As the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. And when it comes to fashion and beauty, what goes out of style, must come back. While there was once a time when you laughed at old pictures of your mom, we bet you kind of wish she had saved some pieces for you to put a vintage twist on your modern ensembles. And while some fads are better left in the '80s, others have become mainstream once more. We called on celebrity hairstylists Emely Miranda and Nigella Miller to get their advice on recreating these iconic '80s hairstyles.
Meet the Expert
- Emely Miranda is a NYC based Nexxus Hairstylist.
- Nigella Miller is a NYC-based hair and grooming expert whose techniques have been featured in the New York Times, Vogue and more.
Ahead, check out these classic ‘80s hairstyles that are back and better than ever.
Even Cher temporarily ditched her famous pin-straight mane for chemically treated curls. The trend was without a doubt one of the most popular fads back in the '80s, and it's finding new life in the 21st century. Instead of the tightly coiled strands you remember from music videos, people are headed into the salon for beach wave perms and more relaxed iterations of the those bouncy curls.
If you watched Lizzie Mcguire, chances are you've put your strands through a crimper at least once. This trend might have gained traction among millenials for being spotted on Hilary Duff, but it actually originated in the 1980s. For a modern spin, crimp hair throughout and brush through for brilliant texture, as seen on the 3.1 Phillip Lim runway. Try this look with the Gold n' Hot Ceramic Crimping Iron ($35).
The 80s wouldn't be complete without a statement headband, and while they went under the radar for a while, they're officially back (and bigger than ever). Modern spins include maxed out sizes with accessories like velvet knots, chains, pearls, and even buckles. Try this braided one from Anthropologie ($18).
Much like the claw clips you might be more familiar with, banana clips served as a replacement for hair ties in the '80s (since ties and scrunchies could create kinks in the volume you worked so hard to create). Take a modern twist on this classic look and opt for a claw clip lined with pearls, like this one from Sally Beauty, $4.
The '80s were full of iterations of bangs, but it was the permed fringe that reigned supreme. Taking on a shape all their own, they were worn curly, teased as high as possible, and set in a way that blended flawlessly with the rest of the hair. Add some modern volume to your fringe by using your curling iron to create volumized bangs, just make sure to curl away from your face.
Asymmetrical styles are a staple of the '80s, and we've slowly seen them start to trickle back onto mainstream runways. Ask your stylist for an asymmetrical cut, or create the illusion by flipping your hair over at a deep part, which can also help to achieve volume for thinner hair.
The Boss-Lady Blowout
Power suits and windblown blowouts were a staple of the '80s, just as they are now. The secret to this look is achieving a cotton-candy airiness that sits directly at the top of your head. To create the look, flip your head forward and blow dry— lifting up at the roots. For added height, work a volumizer into your scalp before flipping your head upright such as the Oribe Volumista Mist ($44). For a take on the throwback style à la Prabal Gurung, run a pomade through your strands beginning at your hairline and moving back to the crown of your head.
Hair barrettes have been back for the better part of 2020, and we're so glad to see that clip-in bows got the memo. Style these any way you so please (at the nape of your ponytail, pinned into a top-knot, etc.), but we love how this side-part detail gives a definitive nod to the 1980s.
The Shag Haircut
We can't think of a better way to reference the popular '80s haircut than to shoutout Debbie Harry's effortless punk-rock shag. Since then, the shag hasn't changed much at all. It was cool then, and it's even cooler now. Spotted on almost every runway this year, the new shag incorporates soft layers, long bangs, and tons of body (and sometimes contrasting roots, if you so please). To recreate, ask your stylist for a layered cut, then add plenty of texturizing spray, like Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($23) and give your hair a good shake.
The Farrah Fawcett
Arguably one of the most famous styles from the decade, the 1980s ushered in the era of feathery Farrah Fawcett hair. To recreate on your own, you'll need two-barrel brushes (one large one to create volume and looser curls in the back, plus one smaller one to create the feathery face-framing pieces), then hairspray to hold everything together. We like Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist ($14). Miranda recommends using a small round brush and a strong-hold hairspray to keep the style in place.
Miller has a different approach. "Pin curls! When you curl hair for this iconic style, I would say pull the barrel iron out, use some strong hold hair spray and pin curl clips," she says. "As you curl you roll that curl into place and allow it to shape your face, roll the curl in the opposite direction away from the face."
"Always allow hair to cool and finish with some hair spray. Allow your full head to set for 25 mins, then unclip your curls and brush it out into your desired style," says Miller.
The Side Pony
As seen in every '80s workout video ever, the side ponytail is one of the most defining hairstyles of the decade. In 2020, it gets a modern twist with bangs that lay in the opposite direction (instead of pulling all of the hair diagonally into one focal point).
The Whale Spout
Named for the "water spout" effect created by this super-high ponytail, the whale spout is definitely back in 2020. Style half-up or all-up, simply position your ponytail as high as you can get it so it splits into the desired whale spout shape. Wrap a section of your hair around your hair tie for an elevated, modern touch.
Neon scrunchies ruled aerobics classes during the '80s, but in 2020 they've been given the neutral treatment. Nude, grey, black, and white scrunchies elevate any hairstyle and are no longer restricted to workouts. "I remember a time when you could only get good accessories at a hair supply store. Now with so many stylists working with different brands, getting them is so easy," says Miranda.
These Scunci Velvet Scrunchies ($7) are perfect for adding an effortless '80s vibe to any modern day look.
Zendaya can pull off literally any style, but here she shows us that the mullet isn't dead after all. Warm highlights, longer bangs, and chic suiting breathe life back into this style.
You can thank Madonna for this classic '80s hair trend. While we love the subtlety of a bow barrette, it just doesn't add the same wow-factor as a massive bow headband. We love this one from Free People ($28).
Chunky highlights have made a huge comeback in 2020. As seen on celebs such as Kylie Jenner and Beyoncé, try these face-framing chunky highlights for a new twist on a classic look.
Nothing says high fashion like hair slicked back at the roots. Rihanna pulls of this '80s style effortlessly with mega-volume. To get this look at home, try using Ouai's Matte Pomade ($24) and running it through the roots of your hair. Brush back and you're ready for the red carpet.
Sleek Bob With Bangs
So maybe you're not ready to shave the sides of your head just yet. What about a sleek bob instead? This banged look frames oval face shapes perfectly. For some extra shine, try Colorwow's Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray ($29).
While this look may not be for the faint of heart, this half-shaved style originated with the '80s punk movement. Pair this look with some neon color, such as Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Semi-Permanent Hair Color Full Coverage ($16), and you're ready to be the lead singer.
No '80s look was complete without big volume and this trend has stuck. If you're looking for the ultimate look from '80s to try in 2020 this is it. Get out your combs and start teasing. Need an extra lift? "The Nexxus Mousse Plus Volumizing Foam ($13) is definitely my favorite for volume because it is super workable. You can use as much or as little as you want and still get soft, touchable hair that will last," says Miranda.