"In 2019 I really wasn’t going to do collabs. I was getting a lot of different offers to do really big collabs with massive brands and I just kept saying no," celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic tells me over the phone Dec. 12. We're chatting shortly after Dedivanovic uploaded a promotional video for the upcoming Makeup by Mario x Sephora release on his Instagram account @MakeupByMario, showcasing three sets of soon-to-be-released makeup brushes. Spoiler alert: it's a collab. "The second that this one came up I said yes, I didn’t even ask any questions," Dedivanovic explains.
And it's one you'll be able to get your hands on very, very soon. All three new launches — the Makeup by Mario x Sephora Master Brush Set ($119), Complexion Brush Set ($69), and Eye Brush Set ($49) — arrive at Sephora on Dec. 26, wrapped up in impeccably sleek pouches. As Dedivanovic's ever-growing fanbase could tell you, these new sets mark a special occasion in his career: It's the makeup artist's first-ever brush collection.
"Makeup [is something] you use for a few months, and then you get rid of. These are products that are literally an extension of your hand. Makeup brushes really are, within the category of makeup and tools, the only product that you keep for so many years," Dedivanovic notes. "Until my kit was stolen a few years ago, most of my brushes were 15 years old."
Beyond creating products that stand the test of time, the artist was presented with another exciting task: The brushes' bristles are completely synthetic. "And that was, for me, a challenge. A lot of my brushes are handmade brushes from Japan, and they’re not synthetic. When they told me they’d like to do a synthetic set I said OK, now this is interesting," he says.
To create top-of-the-line brushes sans natural fibers, Dedivanovic dove into the creative process hand in hand with Sephora. “I knew that Sephora would allow me to have full rein over all the decisions, and allow me to work with the very best labs in the world," he says. Together, Dedivanovic notes that they were able to mimic his luxurious natural brushes — including their one-of-a-kind shapes, a gift courtesy of time itself.
"What happens throughout the years is that you start to reshape your brushes naturally by the movements you make with them and how you apply the product and how you touch them against the skin," he explains. "So with this collection, I took the actual shapes that I had created myself over the years and I replicated them. So they’re very different in that sense.”
The partnership is one that's been a long time coming, too. Years before he had 7.2-million followers on Instagram and celebrity clientele, Dedivanovic worked at Sephora — initially in the fragrance department, then as a Beauty Advisor. "I had a very suppressed childhood in the sense that I was very sort of afraid to be who I was," Dedivanovic says. "And when I stepped into Sephora, it was this whole new world for me. I think literally I would not be here if I hadn’t discovered Sephora on that very day, if I hadn’t began working there, because I discovered my talent there."
Below, the three Makeup by Mario x Sephora brush sets, available at Sephora on Dec. 26.