How to Tease Hair Like an '80s Style

Teased hair in the 1980s was all about creating messy volume. You can emulate that teased style with any modern cut. The decade was so experimental that almost anything was considered fashionable. Rock stars influenced mainstream style, sporting the teased hair look on long, short, curly or straight hair.

Crimp clean, dry hair by pressing sections between the plates of a crimping iron for just a few seconds. Use a pintail comb to separate out neat sections for crimping, so that you do not damage hair by getting it caught around the equipment. You can crimp your whole head or only selected bits.

Back-comb or tease sections of hair to shape them. Start close to the roots, combing the hair the wrong way, toward the roots. Use small, neat strokes and work in 1-inch sections, with the first section at the roots until you reach the last at the ends. If you use a specialised sculpting brush, available from professional suppliers, rather than a comb, you will get more volume.

Fix each teased section with hairspray as you go. Back-combing over the crimped pieces takes out some of the distinctive shape but leads to voluminous sculptable hair.

Pin up sections of hair to create your desired style. Typical '80s looks were high ponytails or had just the side sections pinned up.

Fluff and tease the style with your fingers and the comb, pulling any extra pieces into shape. Back-comb your fringe, so that they sit up in a fluffy, spiky plume. Gently pull the hair from the ends to the roots between fingers, spraying each part as you go to set the style.


Wash and blow-dry very silky or heavy hair beforehand. Smooth in some volumizing mousse while your hair is damp and use a diffuser on your hairdryer to create volume. If you have curly hair, you can work with its natural texture, backcombing curls into fluffy locks or blow-drying it straight for a crimped, teased look. Crimping is optional, but it creates a more dramatic '80s-hair look. Be careful when combing out teased hair and take your time, slowly combing it in the opposite direction in which you teased it. Comb from the ends to the roots in short strokes and use conditioner to help separate strands of hair. Once your hair is tangle-free, wash and condition it with a deep-conditioning treatment.


Teasing is not good for your hair, no matter what precautions you take. Unless you want to rock your look until it grows out, always use a heat protector spray before crimping and backcombing hair, and use a good-quality brush or comb. It is not recommended to tease very long hair, especially if you have spent time growing your tresses and have been trying to keep them in good condition. Never tease chemically treated hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Hairspray
  • Hair pins
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About the Author

Shefali Choudhury is a qualified make-up artist and nail technician, with more than 12 years experience of professional makeup in beauty, film and theater. She graduated in fine art from Central Saint Martins and has been writing professionally since 2007.