For years we’ve all been wondering how MC Lyte has kept the same baby face that she had when she dropped “Paper Thin” back in 1988. At the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Beauty Carnival, the entertainer shared with ESSENCE Editor-at-large, Mikki Taylor, how she has retained that flawless and youthful look over the decades.
“It’s a lot of water first off because I am prone to break out,” she said. “So it takes a lot of discipline to not eat the things that I can’t eat. Take for instance chocolate. Who can’t eat chocolate? That’s a terrible infliction upon God’s children.”
She went on the explain that she doesn’t eat ice cream because she can’t have dairy. She also can’t eat many of the dairy alternatives because she can’t eat soy either, or cashews or coconut.
“So my regimen has a lot to do with my discipline in not eating the things that I should not eat,” Lyte continued. “And if I decide, okay I don’t have to be in the public’s eye for however long, I’ll negotiate whether I’ll eat it. I’ll eat it and I’ll suffer for about two weeks trying to dissolve this pimple into nothing. Then you have a mark then you have to work on the mark. So I really weigh my options as to what I want to spend my time thinking about.”
She also explained that she washes her face thoroughly and never sleeps with makeup or lashes—in fact she doesn’t indulge in eyelash extensions so that she can “have a clean eye when she goes to bed.” She swears by a great moisturizer, and of course, uses SPF. She also avoids using oils on the face and doesn’t even use cocoa butter, an ingredient that has become a skincare staple in Black households over the years.
“I need to feel like my skin can breath and that means I need something that is water-based and that leaves my skin feeling light and airy, not like it’s covered,” she said. “And some people find protection in that but it just doesn’t work for me.”
Lyte also revealed to Taylor that she turns 50 this year alongside ESSENCE. And with age comes wisdom. For Lyte, that included the wisdom of understanding that her happiness had to come before what others wanted and expected from her. And she was candid about her openness to trying Botox and her decision to have rhinoplasty.
“I thought many years ago that I wanted to get rhinoplasty,” she said. “I didn’t have bone at the top of my [bridge]. I didn’t have cartilage so my nose kind of fell in the middle. I said I’m going to take my time with this. I found the right doctor and I was able to do it. But people were so accustomed to seeing MC Lyte with this face but I said ‘what about what I want?’”
She continued, “It’s something that I absolutely do not regret. And I think that if there’s anything that you feel like you want to change about yourself, it’s only you that has to deal with you. So I would pay it no never mind to whatever anyone else had to say.”