Trends come and go, but one thing that is for sure is that the fashion and beauty industries will forever look to past decades for inspiration. Seventies and '90s hairstyles made a huge comeback recently, with curtain bangs and bouncy '90s supermodel blowouts becoming more and more popular.
However, when you think of trending hairstyles, the '80s might not be the first decade that springs to mind. After all, it created a bad rap for perms, and it's not a decade that the fashion-and-beauty world typically looks back on fondly. Some trends like bold blusher and giant shoulder pads are unlikely to hit the mainstream as they once did.
However, the '80s were a pioneering decade for haircuts and hairstyles. It is often know as the era for big hair, and while you might jump to think that '80s hairstyles are totally unwearable now, we're here to show you otherwise. Whether it be a celebratory mood post-lockdown or a nod to Beyoncé's '80s pop–inspired Renaissance, we've seen '80s hairstyles everywhere from celebrities to models and the cool girls stepping out of the salon. Read on for the best looks we've spotted and the key products to re-create each.
12 Trending '80s Hairstyles
1. Hot-Roller Blowout
"In the '80s, they would roll the hair around a medium round brush with a hair dryer, taking the top section and blow-drying backwards while blow-drying outwards on the sides," says Fernando Spano senior stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty. "It would then be set with a blow-dry spray before brushing it out to get a fluffy effect."
Nowadays, the look is achieved in a more structured way, which gives it a modern update. "Blow-dry the hair in the same way they did in the '80s (blow-drying the top section backwards and sides outwards) but then add rollers and spray hair spray whilst in the rollers," says Spano. "Be sure to use a bristle brush, rather than plastic bristles, when drying to achieve shine without burning the hair. Give it a good brush with a wide paddle brush and lots of hair spray to finish."
2. Undercut Haircut
As seen at Armani Privé's A/W 22 show, undercut styles are making a comeback. These shorter haircuts tend to feature shorter sides, which are usually cut close to the head with hair left longer on top of the crown for height. This hairstyle is great for accentuating your face shape and bone structure— think Grace Jones in the height of the '80s.
3. The Power Pony
Ponytails took to new heights in the '80s, and while we're not seeing '80s side ponytails making a comeback, we are seeing hair secured high on the top of the head. Madonna was often wearing a sky-high ponytail, letting the lengths tumble down either side of her face. To give it a modern update, try tying half the hair up into a ponytail, and get extra bonus points if it's tied with a stylish scrunchie.
4. Big Bows
Big bows are making a comeback from the '80s, as seen at Chanel's Haute Couture show. As far as hair accessories go, the bigger, the better. Tie the bow at the base of a half-up ponytail and leave the lengths long for a Parisian look.
5. XL Volume
Hair was larger than life in the '80s (think Diana Ross), and Hermès sent models down its A/W 22 runway with teased hair. If you're blessed with natural curls, brushing them out will help achieve fluffy volume. If you have straight or wavy hair, use a crimping or deep-waving hair tool before brushing out and using a volumising powder to create lift.
6. Crimped Hair
You'll often spot designers sending models down the runways with crimped hair—much to the excitement of beauty editors. However, it's not the most versatile everyday hairstyle, and it can veer into school-disco territory. To bring it into 2022, try a deep-waving hairstyle, which will create looser waves for a more modern texture. Follow suit of Max Mara's S/S 23 show, where the roots were kept smooth and sleek before descending into tumbling waves.
7. Curls and Perms
The '80s were a big era for curls (whether it be natural or via a perm), and we can expect to see more brands catering to curls with curl-specific products.
8. Picked-Out Curls
Enhance naturally curly or oily hair with a hair pick to create '80s volume and shape. Take the comb through the hair to stretch the strands, which will create covetable texture.
9. Disco Curls
Think '80s Whitney Houston, Cher or Kylie Minogue—big curls and even more volume. Curls look great paired with a fringe and face-framing layers to enhance your look.
10. The Curly Fringe
We've seen hairstyles such as the '70s-inspired curtain bangs come back, but we're also starting to see curled '80s fringes making a comeback, as seen at the Vetements S/S 23 show. Try sweeping your hair to one side and using a curling iron or Dyson AirWrap to create a fluffy fringe.
11. The Shag
The shag haircut originated in the '70s, but it stayed popular throughout the '80s, before making a huge comeback in the 2020s. Selena Gomez's choppy fringe and piecey layers give the haircut a modern feel.
12. The Mullet
Gaining traction in the '70s, the mullet haircut really soared to fame during the '80s—and now all the cool girls are asking for it in salons. Hair is cut short at the sides and left longer at the back, and it looks particularly good with a fringe. In the salon, you'll find that your hairstylist may use a razor to achieve the cool, choppy layers that add texture and really bring this haircut to life. As seen at Alter's A/W 22 show, it looks equally cool swept back with a pomade or gel to create a wet-look.