80s Makeup and Hair


The 1980s was an era that left an indelible mark on fashion and beauty. It was a time defined by its boldness, vibrancy, and unapologetic self-expression.

From the flamboyant outfits to the larger-than-life hairstyles, the 80s exuded a sense of audacity that was unparalleled. This decade witnessed a cultural shift where individuals sought to break away from the muted tones and conservative styles of previous years, embracing a new wave of fashion and beauty that celebrated excess.

One cannot discuss the 80s without acknowledging the immense impact makeup and hair had in shaping this iconic era. Beauty trends in the 80s were characterized by their daring nature and willingness to push boundaries.

The mantra seemed to be “more is more,” as people embraced vibrant colors, over-the-top styles, and dramatic transformations. Makeup became an essential tool for self-expression, allowing individuals to experiment with their appearance like never before.

The distinctive aesthetic of the 80s can be attributed in large part to makeup trends that emerged during this time. Bright neon eyeshadows in electric blues, pinks, and purples were all the rage, as they added a burst of color to even the most mundane looks.

Women (and men) proudly sported intensely pigmented blushes in shades like coral, fuchsia, and peach that sculpted their cheekbones with vibrant precision. Lips were not forgotten either; lipstick choices ranged from bold reds that demanded attention to intense pinks that radiated youthful energy – often with a glossy finish for added allure.

While makeup played a central role in defining 80s beauty trends, hair also took center stage as an integral part of creating an iconic look during this time period. The hairstyles of the 1980s were all about volume and drama – bigger was definitely better!

Teasing or backcombing techniques were used to achieve voluminous styles that defied gravity and pushed hair to new heights. Perms gained immense popularity, allowing both men and women to embrace curly or wavy locks that added extra texture and dimension.

The 1980s marked an era where fashion and beauty embraced fearless self-expression. Makeup and hair became powerful tools in creating a distinct aesthetic that celebrated vibrant colors, bold choices, and an unapologetic desire for individualism.

The impact of this era can still be seen today, with its influence on current trends evident in the continued love for bright colors, exaggerated hairstyles, and the freedom to express oneself through personal style. The 80s will forever remain a vivid chapter in the history of fashion and beauty – a testament to the power of makeup and hair in shaping cultural identity.

Bold and Vibrant Colors Dominated the Makeup Scene

The 1980s were an era characterized by boldness and vibrancy, and this extended to the realm of makeup. Gone were the subdued tones of the previous decades, as a wave of electrifying hues swept over the beauty industry. Neon eyeshadows became an instant hit, with shades like electric blues, pinks, and purples adorning eyelids across the nation.

These vivid colors served as a form of self-expression and rebellion against traditional norms. Alongside vibrant eyeshadows, brightly colored blushes took center stage in 80s makeup trends.

Coral, fuchsia, and peach blushes were generously applied to the apples of the cheeks, creating a youthful flush that perfectly complemented the radiant skin sought after during this time. Lipsticks also played a pivotal role in defining 80s makeup looks.

The era witnessed a shift towards bold reds and intense pinks that exuded confidence and power. Glossy finishes were favored to enhance lip volume and draw attention to this focal point of the face.

Emphasis on Dramatic Eyes

If there’s one feature that defined 80s makeup more than any other, it was undoubtedly dramatic eyes. Heavy eyeliner took center stage as both upper and lower lash lines were adorned with thick strokes of jet-black or vibrant colors. This technique created an intense look that accentuated eye shape and made them appear larger.

Eyeshadow techniques also evolved during this time period. Many individuals embraced blending multiple colors for gradient effects on their lids—a style commonly known as ombre today—creating mesmerizing transitions between shades on their eyelids.

Others opted for contrasting shades to make a bold statement. This experimentation with eyeshadows allowed for endless creativity and self-expression.

Contouring and Highlighting Techniques Evolved

The 80s witnessed the evolution of contouring techniques, which were used to create sharp cheekbones that could rival those of supermodels. Applying darker shades beneath the cheekbones and along the jawline accentuated facial structure, adding depth and dimension to the face. In addition to contouring, highlighting became increasingly popular during this time.

Highlighters were used strategically to illuminate specific areas of the face, such as brow bones, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow. The artful placement of these shimmering products helped create a radiant glow that caught every beam of light.

Big hair was all the rage

In the 1980s, bigger was better when it came to hair. The era witnessed an obsession with volume and height, resulting in hairstyles that defied gravity. Teasing or backcombing techniques were used extensively to create the illusion of fullness.

Ladies would spend hours perfecting their bouffant hairstyles or creating towering updos that were guaranteed to turn heads. Men also embraced voluminous hair, often opting for mullets or layered styles that added body and depth.

One of the most enduring trends from the 1980s was the ubiquitous perm. Both men and women sought after permanent waves to achieve those curly or wavy locks that epitomized the decade’s aesthetic.

Perms offered individuals of all hair types a chance to transform their straight tresses into cascades of bouncy curls. Salons were inundated with clients eager to sport this trendy look, resulting in a surge in demand for perming solutions and techniques.

Pop culture icons had an immense impact on defining hair trends during this vibrant decade. One standout style that gained iconic status was Madonna’s messy crimped hair. Her rebellious image, combined with her distinctive hairstyle, made crimped hair an instant hit among fans worldwide.

The crimping iron became a must-have tool as everyone attempted to replicate Madonna’s edgy look. Other celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Whitney Houston also contributed to shaping popular hairstyles by showcasing unique cuts and wild colors.

“The 1980s represented a turning point in hairstyling history, where self-expression through bold and extravagant looks took center stage. It was an era of experimentation and pushing boundaries, resulting in unforgettable hairstyles that still resonate today.”


The hair trends of the 1980s were undeniably bold and daring. From the pursuit of big, voluminous hair to the popularity of perms and the influence of pop culture icons, this decade left an indelible mark on hairstyling history. The hairstyles of the 80s embodied a spirit of self-expression, creativity, and fearlessness.

While some trends may seem over-the-top by today’s standards, they serve as a reminder to embrace individuality and have fun with our personal style choices. Let us celebrate the 80s for shaping a generation that challenged convention and left an enduring legacy in the world of fashion and beauty.


What were popular makeup trends in the 80s?

Popular makeup trends in the 80s included bold eyeshadows, vibrant blush, and bright, glossy lips. Blue eyeshadow and dramatic eyeliner were particularly iconic.

How did people style their hair in the 80s?

In the 80s, people styled their hair with big volume, using techniques like perms, crimping, and teasing. Mullets, feathered hair, and side ponytails were also trendy.

What makeup brands were popular in the 80s?

Some popular makeup brands in the 80s were Maybelline, CoverGirl, and Revlon. These brands offered products catering to the bold and colorful trends of the era.

Were there any iconic celebrities known for their 80s makeup and hair?

Yes, several celebrities like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George were known for their distinctive 80s makeup and hair, influencing fashion and beauty trends during that time.

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