Mario Dedivanovic has truly come full circle. Exactly 20 years ago, he started working at a Sephora store in Manhattan. Today his Makeup By Mario line launches in Sephora as well as makeupbymario.com. In between those two decades, he became one of the most heralded makeup artists in the world, known for popularizing trends that he perfected for his star client, Kim Kardashian, including contouring and baking. “Everything feels a little surreal right now,” Dedivanovic says. “As you’re creating all of this, these things are so small and they’re so personal to you and you put so much love and energy and work into them. That takes such a long time. But then stepping back and seeing it as a whole thing, as a brand come all together, is very surreal. I’m about to achieve this long-term goal and dream that I’ve had for so long and I just can’t believe that.”
Makeup By Mario has been three years in the making. His work and approach as a makeup artist has grown and transformed over the last two decades, which he funneled into his line. “The aesthetic and approach for sure evolves because every year you learn constantly as a makeup artist,” Dedivanovic says. “You just keep getting stronger and better as an artist. Everything in the makeup line stems originally from my techniques as a makeup artist. I think in recent years specifically my approach to makeup has changed quite a bit. Ten years ago, I was known for a very particular aesthetic, which was a heavier base and contour, and although I still do that with makeup, I do it with a much lighter hand and I edit myself a lot more. My approach is unique to makeup in that I look at trying to create symmetry and I’m trying to enhance features.”
Though Makeup By Mario was created for professional makeup artists, it’s also designed for the average person to use. “I was thinking about the non-artist as well and how to make their makeup experience a little bit smarter, a little quicker and to enhance that experience and to also inspire with certain products,” Dedivanovic says. “It’s a good blend of artistry but also non-artistry, so it bridges the gap of the two. I really did consider a non-artist for every product that I created. It’s broken down by technique and by texture of core products with great formulas to start off the eye collection with.” The luxury brand features a mix of makeup and artistry tools, all inspired by what Dedivanovic has used throughout his career. The line is launching with 21 products, with a focus on the eyes and skin. The color palette was inspired by hues found in nature and the human body, and every single shade works on a range of skin tones. Eventually Makeup By Mario will expand into other categories starting later this year.
Keeping textures separate was important for Dedivanovic, which is why there are different palettes for mattes and metallics instead of grouping them by shade. “When I first started doing makeup and also when I was an assistant in the early years to all the big makeup artists, we used to always separate everything by textures,” Dedivanovic says. “Even when we packed our bags there was the matte products, the cream products, the metallic products, the metal products—everything was separated by texture. I think just naturally palettes with mixed textures became very, very popular, but they represented a certain aesthetic or look with the brand. With the separation of textures, I wanted to remove that association to any particular look or theme and leave it as a more open experience. I personally feel that when you separate, when you have just a matte palette and you have a small metallics palette like this, it doesn’t limit your creativity. You can pick and choose whatever it is that you want on that particular day without the palette dictating to you use this in your crease and use that on your lid. I wanted to remove that and allow people to dip and play into different shades that maybe they’re not accustomed to using. Also, there’s this [common] misconception that people think you have to have a matte on your crease and you must have a shimmer onto the browbone and that’s not the case. You can take any shimmer shade with your finger and swipe it across the lid and that can be the look and that’s a beautiful look. Especially when it comes to my students and the younger generation of artists out there, I want to show these things through my teaching, social media and Masterclass, and now with the product line, I want to be able to show these different ways of doing makeup that don’t involve such a detailed and lengthy process.”
Though Dedivanovic knew he wanted to include a matte palette in the range, because he wanted to create a new matte formula, the rest of the offerings evolved over the three years it was developed. To narrow it down, he looked at footage from his masterclasses, which have become coveted events in which Dedivanovic goes through his makeup techniques step-by-step for aspiring artists. “When I brought Alicia [Valencia] on my team as the president of the brand, she really helped me organize what it is that I’m trying to do and steer me in the right direction,” he says. “There are so many products I love and there’s so many techniques that I do, but where do I start? She suggested that I look over all my Masterclass footage and break down what are all my steps and techniques. That’s where I started to see all these things that I’m doing consistently. Whether I’m working on Indian skin or Black skin or Asian skin, it doesn’t matter what the model was, I was doing similar things and using similar textures and that’s how I started to pull the color stories and the texture stories.” For example, he noticed that before he applied eyeshadow, he would use foundations and concealers as a base. From there, he researched skin tones and undertones, which is how the Master Eye Prep & Set came about.
Every single product was formulated from scratch with the intention of creating the best quality. “They’re all completely custom formulas, so they’re different from everything that’s out on the market because I have exclusive formulas,” Dedivanovic says. “[Over the] years I have tweaked the formulas several times. For example, the Master Metals Eyeshadow Palette is a very unique formula. It’s a gel, hybrid formula that can work with the Master Metal Manipulator to turn it into a liquid. The matte is a very different sort of matte in that it has almost a little sheerness that you don’t see; that’s not very common in the eyeshadows that are around today. Also, you can’t use it wet like a typical eyeshadow because it doesn’t have a lot of oils in it. The Master Metallics Eyeshadow Palette is a slurry formula, a technology that originally comes from Japan but has been adapted in other parts of the world now. Basically, it’s a hybrid of powders and oils and the oil seeps through the powder. It makes it very easy to use with the fingers and to blend and melt into the skin. The formulas are completely unique in the sense that they were created with me, for me, by me.”
Makeup By Mario also includes a tightly edited selection of brushes, which are all designed to complement the formulas, especially the mattes and the metallics, but of course they can be used with any products. “These shapes work beautifully with these formulas and make it very easy and quick,” Dedivanovic says. “These work really well with the metals and metallics because they’re dense so they allow you to pick up the product really quickly and just dab it on, whereas the ones that are less dense work beautifully with the mattes for a really quick swipe of color on the lid.”
As a makeup artist and through his line, Dedivanovic wants to make playing with cosmetics more accessible to everyone. “There’s so many cool tricks and tips that the majority of women out there don’t know that I think would really inspire them or give them the aha, oh my god why did I never think of that, that makes it so much easier,” he says. “There are so many of those little things, like the technique with the liner that I do—everyone struggles with the wing, but there’s such an easy way to do it. I’m excited to share those things outside of the Masterclass, not just to artists, but with non-makeup artists as well. Most importantly, they don’t have to feel pressure to apply makeup every day or to wear lots of makeup or to be Instagram perfect. There’s different aesthetics and there’s different ways to use makeup and I think that all styles of makeup are beautiful.”