The ’80s are famous (and infamous) for many things—however, the hairstyles’ sheer craziness takes the top spot on our list. Are you still impressed with the 80s side ponytail? Yes, the 80s hair ponytail. Or how about the 80’s prom hairstyles?
After a few decades, it’s time to take stock of the decade’s most badass (and plain horrible) looks. If you’re feeling particularly bold for the hairstyle you’re wearing, share some pictures on Instagram. Perhaps we were all simply buzzed from the hairspray?
The Whale Spout
This is one of the 80’s prom hairstyles. The whale-spout ponytail may not have been created by Debbie Gibson. Still, she was responsible for practically all young girls reaching for a scrunchie and tying one on. The contemporary revision? For retaining volume while you sleep, use a looser variant.
Crimped to the Max
Sometimes we wonder if the person who created the crimper, a clamp-down tool that gave you the dried-out texture of a crinkle-cut French fry, was just mucking with us all. To test whether we would genuinely accept the idea of having our fingertips in a socket, for example.
And we did, along with Demi.
For this length and look, if you are keen on gaining instant length and volume, and don’t want to damadge your natural hair, women’s hair toppers or hair extensions are great options.
Half-Up, High, and Mighty
True hair hero Samantha Micelli of Who’s the Boss Beyond the dance floor, this half-up, half-down, bouncy prom look was a success. As it kept your hair out of your face while still feeling delectably huge, luscious, and glossy, it was popular among tennis players and cheerleaders.
The Side High Ponytail
It took on a few different looks depending on where you wore your 80s high ponytail. There was the typical valley-girl level, the “I have an arm coming out of my ear” level, and the D.J. Tanner right out of the top-of-your-head level. Again, a scrunchie is necessary.
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Permed and Teased to Perfection
The taller, more comprehensive, and curlier the hair, the better. Although we don’t know who this girl is, she is recognizable to those who grew up in Texas, New Jersey, or Long Island. In addition to a few unpleasant hours at the salon getting a perm, you needed L.A. Looks for hair gel or Aussie hair spray to get the proper crunchy hold that makes your hair as sticky as flypaper.
The Madonna Wrap-Up
Our favorite Madonna hairstyle from the 1980s was her slightly punk teased chignon completed with a big piece of cloth knotted loosely into a bow. The “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” eras gave us teens the sensual texture we were looking for, along with a fresh, badass way of wearing the bows we still had from our younger years.
Feathered Like Farrah
Farrah Fawcett popularized this style with a middle part, curled bangs, and short side layers locked in place with hairspray. When Jenilee Harrison of Three’s Company took it on, everyone—from your best friend to your third-grade English teacher—started donning it.
Pulled Back With Ribbon Barrettes
These barrettes were only purchased by suckers, yet everyone wore them:
This was the decade’s most significant DIY success, and young girls and junior high school students produced them to match every outfit. If you wore two or more rainbows on either side of your head, bonus points.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the less innocent version of the “tentacles of something hanging from the head” trend, in which a feathery roach clip is used instead of a barrette. The craze (quite appropriately) began in primary schools, where roach clips were sold alongside Hello Kitty merchandise.
Hot-Rollered to New Heights (And Widths)
The equivalent of Conair hot rollers in the 1980s would be T3 blow dryers in the 2010s. The key was to use large rollers all over your head and roll back all but the base layers (which were rolled under). After everything has cooled, tease it to a cotton-candy airiness and secure it with hair spray. Socialites and sorority girls favored this fashion.
The Permed Fe-Mullet
The ’80s fe-mullet may have its roots in Prince, who sported a similar waterfall of curls during the release of Purple Rain. Unfortunately, as seen in this terrible image of Blair from The Facts of Life, the appearance didn’t precisely transition well to women.
Put a Bow on It
Okay, young people from the 1980s. Take a look at Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell, who might be your hair hero. She had the skill to give Cyndi Lauper’s outrageousness a fun, junior-high spin by teasing it, knotting it back, and finishing it off with a Beautiful fluffy curls.
A headband, an off-the-shoulder sweater
(Okay, that has nothing to do with hair, but it was effective anyway.)
In the 1980s, who didn’t aspire to be Jennifer Beals? The appearance came naturally to Beals. There were body waves and perms for the rest of us.
Whitney! We spent hours in the bathroom singing “I Want to Dance With Somebody” into our hairbrushes to copy her unique spirals. Whitney demonstrated that girlish charm could still be fashionable with bangs of many lengths. She was yet another celebrity who helped us become severely dependent on a gel, Clairol Bender, and perms.
There are no rules about fashion. Take hairstyles as an example. No one has ever made a rule that whatever was popular in the past will never regain popularity. People love them simply because they love how they look on them. They feel comfortable around them, and others enjoy looking at them. The 80s hairstyles, such as the 80s high ponytail, are the ones that will rule 2023.
But if you have thin or fine hair that won’t hold up to too much styling, hair toppers or extensions are great ways to get fabulous 80s hairstyles without anyone noticing.