Kelly Rowland On Highlighter Hacks, New Music, and Taking Care of Her Heart

The music legend shares her health and beauty wisdom.

Kelly Rowland

@kellyrowland / Design by Cristina Cianci

Our series The One Thing is a Sparknotes version of the products, rituals, and moments your favorite celebrities and influencers swear by—their go-tos, must-haves, and can’t-live-withouts. So go ahead—take a brief, intimate peek into the lives of your favorites through the things (and people, and moments) they hold dear.

If I were to break down the legendary success of Kelly Rowland, it would come down to a few things. There's her powerhouse voice that croons from club-bumping dance music to soaring r&b ballads and back. There's the artistry, which isn't always synonymous with being a singer—she creates, writing her own songs, a book, starring in films and shows, and developing projects. Her work ethic, of course, is unmatched which is evident to anyone familiar with even a fraction of her credits. But nearly every interview I've ever read with Rowland, every profile, every fan page or Wikipedia entry always highlights quotes from other artists who speak specifically to her kindness. Her warmth, her eagerness to help the next generation, to share her knowledge and lend support, to use her platform and resources to lift others up, often in dire situations. And the rest, as you know, was... destiny.

These days, Rowland is as focused as ever. Her new EP, entitled K and released a month after giving birth to her second son, has just six tracks but each manages to be its own tentpole: from the hauntingly sparse opener "Flowers" (my personal favorite) to the bouncy, infectious "Crazy", to the high-energy celebration of Black excellence in "Black Magic." Rowland's also working on something else close to her heart, albeit a bit more literally. With the American Heart Association, Rowland takes to Instagram Live on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. EST in a "Heart To Heart" conversation with the singular Tina Knowles-Lawson about women's heart health and how it specifically and disproportionately affects women of color.

Here, Byrdie speaks exclusively to Rowland about her favorite quick makeup hacks, new music, and the cause closest to her heart.

The One Thing You Wish You Had Infinite Amount Of

I feel like I have an infinite amount of love, so I'll say money! I'd be able to help so many people right now. It's like if it's not one thing, it's another right now, you know? It's COVID, it's kids, it's a lack of food, it's bombings happening over seas, it's so many things going on. You can't throw money at everything but it sure would help most things. For now, it would be money because I'd definitely help so many people in Texas right now, for sure.

The One Song That Never Fails To Make You Dance

Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe! [LAUGHS and SINGS] Poiiison....

The One Product You Have To Have In Your Purse

I'm gonna say Aquaphor—wait, no! What am I thinking, it's sanitizer! Myself and my son have eczema and [Aquaphor] seems to help it.

D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain Spray Hand Sanitizer $30.00

The One Thing You Wish Women Understood About Heart Health

I remember someone saying to me that it's like a silent killer because not many people really check in to see what's going on with their heart all the time. It happens slowly, whether it's the buildup in the heart, stress. You swear that you have everything under control and that everything is going fine but it does sneak up on you. And the next thing you know, something happens. For me, it was losing my mom to a cardiac arrest. I'll never forget how sudden that was and how it took her away from this earth, away from me and my brother. It just really sucks. And I just want women, but specifically women of color, to understand how we actually lead the numbers when it comes to it killing women, It's a silent killer.

The One Thing You Wish You Wish You Could Tell 13-Year-Old Kelly

I would tell her how smart she is. I would tell her how she is one-of-a-kind and unique. I think at 13, you're thinking about the world and it's view on you, and if you fit in, if you're good enough, if you look good enough, if it's cool enough. I would encourage the 13-year-old Kelly to not give a...! [LAUGHS] I wouldn't say that word specifically but I would definitely say it doesn't matter what other people think. You move to the beat of your own, and you don't have to worry about what anyone says. It doesn't even matter, you shouldn't even care.

The One Makeup Look (If Any!) That Makes You Feel Most Like Yourself 

With a little bit of concealer, blush, and a nice nude lip. But I still love to put a nice bronzer down the center of my nose to highlight it. [For fragrance] I love roses, period. I always have rose on.

AERIN rose perfume
AERIN Rose de Grasse Perfume $240.00

The One Product Your Skin Can’t Get Enough Of

Moisturizer! I need moisturizer, period! I just turned 40 and...shit is real! [LAUGHS] So I just want to make sure my skin is being properly moisturized. I'm really moisturizing under my eyes, all around my eyes, and around my mouth. Definitely trying to keep it youthful around here [LAUGHS]. I like a bunch of different ones and it definitely depends on the season and what in particular my skin needs, because I have to switch things around often.

Blue tub of moisturizer
MAKEP:REM Hydrate Me Micro Tension Moisturizing Hydration Cream $30.00

The One Recent Project You’re Proudest Of

My album! My EP that's out right now, K, I'm so proud. It feels good to put out music and your fans are excited. And random people are texting me, other artists are texting me like, "Yo, I really love this EP right now!" So that's a really good feeling when you get love from your peers.

The One Beauty Tip You’ve Learned That Makes the Biggest Difference In Your Routine

Oh, water. I know it sounds really ridiculous but water. I'll notice a difference in the way my makeup sits or just my skin, period, by drinking water. In my eyes, you know what I mean? Drinking water for sure. I'm going to say it.

Kelly Rowland is teaming up with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement and going live on Instagram for a ‘Heart to Heart’ conversation with the one and only Tina Knowles-Lawson on February 24th at 6 pm ET. Tune in for more information on preventing heart disease.

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