To The VMAs And We Are All Still Alive!!

Alicia Keys, no makeup
Anthony Harvey / Getty Images

What #NoMakeup has been doing to the country over the last week

Last week, there were many monumental moments that occurred during MTV's VMAs. Beyonce took home four awards, taking the record for the most wins in the history of the VMAs. Kanye premiered his new video "Fade" featuring Teyana Taylor in a Flashdance-esque dance sequence. Drake admitted that he has been in love with Rihanna since he was 22, amidst Rihanna's four unique and impressive performances on the show.

ALL of this craziness, however, and there is one headline that has been dominating the media since the show aired: Alicia Keys attended the event sans makeup.

Cue crash and burn dramatic music effect!!!

How dare she?! A woman leave the house without makeup on? HOW ABSOLUTELY APPALLING AND ABSURD.

Keys has actually been going au natural for a few months now. She explained in a piece published on Lenny Letter how after a photo shoot where the photographer asked to snap her picture with her face completely makeup free, she realized how concealer and lipstick were mechanisms for her to hide her true self.

"I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt."

"I hope to God it's a revolution. 'Cause 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."


So, true to her word, Keys walked the red carpet at the VMAs with a makeup-free face. While she was met with praise from many, she also received criticism from a large number of social media users.

Her makeup-less face was met with mixed responses, as shown above.

While many people applauded her for her courage to break away from Hollywood's stereotypes, many people took to social media to express how "haggard" she looked.

It seems like every other article in the last week has either been praising her, criticizing her, or flat out making fun of society's obsession with her simple act.


Keys took to Instagram to expressly state that her choice to go without makeup should not impact others.

"Y'all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn't mean I'm anti-makeup. Do you! 😘😘"

Meanwhile, what does all of this mean for us non-VMA winning mortals?

Countless articles have been written to either support the #NoMakeup movement or write about how women who wear makeup make more money than those who don't.

There have also been critiques who have noted how this #nomakeup movement is for "pretty women" alone and how not all women have the luxury of having flawless skin or dark, long lashes. And personally, I can completely understand where they're coming from.

I remember growing up that my mom would always say I wasn't going to be allowed to wear makeup to school until I was 16. And then 13 years old rolled around and I started struggling (like most teenagers do) with acne. Suddenly, I was caking layers of foundation on every single day because I was so embarrassed about my complexion. Even now, as an adult with clear skin, I have a hard time leaving the house without perfecting my looks a tiny bit.

Let me be the first to say that I am no expert on this subject. That being said, I do have strong opinions about women doing whatever the hell they want when it comes to their own personal beauty routine.

For the sake of this article, I thought I might do a little math to figure out exactly just how much money and time I spend on makeup. I think I'm pretty average when it comes to my routine (although I will admit that I splurge at Sephora more frequently than I would like). While this breakdown is obviously unique to me, it might give a little insight into how much effort many women are putting into their looks.

Talia Saville

All of this is just for a regular day of work. Add in a little lipstick or liquid liner for a night out, and it would end up being much more expensive. I easily have over $100 in lipsticks and lip liners in my makeup bag, and liquid liners don't come cheap!

I will note, however... all of these makeup items last me at least a month. Some, such as my setting spray or my Naked Eyeshadow palette, I have had since I was in college. But it does go to show how much money I am (and likely many women are) willing to spend on looking good.

Not to mention, putting this $304 worth of makeup on takes time! I would estimate I spend at least 20 minutes a day on my makeup... that is nearly 122 hours a year!

My boyfriend has long told me how he loves seeing me without makeup on. He has always stressed how sexy he thinks I look when I am natural. And I will admit, for most of my life I would never have even dreamt of allowing my boyfriend to see me without makeup.

In college I left my makeup on until the second I went to bed, just in case anyone walked in to see me. In high school, I wore makeup to the beach because I was afraid of anyone thinking I wasn't pretty enough. I don't think I have ever gone to work without at least foundation and mascara on.

I do have to say, however, that there is something liberating about going makeup free. There is something special about knowing that my boyfriend loves me for me, and not for the makeup I plaster over my face on a night out.

Personally, I know that there is no question that I am going to keep wearing makeup to work or out for drinks with my girlfriends. That being said, for a lazy Sunday at home? You can bet I'm going to rock the no makeup look and I do not care who judges me.

As for Alicia, I hope that she does whatever it is that makes her happy. For right now, that means no makeup. In a few months... who knows? She has every right to rock whatever look she wants. And I personally am proud of her for allowing herself to break stereotypes and feel confident in herself, no matter what form that takes.

You just keep on doing you, Alicia!

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