It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and Lady Gaga is swatching makeup for me over Zoom. A new clean beauty aficionado, she’s telling me about ingredients like plant squalene and hyalurionic acid, periodically holding up the back of her hand to give me a good look at the pigmented lines on her skin.
She then spots the magenta lipstick I had swiped on minutes before our call. “I’ll have to send you this lip colour because you like this colour,” she says, pointing to a shade that resembles the one I’m wearing. A week later, a box arrives containing the Le Monster Lip Crayon in Melon Matte and the Hy-Power Pigment Paint in Burgundy Shimmer, together creating a perfectly creamy fuchsia lipstick that has found a permanent place in my makeup bag.
It’s this attention to detail that has made the multihyphenate so successful. And she’s taken it to the next level with the relaunch of her makeup brand, Haus Labs by Lady Gaga.
The Grammy and Oscar winner first released her cosmetic line (then called Haus Laboratories) in 2019. But she’s been a pillar of the makeup world since long before. Much like her fashion, Lady Gaga has always used beauty as an extension of her artistry. And that passion for the craft can be seen in the reimagination of Haus Labs by Lady Gaga.
“In a lot of ways, rebranding Haus Labs felt very similar to reinventing myself as an artist,” she says. With the brand’s second chapter — which launches exclusively at Sephora today (June 9) — comes with new formulas that are high-pigment, long-lasting and, she emphasizes, *actually* good for your skin.
And while you might want to recreate her trademark winged liner, Lady Gaga wants to be clear that these products — which span from lipsticks to highlighters to saturated creamy paints that can be used anywhere on your body — aren’t about emulating her image. As is sometimes the case with celebrity beauty brands, Lady Gaga isn’t selling herself in makeup form. “We’re here to help you unlock who you are,” she says.
Below, Lady Gaga chatted with FASHION about how her artistry is tied to Haus Labs, learning her makeup skills at the drugstore and when she feels most beautiful.
Constant reinvention has been such a pivotal hallmark of your career as a musician, but was it nerve-wracking to rebrand Haus Labs? Did reimagining Haus Labs feel different from entering a new era as an artist?
As an artist, you’re always trying to push the boundaries of who you are. When I started as the founder of this company, my knowledge of beauty was much more limited to my own sense of artistry…and my own experience as somebody that used to go to the drugstore and figure out how to mix things to make my makeup look beautiful. Once I spent a couple of years learning not just about the beauty industry but about the formulation process and where there were opportunities for innovation, that’s really what pushed me to where we are today.
You’ve been a beauty expert and arbiter since debuting as an artist, but what has the process of reimagining Haus Labs taught you about makeup that you didn’t know?
What it taught me about makeup, and this informed where we are today, is that a lot of makeup is made with really dirty ingredients. It’s not good for your skin and it’s not good for the planet. [My team and I] really thought about how to go beyond what the industry standards of “clean” were. We’ve removed 2,600 ingredients from our products. We like to say at our company that we’re the future of clean makeup, and that’s the thing that propels us every day. How do we explore the art of clean? How do we find interesting, innovative, futuristic formulas?
[Two] of my favourite things that we’ve made are our Power Sculpt Velvet Bronzer and our Bio-Radiant Gel-Powder Highlighter, because they’re both talc-free [a clay mineral commonly found in makeup] and they are infused with fermented Arnica [a homeopathic herb], which is our proprietary complex.
When I think of Lady Gaga, I think of a wing — big or small, solid or sparkly — but a wing. Does winged liner carry a transformative power for you?
Winged liner, for me, was always transformative. It’s something that I wore all the time, probably since I was 17 years old, to feel artistic, to express my creativity, to be imaginative. But I also think that however you want to wear your eyeliner, whatever is uniquely you, is really special. That’s why we made such an assortment of types of applications for makeup. The bronzer can also be used as a contour. The eyeliner can also be used as a lip liner. The Hy-Power pigment paints are for your lips, cheeks, eyes and body if you want. These things are all interchangeable. I want people to feel like even if they recognize me for my cat eye, at Haus Labs, we’re here to help you unlock who you are.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Gosh, that’s a hard question. I think I feel the most beautiful when I’m feeling happy. When I’m feeling happy, I feel creative and I get to be imaginative with my makeup. I had a really fun time getting ready to talk to you today because I was so excited to discuss this makeup. I feel so happy with how far we’ve come as a company, and I’m excited for people to experience clean makeup in a way that doesn’t compromise performance. We’ve gone through hundreds of iterations for every single product and we’re finally here. I’m feeling beautiful today because I’m feeling happy.
With files from Sumiko Wilson