80s Men Hairstyle: A Nostalgic Journey Through Iconic Looks

The movement of men’s hairstyles in the 80s was a memorable era in the sphere of men’s fashion. This period was marked by a surge of individual expression and creativity showcased through hairstyles, with bold and adventurous styles dominating the scene. Whether it was perms, mullets, or any style in-between, our hairdos significantly reflected our identity and our beliefs.

As we take a look at these iconic styles, we can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia, keeping in mind our favorite musicians, actors, and trendsetters who played a significant role in setting the standard for 80s men’s hairstyles. This decade will forever be etched in our memory as the go-to inspiration for those looking to make a bold style statement.

These hair experiments not only shaped the trends of the time but also made a major comeback with modern twists in recent years. So join us in this walk down memory lane as we take a closer look at the fabulous 80s men hairstyles that defined a generation.

Cultural Impact of 80s Men Hairstyles

This era was marked by bold, over-the-top looks that triumphantly expressed individuality in ways that continue to influence modern fashion trends.

In the 80s, perms and big hair dominated the scene, with voluminous styles being popularized by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Prince. We saw rock stars and celebrities pushing the boundaries, inspiring everyday men to ditch traditional haircuts and embrace the extravagance of the time.

Hairstyles such as mulletshigh topsJheri curlsfeathered hair, and mohawks became symbols of self-expression, attitude, and rebellion. Icons like Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Ray Cyrus flaunted their flowing locks, leading to the popularization of long hair among men.

Here are some highlights of the 80s men hairstyles:

  • Mullets: Business in the front, party in the back – the mullet epitomized the decade’s counterculture.
  • High Tops: Originating in the African-American community, high-top fades gained mainstream attention, especially within hip-hop culture.
  • Jheri Curls: Made famous by Michael Jackson, this glossy, permed hairstyle quickly spread across the globe.

Not only did these hairstyles shape the popular culture of the 80s, but they also left a lasting impact on today’s styling. We see modern variations of these iconic hairstyles mingled with innovative cuts to create a contemporary, yet nostalgic, essence. So, as we admire the audacity of 80s men hairstyles, it’s clear to see how they continue to inspire the world of fashion today.

Iconic Hairstyles of the 1980s

Bold, wild, and full of character, these hair trends defined the era and continue to inspire us today. Let’s take a closer look on some of the most iconic hairstyles of the 1980s.

The Mullet

80s men hairstyle the mullet
by Pinterest

The legendary mullet – “business in the front, party in the back.” This versatile cut featured short hair on the sides and longer hair in the back, creating a unique and eye-catching look. Even today, the mullet remains popular among those looking for a retro vibe.

Jheri Curls

80s men hairstyle jheri curls
by Pinterest

If you were into the curly hair trend, you couldn’t get enough of Jheri Curls during the 80s! This perm-treated hairstyle was known for its glossy, loosely curled locks and was popularized by stars like Michael Jackson. The curls required regular moisturizing, making it essential to carry Jheri curl activator spray for maintaining that perfect sheen.

The High-Top Fade

80s men hairstyle The High-Top Fade
by Pinterest

For those who wanted to stand tall, the High-Top Fade was the style to flaunt. A favorite among hip-hop artists like Kid ‘n Play and Will Smith, this haircut featured shorter hair on the sides and back, while the top was kept longer and shaped upwards. The High-Top Fade was a true statement piece during the 80s.

The Pompadour

80s men hairstyle The Pompadour
by Pinterest

Although the pompadour dates back to the 1950s, it made a thrilling comeback in the 1980s. Rock stars like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash championed this style, which involved backcombing or teasing the hair on the top of the head to create height, then styling it back from the forehead. The ’80s version of the pompadour added a modern twist with the use of vibrant colors and bold patterns.

Styling Tools and Products

We saw guys rocking perms, mullets, high tops, Jheri curls, and feathered hair. Hair styling tools and products played a big role in creating these unforgettable looks. Let’s take a look at what made these styles possible!

Hair Gel and Mousse

In the 80s, men loved their hair to have volume and texture, and hair gel and mousse were two go-to products for achieving these looks. With hair gel, we could create slicked-back styles or spiky hair, while mousse gave us hold and body for those big hairstyles that defined the era! Hair mousse, sometimes referred to as styling foam, provided a light hold that was perfect for voluminous styles, especially for curly and wavy hair. Both products were extensively used to create the iconic 80s men hairstyle.

Hair Spray

Another styling product that was heavily used in the 80s was hair spray. Known for its strong hold and ability to keep big hair in place, hair spray became a must-have for anyone who wanted to maintain their 80s hairstyles throughout the day. Hairspray was essential for keeping those gravity-defying styles intact, and it became a staple product in many men’s grooming routines.

Perms and Relaxers

When it came to 80s men hairstyle, there was nothing more defining than a perm. Perms and relaxers were chemical processes that could transform straight hair into curls or soften tight curls for a more relaxed, wavy look. These treatments were popular, as they allowed men to experiment with various curly and wavy styles and create that iconic, larger-than-life hair that was synonymous with the 80s.

In conclusion, the 80s men hairstyle was all about texture, volume, and experimentation. Hair gel, mousse, hair spray, perms, and relaxers were essential tools in creating these unforgettable looks that defined the era.

Influential Figures and Trends

The 80s era was a wild and exciting time, characterized by an array of expressive haircuts that still hold a special place in pop culture today. Following, we’ll dive into the influential figures and trends from musicians and bands, movie stars, and the fashion industry that played a major role in shaping these iconic hairstyles.

Musicians and Bands

Musicians and bands were key players in popularizing 80s hairstyles for men. Rock and punk groups, such as Mötley Crüe and The Clash, sported mullets, high tops, and Jheri curls, further popularizing these styles among their fan base. Hip-hop artists not only experimented with their music but their hairstyles as well. The high top fade was embraced by artists like Big Daddy Kane and Kid ‘n Play.

Movie Stars

Movie stars also played a significant role in shaping 80s men’s hairstyles. Here are a few memorable looks:

  • Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Military-inspired buzz cut
80s men hairstyle Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Military-inspired buzz cut
by Pinterest
  • Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing: Feathered Faux hawk
80s men hairstyle Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing: Feathered Faux hawk
by Pinterest
  • Rob Lowe in St. Elmo’s Fire: Side-swept quiff
80s men hairstyle Rob Lowe in St. Elmo's Fire: Side-swept quiff
by Pinterest

These influential movie stars inspired many fans to adopt similar hairstyles in their everyday lives.

Fashion Industry Influences

As fashion trends evolved, so did 80s men’s hairstyles. Designers, such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, hired models with edgy and statement-making hairstyles for their runway shows. In addition, fashion magazines, like GQ and Vanity Fair, featured models with unique and iconic 80s hairstyles, further influencing the general public to experiment with their own hair.

Overall, the blend of music, movies, and fashion created an environment that inspired new hairstyling trends, turning the 80s into an unforgettable era for men’s hair.

Maintenance and Care

As enthusiasts of the 80s men hairstyle, we are delighted to share some maintenance and care tips with you. Here are some daily routines, professional styling advice, and long-term hair health to keep your hair looking as iconic as it did in the 1980s.

Daily Routines

  • Washing: Wash your hair every 2 to 3 days to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils, which can lead to dryness and damage.
  • Conditioning: Apply conditioner after every wash to maintain moisture and protect your hair from environmental factors.
  • Detangling: Gently comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots to avoid breakage and split ends.’

Professional Styling Tips

  1. Use quality products: Invest in good-quality hair products, such as styling gels and hair spray, to maintain the shape and hold of your 80s men hairstyle.
  2. Master the techniques: Consult a professional hairstylist or follow expert tutorials to learn proper styling techniques.
  3. Embrace accessories: Accessorize your hairstyle with bandanas or other 80s-inspired fashion items to enhance your look.

Long-Term Hair Health

To ensure the long-term health of your hair, consider the following:

  • Regular trims: Schedule regular trims (every 6 to 8 weeks) to eliminate split ends and maintain your hairstyle’s shape.
  • Protect your hair: Wear a hat or apply heat protectant spray before exposing your hair to the sun or using styling tools.
  • Balanced diet: Consume a healthy, balanced diet to nourish your hair from within. Include foods rich in vitamins, proteins, and essential fatty acids for optimal hair health.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you’ll keep your 80s men hairstyle looking fresh and stylish for years to come.

The Revival in Modern Times

It’s hard not to feel nostalgic when talking about 80s men hairstyles. They boasted a unique and iconic essence that continues to inspire people today. Thanks to celebrities, fashion designers, and sports stars, the flashy looks are making a comeback with a modern twist.

The mullet is arguably one of the most recognized 80s men hairstyles. With its “business in the front, party in the back” mentality, it perfectly embodies the spirit of the decade. Modern adaptations of this style have toned down the volume and included sleeker, more refined elements. You can witness the mullet’s revival in names like football player Cristiano Ronaldo and fashion icon Billy Ray Cyrus.

Another popular 80s men hairstyle is the perm, which was often paired with a mullet for added flair. In today’s world, the perm is making a comeback with a subtler approach, producing softer curls and added texture. Many men are now embracing the wavy look, embracing the 80s essence, while keeping a modern touch.

Here are a few more 80s inspired hairstyles that have resurfaced:

  • High Tops: With celebrities like Idris Elba and Jaden Smith sporting the look, high tops are a go-to style for those seeking to pay homage to the decade.
  • Feathered Hair: This vintage favorite is now embraced by stylish modern men who want to retain some flow and iconic charm.
  • Undercuts: The slicked-back undercut has evolved into a versatile style, that can be both polished and edgy, depending on how it’s styled.

Comparison with Other Decades’ Hairstyles

The 1970s regarded as the era of the “hippie” and “disco” movements, witnessed long, flowing hairstyles with natural textures, indicative of a more laid-back approach to grooming. Afros and shaggy cuts were also prevalent, reflecting the emerging counterculture. The men’s 80s hairstyles contrasted sharply with these relaxed styles, embracing excess and flamboyance instead.

As we moved into the 1990s, hair trends took a dramatic turn, with the rise of grunge styles and a shift towards a more minimalist aesthetic. Shorter cuts, such as the classic “bowl cut” and the “caesar” cut, gained popularity, and iconic 80s styles such as perms, mullets, and Jheri curls started to fade away.

Fast forward to the 2000s, and we witnessed the emergence of technically advanced hair styling tools, leading to increasingly intricate and polished hairstyles. Men’s grooming preferences leaned toward more refined and controlled looks, like faux hawks, buzz cuts, and the ever-popular “bedhead” style.

In the 2010s, we saw a revival of vintage-inspired trends, such as pompadours, man buns, and undercuts, blended with modern techniques and finishes. This decade also experienced a profound emphasis on individuality and self-expression, with many individuals opting for highly personalized hairstyles.

In conclusion, while the 80s men hairstyle is undoubtedly unforgettable, it is just one exciting chapter in the ever-evolving story of men’s grooming trends.

Social and Political Connections

We can’t talk about 80s men hairstyle without diving into the social and political connections that made them iconic. From punks and metalheads to the mainstream, hairstyles of this decade were rebellious, creative, and unforgettable.

The punk movement inspired some of the boldest hairstyles of the 80s, such as the liberty spike, where hair spiked toward the sky, held in place with ample amounts of gel and hairspray. Punks embraced the DIY ethos and rejected conformity, resulting in a variety of hair colors and combinations.

80s men hairstyle liberty spike hairstyle punk
by Pinterest

On the other end of the spectrum, mullets were prevalent for both rockers and the mainstream alike. This versatile style, known for its “business in the front, party in the back” appeal, became a staple in many circles. With the ability to be short, medium, or long, it was a go-to option for those looking to maintain a trendy yet office-appropriate look.

80s men hairstyle the mullet
by Pinterest

Meanwhile, the Jheri curl became popular in the African American community, with celebrities like Michael Jackson famously rocking it. Representing a shift from chemically relaxed hair, the Jheri curl was seen as a more manageable and natural alternative.

80s men hairstyle Jheri curl Michael Jackson
by Pinterest

As music became a major driver of pop culture in the 80s, the connection between hair and personal identity was undeniable. Channeling their favorite artists, people would copy styles ranging from bandana-wearing rockers to teased, voluminous locks à la hair metal bands.

80s men hairstyle Axel Rose Bandana Hairstyle
by Pinterest

The 80s men hairstyles truly transcended social norms and political boundaries, as everyone looked to make their own statement. It was a decade of unforgettable styles, influenced by the diverse movements and icons of the time.

Our Opinion On 80s Men Hairstyle

As we are both children of the 90s, unfortunately we didn’t experience the 80s ourselves. Together with our parents’ experiences and the music and films of the 80s, you can still feel the special flair of the 80s.
As children, we naturally found the pictures of our parents with their mullets and perms very funny.
Even today, we personally prefer to listen to classic rock anthems from the 80s rather than today’s music.
Through the research in this article, we have rediscovered the 80s for ourselves and feel somehow drawn to this decade.
Perhaps this article has also helped you to reminisce about your own experiences of the 80s.

FAQ – 80s Men Hairstyle

What hairstyle was popular in the 80s?

The ’80s showcased iconic men’s hairstyles: perms for texture, mullets for boldness, high tops for height, Jheri curls for sleekness, feathered cuts for a softer look, and mohawks for a rebellious edge. These styles defined the era’s diverse and memorable fashion trends.

Why did men have long hair in the 80s?

In the ’80s, long hair was a rebel’s badge, echoing freedom and rockstar vibes. Men flaunted bandanas with their flowing locks, channeling the style of iconic rock musicians. It was more than a look; it symbolized individuality and a carefree spirit amid the era’s trends.

How to rock 80s hair?

Choose an iconic ’80s hairstyle like a perm, mullet, or Jheri curls. Consult a stylist experienced in ’80s cuts for the desired look. Style with appropriate products and tools—perm, tease, or hairspray as needed. Pair with neon, bold patterns, shoulder pads, and denim to complete the iconic ’80s fashion ensemble.

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