The 1980s, a decade of excess, exuberance, and striking fashion, was also a remarkable era for makeup. Bright colors, exaggerated contours, and a departure from the subtle, natural looks of previous decades characterized 80s makeup. With pop culture icons like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Boy George setting the tone, makeup became integral to self-expression. Let’s delve into the iconic styles, techniques, and products that define 80s makeup.
1. Eye Makeup: Vibrant and Daring
- Bold Eyeshadows: The 80s weren’t a time for muted, understated colors. Eyeshadows in neon pink, electric blue, radiant purple, and acid green became the norm. Palettes often include contrasting colors, encouraging people to experiment and blend multiple shades on their eyelids.
- Heavy Eyeliner: Eyeliner wasn’t limited to just the upper lash line. The waterline was heavily lined, often with a pop of color, while the upper eyelids would have a thick, winged liner to make the eyes pop.
- Mascara Madness: The more, the merrier! Multiple coats of black mascara, sometimes in tandem with colored mascara, made lashes thick and voluminous.
2. Complexion: Sculpted and Gleaming
- Contour and Highlight: Today’s contouring trend might seem modern, but the 80s had its version. Cheekbones were accentuated with blush, often in bright pink or peach hues, applied angularly from the apples of the cheeks to the temples. Though less refined than today’s shimmering powders, highlighters added a radiant glow.
- Bold Blush: Often dubbed “draping,” blush wasn’t restricted to the apples of the cheeks. It was swept up to the temples and sometimes even blended with eyeshadows to create a cohesive, dramatic effect.
3. Lips: Glossy and Colorful
- Frosted Lipsticks: The 80s saw a rise in frosted lipsticks, characterized by their shimmering finish. Popular colors included pinks, corals, and even unconventional shades like lavender.
- High Gloss: Lip gloss is a must-have product, whether over lipstick or alone. The shinier the lips, the better!
4. Brows: Natural but Defined
While today’s makeup world loves a well-defined and often heavily filled-in eyebrow, the 80s embraced a more natural look. Brows were full, but grooming was minimal, with just a touch of pencil or powder for a bit of definition.
5. Nails: Bright and Decorated
From neon shades to patterns, 80s nails were an extension of the overall aesthetic. Nail art became increasingly popular, often featuring designs that matched or contrasted with outfits.
6. Trends and Influences
Television shows, movies, and music videos were instrumental in spreading and popularizing 80s makeup trends. The rise of MTV, in particular, was pivotal. With visuals becoming as important as the music itself, artists had to express themselves through their songs and appearance, making makeup an essential tool.
Brands and Products: Many of today’s major makeup brands gained prominence in the 80s. Brands like Estée Lauder, Clinique, and Revlon introduced products that catered to the era’s trends.
Celebrities: Beyond Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, other celebrities like Brooke Shields, with her natural brows, and Grace Jones, with her avant-garde aesthetic, were major influences in the world of 80s makeup.
80s makeup was more than just cosmetics. It embodied a culture that celebrated individualism, experimentation, and self-expression. The trends might seem over-the-top by today’s standards, but they represented a significant shift in how people perceived and utilized makeup. As with many fashion and beauty trends, elements of 80s makeup are enjoying a resurgence, proving that its influence is still felt today. Whether you’re inspired to rock a neon eyeshadow or want to appreciate the era’s audacious style, the 80s makeup scene remains iconic and unforgettable.
1. What characterized 80s makeup?
80s makeup was known for its bold colors, dramatic contrasts, and exaggerated styles. Think neon eyeshadows, heavy eyeliner, vibrant blush applied angularly, and frosted lipsticks.
2. Who were some iconic makeup influencers from the 80s?
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Brooke Shields, and Grace Jones were just a few influencers that defined 80s makeup trends.
3. Was contouring popular in the 80s?
While modern contouring techniques gained prominence in recent years, the 80s had a version focused on accentuating cheekbones using blush, often termed “draping.”
4. What were popular eyeshadow colors in the 80s?
Electric blues, neon pinks, radiant purples, and acid greens dominated the eyeshadow palettes of the 80s.
5. How were eyebrows styled in the 80s?
Unlike the well-defined brows of today, 80s brows were fuller and more natural, with minimal grooming and only light definition added through pencils or powders.
6. Was nail art a thing in the 80s?
Absolutely! 80s nails were often brightly colored, and nail art began to gain traction with designs that matched or contrasted with outfits.
7. Did men wear makeup in the 80s?
Yes, many men, especially in the music and fashion industries, embraced makeup as a form of self-expression. Boy George, for example, was known for his flamboyant makeup looks.
8. What role did music videos play in 80s makeup trends?
With the rise of MTV and music videos becoming mainstream, they played a pivotal role in popularizing and spreading 80s makeup trends. Visual aesthetics became as essential as the music itself.
9. What kind of lip products were trendy in the 80s?
Frosted lipsticks in shades of pink, coral, and lavender were popular, as was lip gloss, often used to achieve a high-shine finish.
10. Are any 80s makeup trends making a comeback?
As with many fashion and beauty cycles, certain elements of 80s makeup have seen a resurgence. Neon eyeshadows, graphic eyeliner styles, and glossy lips are some trends from the 80s that have been reimagined for modern audiences.