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 Jennifer Lopez 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 try out a 1980s hairstyle, but don’t know where to begin, you’re in luck. Below, you’ll find 40 hairstyles from the 1980s that will make you want to update your look.
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.
Editor’s tip: A key trait of 1980s hairstyles is that they have masses 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!
Whether you turn to your blowdryer and large barrel brush or a set of heated 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Editor’s tip: Still struggling to get the volume you desire? Reach for a plumping powder like VO5 Instant Volume Powder and dust lightly through your roots and scrunch through with your fingers.
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.
A lady (and a hairstyle) that needs no introduction! Forever a style icon, Cher’s tumbling black curls are a look she’s still rocking today – and still looking just as incredible, too, might we add.
Crimped 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 side ponytail.
While this throwback hairstyle was once reserved for cheerleaders, the modern, grown-up version features playful crimps and is absolutely perfect for a night out. Credit: @rominagrieger_hair
You can’t talk about 1980s hairstyles without mentioning 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 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?
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.
Lately we’ve seen stars like Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner 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!
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.
Editor’s tip: No one wants to put in all that hard work to create curls just to have them drop out. So, to ensure your curls stay just as you want them, generously spritz your final look with VO5 Invisible Firm Hold Hairspray. With humidity protection and all day hold, this hairspray is a must-have product.
Angular Afro with 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
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.
Muted Neon Hair
For extra style points, pair your hue with undone waves, red lippie and get ready to channel your inner Cyndi Lauper! Credit: @wonderful_u
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
Editor’s tip: Our favourite? The TRESemmé Botanique Air Dry Curl Cream. This hero product will help to nourish and define curls without weighing them down.
’80s Headband Hair
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 a 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!
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 Barbie pink hue, which give this look a carefree and rebellious feel.
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!
What we learnt from 1980s hairstyles, is that they weren’t afraid to be big or bold – and the perm is certainly both.
If you’re a fan of the ’80s aesthetic, these retro curls will be right up your street. Perfect for a night out, this look has all the eighties volume and flair without being too out-there. Pair with a pop of coloured eyeshadow and you’re good to go.
Demi Moore Ghost Haircut
Channel Demi Moore’s iconic pixie haircut in Ghost with this cute cropped ‘do. The bowl cut was one of the hallmarks of the decade that seemed to cross gender lines. Even back in the day… this hairstyle was unwittingly ahead of its time.
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
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!
Curls with Neon Undercut Braid
Bright, electric fashion defined the 80s and this certainly extended to the hair too. Featuring sideswept springy curls and a hot pink braided undercut, this style is the perfect nod to the decade of neon!
Big waves might be a trend we’re familiar with now, but they were also a popular look in the 80s, too.
Editor’s tip: If your hair is on the finer side, apply a volumising spray, like the TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray to damp hair. Then, tip your hair upside down while blowdrying – this will help to give it extra body and lift from the roots.
Side Swept Hair
Flipping your hair over to one side really brings the retro vibes up a notch!
An authentic ’80s shag haircut wouldn’t be complete without layers, layers, layers!
The mermaid waves trend has been big recently, but these crimped curls have actually been around since the ’80s.
Curly Shag Haircut
Blessed with natural curls? Ask your stylist for this feminine, rounded cut to make your coils pop!
This retro-meets-modern day style features 3 ’80s trends in one – spiral curls, a half-updo and of course, not forgetting a pop of colour with a pastel pink hair tie.
Shag with Curtain Bangs
Tapping into the current curtain bangs trend, this cut includes cheekbone-skimming layers and a long bob length. Pair with soft, undone curls for an effortless retro finish.
Tight Spiral Curls
Go big or go home! Grow out your curls and wear them long for a major statement.
What would the ’80s be without Madonna? Pay homage to the original Material Girl with this curly updo with piecey strands.
’80s Rock Perm
If you’re big on volume and want something that’ll stand out from the crowd, this rock-n-roll inspired ‘do might just be for you. The full fringe and backcombed crown give this permed style a too-cool-to-care bedhead vibe that we just love.
Head scarves were one of the most popular hair accessories of choice in the eighties – make yours more modern with an on-trend organza scarf like this one.
Achieve the ultimate ’80s hairstyle of your dreams by adding a colouful, oversized hair bow to any look. It really is as easy as that!