What’s not to love about the ’80s? It was an era of living on a prayer, cutting footloose, and rock and roll-ing all night long. The decade is synonymous with statement-making beauty looks, particularly the big, bold, and decidedly cool ‘80s hairstyles.
Picture Joan Jett’s perpetually requested rockstar shag or Whitney Houston’s fluffy spiral curls that had all the straight-haired gals lining up for poodle perms. ’80s hair was so iconic, it even birthed its own genre of music: hair metal. (Its musicians had teased-to-the-heavens hair, heavy makeup, and the lowest of low-rise leather pants.)
Like all good things, these ’80s hairstyles are circling back around — bigger and better than ever before. “Eighties influences are absolutely re-emerging,” says Bronwen Robinson, a hairstylist in New York City who specializes in edgy, custom cuts. “These influences are trickling down from acclaimed designers and entertainment, while also trickling up from youth culture. Big hair reigns supreme on TikTok, and one look at popular streaming series’ like Stranger Things shows how pervasive these references are in youth entertainment.”
Meet the experts:
- Brownwen Robinson is a senior hairstylist at Suite Caroline salon in New York.
- Devin Toth is a New York City-based hairstylist at Salon SCK.
- Aaron Grenia is a hairstylist in Miami and co-founder of IGK Hair Care.
- Howard McLaren is a hairstylist, co-founder, and creative director of R+Co.
- Krupa Koestline is a clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants.
But don’t bust out your mom’s crusty hair crimper or your Aqua Net just yet. Robinson says that while the ’80s resurgence brings energy and inspiration to your hair, “it’s important to interpret those influences and elevate them.”
To find out which ’80s hairstyles are back on trend and how you can update them, we turned to the experts. “Hairstyling has evolved with modern tools and products,” says New York City-based hairstylist Devin Toth. “Even our most undone hairstyles today have more purposeful definition. They aren’t quite as fuzzy or rough in texture as they were in the ’80s.” He explains that while ’80s hairstyles were often characterized by volume and width on the sides, today’s styles are more sleek and slender. Less crunch, more elevated styles.