As someone who grew up swiping on enough mascara to clear out a tube in a single go, I consider myself uniquely qualified to review Gucci Beauty's new Mascara L'Obscur. You may've heard about Alessandro Michele's first mascara thanks to its buzzy campaign — which featured musician and Gucci muse Dani Miller's lashes absolutely coated in it. Those tuned into the fashion month circuit picked up on it from Gucci's Fall/Winter 2020 ready-to-wear collection; the show's dramatic, makeup-logged tears were created by mixing together Mascara L'Obscur with water. Either way, Gucci Beauty's message has been loud and clear: Mascara L’Obscur is for the bold.
And I have experience with bold mascara. However, you wouldn't know the punch the $35 Mascara L'Obscur packs just by looking at its tube. The first thing I noticed when it arrived at my doorstep was how pretty it is — pink, gold, and vintage inspired, like a slender perfume roller plucked off my grandma's vanity.
In the spirit of science — and to give it a fighting chance on my pin-straight lashes — I used Saie's Lash Curler on my right eye before swiping on a single coat of Mascara L'Obscur. Truthfully, I expected instantaneous volume and the clumpy, punky results of Gucci Beauty's campaign. This didn't happen. To my surprise, a single pass of the mascara looked absolutely subtle and natural on my curled lashes, as if I'd gotten low-key lash extensions.
The mascara struggled more on my left lashes, which weren't curled, clumping slightly along the base. This wasn't as shocking for my straight-lashed self, though; and if 15 seconds with a curler is my personal secret to unlocking Mascara L’Obscur's defined, separated, and natural-looking lashes, then I'm going to take that time.
Obviously, I couldn't stop with just one coat. Gucci Beauty's video campaign demonstrates the Mascara L'obscur "bold look": aka multiple passes, "re-loading the wand" each time, then applying clumps to your lashes after the first coats dry down. So, that's exactly what I did.
Is the bold Mascara L’Obscur application an everyday look? No. Did I spend the next 20 minutes taking dramatic selfies, reveling in my Liza Minnelli-level lashes? Yes. And for that option alone, I think Gucci Beauty's new mascara is well worth its $35 price — especially since I'll apply just one coat on days I don't feel like using three rounds of makeup remover before I go to bed. (Something that happened around six hours later.)
After all, flexibility is at the core of this launch. In the words of Michele, shared in a press release, "I designed Mascara L’Obscur for an authentic person who uses makeup to tell their story of freedom, in their way." Below, the new Mascara L'Obscur.