80S Makeup Trends


The 1980s was a transformative decade that left an indelible mark on popular culture, fashion, and beauty. This era was characterized by vibrant colors, bold fashion choices, and a spirit of self-expression.

The 80s witnessed the emergence of various iconic makeup trends that continue to influence current beauty standards and inspire modern-day looks. Through the use of makeup, individuals during this time were able to express their personality, creativity, and rebellion against societal norms.

Brief Overview of the 1980s and Its Cultural Impact

The 1980s marked a period of immense change and innovation across multiple domains. It was an era defined by economic prosperity, technological advancements, and significant political shifts. The advent of music television channels like MTV revolutionized the way people consumed music and visual media.

Icons such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Cyndi Lauper became cultural icons who shaped not only the music industry but also fashion trends. In terms of fashion, the 80s witnessed iconic silhouettes that celebrated excess and individuality.

Power suits with padded shoulders reflected women’s growing presence in professional spheres while simultaneously exuding confidence. For men, it was all about oversized blazers paired with acid-washed jeans or bold-colored trousers.

Makeup trends played an instrumental role in shaping personal style during this decade. The vibrant colors used in cosmetics became powerful tools for self-expression, allowing individuals to experiment with their appearance while breaking free from traditional beauty standards.

In the 80s, makeup provided a platform for both men and women to showcase their unique personalities without fear of judgment or conformity. It allowed them to express rebellion against societal norms through unconventional styles such as neon eyeshadows or dramatic lip colors.

Moreover, makeup served as a form of empowerment, especially for women. It became a means to challenge gender stereotypes and assert their individuality.

Through the art of makeup application, women could experiment with various looks, ranging from natural to avant-garde, and redefine beauty on their own terms. Overall, the makeup trends of the 1980s were a testament to the spirit of individuality and self-expression.

They provided a canvas for people to explore their creative freedom and break away from traditional norms. The influence of these trends can still be seen today in contemporary makeup looks, reminding us of the lasting impact this vibrant era has had on the world of beauty.

The 1980s was an era known for its bold and vibrant makeup trends. Across the globe, individuals sought to express themselves through the use of striking and eye-catching colors.

The makeup looks of this decade were characterized by their fearless experimentation, celebrating self-expression and pushing boundaries. Neon hues took center stage during this period, with colors like electric blue, hot pink, and lime green being particularly popular choices.

These vibrant shades were often applied generously on the eyes, lips, or even cheeks to create a statement-making look that captured the spirit of the times. The bright neon colors became synonymous with the energetic and dynamic atmosphere of the 80s.

In addition to neon hues, metallic shades made a significant impact on makeup looks in the 80s. Silver and gold eyeshadows were used to add a futuristic touch to various makeup styles.

These metallic tones not only added an element of glamour but also helped reflect light for a dazzling effect. Whether it was a night out at a disco or simply wanting to stand out during daytime activities, incorporating metallic shades into one’s makeup routine was a way to embrace the boldness and extravagance of the decade.

Emphasis on Dramatic Eyes

One of the defining features of 80s makeup was its emphasis on dramatic eyes. Eyeshadow became an instrumental tool for creating eye-catching looks that pushed boundaries beyond traditional styles.

Heavy eyeshadow application with bold colors extending beyond the eyelid crease became increasingly popular during this time. To achieve these dramatic eye looks, individuals embraced contrasting color combinations that created striking effects.

For instance, blue eyeshadow paired with orange lipstick created an eye-catching contrast that epitomized avant-garde fashion trends in both beauty and clothing choices. Defined eyebrows played another crucial role in framing these dramatic eyes.

Thick brows shaped into high arches or straight lines were favored, providing a bold and structured frame for the eyes. Pencils or powders were used to fill in sparse areas and define the shape of the eyebrows, giving them a strong presence in the overall makeup look.

To further enhance the impact of the eyes, long lashes were a must-have during this era. Mascara was generously applied to create voluminous lashes that captured attention.

Whether through traditional black mascara or experimenting with colored variants to match their eyeshadow choices, individuals sought to make their lashes a focal point of their overall makeup aesthetic. Overall, this emphasis on dramatic eyes allowed individuals to express their creativity and break away from conventional beauty standards.

The 80s provided a platform for fearless experimentation with color and shape, giving rise to iconic makeup looks that are still remembered and celebrated today. (Note: The next sections will cover face makeup trends in the 80s and lip makeup trends in the 80s)

Flawless Complexion: The Quest for Perfection

In the 1980s, a flawless complexion was highly sought after as the base for any makeup look. Women strived to achieve an even skin tone that appeared smooth and blemish-free. To accomplish this, foundation became a vital tool in their beauty arsenal.

It was applied liberally to create a uniform canvas, concealing imperfections and creating a seamless finish. The goal was to obtain an airbrushed effect that showcased immaculate skin.

Matte Finishes: Embracing Elegance and Sophistication

In contrast to the dewy looks popular today, the 80s embraced matte finishes when it came to face makeup. A velvety and shine-free complexion exuded elegance and sophistication during this era.

Powder formulations were preferred over liquid foundations as they provided a more mattifying effect. This preference for matte finishes extended beyond foundation; even blush and eyeshadows were chosen with little or no shimmer, ensuring a polished appearance.

Rosy Cheeks: Blush as the Key to Youthful Glow

Blush played a significant role in recreating that youthful radiance of rosy cheeks in 80s makeup trends. Bright pinks or peachy shades were generously applied on the apples of the cheeks using fluffy brushes or fingertips.

This technique aimed to create an illusion of natural flush and vitality. As contouring techniques started gaining popularity during this decade, some individuals incorporated subtle contouring beneath the blush application to enhance their facial features further.

Contouring: Sculpting Facial Beauty

The introduction of contouring techniques revolutionized face makeup trends in the 80s by allowing individuals to manipulate light and shadows on their faces effectively. Contouring involved the strategic use of darker and lighter shades to sculpt and define facial features.

Delicate shading beneath the cheekbones, along the jawline, and on the sides of the nose aimed to create a more chiseled appearance. This technique added depth and dimension to one’s face, enhancing natural bone structure and creating a more glamorous look.

Bold Lips: Making a Powerful Statement

The 80s were all about making bold statements, and lip makeup was no exception. Women confidently embraced strong lip colors that demanded attention. The iconic shade of choice during this era was bright red lipstick.

Its timeless appeal symbolized power, confidence, and femininity. Embracing this vibrant hue allowed individuals to make an empowering statement without uttering a single word.

Expanding Lip Color Choices: Beyond Red

While bright red lipstick stole the spotlight in the 80s, it wasn’t the only color making waves in lip makeup trends. Other popular shades included fuchsia pink, deep plum, vibrant coral, and even unconventional colors like blue or metallic gold for those seeking unique expressions of self. These alternative lip colors exemplified individuality and pushed boundaries within mainstream beauty standards.


The 80s brought forth an era of expressive makeup trends that embraced self-confidence and individuality. From flawless complexions achieved through liberal foundation application to matte finishes exuding elegance, each trend had its own significance in shaping beauty standards during that time.

The use of bright blushes for youthful rosy cheeks added a touch of vibrancy while contouring techniques allowed individuals to sculpt their facial features with finesse. When it came to lips, boldness reigned supreme as women proudly showcased their power through shades like classic red or daring alternatives.

The makeup choices made during this decade were about making a statement and embracing one’s unique personality. Looking back, the 80s serve as a reminder that beauty is not confined to any specific mold but rather an opportunity for boundless creativity and self-expression.


What were the popular makeup colors in the 80s?

Popular makeup colors in the 80s included vibrant shades like electric blue, hot pink, neon green, and bold red. These bright hues were a hallmark of the era.

What makeup techniques defined 80s makeup trends?

The 80s were known for bold and dramatic makeup techniques, such as heavy contouring, colorful eyeshadow applied to the brow bone, and intense winged eyeliner.

Were there any iconic makeup products from the 80s?

Yes, iconic makeup products from the 80s included blue mascara, frosted eyeshadows, and matte lipsticks in shades like deep plum and fiery orange.

How did celebrities influence 80s makeup trends?

Celebrities like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper played a significant role in popularizing 80s makeup trends, with their bold and distinctive looks inspiring many.

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