Alicia Keys, a music/TV star who has recently made headlines for starting a "makeup-free movement" — appearing (in public!!) with a bare face (perish the thought!!!!) — stars on the February cover of Allure magazine. Yes, a woman who has been heralded for pioneering the idea of going without makeup despite being famous appears on a mainstream beauty magazine. Keys's cover shot appears to be makeup free, though the magazine makes no official claims of that. So who knows, maybe she has some concealer going on. Or maybe (just go with this for a second) that's not even really the point. Maybe the focus here isn't so much whether or not Keys chooses to wear makeup — but the fact that she has the option to make that choice at all.
In fact, the series of photos in the in-book spread, photographed by Paola Kudacki (the same photographer behind Keys's famously makeup-free album cover) seems to include a range of possibly makeup-free and definitely makeup-based looks by makeup artist Dotti:
In the time since releasing her bare-faced album cover, Keys has performed and walked red carpets in little to no makeup. She also penned an essay for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's Lenny Letter explaining how she came to this anti-makeup mindset. "I don't want to cover up anymore," she wrote, linking makeup to all other aspects of her being. "Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."
But for Keys, this movement isn't necessarily about the complete rejection of makeup; it's about freeing women from the societally-imposed belief that you must wear it. In the interview by Allure contributor David Denicolo that accompanies the shoot, Keys clarifies that she's never been anti-makeup, per se. "I'm not a slave to makeup. I'm not a slave to not wearing makeup either. I get to choose at [any] given moment. That’s my right," she says. For Keys, it's all about the ability to choose how you want to represent yourself, without having to cling to societally imposed norms. "I think makeup can be self-expression," she continues. "I have no intention to shame anyone at all [who chooses to wear it]. No one should be ashamed by the way you choose to express yourself. And that's exactly the point. However, if you want to do that for yourself, you should do that."
Keys's philosophy extends beyond the beauty realm; the singer takes the interview opportunity to speak out about women's rights in general: "I am all about a woman's right to choose. I think a woman should do anything she wants as it relates to her face, her body, her health. Whatever mode of expression that empowers you, that’s what you should do. What I am not down for is this ridiculously high, unrealistic expectation about appearance that we as women are held to." In fact, Keys doesn't limit those themes just to the female experience. She applies the same principles to boys and men: "I am so annoyed at the way we force boys to be fake strong—don’t cry, don’t be soft. Let a boy be able to dance! Let a boy paint his nails. So a boy wants to paint his nails. Who cares! All these strange, oppressive ideas."
So, TL; DR: Alicia Keys has perfect skin; may or may not be wearing makeup on the cover of beauty magazine; and is a total all-around inspirational badass.