15 Hair And Makeup Trends From The '80s

Jelly bracelets, jelly shoes, and big, floppy hair bows. Those of us who remember the 1980s all too well sometimes wish we could forget them. Our bad sense of fashion was outrageous, bright, and in your face. Our hair was just as far out there, literally. And our makeup? Well, looking back at old photos you would think that we applied the stuff with a house painter's brush. There was nothing sweet, delicate, or subtle about the 80s. Our hair, makeup, and sense of fashion was a far cry from being shy.

And let's not forget about those shoulder pads we used to wear that made our heads appear too small on our angled frames. It was the futuristic look that we all wanted to have and the shoulder pads represented power. In fact, just about every fashion style of that time screamed power - bold makeup, bold clothing, and bold hairstyles.

It doesn't come as any surprise that people throw 80s flashback parties today. It was fun to dress back then and the younger generations still find the styles and colors exciting, although they can't wear them today without a legitimate excuse. There are 80s costumes, 80s wigs, and even 80s aerobic events complete with terrycloth sweatbands. The world has gone mad.

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14 Heavy On The Eyes


If you ever get your hands on a 1980s fashion magazine, make sure to check out the models’ eyes. A popular look back then was the makeup eyes. Women wore heavy mascara on their top and bottom eyelashes. This was then further accentuated with a heavy layer of black eyeliner on both the top and bottom lids. The effect was rocker eyes that would quickly smear off on the lids and onto the face, creating a mess after a heavy night of rocking to Motley Crue.

13 Hair Teasing


Back in the 80s, our bangs said it all. They were permed into a mass of frizz or curls and then, with a comb, we teased our bangs high up off of our foreheads. It took about an entire can of Aqua Net hairspray to keep the mess up there, but we did it anyway. Just how high we could tease up our bangs became a status thing. One inch off our heads wasn’t enough. Two inches was okay. If we could get over three inches high off the front of our heads, we were the coolest. This trend wasn’t limited to the ladies. Men did it, too.

12 Pink And Purple Eyeshadow


Pink, purple, and blue eyeshadow were the “in” colors for eyeshadow in the 80s and we loved slathering that stuff on. We didn’t go for a “hint” of color. We went all out bold. We would pile on the contrasting colors and wear our eyeshadow from eyelids to eyebrows. The makeup trend back then was to heavily accentuate the eyes. The more stuff we could pile on, the better. On the downside, we didn’t have the makeup removal products like we do now and it could take a day or two to remove a heavy application of eye makeup, resulting in a lot of eye infections.

11 Side Ponytails


Regular ponytails were not enough for the 80s fashion world. We had to make them different so we started wearing our ponytails off to the side. We didn’t wear them low. That would have been too discreet. No, we wore our side ponytails way up high and gave them a bit of a tease for extra body. It looked great with our high up bangs, scrunchies, and floppy hair bows. We would put on a pair of large hoop earring and make the look totally fabulous.

10 Heavy Blush


Accentuating our cheekbones was a part of the 80s culture. We did not do this gently, though. We never hinted at anything. Instead, we would grab a bright pink or deep plum blush and cake it on. A bright streak of blush was considered attractive back then, although we would call it a freakish clown look today. Also, we didn’t pay any attention to what colors are supposed to go with our skin tone. I do remember reading one beauty guide back then that told me I was an autumn, but autumn wasn’t in back then and so I, along with all the other autumns, ignored the beauty advice and leaned towards what was in mass fashion.

9 Mullets


I don’t know why and I would rather forget all about it altogether, but mullets were cool. Guys rocking the mullet look were so totally cute. When women got into the look, the trend just exploded. Straight hair mullets and permed mullets were everywhere you looked. Most people my age have since destroyed all the photos showing their 80s mullets. Like me, they are an embarrassment that we would all like to pretend never happened.

8 Neon Nail Polish


We did one thing right in the 80s. We brought about the neon nail polish trend. I remember when it first hit the shelves. My mother bought me neon orange and I wore the stuff all the time. It went great with my fuchsia jelly shoes and neon clothing I used to wear nearly every single day (no surviving pictures, sorry).

7 Rat Tail


Rat tails were more of a guy thing than a gal thing, but there were some women who pulled off the look anyway. The rat tail looks pretty much the same as it sounds. It was a lock of long hair that was allowed to grow longer than the rest of the hair. It was usually grown down the middle in the back, but some people would grow a rat tail on the side. The boys who had them were considered the bad boys. They often rocked a cheesy ear piercing, as well. Women who wore a rat tail were tomboys or bad girls and they often had double piercings in their ears.

6 Heavy Foundation


Makeup guides in the 80s taught us that we had to buy foundation that was two shades lighter than our natural skin tone. You see, we weren’t concerned about looking natural in those days. Our face was a platform that was meant to show off wild colors, not our natural beauty. We applied our foundation on thick to give ourselves a “blank” surface to work on. Then we could pile on the eye make up, heavy blush, and bright lipstick without the interference of blemishes or contoured skin tone.

5 Hair Crimping


I have no idea what we were on that made us think that hair crimping was attractive, but there it was. Hair crimping was a long, tedious procedure where we would take a crimping iron (looks like the illegitimate lovechild of a hair straightener and a George Foreman grill) and begin putting these zigzag patterns in our hair. Some of us would do our entire head full of zigs and zags and sometimes we would only crimp handful of hair for a bit of effect. My own crimping iron had changeable plates where I could choose small crimps or large crimps, depending on my mood and how awful I wanted to look.

4 Fuchsia


Fuchsia was everywhere in the 80s. We wore fuchsia jelly shoes, fuchsia shirts and pants, fuchsia socks to match a neon blue dress, and gobs and globs of fuchsia lipstick. Fuchsia was the only pink to wear and the lipstick was so super bright it made our lips stand out for miles. If we weren’t wearing fuchsia lipstick, then we were taking it down a notch with a plum colored lipstick which, in all honesty, was just as awful looking as the fuchsia stuff.

3 Poodle Perms


To help get our hair up into those high teases that we all loved to do in the 80s, many of us got what came to be known as poodle perms. Poodle perms were tight curl perms with curls that resembled the curly hair of a poodle. They weren’t attractive. In fact, we would spend hours at the hair stylist getting these perms and then we would spend close to two hours every morning trying to style the curly turned frizzy hair mess with gobs of L.A. Looks hair gel and oodles of aerosol hairspray.

2 Dark Lip Liner


I bought my first lip liner back in the 1980s. I was twelve at the time, reading Seventeen magazine, and trying to get the lip look that was so popular back then. While lip plumpers are all the rage now, back then to get the bigger lip look we would use a dark lip liner to outline our lips. We then filled in the lips with a lighter lipstick color. The result? Poorly drawn outlines around our lips that looked like a toddler scribbled on our faces.

1 Sweatbands and Headbands


Workout sweatbands were all the rage back in the 1980s and all the trendy men, women, and kids wore them. They were cool and they were a number one hair accessory. The most popular sweatbands were made of terrycloth material and we would wear them around our foreheads, our ears sticking straight out, while watching Fame on television, strolling down the street with our Walkmans, and occasionally while exercising to a Jane Fonda VHS tape. When we wanted more funk to our look, we would wrap the headband around a side ponytail to make it stick high up off our heads.


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