The 80s may not have the same prominence as the 90s or the Y2K era in the modern fashion world, but there are plenty of trends from that decadent era that are (or should be) back in style. Here are a few 80s makeup trends that everyone should be following:
There are a lot of lip color trends out there right now, from deep reds to all shades of nude, metallic, and even brown. In the 80s, however, it was all about pink. Fuchsia, to be exact–that vibrant raspberry color that looks a little like Barbie and a little like blood. And while it may not be as ubiquitous (yet) as a classic red, pink lipstick is back in a big way, and according to industry expert Lisa Eldridge, it’s set to be one of the hottest makeup trends of 2022.
Like pink lips, vibrant colors were everywhere in the 80s. Yellow, blue, purple, green–every color in the crayon box had a place on the faces of the most famous women of the decade. Muli-colored neon eyeshadow was an especially common look of the era, a trend that has exploded on TikTok lately. But bold lips, bright mascara, and frosty pink cheeks had their big moment in this decade of decadent beauty as well.
80s eyeliner was as dramatic as the performers who wore it (think: Madonna, Grace Jones, Cyndi Lauper, and Cher). It was the dark, smudgy emblem of the grunge era, but it was playful, too. Like the colorful eyeshadow of the day, neon eyeliner was everywhere, often coupled with vibrant mascara colors. If you want to follow the 80s trend, focusing on the eyes is the best place to start.
The makeup equivalent of shoulder pads, bold brows were a statement of authority and excess in an era when women were finally staking their claim in the workplace. In that sense, eyebrows represented the best of the 80s and continue to hold sway over the beauty industry decades later. Our obsession with bold brows apparently knows no bounds. From Brooke Shields in the 80s to Cara Delevingne in the 2010s, entire careers have been made of them (not to discount the obvious talent of both iconic women). If you want to embrace a look that seems immune to the volatility of the beauty industry, bold brows aren’t going anywhere.
The words “safe” and “conventional” might not immediately come to mind when you see frosty blue eyeshadow, but in the 80s, that’s just what it was. A more subtle alternative to the high-contrast colors of many eyeshadow palettes of the time, blue was an omnipresent look on the lids of businesswomen and music video stars alike. These days, it’s undergone a much-needed upgrade that emphasizes the cool, edgy vibe that dominates beauty these days. We love the 80s, but not everyone can pull off the Cyndi Lauper look on a daily basis unless they’ve got the personality to match it.
If you thought contouring was an innovation of 21st-century reality tv stars, think again. Long before the first Kardashian/Jenner caressed a makeup brush, Way Bandy, the godfather of 80s makeup and the guru behind the faces of stars like Madonna and Diana Ross, created a type of application that typified the era. Instead of the harsh lines of contouring, draping is a softer look that follows the natural bone structure of the wearer. Using two tones of blush, it blends into the face rather than sculpting it, producing a natural, wholesome look. Given that Kim Kardashian announced the end of contouring way back in 2016, it’s about time a new cheek trend took hold.
As evidenced by the fuchsia lip trend, the 80s were partial to a vibrant, slightly artificial pink. The bubblegum color walked the line between the natural rose-cheeked glow of John Hughes’s teen movie heroines and the playful hedonism of the female superstars of the era. From Princess Diana and Molly Ringwald to Madonna and Debbie Harry, pink blush was a favorite for makeup icons across the spectrum of pop culture.
Because multicolored eyeshadow apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy the 80s’ color cravings, mascara took on a whole new role during the decade. With countless variations that span all types of looks, colorful mascara is more versatile than you might think. Pair a blue or purple mascara with a barely-there palette on the rest of the face to make your eyes pop, layer pink or green on black mascara to give a classic look some subtle drama, or bring out your inner diva by contrasting bright mascara with neon eyeshadow and eyeliner.
One of the biggest cultural movements to come out of the 80s was aerobics videos. You’ve seen the clips of Jane Fonda gyrating in spandex with a perfect perm. Health and wellness were practically invented during the decade, and the obsession with all things “athletic” was just as influential in the makeup world as it was in fashion. The sun-kissed dewy glow was everywhere, with a little help from tanning beds. The bronzed goddess look is achieved with nude lipstick, gold-toned eyeshadow, and lots of copper-hued bronzer.
While pink lipstick may have been the standout trend of the decade, the 80s were just as susceptible to the nude look as just about every other beauty generation. The health craze of the era prompted an emphasis on the youthful glow of models and workout fanatics alike, making nude tones the obvious choice to showcase natural beauty. It was the 80s though, so “natural” is a relative term. Paired with pastel blush and a mile-high perm, the nude look was anything but bland.
Real 80s disco may (tragically) be a thing of the past, but just because ABBA and Donna Summer are no longer performing doesn’t mean that we have to deprive ourselves of the sparkly era entirely. A prime example of this is that disco makeup is on the rise. The trend is just what it sounds like: Color! Glitter! Eyelashes! Fun! If you want to fall in love with your makeup and take your confidence to the next level, the disco look will not let you down.
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