1980S Makeup

1980S Makeup


The 1980s was an era known for its bold fashion statements, vibrant trends, and unapologetic self-expression. It was a decade where people pushed creative boundaries and embraced a larger-than-life aesthetic in various aspects of their lives, including fashion, music, and of course, makeup. The style of the 1980s was marked by a flamboyant and colorful approach that reflected the exuberance and individualism of the time.

Brief Overview of the 1980s

The 1980s witnessed a dramatic shift in fashion from the minimalism of the previous decade to an explosion of boldness and excess. It was an era characterized by high-energy music genres like pop, new wave, and glam rock that influenced not only the sound but also the visual culture. This cultural backdrop influenced every aspect of society – from runway shows to street style.

Fashion trends in the 1980s were defined by attention-grabbing garments made with flashy fabrics such as sequins, lamé, and spandex. Shoulder pads became synonymous with power dressing as women adopted a more assertive style inspired by influential figures like Joan Collins’ character on “Dynasty.” Men’s fashion also took on a more flamboyant flair with oversized suits adorned with bold patterns or vibrant colors.

Importance of Makeup in Defining Iconic Looks

In this era of excess and self-expression, makeup played a crucial role in creating iconic looks that perfectly complemented the daring fashion choices. It became a key tool for individuals to express their personalities and make strong statements about their identities. Makeup artists experimented with vibrant colors, exaggerated features, and innovative techniques to push boundaries further than ever before.

The face became an artist’s canvas where they could showcase their creativity and transform the wearer into a walking masterpiece. The overall effect was often theatrical, captivating, and unapologetically bold.

Throughout the 1980s, numerous influential icons emerged who defined the makeup trends of the era. Madonna’s signature bold red lips and heavy eyeliner created a statement look that symbolized power and femininity.

David Bowie’s androgynous makeup with dramatic eyeshadows and avant-garde designs pushed gender boundaries in both fashion and beauty. The 1980s was an era defined by its audacious fashion choices and vibrant trends.

Makeup played a pivotal role in enhancing these styles, providing individuals with a means to express themselves creatively. The makeup looks of this era were daring, flamboyant, and unapologetic – embodying the spirit of self-expression that defined the time period.

General Characteristics of 1980s Makeup

Emphasis on bold and dramatic features

In the glamorous world of 1980s makeup, subtlety was thrown out the window. The era was characterized by a bold and audacious approach, where makeup became a powerful tool for self-expression.

The emphasis was on creating statement-making features that commanded attention. One of the key elements of this trend was the strong and defined eyebrows.

Women sought to achieve thick, arched brows that framed their faces with precision. This look was often achieved using dark pencil or powder to fill in and shape the brows, giving them a more prominent appearance.

Thick, voluminous lashes

Luscious lashes were at the forefront of every 1980s makeup look. Eyes were meant to be intensified and exaggerated, drawing all focus towards them. Achieving voluminous lashes was a top priority for women during this time, which led to the widespread use of multiple coats of mascara or even false eyelashes.

Layers upon layers were meticulously applied to create a dramatic effect that fluttered with every blink. These thick lashes added depth and allure to one’s overall appearance, enhancing the overall impact of their eye makeup.

Focus on bright and intense colors

When it came to eyeshadows and lip colors in the 1980s, there was no room for neutrality or shyness; it was all about vibrant shades that demanded attention. Eyeshadows took center stage with vivid hues like electric blue, hot pink, neon green, and even shimmering metallic tones bedecking eyelids far and wide. These bold colors were used not just as accents but as complete eye looks themselves – sweeping from lash line to crease with fearless abandon.

Eyeshadows in vivid hues

The daring choices extended to lip colors as well. Lips were not to be left out of the vibrant color party, and fiery reds, fuchsia pinks, and even metallic finishes became the go-to options. These intense shades were often paired with equally bold eyeshadows to create a captivating visual harmony.

Lips became a focal point of every makeup look, drawing attention with their striking tones and making a strong statement about individuality and self-expression. 1980s makeup was all about embracing boldness and daring to stand out from the crowd.

This era witnessed the rise of defined eyebrows that framed the face with precision. Thick lashes were a must-have accessory for every eye look, achieved through multiple coats of mascara or false eyelashes.

The color palette was a vibrant spectrum of vivid hues ranging from electric blue to hot pink on the eyes, while lips sported fiery reds and fuchsia pinks that commanded attention. This era was all about breaking free from conventions and using makeup as an artistic outlet for self-expression, leaving an indelible mark on the world of beauty that is still celebrated today.

The face makeup trends of the 1980s were emblematic of the era’s bold and glamorous aesthetic. Women sought to achieve a flawless complexion, and foundation became an essential tool in their beauty arsenal. Heavy foundation was applied generously to create a smooth and even base that would serve as a canvas for the vibrant color palettes favored during this time.

The goal was to achieve a flawlessly matte finish that would counteract any shine caused by other makeup products. Contouring techniques gained significant popularity in the 1980s, allowing women to sculpt and enhance their facial features.

By strategically shading certain areas of the face, such as below the cheekbones or along the sides of the nose, contouring created an illusion of depth and structure. This technique helped to define facial features, giving them more prominence under both natural light and camera flashes.

Foundation and Base Makeup

Foundation played a crucial role in achieving a flawless complexion during the 1980s. Women opted for heavy foundations with full coverage to conceal imperfections effectively.

Products with matte finishes were particularly popular because they satiated the desire for a shine-free look that lasted throughout social events or long nights on dancefloors. To apply foundation flawlessly, women used various techniques like using brushes or sponges for even distribution.

They also paid close attention to blending it seamlessly into their skin tone, ensuring that there were no visible lines or demarcations between their faces and necks. Achieving uniformity was essential for creating an immaculate canvas on which other makeup products would be applied.

Blush and Bronzer Application Techniques Evolved

Blush played a vital role in adding vibrancy and youthfulness to 1980s makeup looks. The popular technique involved applying blush generously on the apples of the cheeks with circular motions, creating a flushed and healthy appearance. The favored shades included bright pinks, corals, and even deep rosy hues.

The goal was to create a vibrant pop of color that would complement the intense eye and lip makeup of the era. Bronzer also became a staple during this time for adding warmth and contour to the face.

It was employed not only to achieve a sun-kissed glow but also to enhance facial structure. Women used bronzers strategically along the hollows of their cheeks, temples, and jawline to create depth and definition.

By subtly mimicking natural shadows, bronzer helped highlight their bone structure while achieving an overall warm complexion. 1980s makeup trends saw significant developments in face makeup techniques.

Heavy foundation application with matte finishes provided women with a flawless base on which they could experiment with bold colors on their eyes and lips. Contouring techniques allowed for sculpting facial features, while blush applied generously on the cheeks created a youthful flush.

Bronzer added warmth and dimension to the face, enhancing both natural bone structure and overall complexion. Together, these trends captured the essence of 1980s makeup – boldness, glamour, and self-expression through vibrant colors and expertly crafted faces.

Eyeshadow Application Techniques

Eyeshadow played a crucial role in defining the iconic eye makeup looks of the 1980s. It was during this era that innovative techniques emerged, showcasing artistic expressions through contrasting colors.

One of the most popular techniques was the “cut crease,” which involved creating a sharp line between two distinct eyeshadow hues. The cut crease technique aimed to enhance and intensify the shape and depth of the eyes.

To achieve this look, individuals would first apply a light-colored eyeshadow all over their eyelids as a base. Then, using a darker shade, typically in bold and vibrant colors like royal blue or deep purple, they would create a precise line along the natural crease of the eyelid.

This technique brought attention to the eyes by adding dimension and drama. Additionally, smokey eyes remained widely popular during this time but took on a unique twist in the 1980s.

Instead of traditional dark hues like grays or blacks, brighter and bolder shades were utilized to create these sultry looks. Electric blues, emerald greens, and vivid purples were blended together to achieve striking effects that complemented various eye colors.


The 1980s marked an era of bold experimentation with makeup trends, particularly when it came to eyeshadow application techniques. The cut crease method allowed individuals to showcase their creativity by combining contrasting colors with precision and finesse.

Smokey eyes took on vibrant hues that accentuated one’s gaze with an air of confidence. As we reflect on these iconic trends from decades past, it is evident that makeup has always been an art form—an avenue for self-expression and individuality.

The 1980s brought forth daring choices that pushed boundaries and challenged conventional beauty norms. Today, we can draw inspiration from these trends while embracing our own unique styles.

The legacy of 1980s makeup lives on, reminding us to embrace our inner artist and fearlessly explore the world of cosmetics. Let us celebrate the boldness and innovation that defined this era, inspiring us to create our own beauty narratives and ensure that our unique voices are heard.


What were the popular makeup trends of the 1980s?

The 1980s saw bold and vibrant makeup trends, including neon eyeshadows, bright blush, and dramatic eyeliner. Lipstick shades like red and coral were also popular.

How did people achieve the iconic ’80s makeup look?

Achieving the ’80s makeup look often involved heavy application of makeup, contouring, and using makeup tools like sponge applicators and lip liner to create defined lines.

Were there any notable makeup brands from the 1980s?

Yes, some iconic makeup brands from the ’80s include Max Factor, Maybelline, Revlon, and CoverGirl, which offered products to help people achieve the trendy looks of the era.

Did skincare play a role in 1980s makeup routines?

Skincare was essential in the ’80s, with people using moisturizers and foundations as a base for their makeup. However, the emphasis was more on makeup itself rather than skincare routines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *