The hairstyle trends that are popular today, like curtain bangs, wolf cuts and mullets, are the same hairstyles that dominated trends in the ‘80s. If you need proof that all things old can one day become new again, just look at beauty trends. Contemporary styles often take inspiration from retro looks, and while you might look back at your parents’ hair in horror, there are ways to put a modern spin on these once popular styles. Whether you’re hoping to take a trip down memory lane, or perhaps recreate a nostalgic ‘do, keep reading because we’re sharing our favorite ‘80s hairstyles that bring on all the feels.
What Hairstyle Was Popular in the 80s?
When you think of ‘80s hairstyles, consider volume and texture. During this decade, hairspray was a major key player so have some at the ready as you browse through 21 of our favorite ‘80s hairstyles.
1. Shag Haircut
One of the most notable haircuts of the ‘80s, the shag cut, features choppy ends and layers for a style that offers tons of body and movement. The best part about this style’s renaissance is that it can be worn on almost every hair texture and length for a super flattering look. It happens to be a great option for those with thick hair because it removes bulk while spotlighting an effortless, tousled texture.
2. Curly Bangs
One of the most common hairstyles during the ‘80s was curly bangs. A go-to style for natural and curly-haired people, this hairstyle brings volume front and center (literally), and makes for effortless movement. The best part? It’s a versatile look that can be paired with half-up, half-down styles, ponytails or with your hair down.
3. Teased Bangs
Teased bangs were also a major ‘80s hair look. This hairstyle is all about rocking teased front strands layered with a strong-hold hairspray for a voluminous look that lasts all day long. To test the trend out for yourself, spritz the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray - Unscented onto your bangs for an instant lift, tease your hair with a backcomb and you’re good to go.
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4. Crimped Hair
As we mentioned, the ‘80s were all about volume and texture, so naturally, crimped waves dominated the decade. While they used to feature tiny zig-zag waves, they’re now often created with a wider crimping tool for more modern, loose and (almost beach-like) waves. Before you reach for your crimper, prime your strands with a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In. This will help manage frizz and shield against the scorching hot temperatures of your hot tools.
5. Bowl Cut
There’s no question that the bowl cut is an ‘80s hairstyle that received a lot of attention. Featuring a uniform length all around, it was a staple for young children. Nowadays, adults take inspiration from this cut when rocking blunt bobs. While similar to the bowl cut, blunt bobs are more flattering because they often feature longer length in the back.
6. High Side Ponytail
We mentioned that this decade put emphasis on volume, but height was important too when it came to hairstyles. Ponytails were placed high up on the head for a lifted look, and side ponytails were no exception. In addition to being a statement, this ‘do was also a common hairstyle to exercise in 一 think popular aerobics workout videos, equipped with spandex leotards and leg warmers. To give your high side ponytail a modern revamp, use a hair gel, like the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel, to smooth every hair into place.
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7. The Bubble Ponytail or BraidIn case you haven’t noticed, ‘80s hairstyles weren’t just voluminous, they were oftentimes bold and playful, too. The bubble ponytail features hair elastics wrapped around the length of your pony for a little something special. It can be created with any ponytail no matter the placement on the head. While it used to be created with scrunchies or large ponytail holders, the style is now created with sleek clear elastics for a more modern look.
8. Half-Up Ponytail
Half-up, half-down styles were a top choice in the ‘80s. The half-up ponytail allows you to show off your length while getting hair out of your face. And like many other styles during that time, it was paired with an ultra-high ponytail and a colorful scrunchie.
9. High Ponytail With Bangs
High ponytails and bangs were individually popular back in the day, but when combined, they were a quintessential representation of ‘80s hair trends. No matter the hair texture, anyone could rock a super high ponytail with a flowing fringe to complement it.
10. Feathered Layers
If you love flowy strands, you may want to ask for feathered layers at your next haircut appointment. Known as one of the defining looks of the ‘80s and inspired by a major Hollywood starlet, this hairstyle flaunts a middle part and lots of curled layers for a look that’s equal parts glam and feminine. Before styling your layers, make sure to prep your strands with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant. This one shields the hair against temperatures up to 450 degrees, and keeps it smooth.
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11. Long and Curly
With big ‘80s hair on the brain, we’d be remiss not to talk about long, curly hair. Because volume and bounce was where it was at back then, people rocked their natural, curly texture proudly. (Some even faked it with perms, but more on that later!) Embrace your natural waves with the help of a curl mousse like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle CURVE IT Elastic Curl Mousse. Scrunch an egg-sized amount through your strands and let them air dry. Once complete, add a touch of hairspray to keep your curls bouncy and intact all day long.
12. Jheri Curls
We couldn’t talk about our favorite curly ‘80s hairstyles without highlighting Jheri curls. Known as one of the most popular hairstyles for textured hair, Jheri curls are a wavy hairstyle that uses a chemical treatment to give hair a looser curl pattern. It's an excellent alternative for those looking to improve the manageability of their curls, and it makes for a gorgeous, voluminous style.
13. Tapered Afro
The tapered Afro was a favored, natural hair style in the ‘80s. A variation of the '70s afro style, this look shapes your natural texture with pinned sides and a tapered cut for a more structured look.
14. Asymmetrical Haircut
If you’re game for experimenting with shorter strands, an ‘80s asymmetrical cut will fall right in line. Sporting a deep side part, an asymmetrical cut gives one side of your hair a longer length than the other. Perfect for round face shapes, this look highlights your features and gives your face a slimmer look. Today, it’s usually created as an asymmetrical bob, and it’s just as flattering and chic.
15. Permed Hair
Permed hair was arguably the most iconic hairstyle of the ‘80s. This hairstyling technique uses a chemical treatment to alter the natural texture of your hair 一 in this case, to make it curly. So, if you would prefer to skip curling your hair over and over, a hair perm may be your saving grace. Take a peek back at an ‘80s yearbook, and you’re bound to see tons of people rocking this look.
16. Teased Hair
If you’re looking to take your ‘80s hair recreation to new heights, then turn your attention to teased hair. A fabulous option for those who believe that you can never have enough volume, this hairstyle gives your mane the ultimate fullness. Plus, it helps add texture and body to thin hair. After teasing to your heart’s desire, set with a hairspray, like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray - Color Treated Hair, to keep the volume all day long.
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The definition of edgy, this hairstyle boasts shaved sides and has length at the top for a unique, centered look. If you’re planning on giving it a go, be sure to add a spritz of hairspray to your strands to lock your style in place and secure the volume.
With bold looks in mind, it’s only right we mention the infamous mullet. This ‘do flaunts short hair at the front and sides with longer strands at the back. Love it or hate it, you can’t argue that it isn’t a statement look. The newfound love for the style comes from an update to the “business in the front” section that’s now styled as a piecey pixie, a shag cut or even stylish curls. As for the “party in the back” section, you can’t sport a mullet without it, and it’s a great way to show off your impressive length or natural wavy texture.
19. Middle Parts
While hair parts were often hidden by teased styles and high ponytails, when they were visible, a middle part was incredibly popular. Middle parts were seen throughout the ‘70s, and the trend carried over well into the ’80s with women parting their mane down the middle when wearing long, voluminous strands. Thanks to TikTok, we know Gen Z will need no convincing to continue rocking this timeless ‘80s trend.
Editor’s tip: If you’re wearing your hair down with a middle part, give your strands a glossy finish by applying a hair oil, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Sheer Oil, through the length.
20. Hair Bows
Not a hairstyle but an important ‘80s must-have not to be overlooked, big hair bows were some of the most well-loved ‘80s hair accessories. Whether they were wrapped around ponytails, or adorned on the head, front and center, they made quite the statement with minimal effort required.
Perhaps the easiest way to try an ‘80s hair trend is to reach for a headband. While it’s not technically a hairstyle, it’s certainly a style game changer. Back then, headbands were worn with ponytails, bangs, or cascading strands for a practical and polished look. In case you haven't noticed, chunky and padded headbands have made a major comeback recently, and they help provide a preppy and effortless look.
Photo Credit: Nichelle Renteria, IG@/theehairtist, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier
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