Pat McGrath Labs Debuted the Buzziest Mascara of 2020—See Our Before-and-Afters

Though we have major love for lots of beauty brands here at Who What Wear, we're especially besotted with anything legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath creates. Ever since its launch, her eponymous makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, has gained fast and fervent fandom, and each new launch incites more giddiness and anticipation than the last. According to McGrath, "makeup is a movement," and her gleaming, otherworldly lipsticks, eye shadows and skin-perfecting elixirs almost always live up to their transformative, fetish-inducing claims. 

As recent beauty-world buzz would suggest, Pat McGrath (who is lovingly known as Mother within the industry) has done it again with her latest product launch, Dark Star Mascara (£26)—a sister to the brand's OG FetishEyes Mascara (£26). As touted by a press release from the brand, Dark Star delivers "gravity-defying instant volume," "illicitly luxe length," and "weightless life" with just a single stroke. 

If it were any other brand making such lofty claims, we might roll our eyes and shake our heads, but where Pat McGrath is concerned, truly any kind of magic is possible. So I gathered a few of my fellow editors and beauty-loving friends to test it out to see if Dark Star is truly the practically alien-like entity it's made out to be. Keep scrolling for our honest reviews and the must-see before and after photos. 

The Reviews

Courtney Higgs, Associate Beauty Editor


Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: "I’m a mascara girl. It’s the one (okay, one of three or four) makeup products I feel truly naked and afraid without. I have pretty long lashes, but I have definitely noticed them losing density ever so slightly as the years go by. That’s life, I guess! When it comes to mascara formulas, I’m really not a stickler about any particular claim. Volumising? Great. Lengthening? Sure, why not? My only deal breaker is clumping. I absolutely can’t stand that and won’t tolerate any mascara that makes my lashes stick together like creepy spider legs. This mascara ticks all my boxes plus a few I didn’t even know mattered to me! Of course, Mother really thought of it all.

"So for starters, I accidentally put it to the test in the most extreme summer circumstance—a day at the beach. I applied the varnish in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle and loved how easy it was to coat each lash without any precise technique—no wand wiggling required. Since I didn’t jump in the ocean, I can’t speak to how this stuff holds up after being submerged underwater, but I did do a fair amount of sweating, and it didn’t budge. I expected at least a little smudging around my lower lash line, but even that didn’t occur. What did occur, however, were fluttery, beautiful-looking lashes reminiscent of the thick, curly fringe from my youth. All this to say I freakin' love this mascara. Next time, I’ll have to take a dip and see how it performs underwater."


Erin Jahns, Beauty Editor


Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Review: "I'd argue that mascara is one of the most finicky types of beauty products to review. Not only does everyone have different lashes (from length to density to curl), but also everyone has different lash goals. My ultimate mascara, for instance, gives me lots of volume, lots of curl, lots of length, and lots of definition. Basically, I want practically cartoonish, borderline Disney Princess–level lashes that completely pop out from my face. My lashes are naturally super long, and honestly, I don't mind a little clumping. In fact, it's kind of my signature look. However, I know that kind of drama is some people's worst mascara nightmare. To each their own!

"My long lashes and my eyes are probably my favourite feature, and I love to play them up. Therefore, I pretty much never apply anything short of three coats, and sometimes I'll add even more. I'll mix and match brands and formulas. Essentially, I'm a mad scientist when it comes to mascara. Oh, and I'm also a super-tough critic. Even though I have lots of natural length, my lashes are extremely straight, dark, and dense, so it practically takes witchcraft for a mascara to have enough curl and length power to satisfy me. Truly, there are only about three or four mascaras that have every truly wowed me, and I've remained completely loyal ever since discovering them.

"I have to be honest. I didn't love this mascara. That said, I can recognize it's a truly phenomenal formula, it's just not my personal cup of tea. If you're someone who wants really light, fluttery lift and volume with just one or two quick wiggles through your lashes, you'll love this mascara. But as someone who likes to layer and needs a lot of durable curl, it just didn't quite do it for me and started to make my lashes look a little clumpy and stumpy as I tried to add more coats. Plus, I did feel like my lashes 'fell' as the day went on, so I actually added a top coat of my favourite curling mascara to keep them from getting too droopy. One last note: This brush (and the entire tube in general) is large. So if you struggle to not get mascara all over your lids and eyes while you apply, the larger brush size definitely might exacerbate the problem. It's not the end of the world but worth mentioning all the same. I stand by my 3.5-star rating because, for people who want a light boost of fanned-out volume, this mascara is home run, even if I'm not sure it will be a regular within my rotation." 


Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY


Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: "After I stopped taking a medication that made my eyelashes grow like crazy, they've gone back to their short-and-sparse natural state. I've been using lash serums, which have been helping, but now more than ever, I need my mascara products to REALLY work for me. My ideal mascara is one that defines, lengthens, volumises, and lifts––so you know, I'm expecting miracles.

"I was really excited to try this new launch, and I curled my lashes before my application. I loved that my lashes instantly looked darker and fuller. I definitely looked more awake! There also was no clumping or smudging, which was a big plus. And when I looked in the mirror after wearing it for a couple of hours, I was happy to see that my lashes were still lifted. I would definitely add this one to my rotation. I think my favourite part about it was how defined my lashes looked."


Jasmine Fox-Suliaman, Audience Engagement Editor


Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: "I've admitted it once, and I'll admit it again: I'm not one to have a full makeup regimen. Because I grew up with heavy eczema breakouts around my eyes, I've avoided eye makeup and, by extension, mascara for quite some time. It took me a long time to find a formula that wouldn't irritate my skin (I currently use one from Yves Saint Laurent), but I'm still never overly excited to apply mascara. Despite all of this, when fellow editor Erin reached out to to see if I'd be willing to try out Mother McGrath's newest mascara, I couldn't resist because I will never turn down an opportunity to support the magical being that is Pat McGrath.

"Since I'm not a false-lash-look kind of girl (no judgment if you are), when applying it, I did one layer. Despite it being so minimal, it automatically made my lashes pop and wasn't itchy at all, which I find a lot of mascara to be. The real test, however, was whether or not it would have staying power on a humid day in the city with no air conditioning. It passed! Overall, for a mascara-averse girl, I'm a big fan of this mascara."


8 More Products Our Editors Love From Pat McGrath Labs

If any primer could turn a primer nonbeliever into a primer believer, it would be this one. It's pure magic under the brand's skin-enhancing foundation (don't worry—I'm getting to that one in a second), and the strategic mix of hyaluronic acid and Cosmedic Filler Powder work simultaneously to moisturise, blur and smooth the skin. 

I'm about to make a very controversial statement: I think this foundation is the best foundation on the market. (Yes, even slightly superior to Armani's iconic Luminous Silk number.) First of all, the shade range, which prioritises skin undertone, is pretty unprecedented. Second of all, it's made with unique polymers, high-purity pigments laced with amino acids, and diamond core powder. I normally don't stand by the idea of products touting "perfect" results, but this foundation does, as Mary Poppins might say, make your skin look practically perfect in every way. 

This concealer is just as enchanting as its sister foundation. It contains a Vita-Serum Complex that keeps crepe-prone under-eyes nourished, line-free and moistured; a Flex Form Matrix that keeps the concealer's finish smooth and blendable (not tacky); and Optically Diffusing Pigments that give the skin a blurred, practically airbrushed finish. 

Mother invented this genius setting powder, which is infused with light-reflecting mica, specifically for the under-eye area. It's ultra-lightweight, blendable and helps brighten and blur the look of your under-eyes. It's the cherry on top of your concealer application.

Loose setting powders are notoriously tricky because they usually only come in one (or two or three) unflattering shades. However, this practically weightless version from Pat McGrath not only keeps your makeup set and grease-free with invisibility cloak–level efficacy, but it also comes in five different skin-flattering hues. 

We're not prioritising lipsticks and glosses right now (because masks), but it's still essential to keep our pout hydrated and chap-free. This balm is like no other and keeps your lips topped up with the dewiest surge of moisture and glow. 

I could live the rest of my life and only ever need this stunning quad. The pigment payoff is amazing, and the pretty iridescent finish of each shade catches the light like no other.

A best seller, this dual-ended highlight-and-balm stick is the ultimate antidote for dull, lackluster skin. It enhances your gleam but not in an obnoxious, overly disco-ball way. 

Up next: These are without a doubt the dewiest, glowiest foundations out there.

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