Mario Dedivanovic has come full circle.
The celebrity makeup artist has officially launched his own makeup brand, Makeup By Mario, at Sephora 20 years to the date he started his career as a sales associate at the beauty retailer. Dedivanovic says he used to manifest starting his own line as he cleaned the displays of the biggest beauty brands in the world.
While Dedivanovic quickly became known as the "contour king" when his YouTube tutorial on how to achieve his longtime client Kim Kardashian's signature sculpted makeup look went viral in 2015, he's here to make it clear that he's not a one-trick pony. Many of his makeup techniques and philosophies are in line with old school industry pros, rather than Instagram trends like cut crease eyeshadow.
And any of his almost 8 million Instagram followers who have attended The Masterclass around the world knows this firsthand. That's why only his students have been privy to his secrets — until now.
Makeup By Mario is inspired by his techniques and personal makeup philosophies, and completely self-funded by the artist to ensure that the products he's putting on shelves are a direct reflection of both his work and vision.
First up is a collection of eye makeup products, the area of the face Dedivanovic always starts off with. Included in the launch are three eyeshadow palettes (matte, metallic, and metal), liquid and kohl eyeliners, eye prep kits, highlighters, a mixing liquid, makeup wipes, and eye makeup brushes. When creating the initial collection, Dedivanovic went deep into researching skin tones and took what he learned into consideration when finalizing the shades included in the palettes — especially the Master Mattes.
"The research for the initial collection was just was an awakening moment for me to see truly what is mother nature, humans, our purpose, and our evolution," he says. "We are all really pure, beautiful beings. I wanted the brand, for one, to start with that, and I just thought it was a beautiful and pure way to start the infrastructure of the brand. And that's how it evolved and came to me to where we are today."
All of the products speak to Dedivanovic's artist mentality, but also the makeup novice who has been following him on Instagram for years. Most importantly, the makeup artist has kept the prices affordable, ensuring that everyone has access to the formulas he's spent the past three years perfecting.
Here, we caught up with Dedivanovic to find out the inspiration behind Makeup By Mario, why self-funding is so important to him, where makeup trends are heading in 2021, and more.
Your makeup brand has been 20 years in the making. At what point in your career did you feel like it was time to start executing your brand?
I didn’t think so much about the vision until it came time to actually begin the process of creating the first collection. It was a very overwhelming because there are so many techniques I use as a makeup artist that I wanted to incorporate into the products. But first, what I really needed to do was learn everything about the brand side of the industry, because it’s so different from my work as an artist and running The Masterclass business.
So, in March 2017, I started thinking about how my 20th year in the industry was approaching and how getting my brand off the ground was going to take a long time because I wanted to do it by myself. I had a whole process to find the executive to help me create this brand. I would invite them to a Masterclass because I wanted to see specifically what they would say after the Masterclass and whether they had any ideas or any type of vision. I went through this process with several people and I almost gave up several times because I just felt it wasn't working. I remember my business manager telling me I was going to find the right person and eventually I did.
Why was it important for you to create this brand by yourself without any outside funding?
There has been so many different occasions in my career where people tried to get me to do a line. I want to say this was about 12 years ago, right at the beginning of social media when I was starting to get a little bit known from the contour videos. I remember my agent at the time hired someone to put together this whole business plan. I remember sitting on my couch, just looking at and feeling uncomfortable, thinking, “Who am I to launch a brand?” Also, how is hiring someone to make a business plan my brand? I knew for sure I wasn’t ready or worthy. Then as the years went on, I got other opportunities from conglomerates and larger companies to do different deals where they would basically have full control. Essentially, they were licensing deals and I didn’t go through with any of them.
You've done collaborations and have partnered with many brands when creating red carpet looks. How have these experiences impacted your own brand?
When I did my collaborations with Anastasia Beverly Hills and KKW, I considered greatly who they are as a company, brand, and worked with members of their teams, but this experience is really so different. I would help out and work to create the products or the collection, and everything else was sort of done for me I definitely have learned from those experiences. With my brand, there’s a lot more responsibility and pressure. It’s just a whole other kind of world.
You're launching with a collection of eye products. Was that always the plan or did COVID-19 change things?
It’s a complete coincidence that everything happened for the eyes. As a makeup artist, I like so many different types of products and I just didn't know where to start. So, I started watching the videos of years of Masterclass footage and when I started to watch myself on video and hear myself talk for hours on end in all of these different cities, working on different ethnicities of models, I started to see all of these little techniques I’ve created over the years that have become my own. Then, I started to pay attention to the colors and formulas and textures that I'm using consistently. And that's how the very seeds of the formulas and the concepts and the philosophies. Around that time there was all this heavy pigment that was going into all of these eyeshadows, but I sort of resisted that in a way, because I don't like to work with those types of pigments. I like the old school pro types of formulas that tend to allow you to really build pigment rather than put this massive amount of opaque pigment.
Nothing about this year has been normal, including how people are wearing makeup. Where do you think makeup trends are going for 2021?
I know, but how interesting though, because in the beginning I was like, "Oh my God, no one's going to do makeup anymore." Then, all of a sudden, I started to see throughout quarantine, all of these people who never were doing makeup before started doing tutorials. And a lot of big celebrity makeup artists were all front and center on their Instagrams every day sharing all these things. I thought that was incredible.
I change my mind every now and then on where it's going or what's going to happen. I definitely think that we're going to start to strip some of the layers that we have been adding on in the past several years. At the same time, I think we're going to start having a little bit more fun. We're going to have sparkle, and I think we're going to have gloss and all these things, but it's going to be not so intricate. Depending on how long we're going to be wearing masks, I think we're going to see people playing with their eyes more around the holidays, especially. Since everyone is communicating on Zoom and on Instagram, people are still wearing makeup for sure. From a business standpoint, I think obviously we're going to see lots of products that are mattifying or that are going to prevent transfer onto your mask and things like that. So that's kind of where I think it's heading.
Shop Makeup By Mario's First Products
Master Metallics Eyeshadow Palette
"The universal tones and twinkles you see in these images represent the billions of microscopic cells within our bodies that create and sustain the miraculous, complex system that gives us life," says Dedivanovic of this metallic-finish palette. With 12 gorgeous, universal shades, the possible eye makeup looks are endless.
To buy: $48; sephora.com.
Master Eye Prep & Set
Dedivanovic's secret to a long-lasting, zero-fallout eye makeup look? A little prep work. This mini palette contains two shades of primer to blend in shades for different skin tones, plus translucent powder to set the lids and diffuse shadows or harsh lines. It comes in three colorways.
To buy: $28; sephora.com.
Master Mattes Brightening Eye Pencil
Inspired by the old school makeup artist trick of using a white or nude eyeliner to open up the eyes, this creamy liner does just that without tugging. It can also be used to minimize eye redness.
To buy: $20; sephora.com.
Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette
Inspired by human skin tones, light to deep, this matte finish eyeshadow palette has a custom formula that goes on smooth and doesn't fade or crease.
To buy: $48; sephora.com.
Master Secret Glow Highlighter
The key to achieving a etherial glow as seen on Dedivanovic's clients is this dewy-finish highlighter. He recommends swiping it on your cheekbones, eyelids. Since the formula is so nourishing, it won't disrupt the complexion or eye makeup you're already wearing.
To buy: $22; sephora.com.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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