Makeup 80Er

Introduction to 80s Makeup

The Era That Defined a Generation’s Style

The 1980s was an era of bold self-expression and unapologetic glamour. The fashion and beauty trends of this decade were a reflection of the cultural and artistic vibrancy that characterized the time.

One cannot delve into the essence of the 80s without acknowledging the profound impact makeup had on shaping its iconic aesthetic. From vibrant eyeshadows to neon lips, makeup became an essential tool in creating unforgettable looks.

To truly understand 80s makeup, we must first grasp the broader fashion landscape in which it thrived. This era witnessed a significant departure from the minimalist styles of the previous decades, embracing flamboyance, excess, and experimentation instead.

Fashion icons like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George led the way with their distinctive looks that blended various subcultures such as punk, new wave, and glam rock. The overarching theme was “bigger is better” — bold colors clashed without restraint while oversized accessories made statements on their own.

Shoulder pads emphasized power dressing for women while men embraced colorful suits adorned with vibrant prints. Hairstyles reached new heights with teased bouffants or gravity-defying mullets.

The Transformative Power of Makeup in the 80s

Makeup became an integral part of this transformative era by allowing individuals to push boundaries further than ever before. It became an art form that enabled self-expression beyond what was deemed conventional or acceptable.

In a decade marked by excessiveness, makeup provided both individuals and artists with a medium to explore uncharted territory. It allowed them to challenge traditional beauty standards by experimenting with unconventional color combinations, dramatic contours, and exaggerated features.

Moreover, makeup played a pivotal role in defining one’s identity and tribe. Subcultures emerged, each with their unique makeup codes.

Whether it was the goth community embracing dark, moody hues or the new romantics embracing ethereal pastels, makeup became a form of visual communication that united like-minded individuals. 80s makeup was far more than just a cosmetic enhancement; it was an integral aspect of the cultural zeitgeist.

It allowed individuals to break free from societal constraints and embrace their individuality. The bold and vibrant looks that defined this era continue to inspire contemporary beauty trends, reminding us of the power of self-expression through color and artistry.

Foundation and Base Makeup

Heavy foundation application for a flawless, matte finish

In the 1980s, achieving a flawless complexion with a matte finish was the epitome of beauty. Heavy foundation application was the norm during this era, as it created the perfect blank canvas for the vibrant eye and lip makeup looks that defined the 80s.

To achieve this flawless effect, individuals would often opt for full-coverage foundations with a thick consistency. The preferred formula of the time was oil-based foundation, as it provided better coverage and longevity compared to water-based alternatives.

Brands like Max Factor’s Pan-Stik Foundation and Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation were highly popular during this period due to their ability to provide maximum coverage while delivering that coveted matte finish. To apply these heavy foundations flawlessly, individuals would often use dense makeup sponges or flat paddle brushes.

The goal was to build up layers of foundation gradually rather than applying it all at once. This technique allowed for better blending and ensured an even distribution of product across the face.

Aside from Max Factor and Revlon mentioned earlier, several other brands were widely favored in the 80s for creating those glamorous base makeup looks. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation gained significant popularity due to its long-lasting formula that could withstand hours under harsh stage lights or dance floors filled with energetic moves.

Another sought-after brand was Lancôme with its Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation which offered medium-to-full coverage without feeling heavy on the skin. Many celebrities embraced Lancôme during this time for their photo shoots and public appearances.

Techniques for achieving a long-lasting base Creating a long-lasting base makeup look was crucial in the 80s since parties and events often lasted late into the night.

To ensure their foundation stayed intact throughout such events, individuals would follow specific techniques. Firstly, prepping the skin with a hydrating moisturizer before applying foundation helped create a smooth canvas.

This step prevented the foundation from settling into dry patches or fine lines. Additionally, using a primer became increasingly popular during this era.

Primers acted as a barrier between the skin and foundation, allowing for better adherence and longevity. They also helped control excess oil production, enabling the foundation to maintain its matte finish.

Setting the foundation with powder was another essential step in achieving longevity. Individuals would use finely milled powders that matched their skin tone and lightly dust them over their face to set the foundation in place.

This process not only extended its wear but also prevented excessive shine or oiliness throughout the day or night. By following these techniques and utilizing trusted products from renowned brands, individuals in the 80s were able to achieve that flawless, long-lasting base makeup look that was so iconic during this time period.

Eye Makeup

Bright and bold eyeshadow colors: Unleashing the Neon Revolution

In the 1980s, eye makeup took a daring turn with the introduction of vibrant, neon eyeshadow shades. Electric blues, hot pinks, and lime greens became synonymous with the era’s bold fashion statements.

These eye-catching colors allowed individuals to express their creativity and embrace a fearless approach to beauty. Applying these shades required a meticulous hand and an understanding of color theory to achieve mesmerizing looks.

To make these neon hues pop, it was crucial to start with a neutral base or primer on the eyelids. This would enhance the intensity of the colors while ensuring they lasted throughout the day or night.

Using an eyeshadow brush or fingertips, gently pat on your chosen neon shade onto your lids. To amp up the intensity further, layering multiple shades was popular during this time.

Techniques for blending multiple colors together: Creating Harmonious Rainbows

Blending different eyeshadow colors seamlessly was an art form in 80s makeup. The goal was to create beautiful gradients that transitioned smoothly from one shade to another.

To achieve this effect, start by applying your lightest color all over your lid as a base shade. Next, use a fluffy blending brush to carefully blend in a darker shade into your crease area.

For more advanced looks, experiment with creating colorful gradients by combining two or more contrasting shades on different parts of your eyelids. For instance, you can apply electric blue on the outer corner of your eyes and blend it into hot pink towards the inner corner for an avant-garde look that truly captures the essence of 80s makeup.

Dramatic eyeliner styles: Wings that Soar Beyond Expectations

The 80s were all about making a statement with eyeliner. Thick, winged eyeliner that extended beyond the eye’s natural shape was the go-to style for achieving a dramatic and edgy look.

To achieve this, begin by drawing a line along your upper lash line, starting from the inner corner and extending it beyond the outer corner of your eye. To create the iconic wing, use either a gel or liquid eyeliner to draw a diagonal line from the outer corner of your eye towards your temples.

Then, connect this line to the original eyeliner drawn along your upper lash line. The length and angle of the wing often varied depending on personal preference.

Emphasis on eyebrows: Framing Your Expression

The 80s witnessed a resurgence in emphasizing eyebrows as an essential part of overall makeup looks. Full and thick brows were popularized by icons like Brooke Shields, leading to them becoming an iconic feature associated with 80s beauty trends. To achieve defined brows during this era, several techniques were employed using pencils or powders.

Start by brushing through your brows with a spoolie brush to tame any unruly hairs. Next, using an eyebrow pencil or powder that matches your natural brow color or desired intensity, fill in any sparse areas by creating short strokes that mimic hair strands.

For those aiming for an even bolder look, some individuals would even go as far as darkening their brows further than their natural color for added drama and impact. Remember to blend well with a clean spoolie brush to create natural-looking results while maintaining that distinctive 80s aesthetic.

Lip Makeup

Vibrant Lipstick Shades

The 1980s were an era of bold and daring choices, and this certainly extended to lip makeup. The vibrant lipstick shades that dominated the 80s cosmetic scene were a true reflection of the exuberant spirit of the time.

Bright reds, pinks, purples, and oranges were all the rage, with women embracing these intense hues as a way to express their individuality and confidence. These vibrant lipstick shades became iconic symbols of the era’s fashion and beauty trends.

During the 80s, several popular lipstick brands rose to prominence for their extensive range of bold colors. Revlon’s Fire & Ice collection captured attention with its fiery reds and intense pinks.

Other renowned brands like MAC Cosmetics introduced a wide array of unconventional shades like electric blue and neon green for those who wanted to push boundaries even further. With such an expansive selection available, women had endless options to experiment with and truly make a statement through their lip color.

Glossy Lip Finishes

In contrast to today’s obsession with matte lip looks, glossy lip finishes reigned supreme during the 80s. Shiny lips with high gloss finishes were favored over matte looks as they perfectly complemented the overall aesthetic of the era.

The glossy effect added an extra dimension to vibrant lipstick shades, creating a luscious pout that demanded attention. To achieve this glossy effect, various techniques were employed.

One popular method involved using lip gloss over lipstick for added shine and dimension. Lip glosses in clear or tinted formulations were applied generously on top of vibrant lipstick colors to amplify their impact.

Another technique involved using petroleum jelly, commonly known as Vaseline, for creating a high-shine finish on the lips. A small amount was applied onto bare lips or over lipstick using fingertips or a lip brush.

This simple yet effective hack allowed women to achieve the glossy lip look without investing in additional products. The 80s lip makeup trends were all about embracing vibrancy and shine.

The bold lipstick shades and glossy finishes epitomized the era’s audacious spirit, empowering women to make a striking statement with their lips. Whether it was rocking a vibrant pink or an attention-grabbing purple, the 80s embraced individuality and encouraged self-expression through lip makeup.

Blush and Contouring

Strong blush application

In the 80s, blush wasn’t just an afterthought; it was a statement in itself. The era embraced boldness, and when it came to blush, it was all about making a vibrant impact. Bright pink or coral shades were the go-to options for creating those rosy cheeks that instantly caught attention.

A heavy application of blush was key to achieving the desired look. A generous sweep of color on the apples of the cheeks added a youthful and flushed appearance that perfectly complemented the bold eyes and lips prevalent in 80s makeup.

To apply blush with intensity, use a fluffy brush and pick up a decent amount of product on its bristles. Smile to locate the apples of your cheeks and apply the blush directly onto them using sweeping motions towards your hairline.

The goal is to create a prominent flush that stands out vivaciously against your skin tone. Remember, though, balance is essential; ensure you blend well to avoid any harsh lines or an overly theatrical finish.

Techniques for blending blush seamlessly into the skin

While strong blush application was encouraged during the 80s, it still required finesse to achieve a seamless blend into the skin. The aim was to create a natural-looking flush rather than appearing like you’ve just applied paint onto your cheekbones. To achieve this, start by using a quality fluffy brush that allows for better blending control.

Gently sweep over your applied blush in small circular motions until it merges seamlessly with your foundation or bare skin—avoid harsh lines by gradually diffusing the color outward toward your temples. Additionally, using translucent powder after applying blush will soften any excessive intensity while setting everything in place for long-lasting wear throughout your day or night.


Natural Definition Through Contouring

While the concept of contouring as we know it today wasn’t as prevalent in the 80s, there was still an emphasis on creating natural definition and structure in the face. Rather than focusing on intense sculpting and dramatic shadows, contouring in this era aimed to enhance facial features subtly. To achieve a natural-looking contour, opt for a matte bronzer or contour powder that is one or two shades darker than your skin tone.

Apply it sparingly beneath the cheekbones, along the jawline, and lightly across the temples to add dimension. The goal is to create a soft shadow effect that adds depth without being too obvious.

Blend well using a clean fluffy brush or blending sponge to ensure a seamless transition between your contour and foundation. The result should be a refined and subtle enhancement of your facial structure.


The makeup trends of the 80s were undeniably bold and daring. From strong blush application in vibrant shades to subtle contouring techniques, this era truly celebrated individuality and self-expression through makeup. Though some trends may seem extreme by today’s standards, there is still much inspiration to be found from this iconic decade.

Incorporating elements of 80s makeup into our modern routines allows for experimentation with color, encourages confidence, and reminds us that beauty knows no boundaries. So go ahead; embrace your inner 80s icon!

Be fearless with bright blushes that bring life to your complexion and master gentle contours that enhance your natural beauty. After all, makeup is not just about conforming but rather about expressing yourself with unapologetic creativity.


What were the popular makeup trends in the 1980s?

In the 1980s, popular makeup trends included bold eyeshadows, vibrant lip colors, and heavy blush.

Can you recommend 1980s-inspired makeup products?

Sure, some 1980s-inspired makeup products include neon eyeliners, frosted eyeshadows, and matte red lipsticks.

How can I achieve the iconic 1980s makeup look?

To achieve the iconic 1980s makeup look, focus on contouring, bold brows, and using electric-colored makeup.

Were there any famous makeup brands from the 1980s?

Yes, some iconic makeup brands from the 1980s include Max Factor, Revlon, and Maybelline.

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