How to do 80s hairstyles

Updated February 21, 2017

The '80s fashions and hairstyles were all about big and bold. Whether the hair was short or long, fashionable locks required hairspray and volume. The main theme was to be unique and get noticed. Often that rebellious, cutting-edge kind of look included bright colours, odd proportions and lots of gravity-defying height. Everyday people were spending more time on rock-star hair as a part of daily life. There was nothing soft, natural or quick about '80s hairstyle; it required a lot of hairstyling products and tools to achieve.

Style hair that is not freshly washed but rather a day or two old. Hair that has some oils to it will take styling better and hold it longer.

Use a spray bottle to mist some water into the hair without getting the hair soaking wet. Spray a golf ball-sized amount of volumizing hair mousse into the palm and work through the roots of the hair.

Flip hair upside down by leaning over, and blow dry the damp hair starting with the roots and working with your fingers.

Flip shorter hair back upright and away from the face. Use some heavy styling gel to slick the sides back and out. Using a teasing comb or small-toothed comb, tease the hair at the roots in 1-inch sections from the fringe all the way back to the crown. Use some super-hold hairspray to preserve the height created on the top of the hair.

Flip longer hair back upright, and use large hot rollers to create rows of large curls starting from forehead and going back to the crown and down the back of the hair. Then start at the sides and run a row on each side all the way to the back row.

Use your hands, fingers spread apart like a rake, to gently pull through the curls, lifting and combing at the same time. Use super-hold hairspray as you go to create a puffy, dramatic look. For extra height at the top or sides, use a teasing comb to tease some sections of the roots and immediately spray with hairspray to preserve the volume. Tease the fringe for maximum volume.


Temporary hair colours like streaks of pink, purple, yellow and green were very popular in the '80s and frequently used to add effect to asymmetrical hair cuts or a spiky, gelled do. Check with a beauty supply store for washout products you can use. To complete your '80s look, don't forget to go dramatic and heavy with the make-up. Bold lip colour and eye make-up as well as dramatic blush finish off that '80s in-your-face style.


Teasing, blowdrying, using hot rollers and other heat tools can be especially hard on your hair. If you have thin, fine or delicate hair, be cautious about how much stress you put on the hair shaft, as breakage and splitting is a serious problem with this type of styling. Be sure to use a gentle, moisturing shampoo and conditioner both before and after this kind of styling. For extremely fragile hair, consider a deep conditioning treatment to help restore any damage done to the hair afterwards. Also, consult with a professional hairstylist who knows your hair for pointers on how to achieve these high-volume styles with minimal damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Super-hold hairspray
  • Hair gel
  • Hair mousse
  • Hot rollers
  • Teasing comb
  • Blow-dryer
  • Mirror
  • Spray wate bottle
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About the Author

Kimberli Nalven has been writing for more than 15 years and freelancing for over 10 years. She's experienced in the fields of computer and cellular phone technology, integrated medicine and health and fitness. She writes a monthly column for a local paper and posts daily Internet content in the area of elementary-years parenting.