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Alicia Keys encourages makeup-free life after photo shoot

FILE - In this March 23, 2016 file photo, singer Alicia Keys performs in Seattle. Musician Keys and others met with President Barack Obama to discuss ways they can continue the White House's My Brother's Keeper initiative and spur criminal justice reform in the U.S. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON – What started as a photo shoot for an upcoming album has turned into a movement: singer/songwriter Alicia Keys is embracing a makeup-free life.

In an essay published on Lenny Letter earlier this week, Keys expressed her frustration with the expectations women face daily regarding their appearance.

TONIGHT. Don’t miss @aliciakeys performing on @nbcthevoice at 8pm ET! #voiceresults

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“Before I started my new album, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of,” Keys wrote. “And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect.

“One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you’re plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked. All of it is so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible.”

When the star arrived on the set of a photo shoot for her upcoming album, she had just come from the gym. She was wearing no makeup, a sweatshirt, and a scarf under a baseball hat. That’s when the photographer told her they had to start shooting, she said.

“I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!” Keys recalled.

“It was just a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately relating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic circulating. And I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt.”

Keys wrote that she hopes that other women will follow the #nomakeup movement and embrace their natural beauty.

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