Girl wearing 80s neon make-up with crimped hair


by Jane Duncan, freelance writer

Sept 13 2019

Nobody puts baby in a corner” declared Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, and many beauty buffs followed his queue, using dazzling make-up looks to shine and express themselves fully. Molly Ringwald, Whitney Houston, and Cyndi Lauper are among the biggest beauty icons of the 80s, but they also symbolize the wide range of looks that actually prevailed at the time. Some of the strongest trends of the 80s have made their way onto the Big Four Fashion Week catwalks, much to the joy of beauty fans growing up in one of the most glamorous decades in history. From Tom Ford to Louis Vuitton and Paco Rabanne, designers are turning back the hands of time to find their inspiration. These are just a few 80s make-up trends to watch out for in the season ahead!

Kohl is Back

Just a couple of years ago, pencil eyeliner almost became a thing of the past. Makeup artists and vloggers alike were using brow and shadow brushes to lend a gentle line of colour to their lower eyelids. Today, bold kohl is back in vogue. At New York Fashion Week recently, Tom Ford blended gentle taupe smokey eyes with sleek black eyeliner to lend the illusion of greater size to eyes and to add just a touch of the dramatic to his catwalk looks. Make waterproof kohl part of your regularly delivered beauty items, ensuring products are heat- and smudge-proof as well.

Everyone Loves Neon

Neon is one of the strongest make-up trends, with nearly all mid-to-high-end brands releasing palettes in lime green, bright orange, and jovial blue. Guy Laroche and Caroline Herrera are just two designers who have chosen bright neon eyeshadows and cat-eye pencils/liquid liners to set off their glamorous catwalk looks. The 80s were all about bold, bright, monochrome looks. The 2019s puts a twist on the trend by combining neon with sombre hues like black and grey.
Colourful Lipsticks for 80s Make-up

Public domain image from Pexels

Just a Touch of Blush

If you are a fan of Molly Ringwald in films like Pretty in Pink or The Breakfast Club, then you know that she started a strong penchant for natural looks. Despite containing a full face of make-up (foundation, blush, mascara, etc.), she always had a freshly woken look about her, her freckles peeping through a light coverage foundation. From Kristen Stewart to Alicia Keys, celebrities these days are alternating heavy make-up and nude looks according to the season and occasion. Here’s a tip: beauty spots and freckles are in, so don’t go too heavy with coverage when selecting your next foundation.

Untamed Brows

Stars like Madonna made big, bushy eyebrows the look to have. This trend faded in the 90s, with many following the ‘fine brow’ trend set by actors like Nicole Kidman. Today, microblading (a way of tattooing eyebrows on, ‘hair by hair’) is one of the most solicited treatments at beauty clinics but if you don’t want to commit permanently or you are on a budget, you can simply fill your browns yourself. Key tools you will need to recreate this look include an ultra-fine brow pencil and a quality brow gel (to keep everything in place). The key is to replicate the microblading look by drawing on individual brows for a natural, youthful look.

It’s a fantastic time for lovers of bright blue eyeshadow, heavy brows, dark lipstick, and kohl liner looks. These days, make-up artists and amateurs alike can choose from a host of different looks, ranging from natural to dramatic. If you’d like to experiment with one of these looks, remember that practice makes perfect - and that you will need to invest in one or two palettes, pencils, or bullet lipsticks.

Girl wearing 80s make-up on Dolly Magazine No.133 - November 1981

Dolly magazine issue 133 from November 1981 - a fine example of 80s make-up and hair

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