While Kesha has gone through several transformations over her past 10 years in the spotlight, her free spirit and overwhelming positivity remain constant. Her newest album, High Road, is a celebration of going out, feeling every feeling to its fullest, and being unabashedly herself—and her recently launched beauty line, Kesha Rose Beauty, is a similar love letter to individuality.
“A lot of times beauty goes hand in hand with looking like you’re photoshopped, or you’ve been run through four different filters,” the singer tells Glamour. “I wanted to put out my own line that challenges the societal standard of beauty and really embraces people’s uniqueness.”
We caught up with Kesha to chat more about her beauty line and ask her our Big Beauty Questions, a rapid-fire Q&A on everything from the best getting-ready music to the products celebs can’t live without. Ahead, she talks Zoom concerts, how she’s staying sane in quarantine, and her sheet-mask addiction.
Glamour: Why did you decide to start a beauty line?
Kesha: I’ve always loved playing with makeup, and ever since I started putting out music, makeup—along with fashion—has been a huge signature of my style. It’s something I consider myself an expert on at this point because I’ve had pretty much any kind of makeup you could ever have on your face on my face. I’ve used prosthetic glue to stick just about anything you could think of to my face. I love pushing the boundaries of how you’re supposed to use different beauty products. I try to reinvent them and really just blur the lines of what you’re “supposed to” look like. I wanted to put out a makeup line that was playful, fun, and wild, yet very wearable. It’s expressive, bright, and fun.
You performed in Lady Gaga’s Global Citizen Festival a few weeks ago and have been doing some live performances over Zoom as well. How has it been getting ready for these virtual performances? Is it any different than your usual routine?
It’s been very different in terms of performances in every possible way. Usually, when you’re performing, you’re feeding off the energy of the other humans in the room. While in quarantine, I’ve been doing my own hair and makeup and my own styling, which I have all of the tools for. I just usually have some help putting it all together. Before I do a TV show, usually anxiety is running high and it’s a lot more chaotic in a fun way. But now isolation has made me learn how to use all of the different products I have—plus, it’s made me have to figure out how to get them to translate on camera, which has been interesting. For instance, putting on fake lashes. I tried, I tried my damnedest, but it just did not happen.
You must be in such a different headspace than your usual performances.
It’s an incredibly different headspace than my normal performances, but I also just want to do anything I can to help right now. I’m obviously not a doctor or a nurse—I wish I could be that helpful right now. Instead I’m trying to think of the ways I can hopefully bring some amount of joy or escapism. I at least want to be entertaining for somebody out there if they’re feeling anxious or weird. I know I’m going through waves of all the different emotions, so to have some kind of escape, something to watch or listen to, has been super helpful for me.
What music have you been listening to to keep your spirits up?
The past week I’ve been listening to David Bowie pretty much predominantly. I’ve always loved him, but right now I’ve been hyper focused on everything about his music—the songwriting, the delivery, the production. He was one of the best songwriters and performers of all time.
Have you been tempted to make any drastic beauty decisions while in quarantine?
Well, thankfully, I already gave myself an at-home drunk mullet a couple of months ago. It was a weird, spur-of-the-moment decision to dye my hair black and chop it, so I think I’ve already done the most extreme thing I can think of. But I have been going through all the makeup I collected over the past 10 years. I’ve never had the time to sift through everything, so I’ve been sitting on the floor and experimenting with it all. And I’ve been dyeing my eyebrows with beard dye. So that’s some weird life hack that I’ve been doing while in quarantine. It’s amazing—it really works!
What beauty rule do you swear by?
I don’t think there are any rules that are across the board for everybody. But for my own face, I love a feral eyebrow, which is why I wanted to try dyeing my brows and am thankfully happy with the results. I feel put together when my eyebrows are just a little wild and dark and feral-looking. I just like my face better that way.
What beauty rule do you think is B.S.?
Well, I think any rules when it comes to beauty are B.S. because everyone is different, and that’s what makes people interesting to look at, especially when creating. When shooting the promo photo [for Kesha Rose Beauty], I wanted to make sure that all of the makeup was used “incorrectly,” because I think anytime someone gives you a rule you should question it. I don’t think beauty is definable, especially not by anybody other than yourself.
What are the three products that you can’t live without?
I have a lot. I do a collagen sheet mask almost every night, especially in quarantine because I have more time on my hands than I’ve had in the entirety of my life. I’ll use any brand, like the 99-cent ones with kitty faces on them, or I save the 111 Skin ones for before a red carpet. I have a brow palette that I use almost every day, and I put clear gel on top of that. I love Chantecaille Future Skin for foundation, which while in quarantine I’m not really doing much of, but I use that when I need a little more coverage, or I’ll use Hourglass Illusion Skin Tint when I want my freckles to show more.
I really do actually wear my black liquid eyeliner; it’s very precise and it doesn’t move. One of my pet peeves is liquid eyeliner that smudges, so I spent over a year making sure this eyeliner doesn’t budge. I’ve gone swimming in it, I’ve slept in it, I’ve worn it onstage and on the red carpet. I can really stand behind it.
Where do you find inspiration when it comes to beauty?
I find it everywhere and in so many different people and in really unexpected places. A lot of the colors in my eye shadow palette are inspired by nature, the reds and the oranges and pinks are inspired by sunsets. And then of course Bowie, Cher, and a lot of Brigitte Bardot for the eyeliner. I really wanted to think specifically about that iconic look and make makeup that I thought someone like Bowie (or Cher or Brigitte) would’ve worn.
I’m just such a nerd for the makeup I put out because I spent so much time on it and I’m just really proud of it. I love that the intention behind it is all about making people feel good and happy and comfortable in their own skin—and not about beauty standards that are created by society. It’s really about creating your own version of what beautiful and confident looks like. I find that the end product is somehow more joyful when you go into it with that attitude.
Do you have a dream collaborator for your music?
On my album High Road, one of the most insane collaborations was the song “Resentment” with Sturgill Simpson and Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys, and my friend Wrabel. It was the kind of collaboration that dreams are made of. For each record I throw ideas out into the universe and just see what comes back. I would love to collaborate with so many different people. I love Sam Smith so much and I obviously love Keith Richards and Mick Jagger if I’m going classic, or Brian Eno. It totally depends on the era.
Who are some of the women inspiring you the most right now?
I’m inspired right now by every single person I see who is working to help fight the virus. I have a friend in Nashville I grew up with who is a nurse at a nursing home. She’s been caring for people, some of whom are COVID-19 positive—I check in with her almost every day. Anyone on the front lines right now is where I’m finding such a beautiful side of humanity. The selflessness and the vulnerability of us all is bringing out a really beautiful side, where we’re seeing people help each other and be there for each other. I want to do anything I can to help support those people and have them feel loved and appreciated.