Ultimate ‘80s — How to Recreate Your Favorite Retro Style

Thinking back to the hair and fashion styles of the 1980s is certainly cringe-worthy. The big hair and bold colors were over the top.

But the 1980s don’t need to be an embarrassing part of fashion history. Instead, the decade can be a source of inspiration for edgy, modern styles.

Taking the best aspects from the ‘80s, here are four modern takes on classic ’80s hairstyles.

Ultimate How to Guide to 80s Hairstyles_IG
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Crimped and Colorful

Crimped hair peaked in popularity in the mid-1980s with Cindi Lauper and Madonna. But this retro style is back, with style icons like Lady Gaga and Tyra Banks picking up the trend.

Here’s how to create this 1980s meets Coachella hairstyle:

Start by adding some boldly colored hair extensions. Next, separate the front section of hair that you’ll use for your pompadour, and clip to keep this section separate.

Now tease the lower layers of your hair, especially behind the pompadour section, and use a texturizing spray to boost volume. Dividing your hair into small pieces, use a crimping iron selectively on some sections.

To create the pompadour, use a round brush and styling product to to get height. Smooth the front of hair over teased hair, and pin to secure.

High Ponytail

The hairstyles from the ‘80s were notably big and tall. One of the classic ‘80s hairstyles was showcased by Debbie Gibson’s top ponytail held with a scrunchie. But the high ponytail is back, and we see how Ariana Grande updated the look with sleek, braided details and long extensions.

Here’s how to get the Ariana Grande ponytail:

Start by flipping your head upside down and getting rid of some of your hair’s gravity by using a hot blow dryer and boar bristle brush. Now, create an inch-wide braid, starting at the center of your forehead using a dutch braid technique that crosses the pieces under rather than over. Continue braiding till you reach the crown of your head, and secure it with an elastic.

Clip in your extensions to add length to your hair, and spray hair with defrizz spray. Create the high ponytail by smoothly brushing back the sides, and brushing up from your neck. Secure with a wide elastic.

From the bottom of the ponytail, take a small piece of hair and wrap it around the elastic to finish the look. Secure using hairspray or a bobby pin.

Modern Mullet

In the ‘80s, the mullet crossed all genres, from Joan Jett to Jane Fonda. That throwback style is back! But now, it’s a more tousled look that has a subtle transition of hair lengths.

How to get Kristen Stewart’s version of a mullet:

Start with the cut, and ask your stylist for a long-banged bob with subtle layers and short sides. For extra sass, add some bold coloring in wild hues.

To style, start by adding a texturizing spray. Now use a curling iron to add waves. Finger comb to separate curls, and lightly flip the bob to one side. Spray to set.

Faux Undercut

You don’t need to get out the razor to mimic the shaved sides that we saw in the ‘80s. A faux undercut will give you an edgy, asymmetrical look with braids to add texture.

Here’s how to get Jessica Alba’s side-swept look:

Start by creating a deep side-part to your hair. On the side, add some spray gel and create a tight french braid till you’re just past your ear. Then switch to a normal braid for the rest of the length. Wrap the braid along the nape of your neck, underneath the rest of your hair, and pin to secure.

To the other side, add volumizing spray and blow-dry your hair it forward to get a side-swept look. Finish with a flat iron. Voila!



About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.