Is Alicia Keys the Best Ambassador for #nomakeup ?


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We have all seen or heard that Alicia Keys has been showing up to all sorts of events and shows ‘without’ any makeup on the last few weeks. She even wrote an infamous Lenny Letter about her journey to no makeup-land and why she’s taken such an interesting (some might even say important) stand on makeup. This was very much a feminist viewpoint with a lot of her letter relating to women’s issues in society. As a woman, I could relate to a lot of what Alicia said in her letter especially, about women and how we feel about ourselves vs society. I wholeheartedly agree, that we as people need to find ourselves and live our truth and not focus so much on what the mainstream deems as beautiful. The question on my mind though is if Miss Keys is actually living hers?

To play devil’s advocate… it is a bit interesting that Alicia Keys always seemed to wear quite a lot of makeup prior to this revelation. It’s not as if she was wearing natural looks like Gigi Hadid does. She for the most part wore glamorous makeup looks with killer eyeliner and she looked fierce! Her star in the industry in recent years, however, has seemed to fade and some of us had forgotten about the musician until #nomakeup popped up all over the internet. Coincidentally, she does have a new album coming out and wouldn’t you know it… the no makeup revolution came from the photography that was created for her new release. Forgive me if I don’t seem surprised.

But, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say this is just a coincidence and she truly has come into her own as a woman. Let’s say she is being genuine about taking the mask off to reveal her true self. In that case I’d say, ‘Own it!’ However, owning it and making it into this big publicity stu-, ahem, ordeal are a bit different because in reality Alicia Keys is a wealthy, beautiful, famous person. She is not the 16-year-old girl with acne. She is  not the woman with melasma. She doesn’t even have dark circles or bags under her eyes. She is the standard of beauty that she attacked in her letter. She can afford to be, even without makeup. Referring to makeup as a mask has this undertone of pretension which, was likely unintentional but, is there nonetheless.

Not all women are hiding behind makeup! Many women wear makeup for fun and enjoy being creative and/or trying new looks. Women also use makeup to enhance their natural beauty and play up their favorite features. Makeup is also used as a very important tool in the entertainment industry. And sometimes women just wear makeup to go to a nice event like say a party or an award show because it’s nice to dress up. Turning the act of wearing makeup into a feminist submission to men and the media seems a bit contrived especially, when you consider that men also wear makeup for events and when being filmed. It’s done out of necessity just like wearing a swimsuit to the pool or cleats for a baseball game.

“…that photographer pulled it out of her to create this beautiful representation of how Alicia was feeling inside and it matched her music on the album…”
Here is the best/worst part! According to Dotti, Alicia Key’s makeup artist, her face is not completely bare after all! Again, forgive me for not being surprised. Dotti puts a skin tint on Alicia and sometimes blush. She even cuts false lashes to fill in her eyebrows! Amazing! So, this no makeup look is really the product of two talented artists, one with cosmetics and one with a camera. The photographer, in particular, saw the natural beauty of the R&B singer and talked her into a raw beauty shoot which, is where this all began. That would be a much better story to hear! That a photographer saw something in Alicia that she didn’t see in herself at the time and that photographer pulled it out of her to create this beautiful representation of how Alicia was feeling inside and it matched her music on the album so, she was then inspired to make this change. That’s a story we can all get behind but hey, Alicia Keys did not ask me to write her Lenny Letter for her, now did she?

Makeup really is a tool and not a mask. To all of you lovelies out there, I hope you know that it’s wonderful to wear whatever, look you love and feel good about! If you love Instagram glamorous makeup like Kim K. or if you like just a layer of moisturizer (with SPF!) or you fall somewhere in between, own it and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. That’s real confidence, if you ask me.

Look like you’ve slept all night! (Even when you didn’t)

In addition to makeup artistry, I work for a cosmetics company and it’s no secret among my friends and family that my schedule is busy and every day is different. Today I was up at 3:00 A.M.  This leaves me feeling and looking tired on occasion. I’m sure a lot of you ladies out there can relate to this… at least the tired part. I do have a little secret for at least, looking like you’ve slept, even if you haven’t. It’s super easy and takes less than 5 minutes and the best part is you don’t need a single tool!


Use a Beauty Balm to even out skin tone and give it some added benefits. There are a lot more benefits to a BB cream than a tinted moisturizer. Most have anti-aging, SPF, moisturizer, etc.  There are a lot of great ones on the market so find one that works best for you. Or send me a quick message and I can guide you.

wakeupb3This second step is crucial… use a concealer or corrector in the inner corner of your eyes and anywhere you have darkness. If you only have a little darkness you can get away with using a flesh toned concealer that is a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. A good option for really dark or tired looking eyes is to use a peachy corrector or something in the orange/red family. It sounds scary and weird but I promise it will work and you will love me for it. 🙂 You can use a concealer brush if you’d like but when I’m going for a natural look I just use my ring finger.

ALWAYS use your ring finger when applying products to your eyes. It is your weakest finger so you will do less damage and cause fewer wrinkles.
wakeupb4We are almost there ladies (and gentlemen if you’re reading, also) the last step. Woot! Woot! Put some mascara on! Mascara is one of my favorite cosmetics. I rarely leave home without it on my lashes. It can really make your eyes pop and has such a big impact for such a simple product. Just one coat will work for this natural look. For a little added drama you could opt for a fiber mascara which is the next best thing to lash extensions.
That’s it, you’re done! 3 easy steps to looking like you’re not exhausted. I hope this helps but don’t forget to get some quality sleep in there too! And drink lots of water. They are the best cosmetics you can get and they are both free.
Let me know what you guys think! And keep the beauty questions coming, I love it! Find me on Instagram @makeupbykalai for more looks and quick tips.
Thank you so much for reading!



The People -v- Marcia Clark

Did you watch the FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story? I’m a little behind the general public but I just finished it and it was really, really good! We were so young when that trial happened so, there were a lot of issues that were lost on us back then. The FX series brought up a lot of important issues that are still very relevant today but what really stuck with me was the treatment of Marcia Clark.


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Who is Marcia Clark?

If you aren’t familiar, Marcia was the lead attorney for the D.A.’s office during the O.J. Simpson murder trial. She was working in a male dominated field with and against tough, smart men. I know what you’re thinking… she sounds like a badass!

Well, that wasn’t what was portrayed back in the 90’s. Marcia was constantly criticized for doing her job well. She was called many names including ‘bitch’ simply, because she was a woman killing it at her job. Not only that, she was ripped apart by the media and the American public for not fitting into their standard of beauty. Her hair was a constant topic of ridicule. Her clothing choices were poked fun at, on various Fashion Police like, shows. It was undeservedly mean!

The saddest part of the story is that not a whole lot has changed since the trial! Beauty is incredibly relevant in U.S. culture today. I work in the industry and it’s a BIG industry! With Instagram and Snapchat becoming HUGE, people see women in a disturbing new way. There is this sort of faux-perfection that girls seem to be striving toward. The current standard of beauty is so high that it’s actually unattainable in real life. Why? Because, you can’t walk around with an Instagram filter on your actual face…

There is some good news!

Many famous women are starting to not only take notice of this silliness but they are taking a stand against it. Women like Beyonce who makes music to empower women and has an all female band and staff or Cate Blanchett who called out a cameraman for focusing on her body asking him if he did that to the men. Movies are also putting women in strong roles. Leading roles where they are the heroine and are not portrayed as bitches. They are seen as strong and beautiful! Disney did this with The Force Awakens and it was inspiring! The future is getting brighter for us, ladies!

“We need to celebrate individuality and the beauty in that.”

While the media has become a sort of whipping boy for the way we view modern women the reality is that we, as women, need to step up. We need to stop criticizing each other. We need to celebrate individuality and the beauty in that. I love to do makeup however, I encourage you to wear it for fun! I love makeup because it is a creative outlet for me but I also love natural beauty. That is what I want for you too! You do not need to spend an hour contouring your face to feel beautiful. If you are doing that it isn’t even your face anymore! I encourage you to find your own style! The important thing is to be healthy and happy and when you are both, you will radiate beauty.

Oh, and Marsha is fierce! Don’t you think?