As Keys reveals the brand's first three products – a candle, facial roller and moisturizer – she explains, "It's about celebrating the myriad of ways that we all find our inner strength."

By Jackie Fields
Updated December 03, 2020 09:25 AM
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Through her lifestyle beauty brand, Keys Soulcare, Alicia Keys is hoping to change the conversation around self-care.

In August, Keys shared that she was entering the beauty space in a unique way. And after much anticipation, and the reveal of her first product – a Sage + Oat Milk Candle in November – today Keys launches what she's dubbed her "First Ritual:" a trio of products including the candle ($38) and her Obsidian Facial Roller ($25)plus her debut skincare product called Skin Transformation Cream ($30).

With an emphasis on self-love, the products (available on both keyssoulcare.com and ulta.com) are packaged with affirmations. Additionally, the brand's website is chockfull of practices to encourage connection to oneself, and others.

And for Keys, who has publicly documented her skincare journey in recent years, it was imperative that each product be dermatologist-developed (she created them in partnership with Dr. Renée Snyder, a board-certified dermatologist co-founder of clean beauty brand W3LL PEOPLE, and cruelty-free.

"So much of what we consider beautiful comes from how we feel on the inside. And that is something that I’ve learned and now honor so much," Keys told PEOPLE ahead of the launch. Below, she opens up about her beauty journey, and what she's grateful for in 2020.

Credit: James Bailey

What was the moment that inspired you to launch your new lifestyle beauty brand Keys Soulcare?

Alicia Keys: "I think it's been a journey of coming to terms with understanding the different ways that I haven't known myself in the way that I thought I did. So much of the way the world is is you becoming who people want you to be, and fitting into the boxes created for you. I thought that I was so independent, but came to realize that I had also been trapped in those corners and those oppressions of beauty ideals and standards.

Breaking free from that and finding my path made me recognize how much toxic energy I was accepting in my life and – right around when I had Egypt, my first baby – I realized I had to get rid of that. And I think that started to open up a whole other respect for myself and a whole other understanding of just what I wanted, and didn't want, claiming my own space and demanding good things for myself.

And growing up, I had issues with my skin. So I always wanted to create something that would fix that and be good for all the other people that have issues too. But little did I know that so much of what we consider beautiful comes from how we feel on the inside. And that is something that I’ve learned and now honor so much. We're always so focused on the outer just because it's a very physical world. But how does one actually find their way to their soul and to caring for their soul? And that's what led me to this idea of soulcare."

How do you think your own approach to beauty has influenced the uniqueness of Keys Soulcare?

Alicia Keys: "I'm so fascinated with rituals, and with different groups of people that throughout time have passed them down and down and down. And I create my own rituals during the holidays to find meaning in moments that sometimes can feel quite empty. So that is definitely the spirit behind Keys Soulcare, this idea of ritual and how to access it and create these small moments for ourselves in our busy days. It's not really about a bunch of products that I want you to buy. It's about how we are caring for ourselves, nurturing ourselves, thinking about ourselves. In so many ways that's taboo, like, God forbid you think about yourself. We're just not taught how to do it, and I'd love to change that narrative."

Is Keys Soulcare for men as well as women?

Alicia Keys: "Yes. I'm raising sons, and I'm always thinking, ‘How can I make sure that they're expressing themselves? How can I make sure that they don't feel cut off from their creativity or forced to be whatever the world tells you a boy or man is supposed to be or look like?’ That happens all the time for all of us. I see it with my boys, and I definitely know firsthand that experience of these oppressive ideals that make you feel like if you're not living up to them, you're somehow not beautiful or you're somehow not successful or whatever it is.

This isn't about one specific person or one type of person. This is actually about celebrating the myriad of ways that we all find our inner strength and that beauty within us that is really unique. I love that it's so much deeper than surface."

Credit: James Bailey

Some of your products are scentless, but others have your new signature sage and oat milk scent. What does your husband Swizz Beatz think of the scent?

Alicia Keys: "He loves it. I remember the first time I was testing the candle he walked in the room and was like, ‘Mmm, that smells good.’ And I was kind of proud, so I was like, ‘That's mine.’ And he's like, ‘That's you? Yours? That's good.’ It was really exciting to get his first reaction without any heads up.

What he also said to me is that he just feels so proud of being able to watch me come into my own, and understand what feels good for me, and how I [want to] communicate with people. And that's how I feel, too."

If you could sum up what we can expect from Keys Soulcare in one word, what would it be?

Alicia Keys: "I think the word is unlimited. Your energy and how you feel is going to turn up so many notches and the beauty that's going to come from you is just unlimited. You can just expect to be more connected – on every level."

Credit: James Bailey

As we close out 2020, what are you grateful for this year?

Alicia Keys: "Even though I think we all feel like we'll be really happy to move on to 2021, I'm really grateful for what 2020 has taught me, how it has equalized the playing ground, that it has unshrouded the mystery of certain things, and just brought to light the power within us. I feel like that's what I learned from 2020: that we have this really incredible power within us to do more and be more, and claim what we want, and create what we want, and be a force, the change. And I'm really grateful for that, and I'm also grateful for the time that I've had with my family, that I never would have had before. And I would love to never lose that."

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Alicia Keys: "I'm looking forward to continuing to grow exponentially while still being able to be ambitious, creative and outrageous – and while still being able to hold onto my sense of normalcy, my sense of family and deep rooted connection.

I just feel like I'm better than ever. And I'm ready for all the blessings, I'm not afraid of them anymore. I'm not hiding them anymore. I'm not pretending like they don't exist. I am completely open, and I'm looking forward to more of that."