Welcome to Glam Room, our beauty destination where we put celeb-founded beauty brands to the test. As A-listers continue to launch new ranges on the regular, we’re using our beauty editor expertise to sniff out which products from the line are worth the hype—no lies, no publicists, no ads. Our latest contestant: Keys Soulcare, created by the legend, singer, and actress, Alicia Keys.
A few years ago, Alicia Keys made a bold statement, vowing to forgo makeup. Since then, her beauty style has remained dewy, barely there and all about the skin. Her brand Keys Soulcare can be described as upgraded crunchy-granola: All about internal beauty, glass packaging, nourishing the mind and soul—while adding a serum to your routine.
Initially, the brand focused on sensory, ritualistic products, like face masks, cleansing balms, and touch-your-skin-connect-to-humanity. One of their products is even called Reviving Aura Mist. (Clearly, Keys is on a spiritual plane I can’t even consider.)
It came as a bit of a shock to learn that Keys launched makeup products to join her roster of skincare and body-care products.
Even though I was taken off guard by Keys launching makeup, the products are more or less what you’d expect from the makeup-averse celeb: A cream blush, tinted lip balm, clear brow gel, illuminating primer, and a cheek brush if you prefer applying your products with a tool rather than your fingers. Think of them as products you would use on a light-makeup day. Throw in a hint of concealer, and you’ve got the recipe for my five-minute, everyday beauty look.
Sheer Flush Cheek Tint
Now, I am a confessed cream blush snob. I’ve tried most, loved many, and I more or less know what works for me by this point. This version contains hydrating sunflower and safflower seed oils to nourish the skin, but what impressed me the most was the color range. I can get behind a rosy glow, but my preferred tones are earthier and brickier, so I loved the shades Enigmatic and Undeniable. Even though they look dark in the pot, they’re super sheer on the skin. They left a nice flush–a little reminiscent of blotting a little lipstick on your cheeks. They could look a little blotchy using my fingers, so the accompanying brush is a must-have in my book.
Comforting Tinted Lip Balm
Like cream blushes, I’m also an avid tinted lip balm connoisseur. My preferred look is a glossy, ’90s brown that I can repeatedly re-apply to my front-facing phone camera like an ingenue on the go. The version from Keys Soulcare uses avocado oil to add hydration, which is an ingredient I love. Like the cream blush, I adored the shade range, which includes reds, pinks, berries, reds, and nudes—and clear, if that’s your thing. Unfortunately, for my purposes, the balm has a hydrating but matte finish when I was hoping for glossy. But if you prefer a comfortable, natural look, you should have no problems.
Soft Stay Brow Gel
Here was a classic: a clear brow gel to continue with the natural, Glossier-esque beauty line. Thanks to a combo of bamboo and hibiscus extract, it’s supposed to help nourish and condition the brows. It does what it says: sculpts the brows, gently holds them in place, and even adds volume. For me, this product missed the mark in two ways. Firstly, while I appreciate that the container doesn’t skimp when it comes to product, I find it difficult to wield a mascara-length wand around my brows. And most importantly, I don’t have brows that can be coaxed into place with a light amount of hold. I applied it in the morning, and by lunchtime, some hairs were going in the wrong direction.
Let Me Glow Illuminating Priming Serum
It always pleases me when I see a product created by an A-lister that I am genuinely positive they need and use. Since Keys is less about makeup and more about skin, it seems fitting that she would gravitate towards a glowing primer that adds a healthy sheen to the skin without globbing on foundation and concealer. This serum-like primer also uses one of my favorite skincare ingredients, niacinamide, which protects the skin from environmental aggressors while also treating breakouts. Overall, I found this primer to do precisely what it promised. It added a light sheen to the skin that made me feel bold enough to forgo any concealer.
If there were a common thread throughout Keys Soulcare’s makeup line, it would be this: all these products do what they say they will, with no exaggerations or excessive marketing chatter. This, combined with the fact that Keys doesn’t wear a ton of makeup, leads me to believe that she created products she wanted to use, which I hugely respect. Ultimately, though, the winner in this round was chosen because I have found other products that I love and am more likely to use daily when it comes to brow gels, cream blushes, and lip tints. But the Let Me Glow Illuminating Priming Serum is in a league of its own.
And yes, there are many illuminating serums and even more glowing primers. But this version by Keys Soulcare hits the gap, combining unique skincare ingredients like niacinamide, squalane, and soothing oils with the added benefit of making your skin look amazing immediately. It’s not too glittery, it’s super lightweight, contained in beautiful glass packaging, and I love how my makeup looks on top of it. Plus, I think it’s reasonably priced when adding all these factors. So if you haven’t found your perfect cream blush, tinted lip balm, or clear brow gel, I think you’ll find that the versions from Keys Soulcare are good contenders. But it was the Illuminating Priming Serum–funnily enough, the product I was most confident that Alicia herself would use (and the one that’s out of stock everywhere, figures)–that I think is the clear standout.
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