When it comes to fashion and style, the 80s were, without a doubt, iconic years. This was a decade of excess, with a lot of emphasis on materialism, consumerism, and individualism. The media played a huge role in this, because everything on television, in music, in newspapers, and on the internet emphasized these values and influencing the trends and styles of the time. This was true for both dressing styles and hair.
Speaking of hair, hairstyles became more extreme and exaggerated in the 80s. Hair was bigger and more voluminous than ever before. This article will take a deep dive into the hairstyles of the 80s, highlighting how you can replicate some of these styles today.
Most Popular 80s Hairstyles for Men
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While you may be thinking that hair in the 1980s was all about mullets and long, curly mops as worn by the heavy-metal bands of the decade - there are are a few other hairstyles that often get overlooked. Hair in the 1980s was diverse and exciting, incorporating different cuts, styles, and chemical treatments into the mix.
For instance, it was fashionable for men to shave their heads completely bald (so it becomes debatable whether this can be classed as a ‘hairstyle’), and both men and women enjoyed experimenting with different chemical treatments - from dyes to perms to extra-firm hairsprays to keep everything in place.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the most popular 1980s hairstyles for men that you might not have considered.
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The slick back style features prominently in the 1987 movie Wall Street and shows it off as being the quintessential ‘yuppie’ businessman style of the 1980s. This is because it was such a popular style among business people and stockbrokers, so much so that it became something of a parody of itself in later years.
The slick back is still quite popular today. To achieve this look, you’ll need some gel and glossing spray for that wet look. Use the products generously, and make sure not to use matte products. Finally, use a fine comb to set everything in place.
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The punk era of the 80s featured oversized mohawks, a wild, rebellious and edgy hairstyle. This look was bold and immediately made a statement when you walked into any room.
Today, you can still pull off this look. It can be enhanced and customized with features like braided sides, a taper, or a fade. You could even use gel to slick it back for a polished look or pair it with a full beard for a masculine, rugged vibe.
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This was an iconic hairstyle for black men in the 80s. It was popularized by stars like Michael Jackson and Ice Cube. The style is a particular type of perm in which Afro-textured hair is given loose but defined curls topped off with a glossy finish. The best part is that it works on both long and short hair.
Most Popular 80s Hairstyles for Women
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As stated, the most well-known women’s hairstyles from the 1980s were likely the mullet and big, bold blowout hair (most commonly referred to these days as simply ‘80s hair’). Women’s hairstyles in the 1980s were known for being big with a capital B!
Huge soft waves, fluffy bangs, and gallons of hairspray went hand-in-hand with women’s hairstyles in the 1980s. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular hairstyles women were rocking in the 1980s:
The Princess Diana
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As the name suggests, this style was inspired by the Princess of Wales. It featured voluminous, cropped, fluffed hair. Although it was a bit more demure than other styles of the decade, it still stood out nonetheless.
Today, this look can easily be customized with slight variations to the original look. However, a lot of women opt to stay true to the iconic Princess Diana style.
Curls and Perms
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The 1970s were characterized by long, straight, and sleek hair. Curly hairstyles in the 80s replaced this. While modern-day sentiments might think of big waves and teased bangs and mullets - women’s hair wasn’t just about being big; it was about being curly too.
Women with naturally curly hair enhanced it to make it bigger and curlier, while those with straight hair tweaked it to make it curly. Perms were very much in fashion, and women who didn’t opt for the permanent curling that a perm provides would often use rollers and heated rollers to achieve the desired look.
Ponytails with Scrunchies
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Ponytails had been around for a long time. However, they saw a renaissance in the 80s thanks to the "scrunchy," a large hair-tie that often came in neon colors. Women wore ponytails either on the back of the head, on the side or high up, then tied them with scrunchies for a fun and carefree look.
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This is a bonus hairstyle on this list as both men and women wore it. The style features hair that is cut short on the sides and the front, but left long and flowing at the back. While some stars like Paul McCartney and David Bowie wore it in the early 70s, it only properly took off in the 80s. The mullet works with both straight hair and curly hair.
So there you have it; the most popular 80s hairstyles for men and women. The best part about these styles is that they are effortless to recreate today.
While things like perms might be a little too much to handle yourself - you can always opt for curlers or rollers - or simply ask your stylist to do it for you. Past decades are consistently providing style inspiration for the present day - and we see the 70s, 80s, and 90s haircuts experiencing something of a resurgence at the moment. So - what better way to turn heads than by rocking a perm, or dusting off that scrunchie!
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