Essence Music Festival Headliner, Oakland native and South African beauty, Goapele, is renowned for a number of reasons. For starters, her voice is the stuff of dreams; a raw and eclectic mix of Soul and R&B, the kind of music that you listen to while tangled up in linen sheets in the peak of summer. Her’s is a sound that is holistic and close to nature, jolting, but also unintentionally and undeniably sexy. Not so ironically, Goapele’s beauty practices do not fall far from her musical disposition. We got a chance to chat with the headliner to discuss beauty additctions, vulnerability and self-love. Find out what she had to say, here!
ESSENCE: You are constantly re-defining beauty on your own terms, what would you say is your standard beauty look?
Goapele: I like to keep it clean and classic. I don’t wear that much makeup. I’ll do a little concealer here and there and apply some mascara. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day, but I try and go days without makeup just because I think it’s healthier for skin to breathe. Red carpets are a different story because it’s being photographed. I’ll usually pick a fun color for the lip like a classic matte red, and let my makeup artist, Lucia Rodriguez, work her magic. I also like MAC eye pen’s, I just feel like it stays on the best and you can control the shape. If I’m doing a smokey eye, I like to use natural shade and then keep my lip simple.
ESSENCE: And, do you have a beauty icon?
Goapele: Yes, I have three. Sade, because she’s a classic beauty; it’s simple and to the point, and her skin always shines through any beauty look. Also, Audrey Hepburn, more so because of her overall style, she’s very regal in an effortless way. And of course, there’s Lupita. Whenever I have short hair it’s important for me to be inspired by people with short hair. She looks beautiful and vibrant and confident and there’s a playful ease. She’s the perfect combination of afro-central and classic regal.
ESSENCE: Do you have a skincare regimen?
Goapele: I wash and moisturize my face in the morning and at night. If I have a show, I may even wash before and after the show. I never go to sleep with makeup on my face. At the minimum, I’m at least going to use makeup wipes to take my makeup off. I try to exfoliate once a week with Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant; sometimes I’ll mix it with my face wash.
ESSENCE: Do you have a beauty indulgence?
Goapele: I feel happy with myself when I go to the steam room and steam my face. But truth be told, my ultimate beauty indulgence is lip balm–I can’t go an hour without lip balm.
ESSENCE: What are three must-have beauty products that you absolutely have to have with you at all times?
Goapele: If I was stranded on a desert island, the first thing I would take is lip balm; that, water and coconut oil. Now, oddly, what I like is this lip balm that I get at Trader Joe’s. I’m really an equal opportunist when it comes to beauty products. For me it’s not about price or brand, it’s about efficacy.
ESSENCE: What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
Goapele: Know what works for your skin. Drink water and maintain a healthy diet because it definitely affects your skin. I feel like when I’m eating greasy food on the go or just eating poorly, it shows up on my skin. If I do have a breakout, I use tea tree oil. I’ll just stick a cotton swab in it and apply it to the breakout. I think it’s always more effective to use pure products. I’ve been using tea tree oil for years now. I also like to use coconut oil as a makeup remover. I’ll soak a cotton ball in coconut oil and then wipe it over my face. The only thing is, your skin will be oily afterwards so you have to wash your face afterwards.
ESSENCE: Okay, an off-the-wall question: what’s in your beauty bag?
Goapele: I’m one of those people that always carry a bag that’s just a little too big so I can carry things just in case I need them. I’ll probably have a Russian Red or Ruby Woo MAC lipstick, a Laura Mercier lip gloss because they stay pretty smooth on your lips; mascara; and a Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick. Every now and then for a photo shoot I’ll do lashes–usually singles.
ESSENCE: Do you have a signature scent?
Goapele: Issey Miyake. I also really like body oils; I’ll even wear an Egyptian Musk. It depends on my clothing.
ESSENCE: Name three things that you love about your skin.
Goapele: [My skin] it’s healthy, it’s pretty smooth and I’m generally comfortably without wearing a lot of makeup. On a daily basis it feels good to just rock what you have naturally- knowing that you’re enough no matter what. I also think it’s important to have fun trying different things; don’t shy away from vulnerability, it can be rewarding. Musically, I don’t want to fit into a box and style-wise I don’t want to fit into a box. I want to have the freedom to express myself as I truly feel in all aspects of my life–beauty included.
ESSENCE: Okay, last question. Do you have specific song that you listen to when you’re getting ready to go out or before a show?
Goapele: Sometimes I’ll get ready to “305 to My City” by Drake, “Drunk in Love”, or “Play No Games” by Big Sean, those are definitely on my “Ready for Show” playlist. If I need to center and focus I’ll listen to Erykah Badu and Mos Def. If nothing else, I’ll fall back on my tried and true: long showers with vocal warm-ups.