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Mob Wife Makeup: The Throwback Beauty Trend We Absolutely Needed

Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Stringer/Getty Images

Sometimes makeup trends evolve subtly, like Hailey Bieber inspired “clean girl” makeup to viral “cold girl” makeup, or TikTok beauty trends trends like coquette makeup, faux freckles, and those cute latte makeup looks. At other times, beauty trends change not so subtly, doing a complete 180—and when it comes to makeup, oh do we love a good 180. Enter: the mob wife makeup trend.

The mob wife aesthetic chooses opulence and glam over girl-next-door, boldness over subtlety, seduction over sweetness, and taps into a part of all of us that is just so over the belief that makeup needs to always be minimal. “Mob wife makeup is all about the return of a smoky eye. Gray, black, gunmetal eyeshadows with a cut crease are back in full effect and gold, metallic, full eyelids that you can't miss are the vibes,” says makeup artist Tomy River.

About the Expert:

Tomy Rivero is a celebrity makeup artist and owner of Tomy Rivero Beauty Lab based in Washington Heights, NYC.

Behind the Mob Wife Makeup Trend

Before we start diving in, it’s worth noting that mob wife makeup is more about finding the perfect way to glam up all your features in a way that commands a room without being too over the top. It's a balance between excess and quiet luxury. It's also very important to note that mob wife makeup isn’t a new trend that appeared out of thin air.

Mob wife makeup is a culmination of decades of beauty, stemming back to the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and beyond—it pulls together elements of beauty from various cultures. Lately, the mob wife aesthetic is a side of iconic beauty that we’ve been obsessing over ever since The Sopranos celebrated its 25th anniversary in January which took the “clean girl” makeup trend of last year and turned it on its head faster than Teresa Giudice’s epic Real Housewives of New Jersey table flip. The major differences? “Mob wife makeup is all about making a statement with your makeup, such as a bold red or maroon lip with a focus on the eyes and medium to full coverage face makeup. Clean girl makeup is all about the “just out of a facial” look with one color on the eyes very close to your skin tone, often using BB and CC creams as foundation with minimal contours and colors,” adds Rivero.

Need a mob wife makeup visual? Think long french manicured nails like Carmela Soprano, smoky eyes like Adriana La Cerva, lush lashes and perfect, matte skin like Michelle Pfeiffer as Elvira Hancock, or any of the other iconic women of Scarface, Casino, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, and more. Eyeliner like Sharon Stone as Ginger Mckenna? Line us up, baby. Mob wife makeup is glam that deserves its own category. It’s that good to be bad, animal print faux fur coat loving, stiletto heel wearing, big hair, big personality aesthetic that marks the end of minimalist beauty and the dawn of maximalist beauty. From TikTok user tutorials to celebs like Dua Lipa on social media, Emily Ratajkowsi walking the streets of New York, to Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Rita Ora pretty much just existing, the mob wife look is a welcome change and we’re ready to embrace it.

So if you just swiped on a siren red lip and you’re thinking, “Is this too much?.” Girl, keep going. If you added sultry smoky eye makeup, sky high lashes, bronzer and lined lips, babe you have arrived. We talked to makeup artist, Tomy Rivero for a step-by-step on how you too can look like you belong wrapped around the arm of Al Pacino.

How to Get the Mob Wife Makeup Look

1. Start With Skin Prep

“The mob wife makeup look focuses more on matte, full coverage so prepping the skin with an anti-shine primer is key. Letting your moisturizer and serums sink in will make a huge difference with eliminating that skincare shine from the clean girl era of makeup,” says Rivero. Rivero recommends using an anti-shine makeup primer and focusing it on your t-zone, especially if your skin is on the oily side. We’re major fans of E.L.F. Cosmetics Matte Putty Primerwhich uses kaolin clay and white charcoal to keep any sign of slick at bay.

2. Layer Your Foundation

When it comes to your base, a matte face is a must. “Use a medium to full coverage foundation and set all over with a powder foundation,” says Rivero. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Skin Matte Velvet Blurring Powder Foundation is clutch for creating that non-dewy finish that’ll set the scene for a flawless look that would make “Mother” a.k.a. Carmela proud. 

3. Smoke up Your Eyes

When it comes to your eyes, now is no time to be shy. Here’s a foolproof way to look like a smokeshow, courtesy of Rivero:

• Prime your eyelids with an eyeshadow base or concealer (we love how F.A.R.A.H Eyeshadow Primer really makes our shadow colors pop), to neutralize your eyelids so no skin-tone is coming through. 

• Layer a cream color eyeshadow all over the lower part of your upper eyelid.

• Use a gray shadow shade as your transitioning color (use a fluffy shadow brush like COMPLEX CULTURE All Over Shadow Brush to blend it out).

• Add black shadow in the corners of your eyes and diffuse outwards—don't be shy!

• Use a black kohl pencil to rim both your upper and lower lashline (we’ve been reaching for SUGAR COSMETICS Kohl of Honor Intense Kajal on repeat).

4. Add Blush and Bronzer

Carve out your cheekbones with a taupe to chocolate toned bronzer (a makeup bag staple of ours is BENEFIT COSMETICS Hoolah Matte Bronzer), which works perfectly for this look because of its easily blendable, matte finish. Then, top off the apples of your cheeks with a neutral blush—an optional but highly recommended step.

5. Spice up Your Lips

If you’ve been looking for a reason to rock bold red lips with abandon, here’s your chance. Focusing on a matte finish here is also key. Rivero loves NARS Lipstick in Red Lizard because it's “a beautiful rich color great for day or night.” We 100 percent agree.

6. Lift Your Lashes and Set Your Look

“Curl your lashes and add two to three coats of a really black mascara,” adds Rivero. Then set everything with a matte setting spray like KIMCHI CHIC BEAUTY Stage Proof Matte Setting Spray to lock in your mob wife vibes for the rest of the night.

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About the author
Runa Rhattacharya
Runa Bhattacharya
Runa is an NYC-based writer and Registered Nurse with over 8 years of experience covering beauty and wellness. She’s worked for publications like SELF, Cosmopolitan, and more. She’s passionate about beauty, science, and two careers that she loves!
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Article Last Updated March 4, 2024 12:00 AM