“What’s Soulcare?” a promotional video for Alicia Keys’ then-upcoming Keys Soulcare platform and skincare line requested final September—and rightly so, as a result of I, for one, needed solutions. In any case, “self-care” is a a lot talked-about however in the end elusive and extremely subjective idea—and likewise an overused one as we’ve scrambled to carve out moments of peace in a previous yr of chaos. With self-care already an eyeroll-inducing phrase, “Soulcare” mainly obtained a lifeless stare from me once I first heard about it final fall.
“Once we give ourselves area to decelerate and breathe, that’s soulcare,” learn the tag on one in all its movies. “Once we mild a favourite candle, hook up with the second and simply be, that’s soulcare, too.”
Decelerate and breathe? Who has the time? Of course, Alicia Keys—she of the “no makeup-makeup” and Earth-mother vibes on 10—would launch one thing super-esoteric like this. Nonetheless, a part of my job is to cowl and overview Black-owned and based magnificence information, and a 15-time Grammy-winner (to not point out one other 14 nominations) placing her title and face on a magnificence model is nothing if not newsworthy, so, when the Soulcare staff reached out to let me pattern a number of merchandise from the model’s preliminary launch, I agreed to take action with gentle curiosity, however low expectations. C’mon…the kind of skincare Alicia Keys can afford is certainly out of my funds—and subsequently, seemingly not going to suit into the beautiful cheap price-point of those merchandise ($12 – $38 for particular person merchandise; $93 to $165 for Soulcare’s “Ritual” bundles). That, and the truth that Soulcare positions skincare as turning our “routines into rituals.” I imply, I suppose.
Okay, so I used to be lowkey and preemptively hating. Perhaps I do want a time-out.
Timed with the January launch, a field arrived at my door bearing a group of smaller bins and boasting “Critical Skincare + Soul Nurturing Rituals,” together with a be aware from Alicia which learn:
We’re so busy on a regular basis that I don’t assume we create these small rituals for ourselves. Even the 2 minutes it takes to clean my face—once I’m in a position to create that area for myself, I really feel extra stunning, extra highly effective, extra doable. That’s soulcare.
No matter it’s known as, I used to be admittedly intrigued as I eliminated the elegant bins from their nests. Beneath every was printed a mantra, like: “You encompass your self with issues which might be good for you” or “You might be dedicated to this second.” I imply…I’d prefer to be. Unboxing the Golden Cleanser ($20); Reviving Aura Mist ($22); Be Luminous Exfoliator ($22); Harmony Mask ($28) and Comforting Balm ($12) (the model has additionally launched a Skin Transformation Cream in fragranced and fragrance-free variations ($30), a Sage + Oat Milk candle ($38) and Obsidian Facial Roller ($25), I was delighted to search out every packaged in beautiful deep violet glass (matching the aforetalked about boxed). To date, so good; I proudly organized them on my rest room self-importance in order that they’d be on the prepared—plus, they regarded actually nice.
However how would they carry out? “Magnificence is extra about frequency and vibrations and vitality and the way you’re feeling,” Keys muses on the Soulcare site (she looks like somebody who does a number of musing). Would they make me really feel like a “Superwoman”? A “Brand New Me”? Would these merchandise acknowledge “A Woman’s Worth” and “Show Me Love”? (Okay, I’ll cease.) Just one strategy to discover out…
Following the pretty easy directions for every product, I mapped out a primary plan that concerned utilizing the cleanser every night time, following it with the exfoliator and the masks each few days, and utilizing the spray and balm…at any time when. Actual speak? Ooh, child, child, child…that spray was immediately put into heavy rotation. (Okay, I’ll cease for actual this time.) Granted, I used to be already an all-day sucker for a rosewater spray, however this one immediately leveled up my sport—the rose perfume is gloriously advanced, whereas the mist is immediately soothing and refreshing. (I do know; sounds contradictory, however it’s true.) Plus, did I point out how prettily it’s packaged? Nicely, at 3.72 ounces, it’s generously sized for a face mist, too.
Nicely performed, Keys. Nicely performed. You gained this spherical.
It’s kinda laborious to note miniscule modifications by yourself face over the course of every week, however I knew one thing was up when each my mom and The Root’s resident auntie Monique Judge commented on how nice my pores and skin regarded. Whereas I didn’t essentially see a serious distinction, I did admire that the Golden Cleanser by no means left my pores and skin feeling tight or dry—most likely as a result of it was developed in partnership with a board-certified dermatologist. To be honest, as a faithful double-cleanser, one in all my cheats was a pre-cleanse with my tried-and-true (and cult favourite) DHC Cleansing Oil (which I carry on Subscribe & Save from Amazon; $27.50) to remove any makeup or extra grime. But the Golden Cleanser was always the grand finale—and unlike my unscented oil, the Ayurveda-inspired blend (featuring Manuka honey, turmeric and chamomile) smells heavenly.
Dare I say, it might even be…calming?
Keys Soulcare isn’t the first to offer a powdered, mix-it-yourself exfoliant (fellow musician/skincare aficionado Pharrell’s Humanrace presents a rice powder-based model, as do others), however Soulcare’s water-activated Hojicha inexperienced tea powder, mung bean and oat components presents a fragile variation—so delicate that I initially wasn’t positive it was actually doing a lot, because it rapidly dissolved. Taking part in with the thickness of the paste helped a bit, however what actually drove dwelling the impression was what appeared to be a delicate but positively finer and smoother texture to my pores and skin after the primary couple of weeks. I’m undecided I can attribute that completely to the exfoliator, however based mostly on the slight new tingle I felt when making use of my nightly hyaluronic/glycolic serum (one other cheat, however longtime use has me nicely accustomed to the serum’s typical tingle), I wouldn’t say it was ineffective, simply…delicate. In brief, this can be a relationship that takes time to develop—once more, there’s ample product, so we’ve obtained time.
Okay, true confession time: I’m not likely into masks. I’ve tons in sheet and cream kind—even a peel-off or two—and I hear they do marvelous issues. However very similar to meditation or consuming sufficient water, I admittedly battle with it, most likely as a result of it feels claustrophobic—and since having to now put on precise face masks outdoors makes the concept of voluntarily making use of one indoors burdensome. Nevertheless, the onset of “maskne” on my chin made that time moot, and made making an attempt out Soulcare’s Concord Masks each an expert and private crucial. It’s a singular components, not solely infused with Manuka honey and activated charcoal, however gold foil (reportedly a favourite of Cleopatra’s, because the model reminds us). I can’t actually say I caught a whiff of the promised sandalwood scent, however I didn’t hate this. More importantly, my pores and skin didn’t.
Over the month, I attempted the Concord Masks each alone and instantly following the exfoliator (and once more, there was a tingle—insert “Girl on Fire” quip right here). While it positively dries tight on the pores and skin, the components isn’t in any respect thick or plaster-like, decreasing the standard claustrophobic side. It additionally dries down rapidly, removes simply, and made brief work of the cystic zit on my chin, serving to to cut back the nightmare to days as a substitute of weeks. In truth, my important grievance is just about the final one I assumed I’d have a couple of masks: at 1.76 ounces, I want there was…extra?
A month later, I’m able to admit that whereas I used to be completely ready to hate this line—or on the very least, be underwhelmed—it has turn into a reasonably fast and simple nighttime ritual. (Sure, I mentioned “ritual.” Ugh.) Whereas I might’ve cherished to strive Soulcare’s Transformation Cream this spherical, the extra important takeaway is that I now need to—and can, simply to know the way this skincare story ends (and figuring out me, I’ll most likely throw in that obsidian curler, only for good measure). What would I like to see from Soulcare, shifting ahead? Given the model’s religious part, I’d like to see some Earth-friendly refill choices, so we will merely reuse/recycle these beautiful glass containers, as a substitute of rebuying them.
Alicia, you don’t know my name (ha!), however apparently, we’ve obtained one thing in common (okay, I promise I’m finished—it’ll be like you’ll never see me again): In opposition to all my prior judgements and perpetually multitasking instincts, Keys Soulcare obtained me to decelerate for a uncommon 5-10 and provides myself just a little consideration, and my pores and skin is wanting higher for it, so I begrudgingly admit that I’m bought…on Soulcare.