R&B singer Alicia Keys has made headlines over the past year for her strict make-up-free policy, hitting red carpets, concerts and TV shows with a refreshingly bare face.

However, it seems the star's no-frills look takes a lot more effort than you might expect - and actually involves the use of a bit of make-up.

'Dotti', a one-name make-up artist to celebs including Keys, revealed a few trade secrets in a new interview with W Magazine and outlined the singer's intense daily skincare regimen.

"Alicia gets regular facials, does acupuncture and she eats healthy and exercises," says Dotti. "She knows you have to invest internally for your skin to look great externally. It's about the choices she's making and the products she's using. It's the work of a good team."

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Among the treatments Keys uses to get her skin looking so good: applying cucumber pulp to the face, regular use of face masks, oils for rehydration, and a rather painful-sounding treatment involving ice.

Alicia Keys speaks onstage during the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards at Madison Square Gareden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. Photo / Getty
Alicia Keys speaks onstage during the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards at Madison Square Gareden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. Photo / Getty

"Right now, we're doing a lot of ice work to tighten skin, bring the blood to the surface. To basically give it the pop that you need," Dotti told W Magazine.

"I stick a jade roller in ice, so it's basically freezing when I roll it over her skin. I really, really work into all those areas where I want blood and water and energy brought to the surface."

Alicia Keys performs fresh faced in Times Square on October 9, 2016 in New York City. Photo / Getty
Alicia Keys performs fresh faced in Times Square on October 9, 2016 in New York City. Photo / Getty

And for anyone who thought Keys' still-stunning 'make-up free' appearances were too good to be true, you'd be right: there is some make-up involved, just not the layers usually applied to a celeb before they step in front of cameras.

"Compared to the world of makeup, there is minimal. She's already powerful to look at, with those amazing Cleopatra-shaped eyes, and now we get to see them!" says Dotti, who admits that she fills her client's brows, enhances her freckles, applies self-tanning serum to her cheeks for glow and takes away shine using a matte powder.

Singer Alicia Keys backstage at the MTV Europe Awards 2001 in Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany. Photo / Getty
Singer Alicia Keys backstage at the MTV Europe Awards 2001 in Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany. Photo / Getty

In an essay published in Lenny earlier this year, Keys explained that her 'no make-up' look simply stuck after a photoshoot in which the photographer asked her to pose barefaced.

"I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt," she wrote.

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"I felt powerful because my initial intentions realised themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself!

Portrait of singer Alicia Keys wearing more makeup in New York, 2001. Photo / Getty
Portrait of singer Alicia Keys wearing more makeup in New York, 2001. Photo / Getty

The universe was listening to those things I'd promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that's how this whole #nomakeup thing began."

She said she hoped to start a revolution among women, writing, "I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."

Thinking about you and sending you love!!

A photo posted by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on