80s Hairstyles and How to Wear Them in 2024
Bringing 80s hair back to life, in a modern way
For those of us old enough to have enjoyed the 1980s in full force, we can truly say the era was like no other. Nothing was off-limits during this electric decade of excess: Everything from ’80s hairstyles to clothes, music, and pop culture were all delightfully OTT — all that neon! All that hair!
It turns out, all things ’80s is back. And it seems to have proven sweeter the second time around. Much more watered down—and less outrageous—versions of its fun hair trends are returning to the scene. Call it a healthy sense of irony, but a rediscovered love for texture and embellishments (as well as love for a good throwback) is giving us back many of these beloved styles, and they look better than ever. Read on for all the ’80s hairstyle inspiration you will need.
’80s Hairstyles to Be Inspired By in 2024
Need some inspo about ’80s hairstyles for all hair lengths? From shags to layers, keep scrolling to check out our top looks.
1. Shag 80s Hair
Several industry insiders have referred to the shag as L.A.’s hairstyle du jour, and to be quite honest, we didn’t exactly see this one coming. We’re happy bandwagoners, though, as this year’s redux features totally directional texture—shiny waves—in the hottest length of the year: the lob. Ask your stylist for brow-grazing bangs and chunkier layers that go past the jaw for a less helmet-y look.
2. Feathered Layers ’80s Hairstyle for Medium Hair
Gleaming, middle-parted waves molded to perfection were the hallmarks of the decade’s pretty girls. A feathered hairstyle was the first-generation “Rachel,” and flattered almost all face shapes due to its democratic layers and low-maintenance length. This shoulder-dusting ’80s hairstyle also was the perfect foil for the exaggerated feminine silhouettes of the era (ruffles and lace!) and easily transitions into this fall’s off-shoulder and ruffle trends too.
3. ’80s Mullet for Women
The fe-mullet gets renewed airplay this year but in a decidedly quieter dosage brought on by a softer, fuller fringe and more blended layers. More Euro-punk than backwater Podunk, this infamous ’80s look sheds its reviled reputation this year with a much more sophisticated, shorter disconnect between layers. This can actually be a flattering look, especially for those with round, square, or triangle-shaped faces.
4. Permed Bob
A valentine to curly-haired teen queens back in the day, the permed bob is a sweet, angst-free approach to big curls that we can all definitely get in on this year. In fact, it’s quite similar to all the natural-textured bobs we’ve seen lately, save for slightly tighter, more defined ringlets.
Once the sole property of tweens, pop stars, and after-school-special celebs, crimped hairstyles are another one of those ’80s hairstyles that grew up for the better. Now crimped hair isn’t the zigzag shape it used to be. Instead, in 2024, it translates to S-shaped waves that give you loads of volume, minus the frizz.
6. Bob with Bangs
What’s more ’80s than a bob with bangs? Get in on the curly bangs trend and rock your curls with confidence. This is the perfect look for naturalistas who want to try bangs on curly hair.
7. Layered Bob
Round out your curls with a layered bob that gives your hair shape and bounce. Adding these layers to your hair is the perfect way to give thin hair a pop of volume. Set the volume in place over time with a hairspray such as TRESemmé Hair Spray Flexible Touch-Up Pen.
8. Long Curls with Curly Bangs
Go big or go home! Grow out your curls and wear them long for a major statement, especially with the bangs. This look is especially gorgeous when transitioning from summer to fall seasons.
9. The 80s Wolf Cut
The TikTok-famous “wolf cut” may seem like a modern phenomenon, but it’s heavily inspired by hairstyles from the 1980s, ie the shag and the mullet.
10. Flipped Out Bob
Big, fluffy blowouts were everywhere in the ’80s. But the cool girls also wore a sleeker version of the look. Emulate it by flicking out the ends of your bob. All you need? A big round brush and a blow dryer.
11. The ’80s-Inspired Long Curly Shag
Whether you’re getting a perm (very ’80s) or have natural ringlets, you can’t go wrong with a big, poofy shag. It was a favorite of many icons from the era.
12. Half-Up Half-Down Hair
Dressing preppy was huge in the ’80s, and offsetting all those sweaters and pastels was the half-updo. Braids—especially the French braid—were an added one-two punch to the whole more-exclusive-than-thou look prevalent in teen TV tropes everywhere. Now that we’ve all gone braid-crazy this year, the half-updo has become a quick and easy way to infuse the trend into our looks in half the time.
Keep this look budge-free with touchable texture from a light mist hairspray, such as TRESemmé TRES Two Ultra Fine Mist Hair Spray.
13. Permed High Pony
What’s better than one hair trend? Why, three, of course. Here at All Things Hair, we couldn’t be more excited about the resurgence of the scrunchie. Throw in a high pony and a perm on top of that, and you’re definitely rollin’ deep in those ’80s vibes.
14. ’80s Ponytail
Freshen up the quintessential ’80s high ponytail with modern touches like waves at the ends of your lengths or the braided detail in the look above.
15. Wrapped Hair
At one point, “accessories” such as bows, headbands, lace ribbons, and scarves all blurred together into one big, hot mess—#SorryNotSorry! These days, we’re thankfully taking the deconstructed route in terms of hair accessorizing and using headwraps as both a practical and stylish way to look polished with minimal effort. In the 1980s, it was about style overkill. These days, the hairstyle takes center stage, with add-ons just providing a quirky final touch.
16. Headband hair
Speaking of hair accessories — you cannot talk about the 1980s without a reference to the iconic ’80s headband. To modernize this “80s workout video” look, choose headbands in different fabrics like like velvet or (p)leather.
17. Ombré Curls
Make your ’80s style a bit more modern by mixing it with an ombré color story to your curls as opposed to fully dying your hair. Ombre is a bit easier to maintain if you don’t want to worry about consistently touching up dark roots.
18. Bowl Cut
The charming, tousled 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. That, and the fact that it’s one of the hottest looks on and off the runways nowadays, makes a strong case for this look.
19. Tapered Afro
A lot of curly-haired beauties used to style their hair in a tapered look during the 1980s. To emulate, pin back the sides of your afro or simply ask for a slightly tapered haircut that thinned down towards the nape.
20. ’80s Hair Scrunchies
I’m not going to lie: We had these in every color for every day of the week. These bad boys were the main hair accessories of the 1980s. No other hair tie was as comfy or efficiently held our high ponies in place. We will never know whether it was the extra traction from the curly fabric cover—or simply tons of hairspray. For now, it’s safe to say our top knots have found their most hardworking reinforcements in more sophisticated renditions, such as leather and metallic elastic.
21. Shaved Sides
Mohawks and side-shaven undercuts were an underground staple, particularly with the punk movement. Pairing these edgy looks with alternative hair colors, such as bright blues and greens, was also the norm. These days, this 80s hairstyle has resurfaced in all its subversive glory, with a gamut of patterns and colors to boot.
A firm-hold hairspray, such as Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head, helps you wear your look loud and proud.
22. Bubble Ponytail
Looking back, we sometimes think the unofficial goal of the 1980s was just to find funky, irregular ways of doing anything. This includes this offbeat way of revving up your standard ponytail. Simply segmenting the tail with hair elastics throughout the length creates a whole new look. Easy, unique, and quite ingenious, it’s another quirky ’80s look that’s been on current rotation this year.
23. Short Permed Hair
The short perm features loose, somewhat lazier curls on a relaxed bob. More ingénue than incredulous, it’s a less uptight version of the original ’80s short perm, which is a more flattering look. Best achieved on straight-to-wavy hair textures, first ask your stylist for a chin-length bob—it’ll shrink once it’s permed or curled.
24. Long Hair Perm
A long-haired perm can veer away from traditionally tight ringlets. The look is more island-girl than cherubic and, as such, can be styled in a myriad of ways.
Our favorite, though, is letting it cascade long over our shoulders and just reinforced with a dime-sized amount of curl-defining creams, such as Suave Luscious Curls Curl Defining Cream, so the structure remains.
’80s Hairstyles for Men
Even in men, we’ve seen waves of ’80s hairstyles come back. Check out more of these looks below!
Mullets are having a major moment right now, so why not join in on the trend? You can opt for a shorter, less exaggerated version of the mullet if you aren’t ready to fully embrace this ’80s hairstyle for men.
26. Slicked Back ’80s Hairstyles for Men
This look can be achieved very easily with gel. We love Dove Men + Care Well Defined Taming Gel because it will keep your hair in place all day while adding a high shine to the look. While this slicked-back style is ’80s inspired, it works for just about any occasion, especially fancier events.
27. Spiky ’80s Hairstyles for Men
Want extra texture in your look? Try out a spikey style like this! This distinct look can easily be achieved with Suave Styling Paste. This paste works on all hair types and won’t leave your hair feeling stiff. Work the paste into your hair hands, then run it through the top section of your hair, molding the pieces how you’d like them to stick up.
28. Mohawk Hairstyle
Mohawks make such a statement, and we mean that in the best way possible. This ’80s hairstyle for men has become iconic over the years. If you’re brave enough to try out this style, it will need a little more upkeep than your average look, but overall, it’s pretty easy to do. Plus, this look can be done on any hair type!
29. Bold Hair Colors
Bold, vivid hues were huge in the ’80s, and we’ve seen this trend creep back into style through e-boy and e-girl looks. If you’re looking for a major change or just want to try something new and exciting, go for a bold color like this hot pink!
It’s important to use a shampoo and conditioner meant for colored hair to keep your color fresh for as long as possible. We love Nexxus Color Assure Shampoo and Conditioner because it keeps your hair vibrant for up to 40 washes.
Thinking about trying an ’80s-inspired style? Snap a picture and tag us @AllThingsHairUS!