80’s Hairstyles – 10 Best Hair Trends from the Eighties

The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly

Forget just a standard braided-do or some straightening – in the 1980’s, hair was anything but subtle!

With television shows and movies like Stranger Things and Ready Player One becoming all the rage, it can seem like the 80s were not that long ago. But this big resurgence in eighties obsession is coming nearly 40 years after the decade itself. The music, pop singers and rock bands coming to us live from MTV, combined with the economic excess of the decade and ground-breaking fashion all had an impact on the way people chose to style their hair during the 1980s. Stars like Joan Jett, Annie Lennox and Grace Jones were challenging the ideas of what a conventional woman dressed like, while celebrities like Madonna were fast encouraging us to get our hands on as much hairspray as we could!  We’ve come up with the 10 best hair trends from the eighties, complete with 80s hair and make up pictures that some of these celebs would probably rather forget…

10. The Mullet

Pictured: Tennis legend Andre Agassi rocking The Mullet back in the 1980s.

Let’s get this atrocity out of the way early. Even though stars like David Bowie and Paul McCartney were wearing their hair all ‘business in the front, party in the back’ during the late 1970s, this 80’s hair style for men needed time to come into its own. If you were to ask your hairdresser to give you a mullet (and we don’t know why you would), they’d cut it short on top and at the sides, but leave it long in the back. Even though mullets were predominantly worn by guys, some ladies were willing to rock the look too, giving rise to the term The Fe-Mullet, or female mullet.

Celebrities who wore The Mullet

  1. Hulk Hogan
  2. John Stamos, who played Uncle Jesse in Full House
  3. Mel Gibson
  4. Patrick Swayze
  5. Rob Lowe

9. Crimping and Perming 

Pictured: Our Nicole sporting one of the most iconic 1980s hairstyles – the perm.

Video: An advertisement from back in the day that shows you just how people achieved that 80s crimped hair

That Rapunzel-like,  dead straight hair of the 1970s? *Poof* Gone. During the 80’s, curly hair was all the rage. If you had naturally curly hair, this was a good decade to be out and about it. With some teasing and hairspray, you’d be ready to hit the town. However, if you hair was straight –  you were in for a battle. Hot rollers, crimping irons, curlers, those with straight hair were doing everything in their power to achieve that elusive bounce and volume. A permanent, chemically altering your hair to achieve a more curly style, was often the way to go. If it was done correctly, you’d end up with small, tight curls that would last months.

Celebrities who crimped and permed their way through the 80’s: 

  1. Whitney Houston, circa 1987
  2. Dolly Parton
  3. Christine Mcvie
  4. Meg Ryan

8. 80’s Hair, Punk Style.

Pictured: Punk rocker Billy Idol performing during the 1980s.

The punk music genre changed during the 1980s, with new-wave, post-punk and hardcore punk breaking away from what the music had conventionally sounded like prior to 1979. This schism brought about a change in both the 80’s fashion and 80’s hairstyle of the average punk fan. Mohawks, ‘devil horn’ style spikes that the late Keith Flint would go on to make his own a decade later – 80’s punk rock hair was extremely varied. 

Celebrities with punk style 80’s hair

  1. Robert Smith, who is considered post-punk or new wave.
  2. Mr. T – We know he’s definitely not a punk, but now is the perfect opportunity to clear something up. His classic 80’s hairstyle is often incorrectly referred to as a mohawk, when in reality, this hairstyle is known as ‘mandinka‘ and it originated in Western Africa
  3. & 4. We don’t know who these young people are, but the Instagram account Spitting Image is an excellent window into 1980s punk culture, as is the account The 80s Are Back.

7. Jheri Curls

Pictured: Michael Jackson and his Jheri curls during ‘Thriller’

The Jheri curl was invented by Irish-American haircare expert Jheri Reading. It’s a two step chemical process that gives the hair a more manageable curl. The style blew up when Michael Jackson rocked the look in his Thriller music video, and has since been credited with being one of the first hairstyles that gave the African-American community a chance to experiment with hair versatility. 

Celebrities with Jheri curls

  1. Lionel Richie
  2. Rick James, pictured with Mr. T
  3. Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction
  4. Eriq La Salle in Coming to America

6. Scrunchies and Accessories

Pictured: Mariah Carey, killing it with her yellow scrunchie, and Will Smith in 1988.

Your 80’s pony tail simply wasn’t complete without a scrunchie, giant bow or sparkly hair band. It was all about the accessories, and in a way, it still is. Scrunchies stayed with us all throughout the 90s, and are currently enjoying a big resurgence (especially with our sporting women). And why not, they’re practical, they keep your long locks out of your face and they add a pop of colour to your outfit.

Celebrities who knew how to accessorise:

  • Madonna, throughout the entirety of Desperately Seeking Susan.
  • Grease was filmed in 1978, but you can already pick up a ’80’s hair accessories’ vibe just by looking at The Pink Ladies 
  • Axl Rose wouldn’t be Axl Rose without a wide bandana

5.  Glam Metal ‘Hair Bands’

Pictured: KISS may have ditched the makeup in the early 1980s, but the hair lived on

We have to talk 80’s hair bands, and we don’t mean the kind that your keep around your wrist. Hair band was a pejorative term for glam metal bands, who stood out due to like in-your-face fashion and unforgettable hairstyles.

Glam Metal bands who got started in the 80’s:

  1. Guns ‘N’ Roses
  2. Poison
  3. Def Leppard
  4. Motley Crue

4. The Aqua-Net Fringe

Pictured: Geena Davis in Beetlejuice

All that hairstyling didn’t just stop at the body, you took it all the way to your fringe as well. Also known as ‘mall-bangs’, you’d use copious amounts of teasing and hairspray to get your fringe to exert just the right amount of volume.

Celebrities who were on the “fringe” in the 80’s:

  1.  Cyndi Lauper
  2. Jodi Foster, pictured with Rob Lowe
  3. Blondie aka Deborah Harry
  4. Jennifer Gray

3. The Hi-Top Fade

Pictured: Grace Jones on the cover of her 1981 album Nightclubbing

This hairstyle has come to symbolise the golden era of hip-hop and urban contemporary music that burst onto the scene in the 1980s. Grace Jones made it her signature hair cut, and 80’s rappers like Schoolly D and Doug E. Fresh are credited with wearing early forms of the style.

Celebrities with Hi Tops:

  • Vanilla Ice, seen here in his music video for Play That Funky Music
  • Eddie Murphy’s cut may have grown out a little, but Arsenio Hall is definitely rocking a hi top here in 1989.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air started right at the end of the 80s, but Will Smith rocked his hi top for almost the entire show.

2. The Half-Up, Half-Down

Pictured: A very fresh-faced Drew Barrymore modelling the perfect example of the half-up half-down.

Want your hair up out of your face, but still want to show off your crowing glory? The half-up half-down 80’s hairstyle worked well with scrunchies and still showed off your perm or blow-dry.

Celebrities who owned this 80’s prom hair look:

  • All the Heathers in Heathers
  • Alyssa Milano when she starred in Who’s The Boss?
  • Baby Brooke Shields, pictured here with her mum.

1. Feathering

Pictured: Tom Cruise is all smiles while Heather Locklear rocks her feathered-do

Farrah Fawcett made this look iconic, and people ran with it well into the 1980s. Both men and women could get their hair feathered, and it worked best on straight hair.

Celebrities who were birds of a feather:

  • Christina Applegate during her ‘Married With Children‘ years
  • David Bowie, pictured here with Bianca Jagger
  • Jane Fonda
  • Rod Stewart

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