Keys Soulcare review: Why Alicia Keys beauty line might surprise you

Keys Soulcare is no ordinary celebrity brand—our beauty editor explains why

Keys Soulcare
(Image credit: Keys Soulcare)
Woman & Home Verdict

It's easy to be cynical about celebrity brands, but Keys Soulcare is a rare gem with bags of authenticity. The formulas and packaging punch above their price bracket, and as long as you're down to get a bit deep and meaningful in your skincare routine, there's little not to love here

Reasons to buy
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    Effective formulas

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    Beautiful textures

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    Classy packaging

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    Great value

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    If the idea of 'rituals' puts you off

Keys Soulcare is the beauty and lifestyle brand founded by iconic music artist Alicia Keys. After many social media teasers, the first product drop in 2020 won much acclaim from beauty fans and industry insiders who praised the clever formulas, chic packaging and ethos of offering "rituals" rather than straight down the line cosmetic products. 

If your usual stance on celebrities trying to get a piece of your skincare routine errs on eye-rolling, we hear you. Show us a beauty editor who isn't a brand snob and we'll show you a unicorn. But as well as hearing you, we'd also say, listen up, because Keys Soulcare could just change your mind: This range very much sits within that higher echelon of celebrity brands that have forced an industry about-face on those prejudices. 

Thanks to brands like Victoria Beckham Beauty and Fenty (Rihanna's billion dollar empire that engineered one of the best foundation launches of the last decade) the space once occupied by sugary teen fragrance is now held by smart, entrepreneurial women, as adept at knocking out the best mascara as they are a tune that gets every generation dancing at a wedding. 

Likewise, Keys Soulcare is not your typical cynical celeb machine; it feels like a well thought out collection from a founder who cares. 

Want to know more? Here's why Key Soulcare should be on your radar.

Keys Soulcare—our beauty editor's review

Packaging and first impressions

True story: On blind-testing Keys Soulcare for our w&h Skin Essentials Awards, I was convinced that it could only be one of those hyper-expensive cult brands you usually find locked behind a glass cabinet in snooty concept stores. 

Why? Well, firstly, the gender-neutral violet glass packaging is beyond beautiful. It's weighty, chic, and not obviously touched by the hand of fame. The composition of the range also feels super considered. This is a tightly-edited collection, offering everything you need without superfluous trend-baiting products. 

Can you blame me for assuming it had been masterminded by a beauty industry insider rather than brilliant music artist? Well yes, you probably can, considering the clue is quite literally in the name. In fact, once you know Keys Soulcare is the brainchild of Alicia Keys, it also becomes obvious that this is one of those rare examples of celeb beauty that truly represents its founder. 

After all, this is the woman who took a public break from makeup as a riposte against oppressive beauty standards. This is also the woman behind some of the most soulful anthems of the last two decades (try listening to No One without getting chills). Ethically it’s A-list too, with cruelty-free formulas and contributions to charity partners. 

What's in the range?

Fittingly, Keys Soulcare is all about the feelings, with every product described as a “soul nurturing ritual.” Translation: it’s an absolute joy to use. Think body care with highly sensorial textures and fragrances, gentle yet effective skincare and hand-poured aromatherapy candles.

The first drop included just three products: the Sage + Oat Milk Candle, Transformation Cream and Obsidian Facial Roller. Kicking off with a ratio of two offerings for self-care moments versus one traditional skincare product feels like a statement of intent. This brand wants you to feel good on the inside, as well as look good on the outside. 

“We’re so busy all the time that I don’t think we create these small rituals for ourselves,” explained Alicia. “When I’m able to create that space for myself I feel more beautiful, more powerful, more possible. That’s Soulcare.”

Soon more skincare followed, created with highly respected dermatologist Dr. Renée Snyder (opens in new tab). These days there's a whole regimen available including, but not limited to, a facial cleanser, exfoliator, serum, multitasking balm, nourishing mask, and even an aura mist. 

The formulations strike the right note between being sensorial and natural-leaning but also effective. This means we get active skincare stars like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and niacinamide, blended with natural heroes like soothing manuka honey in the Golden Cleanser, avocado oil in the Comforting Balm, and bakuchiol (a plant-based retinol alternative) in the Transformation Cream. 

Most recently, body care arrived in a typically considered fashion with just three products: a body cream, oil, and wash—all with the 'I can't believe it's not pricier' textures and scents you would hope for, and all in gorgeous bottles that you would be proud to show off in your bathroom.  

The best Keys Soulcare products

Keys Soulcare Be Luminous Exfoliator

A fine powder exfoliant that works into the most gorgeous creamy lather. It combines the physical exfoliator with lactic acid, a gentle skincare acid (opens in new tab) to leave skin peachy-soft and glowing.

Keys Soulcare Sacred Body Oil with Marula

Baobab, jojoba, and marula oils offer spa-like nourishment for the skin and hair with a pleasant, non-overpowering aroma.

Keys Soulcare Comforting Balm

An ultra useful pocket-sized balm that works on lips, cuticles, ashy elbows, and anywhere else that needs to be deeply nourished. It smells floral and feels buttery-rich thanks to avocado and camellia seed oils. 

Keys Soulcare Sage + Oat Milk Calming Candle

This ticks all the boxes you would want from the best scented candle (opens in new tab). Most importantly it smells incredible, sort of warm, sweet, and lightly smoky. It also looks the part, burns cleanly, and is hand-poured from vegan soy wax.

Keys Soulcare Promise Serum

Niacinamide is an unsung hero in skincare and works on everything from skin texture, tone, brightness, and collagen production. This slippery serum combines it with moisturizing glycerin (opens in new tab), soothing snow mushroom, and Vitamin C for gentle yet noticeable skin improvements.

Keys Soulcare Skin Transformation Cream

A brilliant all-rounder formulated around bakuchiol (a natural alternative to the best retinol creams (opens in new tab)) It also contains replenishing ceramides and hydrating hyaluronic acid. Kudos for creating fragranced and non-fragranced versions so sensitive types aren't left out.

Keys Soulcare Body + Soul Starter Set

This would make a beautiful gift for anyone who wants to luxe up their body routine. Including the Body Cream, Body Oil, and Body + Hand Wash, everything smells incredible, nourishes the skin, and looks the part too. 

Keys Soulcare The Meditation Ritual

And this would make a perfect self-gift in times of stress, combining the Comforting Balm, Sage + Oat Milk Candle, and Reviving Aura Mist with Rose of Jericho. Think of it as many, many spa retreat moments for a very small fraction of the cost of visiting an actual spa. 

Keys Soulcare Obsidian Facial Roller

We're used to seeing facial rollers in jade or rose quartz, but Ms. Keys cleverly created this one in obsidian. As well as looking ultra-beautiful and feeling refreshingly cool on the skin, this stone is said to "block negative energy and clear psychic smog," if you're into that kind of thing.

Fiona McKim
Fiona McKim

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.