To ensure his debut makeup line, Makeup By Mario, is as universal and inclusive as possible, Mario Dedivanovic went to lengths some many call gory, but I consider innovative: While at a lab in Italy to formulate the shades for his Master Metallics palette launching next month, the makeup artist tells Allure he zoomed in on photos of, well, arteries and organs for the chemists to color match.
"Each one of these colors is after something inside of our bodies," Dedivanovic bashfully shares over Zoom, as if I'd be freaked out before pointing to a teal hue based on a major artery that connects to the heart. Other organ-shadow pairings are too gross to share, he admits. I assure him I'm a Scorpio, so this level of morbid thrills me. "You just can't get more universal than colors Mother Nature's made within us," he adds. "Every shade [in the palette] looks beautiful on every skin color."
Dedivanovic, on the other hand, is a Libra. October 1 not only marks his 37th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his first day working in beauty (on a Sephora sales floor) but also the launch of his own beauty brand, Makeup By Mario. Yes, it's happening once and for all after three years in the making.
If you are familiar with the modern beauty world, you are familiar with Mario Dedivanovic's résumé: global Master Class originator, Instagram authority (with a cool multi-million follower count), and baking populizer — not to mention makeup artist to one of the most recognizable faces in the world, including the most famous Kardashian). And yet none of this fully validated the man who started training as a makeup artist at the New York City Flatiron District Sephora when he was 17 — well, until now. With 20 years of experience to his name, he finally feels worthy and deserving enough to put it on beauty products.
"As an artist, I needed to feel I was ready for that in terms of being mature enough, being experienced enough and… not just being, but feeling innately that I am," Dedivanovic explains. "I feel like I've gotten old, to be honest, but I feel like I became a man."
Over the past five years, Dedivanovic has worked with major beauty brands, like Anastasia Beverly Hills and KKW Beauty, on products and large companies have offered to help him create his own line. However, he was often minimized to being the face of the company without any say in the final formulations.
For Makeup By Mario, Dedivanovic is at the helm, even self-funding it at its inception. "I have such an involvement in every aspect of my brand," he says. "It's not just artistry; I'm not just the face of this brand. I am in this office every day, and I'm learning everything and I'm working with people from all different aspects of the business."
In addition to internal anatomy, Makeup By Mario took cues from a number of other places — unexpected and otherwise — to create a stunning collection of palettes, liners, and highlighters that are more utilitarian than trendy.
His most coveted tips and looks are simplified with the Master Eyes Prep & Set and Master Metals. "I [looked] at masterclass footage from over the years to see what it was that I was doing and what are the colors I'm constantly using," he says.
Master Eyes Prep & Set (the three-pan compact below) neatly packages Dedivanovic’s go-to eye makeup priming technique: "Typically, I use a concealer in a couple of shades then a translucent powder to set it." The top row is a duo of creams — in a light and darker shade — that can be combined to perfectly match your skin tone. (It comes in three colorways: Light, Medium, and Deep.) Or smooth the lighter shade alone onto bare lids, "if you want to go [brighter] with your eyes, a little bit more fun," he says. Either way, tap the powder on top and sweep away any smudges. You can also precision powder parts of your face that tend to get shiny throughout the day.
Master Metals (seen above on the bottom right) is part of a three-palette lineup separated by finish (matte, metallic, and metal), and this one is made to be destroyed. Tucked below these glittering gold, silver, copper, bronze, and rose gold colors is a removable tray made for scraping the pigments into. There you can add a couple of drops of the Metal Manipulator (a waterproofing mixing medium sold separately for $14) and whip up your own molten metal liquid shadow or liner. "So let’s say you do the gold, but you want more depth to it, you can add a bit of the bronze," says Dedivanovic.
The shadows in the Master Mattes palette (seen above on the top right) look like a dream foundation range for a reason. Dedivanovic surveyed skin tones and base makeup to reflect the multitude of complexions we have and guarantee even those with the deepest skin tones have a neutral palette to reach for.
Just as foundation and concealer do, the shadows have intentional transparency to them. Without the intense opacity we've come to expect in matte eye shadows, these ones are easier to work with and create a cloud-like haze of color. However, Dedivanovic still swears the black is the blackest black on the market.
"I don't want to put something that's so extremely pigmented on my eye that I have to work to remove and blend," Dedivanovic explains. "When you apply [these shadows], it blends at the same time. You don't have to worry about putting too much on the brush because they're not hyperpigmented."
In the blackest of blacks and an earthy brown, the long-lasting Master Pigment Pro Pencil slicks on creamy lines. Flip it over to reveal a rectangular brush that Dedivanovic designed with his older sister Vicky in mind. He wanted her to be able to create the crisp, symmetrical wings of her dreams. Now all she has to do is run the liner along the roots of her lashes, then drag the pigment outward with the brush — it's strategically made with a flat edge to bring the color into the perfect flick. The pigment can be amped up by tracing over it with the Master Mattes Liquid Liner because, of course, Dedivanovic had to try his hand at the makeup staple.
Dedivanovic's older sisters also helped establish just how accessible Makeup By Mario is for all skill levels. He often studies their makeup application and tries to come up with solutions to simplify their routines — for instance, the small pan of powder in the Master Eyes Prep & Set doubles as a setting powder for the rest of the face because his other older sister Marina often over-mattifies her skin because big jars of powder often encourage people to dip large, fluffy brushes into them and sweep it everywhere.
"I'm fascinated by the way that my sisters do their makeup, the products they use, and the amount of time it takes them to get ready," Dedivanovic says. "There are the artists and the beauty enthusiasts — I don't think they're either of those. They have their simple, basic products that they like that work for them. They've both been to endless Master Classes, but it doesn't matter to them. They are that segment of people out there who do their makeup very quickly and want it to work quickly."
Just as the Master Secret Glow's name implies, this transparent, non-sticky balm gives skin a lit-from-within quality Dedivanovic achieved with Elizabeth Arden's iconic Eight Hour Cream in the past.
What the name doesn’t tell you: how beautifully your new glow stay put — unlike the moisturizer. "When you come home, it’s still there where you [first] put it," Dedivanovic says. "It grips to that area and doesn’t move." Tap it onto the high points of your face for a glassy gleam — and, don’t worry, the emollient, non-greasy formula won’t disrupt any base product underneath or make you break out.
Dedivanovic often goes outside onto the terrace of his home with a crystal and holds it up to the sun or a full moon for manifestation rituals. "Oftentimes, there's just such a gorgeous sparkle and this reflection that happens within that crystal," he explains. The same phenomenon is mimicked with the Master Crystal Reflector.
While you can blend the sheer, bouncy powder onto your cheekbones and collarbones as highlighter, Dedivanovic likes it best on lids — just swipe it on with your index finger. "You could do it on your bare lid or you could do it over your eyeshadow," Dedivanovic says. "When light hits this, the sparkles dance on your eyelids. It looks like water." I like to think of it as a powdered eye gloss, and it's just as ethereal as it sounds and exactly what you'd expect from a Libra.
All of this is just a fraction of Makeup By Mario's lineup. You can shop these products and so much more, ranging from $15 for oil-free, biodegradable wipes to $48 for the palettes, starting October 1 on makeupbymario.com and sephora.com.
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