Dua Lipa on the Makeup You Need For Her Anticipated “After-Hours Album”

I love to go to a city and just walk around, and most of the time I can go about unnoticed,” Dua Lipa says on a recent afternoon in downtown Manhattan. That seems plausible enough in New York, where concerted nonchalance is a point of pride. But the pop star’s new video for “Training Season,” the latest song to drop from her still-unnamed third album, offers a hyperbolic glimpse of a high-profile life. In the video, she sips tea in a cafe crowded with onlookers. Outside on the sidewalk, passersby press up against the window, camera phones in hand. Before long, the room starts to spin, the frenzy of attention whirling around the unflappable redhead at the center of it all. That dye job, which Lipa debuted last fall, has complicated her incognito mode. “I really love the change,” she smiles, “but I think having dark hair [made it] much easier to blend in.”

These days, Lipa is particularly hard to miss. At this month’s Grammy Awards, she teased her upcoming album with a dance-heavy performance of the first two singles. For the BAFTAs, she traded Barbie pink (the color of her mermaid wig in Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster) for screen-star red—after all, Lipa is fresh off a turn in Matthew Vaughn’s spy romp, Argylle. Today, she makes another splashy appearance: half-submerged in water for her inaugural campaign as YSL Beauty’s global makeup ambassador. The new role builds upon her ties with the brand, whose fragrance, Libre, she has fronted since 2019. “Because of the amount of time that we’ve spent working together, the team really knows me and what I’m down for,” says Lipa. “And what I’m down for seems to be a lot—whether it’s with me walking in a desert in nine-inch heels at the edge of the Grand Canyon, or this, where they’re like, ‘Do you want to get in a pool and do this fully clothed?’ I’m so down for an adventure.”

Lipa describes a character shift between her work with Libre and now with makeup. “The cosmetic side has such a different kind of story to the lead woman,” she says. “[It’s] a bit more hyper-feminine, but quite tough at the same time.” The same could be said about Lipa’s persona as a musician, and a keen observer might notice synergy at play. The silver bullet in hand in the YSL makeup campaign—an instant-hit formula called Candy Glaze Lip Gloss Stick—also makes a cameo in Lipa’s “Training Season.” (The tawny shade she reapplies mid-video is called Nude Pleasure.) Here, the 28-year-old discusses the makeup mood for her next album, how red hair shifts her style, and what the next decade holds.

Vanity Fair: When we spoke in 2019, you shared that kohl eyeliner might best capture the spirit of your then-unnamed “dance-crying” album—what we later came to know as Future Nostalgia. With your third album ahead, what makeup might best accompany it?
Dua Lipa: Less of everything, because it’s an after-hours album. If you’re going to go out dancing, I think a lipstick and some mascara and just get sweaty. That’s the vibe.

Your song “Houdini” implies a disappearing act. Are there times that you find yourself disappearing into a beauty transformation?
I love a strong eye or a strong lip, or accentuating features in different ways for different events—having a story to tell with every look, for sure. But for my everyday, I have a very simple, set routine. I know how to do it. It’s foolproof. It takes me 15 minutes. First thing’s first: shower, wash my face, face cream. Then it’s probably the [Touche] Éclat concealer and brown lipstick—the shade 15 Candy Glaze, a really easy, nude-y, shiny, everyday look. Maybe mascara. If I don’t put mascara on, I definitely curl my lashes. Oh, and blush. I love a little blush on the bridge of my nose and on my cheeks. It gives me a bit of sun kiss. And then I’m pretty much out the door.

When you think about Yves’s own era, is there someone from his personal circle of muses, or from the Studio 54 crowd, that serves as inspiration?
I think of Brooke Shields. When you see her so young dancing at Studio 54, there’s such a youthfulness and freedom to that. Bianca Jagger in all her glamour, coming in on a white horse, and you’re like, “Oh my God, this woman is just so herself in every way.” Both of those are on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum, but both that I really admire.

You play a Bond-style femme fatale in Argylle. How did it feel to slip into that blonde bob and get a taste of stunt work?
It was just such a different experience, you know? It was fun to work alongside actors, and Matthew Vaughn was so generous with his direction and time and everything. There was a dance bit that me and Henry [Cavill] would practice together for a while—because that’s just such a big part of my [performing life], I could kind of take that in stride. But it was just really out of my comfort zone, and I love being weirdly out of my comfort zone. I find that the most exciting thing.

On the subject of new experiences, what inspired this wave of red hair?
It was really when I was listening to the music from my new album. I don’t know—there was just a warmth that I felt. I was like, “Oh, I’m just going to dye my hair red.” It was really that simple. And then when I dyed my hair, I also just realized that it’s exactly the same hair color my mom used to dye her hair when I was younger. My mom always had reddish, purpleish, dark autumnal hair.

How has the color change shaped your makeup or fashion choices?
It’s actually kind of opened me up to way more colors. I’m much more open to red-y, pinky tones that would’ve maybe been a bit harsh on me when I just had my jet black hair. So I’m kind of getting into a new color palette, which I really enjoy.

With your platform Service95, is there a recent interview or project that has stuck with you?
To be honest, Service95 really keeps me curious overall. The fun thing is, every Tuesday when we have a meeting, it’s just sitting in and being like, “I’m really interested in this. How can we commission a story and get someone to write about this?” Whether it’s about beauty standards or dating in the world of AI or biohacking. The possibilities are endless.

I did an interview with Tim Cook, and I just kind of couldn’t believe that I had the opportunity to do something that was so different but also really nerve-wracking. To be an interviewer, it’s not easy. There’s so much research and so much education and time that has to go into learning about the person. That whole interviewing experience has been really eye-opening.

In terms of biohacking, are you a wellness optimizer, or live and let live?
I think a little bit of both. I have this idea that if you think about it too much, then you just kind of get too preoccupied with things that aren’t necessary. I’m very much of [the] “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” [mindset]. But there are certain things that I think are really great, like taking a cold [rinse] at the end of your shower for just an immune response. It’s a part of the wellness world that isn’t too intense. But it’s not something that I focus on. I’m just very fascinated by it.

You mentioned the challenge of putting yourself in the interviewer chair. Has that informed how you want to approach doing press for your next album?
To a certain extent. I really love when I get interviewed long-form, so I have the opportunity to just dive into my ideas and make sense of my thoughts in a different way that maybe I wouldn’t always get the chance to do in short-form interviews. Also, over time, I’ve just become a bit more comfortable with opening up. It’s something [where] you’d get so nervous of your words being twisted or something happening, whereas now I feel really comfortable just going for it.

And in that process of talking, you wind up in places you didn’t even know existed. You uncover rooms of the house that you didn’t know were there.
Totally. I was recently doing a podcast, and I was just going so deep into something and it was making me, I don’t know, realize reasons why I did a song. It was exactly that, like I’m unlocking doors, which I loved.

Do you have a process for tapping in creatively? Do you take yourself on sabbaticals?
When I’m in the writing process and I’m in it, the inspiration just kind of comes, I think. I have so many conversations with other artists, and some people go, “Oh, if I’m not feeling inspired, I just take a break or whatever.” And I think that’s great. For me, I write myself into a good idea. I have to write a lot to feel like I’m getting to the place where I want to be, so I don’t really give myself the opportunity to not be inspired. It’s just kind of like, “Write, write, write. Something’s going to be good, something’s going to be absolute shit.” And you just have to take it.

You need a certain confidence in order to be comfortable wading through the shit.
Well, it took me a long time to get there. I used to be really, really hard on myself if I felt like I wasn’t getting to where I needed to be. Like, “Oh, I’m rubbish at this and I just can’t do it.” I just kind of realized that it’s okay. If it’s a shit day, it’s a shit day, and that’s all right. You just keep writing until you get something good.

This album and the touring cycle that will follow are going to define this last stretch of your twenties. What do you want the subsequent part of your career to include, or maybe what do you want to let go of?
I don’t know. I think there are so many career things that I still am growing into. As long as I’m having fun, I’m doing all right, you know? The second that kind of disappears, then I don’t think it matters what age you are—you just have to figure out what the next thing is. I guess I am at the end of my twenties. Everything seems to be getting better though. Like becoming more confident in myself, knowing what I want, not preoccupying myself with other people’s thoughts. I think that comes with just growing up a bit, so I’m ready for whatever is to come.

Vanity Fair – February 2024

Current Projects
Planet of the Koalaroos (202?)
Role: Vicky (Rumoured)
A live-action comedy spoof inspired by Planet of the Apes and featuring humanoid kangaroos and koala bears, collectively known as the Koalaroos and ruling a post-apocalyptic Earth where only Australia has survived and few humans remain in that land down under of Kylie Minogue, Aborigines, shrimp on the barbie, Fosters beer, and random violence...

The Cincinnati Spin (2025)
Role: Unknown
A young female reporter, recently divorced and down on her luck, gets a chance to write an article for the cover of Time Magazine, in which she finds herself becoming the very story.

Yves Saint Laurent Beauty (2024)
Role: Brand Ambassador
Dua Lipa is a brand ambassador for YSL Beauty, launching YSL LOVESHINE, their brand new makeup collection.

Radical Optimism (2024)
Dua Lipa's uncoming third studio album will be released on May 3rd.

Argylle (2024)
Role: LaGrange
A reclusive author who writes espionage novels about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate realizes the plot of the new book she's writing starts to mirror real-world events, in real time.

Service95 (Since 2022)
Dua Lipa's global platform which includes a website, a weekly newsletter, podcast, and book club.
Tour Dates
  • June 5 | Waldbühne | Berlin, Germany
  • June 9 | Arena Pula | Pula, Croatia
  • June 12 | Arènes de Nîmes | Nîmes, France
  • June 13 | Arènes de Nîmes | Nîmes, France
  • June 28 | GLASTONBURY | Somerset, England
  • July 4 | Open'er Festival | Gdynia, Poland
  • July 6 | Rock Werchter | Werchter, Belgium
  • July 10 | Mad Cool Festival | Madrid, Spain
  • July 12 | NOS Alive Festival | Oeiras, Portugal
  • October 17 | The Royal Albert Hall | London. England
  • Service95 Book Club: May

    Dua's pick for May is Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski.
    See past book club picks.
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