1980s Hairstyles & Makeup

Updated November 21, 2016

After women spent so much time with blow dryers, curling irons, hairspray and ratting combs to get their hair as big as possible in the '80s, there was not much point in going for a subtle, understated look with their make-up. Hairstyles and make-up were both as over the top and brightly outrageous as the clothing in the '80s.

Long Hairstyles

Long hair in the '80s was all about short layers above the ears and long hair below them. The mullet provided the most severe example of this bi-level look. It was essentially a short haircut on all but the back of the hair, which was left in one long layer. The back sometimes only came to people's collars, but sometimes went halfway down their backs, on both women and men. Another trendy long style was the spiral perm. Women got loose perms to give them waves and volume, and ratted and sprayed their fringe and short side layers to stand up high.

Short Hairstyles

Women used curling irons and back combing to get volume in their short styles. Two trendy looks were chin-length bobs and asymmetrical cuts that were cut short above the ear on one side and chin-length on the other. These looks were called "New Wave." Another short look women wore was an angular short cut. They had the sides cut to points in front of their ears and to a sharp V in the back, and sometimes left a long "tail" of hair. They left their fringe longer and sprayed and teased them sky high.

Colourful Eyes

Eye make-up in the '80s was heavy and colourful. Women used eyeshadow shades as bright as the Day-Glo sweatshirt and leg warmers they were wearing. They matched their shadows to every colour in their outfits, and layered multiple stripes of bright blues, greens, pinks and purples. They wore a lot of black eye liner and some girls lit their eye liner with a match to melt it and make it go on thicker and darker. Other girls wore blue or green eyeliner and wore it on the inside rim of their lower eyelids. Then they put on layers of black or coloured mascara.

Foundation, Lips and Cheeks

Many '80s women wore foundation and full make-up pretty much anytime they left the house. Most foundations were liquid based and did not come in a wide array of matching tones, just light, medium and dark. Women had to be careful to blend their foundation to not have a make-up line where their foundation ended at their jaw and chin. Blush was available in either cream or powder form. Bright shades of pink and coral were trendy and women applied them quite liberally. Women's lipstick often matched their blush; pastels and bright pink were trendy, as was sticky lip gloss.

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