Everyone remembers the 80s as a time of big pop hits and brightly colored clothing. But it was also a golden age for hairstyles. The decade produced some of pop culture's most iconic looks, which is why 80s hairstyles are making a huge comeback.
Everyone from celebrities to soccer moms are going back to their roots and sporting old-school ‘dos. We've seen tons of perms, mullets, and big disco volume rocked on red carpets, Instagram, and even on the street.
In the 1980s, hairstyles involving hair pieces and other enhancements became trendy. The men's look was all about volume, while women spun their locks into larger-than-life styles. Extensions, curling irons, straighteners, and lots of hairspray helped create these stunning looks that have been popular ever since.
Right now, everyone is enjoying the fun of reliving the big, bright, and colorful vibes of the 1980s. In this quick guide, we'll be looking into seven of our favorite 80s hairstyles, and how you can give your guests an 80s makeover.
1. Jheri Curls
The Jheri Curl was a big trend in the African American community during the 1980s. The Jheri curl rose to popularity thanks to the Prince of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.
Michael rocked his Jheri curls on the now iconic cover of his 1982 album "Thriller". After that, Jheri curls started popping up everywhere, and were also famously worn by Lionel Ritchie and Rick James.
Recently, we've seen Jheri curls return to the spotlight thanks to stars like Zendaya and Snoop Dogg.
Jheri curls are achieved by first applying a chemical softener to loosen the hair. Then the hair is wound into perm rods, and more chemical solution is applied. The final steps are to rinse the solution and apply a neutralizer to set the curls.
2. The Perm
In the 80s, the perm was a beloved look of women everywhere. Everyone from Madonna to Julia Roberts had their hair transformed into big curly manes.
While perms were once considered out of date, they're now making a comeback. Celebs like Blake Lively, Beyonce, and JLo have all been seen styling this 80s-inspired look.
Luckily, modern perms are much less damaging than they used to be. The chemicals used have been changed and are much milder. Instead of using rollers that heat up the hair, many stylists opt to use rods that are heated with a blow dryer or flat irons to curl it. Perms can leave the hair feeling dry, so make sure to take good care of it. Moisturizers, deep conditioners, and hair masks are the best way to keep perms looking fresh and funky.
3. The Mullet
Ah, the mullet. We all love a good 80s throwback, and the mullet is one of those iconic looks we've been seeing more and more of lately.
The originator? Well, that would be David Bowie. In his 1977 music video "Let's Dance", he rocked bleached blonde hair with a long section in the back styled into a tangled mess.
Since then, versions of this look have popped up everywhere from TV to Instagram; we even saw Ariana Grande don her own version at an awards show last year.
If you're looking to recreate this look, we recommend brushing the hair back and tying it up into a short ponytail. Make sure that the bottom is completely flat against the head. If there are any flyaways or cowlicks, smooth them down with some wax or hairspray.
4. 80’s Glam Metal Hair
When you think 80s glam metal, the first thing that comes to mind is big hair! That's right, Bon Jovi and his band of merry men changed the game when they brought their brand of rock into homes around America. Their perms, teased updos, and headbands were all the rage in the 80s.
Who’s wearing these looks in 2022? We've seen Billie Eilish bringing her modern take to old-school rockstar looks. Big hair has also become trendy on TikTok.
So how do you get this kind of volume out of your tresses? First things first, you're going to need lots of product! We recommend Aveda Men Pure-Formance Clay. This will help keep that 80s style in place all day long.
Apply generous amounts of clay throughout the hair on top of your head before strategically placing small sections into spikes around the front and sides of the face. Ensure that all these spikes are pointing up towards the ceiling, and you’re ready to rock!
5. The Hi-Top Fade
A hi-top fade is a type of haircut characterized by straight lines formed when the hair is cut close to the scalp. It started as a military style known as an "Eighth Grade Haircut". Later on, barbershops adopted the style and it became popular with African American men because it was easy to maintain.
The hi-top fade has been worn by almost every rapper in the game, from the likes of Will Smith to more modern stars like Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
A hi-top fade requires little styling effort because the cut is straightforward and simple. The most common look is a straight line around the hairline which contrasts with the texture of the rest of the hair. If you’re looking for a fun, fresh new style for your client with thick or coarse hair, try out the hi-top fade!
6. Feathered Layers and Bangs
Our last style is a classic example of 80s hairstyles. Bangs were back in full force, and they usually fell around cheekbone length with long layers at the top which helped to achieve volume.
This hairstyle brought Farrah Fawcett into the spotlight and became known as the "Farrah Fawcett". Actresses like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper also wore this style on the red carpet.
This famed cut never really faded away, and big names like Britney Spears and Selena Gomez have worn this look many times! Feathered layers are easy to maintain because they require little product and can be worn both straight or wavy. For this hairstyle, use a medium barrel curling iron (3/8") and curl small sections towards the face for 45 seconds. When you release the curls, use your fingers to comb through them and style into place.
7. The Side Pony
The side pony is a casual and easy hairstyle that was a go-to for classic 80s hair. Ponytail looks were loved by 80s darlings Madonna, Debbie Gibson, and Cyndi Lauper.
The 80s side pony became popular again in 2017 when many celebrities, like Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian, began wearing it. And we can't talk about ponytails without mentioning Arianna Grande's signature look!
This style is incredibly easy to achieve. Start by brushing the hair out, making sure there aren't any knots or tangles, and straightening your client's bangs if they have them. Side ponytails look best when they're slicked back, so be sure to use a strong hold hairspray.
A simple style like this can work for anyone, regardless of age or gender--it's perfect for teens, adults, and even seniors!
Ready to Return to the 80s?
Whether you’re a hair stylist who wants to give your guests a blast from the past or are just looking for some fun ideas for your next at-home style, or simply some tips for hair styling, we hope this post has inspired you. Feathery layers, bodacious perms, and side ponytails are all radical ‘80s hairstyles making a comeback right now. So have some fun with them and see how many of your guests love the nostalgia!