In my four-plus years helming Fashionista's beauty vertical, I've had the honor of interviewing and profiling scores of the industry's most impactful and accomplished professionals. But one interview that I'll always count as a favorite is my discussion with makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic — known to his nearly 8 million Instagram fans as simply @makeupbymario — whom I profiled for Fashionista's "How I'm Making It" series in 2018.
What struck me wasn't just his inspiring story of finding mega success as a first-generation American who worked his way up from teenage Sephora retail employee to world-renowned, Kardashian-beloved makeup artist. It was also his humility, his shyness, his sensitivity and his obvious passion for his craft.
Every time I've witnessed Dedivanovic speak to press — whether in a one-on-one interview or to a group of more than 50 editors via Zoom — he begins by requesting that anyone quoting him be sure to "clean up" his words because he's so conscious of making each one intentional, clear and grammatically correct. And then, he proceeds to speak with such intention, clarity and grammatical correctness that he renders that plea completely unnecessary. It's that sense of humility and tact that makes it impossible not to root for him. No part of Dedivanovic seems willing to rest on his laurels; his success hasn't given him a reason to coast, it's afforded him an opportunity to double down and accomplish even more. On Thursday, with the launch of his brand Makeup by Mario, he's doing exactly that.
Dedivanovic's first drop for his eponymous line includes 21 SKUs, with an emphasis on the eyes (not just a smart move in a mask-necessitated world, but also an apt choice, considering he's especially celebrated for his eye makeup skills). The launch is extremely personal for Dedivanovic: Beyond being carefully created to his exact specifications and bearing his name, it's self-funded. (He joked during a press event that if it's not successful, he'll move back in with his parents.)
The collection is, in many ways, a love letter to his own life's work. The initial Makeup by Mario drop comprises a matte powder eye shadow palette, two metallic powder shadow palettes, a liquid "manipulator" for the metallic powders, three color correcting and priming kits for the eyes, three metallic powder highlighters, one pigmentless highlighter balm, two eyeliner pencils, one brightener waterline pencil, one liquid eyeliner, five cruelty-free makeup brushes and makeup wipes. They're items he considers staples in his kit — his "dream" palettes and formulas in which he has complete confidence.
What's most appealing about the entirety of these products is their textures and the color payoff, blendability and layerability of them. What's least appealing about them is the shade range for the Master Prep & Eye Set palettes, which come in Light, Medium and Deep (but notably not a "deep" that in any meaningful way caters to those with actual deep skin tones). A standout for me is the Master Secret Glow — the aforementioned pigmentless highlighter balm — which can be used on its own for a natural, non-shimmery dewy finish or as a finishing touch atop layers of makeup, without turning them streaky or patchy. (And being that it's completely transparent, it's also truly inclusive of all skin tones.)
The quality is there with these products — they're plush, they're rich, they're malleable upon application but then long-wearing in practice — and they set the stage for a brand that very clearly doesn't want to disappoint.
Click through the gallery below to see (and shop!) every product from Makeup by Mario's debut collection.
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Homepage photo: Courtesy of Makeup by Mario