Hairstyles From the 80s for Long Hair

Written by ann murray
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Hairstyles From the 80s for Long Hair
The 1980s were characterised by outrageous hair experimentation. (punk fashion model image by Randy McKown from

The 1980s were characterised by hair experimentation in many forms. Hair was arranged in sky-high towers or gelled in strange angles, saturated in mousse and accessorised with plastic and metal. Hair was crimped, spiked, teased and permed. The general hair opinion of young people in the 1980s seemed to be, "the bigger, the better." While there were many ways to style short hair that fit into the 1980s aesthetic, long hair lent itself to iconic bigger styles, perms and up-dos.

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Big Hair

Big hair wasn't new in the 1980s. Beehives were first popularised in the 1960s and afros were popular in the 1970s. But there was something new about the big hair of the 1980s. It wasn't just big, it was creative. Spiked Mohawks, teased side ponytails and sculpted tresses that looked like they'd been whipped in a candyfloss machine were popular with bands like Bananarama and Squeeze. Hairstyles were artfully outrageous and complex and separated the youth culture from their more conservative parents.

Anything but Straight

Straight hair was the only sin in the 1980s. Everyone was concerned with body and the sleek long hair of the 1960s and 1970s was replaced with ringlet perms and frizzy fringe. All manner of hair products was used to achieve waves, curls and spikes, including mousse, gel, hairspray and even glue or clear gelatin (ideal for stiff, spiky styles).

Accessories and Colors

Many hair products included accessories like glitter or hair paint in a wide variety of colours. Hair was dyed in every colour of the rainbow and one person might have streaks in several different colours at one time. Small plastic toys, like dinosaurs or spiders, were popular hair accessories and could be affixed to clips with super glue. Sparkly ribbon, chunky metal hair pieces and all manner of brightly-coloured headbands and scrunchies were also popular.

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