This year marks Mario Dedivanovic’s 20th year as a professional makeup artist. In the span of two decades, Dedivanovic has become one of the most influential names of beauty—creating some of the most memorable makeup looks for celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Gabrielle Union, and Ariana Grande along the way. And to commemorate his 20th anniversary, he’s celebrating in a major way with the launch of his luxury cosmetics brand Makeup by Mario.
Creating a makeup brand has been something Dedivanovic has wanted to do since the moment he began working at Sephora as a teenager. But, he started laying the groundwork for his namesake brand in March 2017. And after putting in three years of hard work, Makeup by Mario is finally launching on October 1 (which is also Dedivanovic’s 37th birthday). “It’s been very exciting and very rewarding to work on this,” Dedivanovic says. “It sort of feels unreal. I can’t believe it’s actually happening after I’ve dreamed for so many years about this. I feel almost small at this point and that it’s becoming so much larger than I am.”
Makeup by Mario is debuting with 21 high-quality products and tools for the eyes and skin—ranging from eyeshadow palettes to eyeliners—that flatter every complexion. “Every product in this brand is truly 100% authentically from my mind,” he says. “I have had experience with all different types of artistry in my career and so these products were inspired by that plus my understanding of how the non-artist does their makeup. I wanted to break down my techniques to create products that made the makeup experience a smarter and more inspiring one.”
Ahead of the brand’s release, I had the chance to hop on a Zoom call with Dedivanovic where he walked me through the entire line. Keep scrolling for everything I learned about Makeup by Mario–straight from the founder himself.
1. The first product he created was the Master Mattes palette.
The initial launch includes three palettes, but Dedivanovic says he’s most proud of The Master Matte Palette because it was the first product he worked on for the brand. “I have such a close connection to it because I learned so much when I created this, so that makes it a lot more special,” he says. The palette’s shades were inspired by the pigments found in human skin and Dedivanovic has dubbed it his “dream collection of matte eyeshadows” because they work on all skin tones.
For eyeshadow beginners, Dedivanovic recommends using the MAKEUP BY MARIO E3 brush, dipping it into one shade of the palette, and swiping it left and right over your eye to create a simple look.
2. The company is completely self-funded.
For Dedivanovic, it was important to share his makeup philosophy and techniques with the world on his own terms so he started the business without any financial help. “I invested everything that I have into this,” Dedivanovic transparently shared during the call. “I didn't take on investors. I've put my life and my soul into this.”
3. He prefers sheer, emollient highlighters over powder highlighters.
During the preview, Dedivanovic shared that his Master Secret Glow is another one of his favorite products from the line. The product is the makeup pro’s take on a sheer, emollient highlighter. He prefers highlighters of this kind because they deliver a natural glow to the skin as opposed to creating texture.
“I've tried so many of these types of products over the years and the problem is that a lot of them begin to slide or they disrupt the texture underneath,” Dedivanovic explains. “I wanted to create something that had a really superior grip and that when you place it here, it stays there and it doesn't slide or move and of course, doesn't disrupt the texture underneath it.” To apply it, he suggests using your finger to tap it across your cheeks, eyelids, or lips to give your skin a natural glow.
4. His older sister was the inspiration behind his Master Pigment Pro Pencils.
Another standout from the Makeup by Mario line are the Master Pigment Pro Pencils. During the preview, he shared that his older sister Vicky has struggled with doing eyeliner for many years so he wanted to create a product that made it easier to do eyeliner.
“For me, pencils are of the most transformative aspects of makeup, especially when it comes to the eyes,” Dedivanovic says. “I wanted to incorporate my liner techniques into the pencils to make it quicker for me and to make it a lot easier for the girl at home doing her liner.” The gel-based pencils come in two shades (Super Black and The Perfect Brown) and feature a custom brush on the end to help you blend and perfect your winged liner.
5. None of his celebrity clients knew he was launching his own brand.
During the call, Dedivanovic revealed that none of his A-listers on his client roster knew he was working on his own brand. “One thing about me is that I’m extremely secretive when it comes to this stuff. So, I’ve tried the products on them but they don’t know. Everything has been in palettes and lab samples and mixed into my kit, so no one ever really knew,” he says.
6. The line has tons of options for people new to makeup.
Dedivanovic designed this line with both professional makeup artists and everyday beauty lovers in mind. For those who are just learning how to do their makeup, he recommends playing with the Master Metallics palette. “You can take any of these colors with your finger and pat them onto your eyelid and that’s enough. You don’t need anything more,” he says.
Another one of his beginner-friendly picks are the Master Crystal Reflectors ($24). The bouncy powders are made with a global exclusive formula and come in three crystal-inspired shades: Quartz, Bronzite, and Citrine. “You use it with the finger and you go directly onto the eye. If you just tap it on the eye, you're going to have a completely sheer finish and see some sparkles dancing on the eyelid,” Dedivanovic explains. The Master Crystal Reflectors can also be applied to the cheeks to create a crystal sparkle veil.
7. He wanted to house his products in innovative packaging.
When I found out Dedivanovic was launching his own line, I knew the brand’s packaging was going to bring something new and fresh to the beauty industry. And that it did. Dedivanovic worked with creative director Fabien Baron of Baron & Baron to create the crisp black and white packaging for Makeup by Mario products.
“When it came to packaging, there were a few things I wanted. I wanted the packaging to fit into the palm of your hand kind of like the iPhone,” the makeup pro shared. “I wanted something that was very easy to clean and had a little bit of weight to it but wasn’t heavy or large. When it came to the color, white felt so different and like the future of makeup. I hadn’t seen anything like this and it felt pure. And my process with creating this line has been with such pure intentions, so it just felt like the right thing for me to go with white.”
8. The brand’s products are cruelty-free and some have sustainable elements.
The entire range of Makeup by Mario products are cruelty-free and Dedivanovic made sure to implement sustainable practices and materials where he could. “Because I’ve self-funded this, it’s really challenging because it’s expensive to do things completely sustainable,” Dedivanovic says candidly. “But, I tried wherever I could. I think as the brand grows and we become more successful, I’ll be able to invest more in those things.” Currently, the brand’s Gentle Makeup Remover Wipes ($15) are biodegradable.
9. He wants to use the brand to help educate beauty lovers everywhere.
When I asked Dedivanovic about the impact he wants the brand to have, the conversation kept circling back to one word: education. “I'm so passionate about education and throughout the years, I’ve had about 30,000 students in my masterclasses,” he tells me. “But, when I look at that and compare it to my followers on Instagram, there are so many people who haven’t been able to experience the master class. So, I just want to focus on this brand and create content and products for this brand that inspire women and help them enhance their makeup game. I want the brand’s legacy to be that I created products with love and I created quality products that people enjoy and I taught them and inspired them.”
MAKEUP BY MARIO products prices range from $14 to $48 and are available now exclusively at Sephora, Sephora.com and makeupbymario.com with expansion into further categories starting late 2020 and early 2021.