The 1980s were a strange and interesting decade for fashion. Day-glo colors, plenty of makeup, plastic jewelry and leather pants, poofy skirts and fishnet stockings were dominant. But what was just as iconic (if not more so) than the screaming-loud clothing, was the hair. Over-the-top 80s hairstyles were a mark of the 80s, and you only have to browse a yearbook from that decade to find evidence.

In those photos shot for posterity, there will be no shortage of perms, "mcsqueeb" cuts, teased do's, devil locks, and big, big hair. But whether you look back and cringe or yearn for an era long gone, one thing is for sure: some 80s hairstyles were definitely unique to their era

Any Questions?

a woman wearing 80s hairstyle and clothes

Image Source: Unsplash.com

OK, now put down that giant 1500W hairdryer for just a second, and let's take a look at some common questions about 80s hairstyles.

What Defines an 80s Hairstyle?

Where Did They Come From?

Can I Try These Styles at Home?

Will 80s Hairstyles Come Back In Style?

Why Should I Go Eighties?

How Do I Know Which One Will Suit Me?

Where Should I Go For Influence?

What Will I Need?

How We Compiled This Best 80s Hairstyles List

Let us tell you. It was a lot of fun. We spent countless hours watching 80s movies and music videos, browsing fashion magazines and yearbooks, talking to men and women who grew up in the 80s, and shuffling through boxes of old photographs.

What We Reviewed 

  • Whale Spout
  • Extremely Big Hair
  • Side High Ponytail
  • High-Top Fade
  • Permed and Teased
  • Mullet
  • Multi-Colored Mohawk
  • Updo with a Bow
  • Farrah Fawcett-Style Feathering
  • Power Pixie

Whale Spout

About This Style

The whale spout is a ponytail situated on top of the head, as opposed to being positioned at the back or side. The position of this ponytail causes the hair to spill over the tie, giving it the appearance of a whale blowing water.


Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

The whale spout ponytail is very much like the marine mammal itself. It's an endangered species, but you may see attempts at this style or close imitations even today when you meet brave and adventurous people who don't mind making a visual splash.

Extremely Big Hair

About This Style

The name says it all. It's extremely big hair. Often teased and totally gigantic in its visual impact, big hair can be as dynamic as you choose.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

Although it was an ultra-common, frequently sported 80s hairstyle, this fashion statement probably isn't going to make a widespread comeback any time soon.

Side High Ponytail 

About This Style

One of the most iconic 80s hairstyles, the side high ponytail is one of the most adorable ways to wear a ponytail. It's similar in position to the whale spout but situated just to the side of the top of the head, letting the ponytail fall down to either the left or the right.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

This one is destined to make a major comeback. In fact, the side high ponytail is already popping up here and there. It's only a matter of time, in our view.

High-Top Fade

About This Style

Certain African-American celebrities sported this the best, but far from exclusively. This 80s hairstyle is short on the sides and high on the top, with sharp edges. If you don't have tight, dense hair, then sadly, you may not be able to pull this baby off.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

The chances are as high as this haircut that it's going to come back in style. You may have already seen it around lately. It's just that eternally fresh!

Permed and Teased

About This Style

Well, it's permed and it's teased. Similar in style to extremely big hair, but not necessarily THAT big, this is one of the 80s hairstyles that many millennials' moms rocked back in high school.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

We don't see that happening any time soon, primarily due to the work and maintenance involved.

Mullet

About This Style

Anyone who has seen the MTV movie Joe Dirt has seen a major mullet. Well, this is that haircut. Short everywhere aside from the back, which is grown out in a major way (the longer and fuller the better), this look is popular with some brave, independent men (and nearly all squirrels) even today.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

For some, this haircut never went out of style. Even more unfortunate in some fashion-forward people's views, is the fact that it stands ready to make a big comeback in the wider world.

Multi-Colored Mohawk 

About This Style

We all know what a mohawk is. This is essentially a parrot-inspired version, with bright colors and even clashing colors encouraged.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

Devoted "punks" never stopped rocking it, anyway. Who really knows?

Updo with a Bow 

About This Style

One of the cutest and most darling of all 80s hairstyles, the updo with a bow is an adorably messy cut with a bow (or similar item) tying it up tight at the top.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

The updo with a bow is likely to come in and out of fashion. It's definitely not one of the more far-out styles of the period so, while it won't be used for shock value, it still makes a fun party choice.

About This Style

This one was popular with millions of hip mothers and adult entertainment actresses. It was timelessly popularized by Farrah Fawcett of Charlie's Angels fame.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

Prospects of a major comeback for this high-maintenance 'do are pretty slim at this point in time. Sorry, Farrah fans.

Power Pixie

About This Style

This 80's hairstyle is essentially a pixie cut with added oomph. In typically 80s fashion, it's bigger, spunkier, and messier than a true pixie.

Where to Learn More

Prospects for a Major Comeback

One of the more timeless 80s hairstyles, the power pixie will pop its mischievously cute head up from time to time. However, it probably will never become the flavor of the month again.

The Verdict

a woman wearing one of the best 80s hairstyles with matching attire and props

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Our personal favorite included on this best 80s hairstyles list is the side high ponytail. It's totally classic. It's cute yet sexy. It's simply a ton of fun and, equally important, it's super-easy to create and maintain. Just brush your hair, pull it up and to the side, and put a tie on it. That's all there is to it. Permed and teased, on the other hand… well, that one's a whole different ballgame when it comes to ease of styling. On the other end of the spectrum, our review team's least favorite 80s style is definitely the mullet.

While the cuts on this list will never be forgotten, some are memorable for the wrong reasons. The power pixie and updo with a bow are pretty timeless, and the side high ponytail and high-top fade could very well become trendy yet again.

If getting noticed and making a fashion statement are priorities for you, then you can use 80s hairstyles to your advantage. There's no way that you'll go unnoticed if you are rocking extremely big hair or multi-colored mohawk. Right? Above all, reviving the 80s style of your choice should be big fun.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

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