Back To The ‘80s: Makeup Ideas That Work Today

Throwback fashion and beauty is always trending in some way or another. But knowing what is trending and what is trashy can sometimes be unclear. For instance, ‘80s fashion and beauty could be considered just overall outrageous in retrospect. As modern makeup and style seems to skew more natural, how then is ‘80s makeup and beauty part of our modern routine?

Luckily, taking a leap of faith by going bold can become enviable and chic if done right. Here are some of the hottest hair and beauty trends from the ‘80s that you can start experimenting with right now!


Colorful Block Eye Shadow

From rainbow to day-glo, ‘80s eye shadow is defined by color and shape. Re-create a multi-dimensional ‘80s look by combining three colors. Use color number one at the bottom of the eyelid, stopping at the crease. Begin an angled swoop of color that extends just above the eyelid crease. Finish off the look by adding a third color which follows along the brow bone.

Beauty Bonus Tip: Go the distance by extending the colors to the interior of the bridge of the nose on either side of your eyes. See our image for reference.

Achieve this look when you try Yves Saint Laurent’s “Very YSL” eyeshadow set, which includes 6 bright shadow hues, Lancome’s “Hypnose” eyeshadow palette collection, or NYX Professional Makeup eyeshadow palettes with 6 colors included.

Eyeliner & Halo Shadow

Eyeliner has always been a beauty-must, but in the ‘80s, colorful eyeliner plus a halo of contrasting shadow under the eye was what we would call these days “on fleek”. Using liquid liner or an eyeliner pencil, recreate this look by coloring in the interior of the upper and lower lids. Cement the color in place when you dab on a coat of eyeshadow in a matching color.

This look is not complete without the quintessential under-liner smokey shadow application. Match the primary eyeshadow color that you used on your top, but use a contrasting color for your eyeliner so that the halo pops. Delicately add color along the bottom lids, blending the edge of the color into your skin to create a graduated unification.

For a selection of richly colored pencil eyeliners, shop Maybelline’s “Expression” or Clinique’s “Quickliner”.

Fuller Brows

Full, rich eyebrows are one of the most iconic looks of the ‘80s that has withstood the test of time. Using a dry mascara wand, brush out brows to your desired shape. Then, take an angled brush and a shadow that matches your brow color and outline the shape of the brows, filling in any sparse areas. Elongate each of the tails of your brows just a bit further from their natural end points.


Try this 2-in-1 pencil and gel set for brows from Revlon’s “Brow Fantasy” collection. We also recommend a brow shadow from Catrice called “Prime and Fine”.

Extreme Blush

Arguably one of the most scrutinized makeup trends of the ‘80s was the use of audacious blush. Today, the “highlighting” and “strobing” trend can especially be compared to this look, where you use glittery or frosted hues to highlight the cheeks. Complete this look when you take a selection of pink, peach and yellow blushes and layer them, using the darkest color as your “contour” base color.

The go-to product to score this look is without question Nars’s “Cheek Palette” which hosts pink, peach, coral and yellow hues. A more modern runner-up is Givenchy’s “Le Prisme” powder blush with a mixture of 4 pink hues.

‘80s Hair

Hair styles of the ‘80s can best be described as going above, beyond and outside the lines of what was traditional and customary. Hair was processed (permed), crimped, teased and cut in ways that actually don’t translate today – for the most part.

Some women opted for hyper-edgy haircuts that are popular today. One of them was to shave the sides of their hair short while leaving the top full and styled. Opt for an angled, straight crown for a sleek look or tease and volumize hair for an architectural vibe.

A must-have product to achieve enviable volume is Sexy Hair’s “Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel”. Secure your style in place with a high-performance hair spray, like Schwarzkopf Professional’s “Silhouette Super Hold”.

Faux Mole

Ever since Marilyn Monroe made this an enviable beauty “do”, women the world over have fawned over this somewhat unconventional beauty trait. If you’re feeling rebellious or nostalgic, definitely take the extra moment to paint on a beauty mark next to your lip.

Try Brische’s “Automatic” eyeliner which doesn’t require any messy sharpening.

Neon Nail Polish

Nail polish is ever evolving and mostly a reflection of your mood. Get nostalgic this summer when you throw it back to an ‘80s classic with neon nail polish. Practically nothing from a beauty standpoint gets you in the summer mood quite like a neon manicure!

Shop the OPI “Brights” collection, which features oh-so ‘80s colors like “That’s Hot! Pink”, “Gargantuan Green Grape” and “No Room For The Blues”. We also love Clinique’s “Hi Sweetie” hue from their “A Different Nail Enamel” collection.