madonna 80s makeup

Popular 80s Makeup Looks – 80s Makeup Trends

80's Accessories May 17, 2022

When it comes to 80s makeup looks the choices really are endless. In the 1980s, women had a lot of choices when it came to their makeup. There were various products on the market, and women could choose between foundations, powders, blushes, and a variety of other products.

Some of the most popular makeup trends of the 1980s included bold eyeliner, bright makeup, and smokey eyes. Some of the most popular 1980s makeup brands included MAC, Elizabeth Arden, and Maybelline.

If you’re interested in some of the most memorable 80s makeup trends, here are some that we highly recommend.

80s Makeup Trends

1. Bold Eyeliner

madonna makeup 80s
80s Superstar Madonna Often Used Bold Eyeliner

The 1980s were all about bold eyeliner. Whether you were going for a super clean look or a more dramatic smokey eye, the liner was key to getting the right look. Sometimes you might want to use liner for your lower eyes only, and other times you might want to use liner on your entire look. The choice was yours.

Back then, the liner used was a lot more challenging to use than the liner we have today. It was a lot more difficult to get the liner to look like you wanted it to, and it was also a lot more challenging to remove the liner. You needed to be really careful back then as the makeup was not as advanced as the products and applicators we have today.

2. Bright Makeup

whitney houston makeup
80s Stars Like Whitney Houston Made Bright Makeup Fashionable

The 1980s were a decade of bright colors and big hair. Bold reds and bright pinks were the sartorial equivalents of a loud statement, with more color and style than anyone could handle.

Some women went for muted tones and subtle makeup. Still, the goth, punk, and new romantics were all about taking the spotlight, whether in bold red lipstick or neon green eyeliner.

Even the most conservative women gave in to the style and color of the decade, with pastel pink and baby blue being a standard color scheme of the time, and lips were often bright red or electric blue.

The 1980s was also the decade of neon fashion with bright green, blue, and yellow makeup all the rage. Colorful hair was also quite common at the time, with some women going full neon as well when it came to their hair.

3. Exaggerated Blush

80s makeup blush
Exaggerated Blush Was A Popular 80s Makeup Trend

The ’80s were a crazy time for style. Take exaggerated blush, for example. It was so popular that even celebrities like Debbie Harry and Madonna wore it.

But unlike the subtle blush we wear today, exaggerated blush often meant your cheeks matched the same bold colors as the rest of your makeup. It also meant you used a lot of it.

4. Heavy Eyeshadow

80s joan jett makeup
80s Rockers Like Joan Jett Used Heavy Eyeshadow To Accentuate Their Look

Colored eyeshadow was made popular by stars like Joan Jett in the 80s and was an absolute necessity for any female who wanted to be taken seriously as a fashionista.

That meant that women had no choice but to constantly put on pink, blue, and purple eyeshadow. You received an additional point for wearing all three colors simultaneously. Even in modern times, either a dark, rocker eye or a pink lip on its own can be fun.

Vintage eyeshadow was pigmented and creamy, and it felt soft to the touch. Many of the colors in today’s eyeshadows don’t even come close to the color intensity of colors from the 1980s.

In the 1980s, eyeshadow was a gateway drug to eyeliner, another necessity for fashionistas. Girls who wore black eyeshadow were considered gothic, and girls who wore brown eyeshadow were considered more sophisticated.

5. A Touch Of Glitter

80s makeup glitter
Glitter Was Often Used To Accentuate Eye Makeup And Your Cheekbones In The 1980s

Once you got through your 80s makeup routine, the only thing left is to add the finishing touch with some properly placed glitter! A little glitter to your eyes and/or cheekbones made your 80s makeup pop, and if you wanted to make sure you got noticed you definitely added a little at the end.

Though glitter use in makeup is still used occasionally today, it is nowhere used as much as it was in the 1980s. The 80s were about bold makeup and self expression, and these days subtlety is prioritized over bright and loud.

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80s Makeup Looks

When it came to 80s makeup, there are a few celebrities that immediately come to mind. They were pop icons and cultural phenoms, with huge style to match their larger than life personalities.

If you’re interested in 80s makeup looks, here are a few you should definitely try to emulate.

1. Madonna

madonna 80s makeup looks
Madonna’s 80s Makeup Looks

Of course what 80s makeup article would be complete without mentioning the Material Girl? When it comes to 80s looks for women, Madonna’s 80s fashion is arguably the most recognizable look of that decade.

Her makeup used all the trends that we mentioned above, however typically they were more subtle. While the use of bold colors were present, they were used lightly to accentuate her face.

2. Cyndi Lauper

cyndi lauper 80s makeup looks
Cyndi Lauper’s 80s Makeup Looks

When it comes to 80s makeup fashion, another pop icon of the time is of course Cyndi Lauper. In contrast to Madonna, Cyndi Lauper’s makeup was much bolder and brighter.

Cyndi Lauper in the 80s was all about self expression, and she did that quite vividly through her makeup choices. She used a lot of heavy eye shadow and eye liner, and of course these were all brightly colored to match her usually multi-colored hairstyles.

3. Molly Ringwald

molly ringwald 80s makeup looks
Molly Ringwald’s 80s Makeup Looks

Of course all women in the 1980s didn’t walk around with bold makeup, and a perfect example of that was Molly Ringwald. The 80s icon’s movies were some of the most memorable of the time, but her fashion and style were unforgettable as well.

Though she was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980s, and also a fashion icon, her makeup was much more subtle than our previous two examples.

Though she used many of the 80s makeup trends popular at the time, it was much much more toned down. Typically we saw subtle use of eye liner and eye shadow, and maybe a little more blush than is typical of women today.

Lip color was also much more tame, typically your standard red or pink. The subtle use of edgy makeup combined with the exaggerated blush really created a low key, edgy 80s makeup look. This look let the world know you were classy but also not afraid of a fight.

4. Don’t Forget The Men

mens 80s makeup
Male Celebrities Also Frequently Wore Bright Makeup In The 1980s

Yes 80s makeup was not limited to the ladies, and in fact it was quite common for men to wear makeup as well, though this typically was limited to male celebrities and special occasions.

Notable male 80s makeup wearers of the day were David Bowie, Prince, and Boy George.

80s Makeup Today

These days 80s makeup typically tends to be reserved for costume parties or special occasions like music festivals. Gone are the days where women regularly walked around with some bright colors on their faces, these days subtlety is king.

Regardless the makeup trends of the 1980s will always be cool and edgy in our minds, so if you’re feeling bold, the next time you go out give some of these looks a try!

Browse 80s Makeup On Amazon Here