23 iconic ’80s hairstyles to inspire your next look

All Things Hair | 22 August 2018

Think ’80s hair is best left in the ’80s? Well, think again, because these 1980s women’s hairstyles are seriously hot!

Over the past few seasons, we’ve been turning our attention more and more to days gone by for hairstyle inspiration. Yet while we love the retro looks of past decades, none have captured our hearts quite like that of ’80s hairstyles.

Donned by the likes of Jessica Biel and Chrissy Teigen, updated ’80s hair looks have also been seen on the red carpets and runways, seriously tempting us to try them out for ourselves. So if, like us, you’ve also been persuaded to trial a hot 1980s hairstyle, but don’t know where to begin, simply scroll on for all the inspo you could ever need!

8 original ’80s hair icons we love


80s hairstyles: Young Brooke Shields with brown big blow dried '80s hair wearing a pattern blazer with her arms crossed
The ’80s blowdry that still inspires us. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

1. Brooke Shields

The bigger, the better rule certainly applies when it comes to ’80s hair and voluminous tresses like Brooke Shield’s are an iconic staple. For the ultimate ’80s look, team your vintage ‘do with a power blazer – shoulder pads optional.

VO5 Big Volume Mousse

Editor’s tip: A key trait of 1980s hairstyles is that they have loads of volume and body! So if you don’t have naturally full locks, you’ll need a little extra help from a body-boosting styling product like the VO5 Big Volume Mousse.

Squirt a tennis ball-sized amount of mousse into your palm and evenly distribute it through damp hair. Then blowdry and curl your strands to activate the mousse, and watch as your ’80s hair comes to life!

80s hairstyles: Kim Basinger long blonde hair in side parted '80s style with off the shoulder white dress
Picture perfect tresses for this Bond girl. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

2. Kim Basinger

Whether you turn to your blowdryer and large barrel brush or a set or trusty rollers to create this high-impact look, there is no denying that the effort will be worth it. Wear this look for a special occasion and just watch all the admiring looks you’ll get.

80s hair: Grace Jones high top afro natural hair wearing a black hood in '80s image
Grace Jones certainly knows how to turn heads. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

3. Grace Jones

Thought having short hair would stop you living out your ’80s dreams? Think again. As Grace Jones’ cropped high top is not only one of the most stand out looks from the ’80s but it’s totally on trend too.

80s hairstyles: Madonna with '80s style curly updo with a black headband wearing a leather jacket and bold make-uo
Madonna’s punk tresses are iconic. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

4. Madonna

For anyone looking for an iconic hairstyle that is instantly recognisable, all you need simply do is turn to Madonna’s punk-esque updo. Now, this wasn’t Madonna’s only standout style from the decade, the queen of pop also sported a platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe cropped ‘do.

80s hairstyles: Young Demi Moore with brown curly wavy big '80s hair wearing a drop earring in close up image
Demi’s hair was goals even back in the ’80s. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

5. Demi Moore

Demi Moore may be more recognisable with her long flowing straight locks but with her fluffy curls, bold lips and strong brow, we think this ’80s style might be one of her best looks ever.

80s hairstyles: Rex by Shutterstock
Textured cropped curls would become Whitney’s signature look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

6. Whitney Houston

While we might not be able to have Whitney’s singing talents, we can at least attempt to have her ’80s curls. Not blessed with naturally curly hair? Fear not as even those with straight hair can get in on this look with a modern day perm.

80s hairstyles: Michelle Pfeuffer medium shoulder length blonde blow dried hair in side parting with off the shoulder dress in seductive pose
Who wouldn’t want to wear this ’80s look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

7. Michelle Pfeiffer

Who can forget Michelle Pfeiffer’s girl boss hair in the ’80s hit movie Scarface? The glossy blonde bob and bangs combination was and still is iconic – just ask Bella Hadid. But that’s not Michelle’s only ’80s hairstyle we adore.

Wearing her blonde shoulder-length tresses with feathered layers, Michelle adds extra oomph to her look by sweeping her tresses over to a side-parting.

TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder

Editor’s tip: Still struggling to get the volume you desire? Reach for a plumping powder like TONI&GUY Root Lift Sculpting Powder and dust lightly through your roots and scrunch through with your fingers.

80s hairstyles: Side profile of Sade with long dark brown hair styled in a smooth ponytail braid
Add this smooth operator to your ’80s inspo list. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

8. Sade

When it comes to 1980s women’s hairstyles, it doesn’t get more timeless than Sade’s signature style. Keeping it oh so simple, Sade would often wear her dark brown tresses in a smooth low ponytail braid.


If that wasn’t enough ’80s style inspiration for you, see how you can wear the styles today by simply scrolling.

Top 15: 1980s hairstyles made popular again


1980s hairstyles: model with side high ponytail with crimps on the runway
Which side will you rock your ’80s ponytail on? Credit: Instagram.com/rominagrieger

1. High side ponytail

If you love Gossip girl and all the preppy hairstyles the characters wore on the show, the ’80s equivalent (Sweet Valley High – FYI!), brought to life the most iconic of all ’80s hairstyles: the high side ponytail.

While this throwback hairstyle was once reserved for cool cheerleaders, the modern, grown-up version features playful crimps and is absolutely perfect for a night out. So, which side will you choose? Credit: @rominagrieger

80s hairstyles: topshop model with modern 80s hair look on the runway
Spiral into action with this ’80s-perfect curls! Credit: indigitalimages.com

2. Corkscrew curls

You can’t talk about 1980s hairstyles without mentioning big, spiralled corkscrew curls. But if you think classic ’80s curls are too tight and poodle-esque, know that the modern-day variation is anything but!

This fresh take on the classic (spotted on the Topshop Unique runway) features loose spiral curls and are full of volume, being swept to the side in true ’80s style. Now, what did we do with our shoulder pads?

girl with 80s hair styled into a half up look with a scrunchie
Scrunchies are having a moment! Credit: Instagram.com/debbron_comenta

3. Half-up high pony with scrunchie

Looking for modern half-up, half-down 1980s women’s hairstyles? Then prepare to fall in love with this playful ponytail. This easy-peasy style is perfect for lazy girls who still want to look like they’ve tried (oh, we know who you are!), but have barely had to lift a finger.

While this look features a scrunchie (AKA an ’80s staple!), it has been given a cool-girl refresh with some beachy waves and a few face-framing tendrils – anyone else thinking of rocking this hairstyle to work? Credit: @debbron_comenta

1980s womens hairstyles: model with modern crimped hairstyle wearing jeans and top
Crimped hair, don’t care! Credit: Verity Jane Smith

4. Crimped hair

Over the past few seasons, major fashion houses like Stella McCartney and Maison Margiela have sent models down the runway with crimped hairstyles, giving this late ’80s hair look the fashionable seal of approval.

If you want to bring this throwback look up to date, either use a straightener to create the look or just avoid crimping all of your hair. Instead, crimp different sections of hair for a dual-texture effect that’s super chic, fresh and totally fit for the catwalk. #Slay!

1980s hairstyles: model with hot rolled brushed out curls on the runway
Hot roller your hair to ’80s heights to get the look! Credit: Instagram.com/lapetiterobemi

5. Hot rolled hair

Ever wondered why 1980s hairstyles are so voluminous? Well, the answer lies in hot rollers! Heated rollers are renowned for their ability to provide you with big, bouncy and long-lasting curls, which is why they were heavily relied on back in the day.

Want to learn how to use hot rollers? Just follow our nifty hair tutorial, then brush out your beautiful curls to give your dance-floor look a modern edge! Credit: @lapetiterobemi


VO5 High Volume Hairspray


Editor’s tip: No one wants to put in all that hard work to create curls just to have them drop out as soon as a gush of wind hits them.

So, to ensure your curls stay just as you want them, generously spritz your final look with VO5 High Volume Hairspray. With 24 hour humidity protection and all day hold, this hairspray is a must-have product.

80s hairstyles: model with grace jones inspired afro fade hairstyle
Grace Jones is that you?! Credit: Instagram.com/roncya

6. Angular afro with buzzed undercut

While many people think that the ’80s flat top hairstyle suits men better, this beautiful Grace Jones-inspired haircut proves otherwise.

As you can see, her edgy and high-angular afro seamlessly fades into a shaved buzzcut, providing her look with tonnes of bold contrast! And we’re sure you’ll agree, this lovely lady rocks the look way better than any man, right? Credit: @roncya

model with 80s hair wearing glasses and striped shirt backstage at balmain
Business in the front, party in the back! Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

7. The modern mullet

When searching for 1980s hairstyles, it may seem daunting to come across the mullet. But fear not: modern versions of this style do exist and they’re utterly fierce! Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this fashionista’s denim-coloured choppy mullet and you’ll be totally convinced.

With it’s sophisticated and rounded ‘business’ bangs at the front, and choppy layered ‘party’ at the back, this modern-day spin on the vintage style is sexy, stylish and unique.

modern 1980s womens hairstyles: women with 80s flipped hair with waves and peachy hair colour
Are you desperately seeking the ’80s? Channel them with muted neon hair colours! Credit: Instagram.com/wonderful_u

8. Muted neon hair

Tempted to pair your ’80s hair with a bright new hair colour? Well, this muted, pinkish-peach is a great ’80s-inspired choice for those who miss the days of neon everything.

For extra style points, pair your hue with undone waves, red lippie and get ready to channel your inner Cyndi Lauper! Credit: @wonderful_u

80s hairstyles: woman with natural curly hairstyle with golden tones in it
Dance with somebody who loves your gorgeous curls! Credit: Instagram.com/tylauren

9. Disco-perfect natural curls

Put away the blow dryer, because air drying is where it’s at – especially if you’ve got natural curls. Yep, you heard us right, even natural curly-haired girls can give their locks an ’80s feel with the right products.  Credit: @tylauren

TIGI Bed Head On The Rebound Curl Recall Cream

Editor’s tip: Our favourite? The TIGI Bed Head On The Rebound Curl Recall Cream. This hero product will help to transform rebellious curls into soft and defined ringlets, that also have excellent hold.

10. Bow hair accessories

When it comes to 1980s women’s hairstyles, we think N1kk1sSecr3t has got it spot on! Just take a look at this fantastic throwback hairstyle she came up with; featuring big and beautiful curls (topped off with glitzy bow headband), this party-perfect look is guaranteed to get you into the ’80s groove! Credit: @N1kk1sSecr3t

Tip: If you want to take this retro look a stylish step further, why not try your hand at our bow bun hair tutorial? You’ll totally make Madonna proud!

front view of a woman with faux curly fringe hair - 1980s hairstyles
It’s time to embrace the faux-curly-fringe. Oh yes! Credit: Instagram.com/beckybassettlondon

11. The faux curly mohawk

If you’re not quite ready to rock ’80s hairstyles in a permanent way, how about a faux mohawk instead? This is a fun way to embrace the trend without having to commit to the era wholeheartedly!

To recreate this look, clip most of your hair back, leaving out the front section. Tong the section of hair your left loose and then style it forwards, spritzing with some hairspray to keep your ’80s hair in place. A touch of blue eyeshadow wouldn’t go a miss either! Credit: @beckybassettlondon

front view image of a womans face with a perm hair style - 1980s hairstyles
The 80s are all about the perm. Credit: Instagram.com/xiphiumaveda

12. The perm

What we learnt from 1980s hairstyles, is that they weren’t afraid to be big or bold – and the perm is certainly both.

Give your look a brand new makeover with an ’80s vibe and get your hair into tight curls. Throw in a micro fringe and you’ve just updated your hair look. Credit: @xiphiumaveda

image of a woman with pink mohawk hair - 1980s hairstyles
Are you brave enough to rock an 80s mohawk? Credit: Instagram.com/indigo_sky_dance

13. Colourful mohawak

Some of the most famous looks that came from the late ’70s and early ’80s were the punk rocker hairstyles.

So if you want to fully embrace the ’80s hair trend, then jump on board with both hands and rock a brightly coloured mohawk! We love the pretty pink hue, which give this look a carefree and rebellious feel. Credit: @indigo_sky_dance

side view of a woman with curly 80s style bangs and braids - 1980s hairstyles
Rock these voluminous bangs to be an 80s babe! Credit: Instagram.com/katiemhair

14. Curly ’80s bangs

1980s women’s hairstyles often featured bangs and if you’re looking for a modern take on the look, this image is the one to follow.

Curl your bangs then gently run your fingers through them to create texture. Braid the remaining hair to bring this style bang up to date (get it?!). Credit: @katiemhair

front view of Sarah Jessica Park in 80s clothes - 1980s hairstyles
Make like Sarah Jessica Parker in
‘Sex and the City 2’ with this ’80s look. Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

15. Front puff

If you’re going to look to anyone for ’80s hair inspiration, it has to be Sarah Jessica Parker dressed in her ’80s get up for Sex and the City 2.

We love that she’s created a front puff by pushing her voluminous, curly locks forwards with this giant bow. This is a fun look to recreate and definitely one to copy if you’ve got an ’80s party to go to!





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