The Middle East has always held a special place for Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s long-time makeup artist, and founder of beauty brand Makeup By Mario. “I think the Middle East has always been incredibly supportive of me throughout my entire career,” he shares with Vogue Arabia during an exclusive interview. “It’s definitely a dream of mine to launch here and has been part of my vision for many, many years, so to finally be here is quite surreal.”
Celebrating the Middle Eastern launch of Makeup By Mario, exclusively at Sephora Middle East, Dedivanovic marked the occasion in Dubai with his signature Masterclass and an in-person appearance at The Dubai Mall. Calling the region’s women “the ultimate glam girls”, Dedivanovic says that having his brand physically available in stores makes all the difference for those experiencing the products for the first time. “Ever since we’ve launched, I’ve gotten comments from followers in the Middle East asking ‘when can we get it’? I’m so excited that you can finally go in store to Sephora and be able to touch the product and feel it for yourself, as nothing beats being able to see and try the product in person.”
First coming to prominence for his professional relationship with Kim Kardashian and his ‘soft glam’ style, Dedivanovic has created looks for clients including Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek, glamming ahead of award shows, talk show spots, and private events. Each look is carefully considered, with the final look sometimes not revealed until completed. “I like having the element of surprise by not having a mirror in front of them,” he smiles. “Luckily for me, most of my clients let me do my thing and don’t get too involved. For new clients, there is a conversation on what they do or don’t like, but otherwise I’m lucky that clients have trust in me.”
While he’s known for his work with A-listers, the Albanian-American talent emphasizes that his brand is for all women, from beauty beginners to professionals. “While I’m a makeup artist, the brand is definitely for the woman who may not know every technique,” he explains. “The philosophy of the brand is first and foremost artistry, plus craftsmanship, and approachable education, with everything that I create for the brand is inspired by my techniques as an artist. I then break that down and turn it into a very easy to use, effortless product. I want to make sure that using my products doesn’t feel intimidating, that it’s easy, effortless, and hopefully inspiring and teaching you something new.”
Ahead of his immersive event, Dedivanovic invited VOGUE Arabia to learn exactly how to recreate his viral lip lift technique for an exclusive tutorial video. “There’s a surgery that I see young women getting, where they lessen the space between the nose and the top of the lip. It’s a little crazy to me that people are getting surgery for a trend, when you can do it in a minute with a lip pencil. It’s essentially lifting this upper lip here in the outer corners, as opposed to lifting the cupid’s bow and bringing the corners of the lips down. It makes them look plump, without dragging them down. That way it’s going to give you that dimension, and make the lips appear more voluptuous and voluminous.”
Watch below to find out how to get the Tiktok-famous look, and read on to discover how to use Dedivanovic’s favorite Makeup By Mario products.
Ultra Suede Sculpting Lip Pencil, AED85
There’s form and function with a lot of my products. Like my sculpting lip pencil, for example, they come with brushes on the end. It eliminates that step of having to grab another tool to do your blending. Lip pencils for me are not a trend, they are just one of those necessities. It gives you that definition and longevity we all want. This is quite an old school formula in that it’s a wood clutch pencil, it’s not ultra slippery and has good grip, while still being creamy.
Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette, AED186
Master Mattes is the first product I ever created, so it’s like my little baby. It actually became the number on palette in North America, and I heard today that my Master Mattes Palette sold out within 24 hours here. You can do a subtle sweep of shadow, to just gently contour the eye, or add more to go for a full glam. It’s all the essential neutrals I use every day.
Moistureglow Plumping Lip Serum, AED85
The Moistureglow Plumping Lip Serum comes in beautiful sheer colors and slightly plumps the lips. This product went extremely viral on Tiktok when it came out, and we sold out of every single color in 24 hours. It also brought us this whole new customer to the brand, the younger girls who are very into that sort of ‘no makeup’ makeup look. The lip serum is very juicy, so you can do a low-key makeup look, or you can full glam with it as well. I use it both ways myself on clients.
SoftSculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer, AED108
This is a system where you sculpt, then you perfect. This is such a great product, with a very modern formula. I actually created it from scratch in the office, then the lab recreated what I had made. I’ve used cream formulas my entire career because they are easy to work with and great for building. We’re now also seeing a big trend with Korean beauty products, with the average person at home being introduced to lots of cream formulas. The formula is extremely sheer, easy to work with, extremely bendable and buildable, so it’s very softly sculpting.
SoftSculpt Bronzer, AED108
I kind of selfishly created this for myself because I like to be tan, but I don’t like the process of self tanning because it’s messy, and smelly, and dirty, so I wanted a product that I could do really quickly on my own, like in two seconds just put it on my face and feel like it’s been elevated a little bit and made slightly more warm.
SoftSculpt Shaping Stick, AED108
I would use a very natural foundation, then just take the stick and draw a couple of lines along the cheekbones, just hugging them. Then flip it over and use the brush to blend in it. You can put a little more on the brush and use that to add stronger definition. It’s really simple to use.
Ultra Suede Lipstick, AED93
The main benefit of this lipstick that it is extremely comfortable to wear. It’s a matte, but it’s so soft that you almost don’t feel it on your lips. Taking comfort into consideration for all products is very important to me.