80s mullet

The 80s Mullet Haircut

80's Hairstyles May 04, 2022

The 1980s is known for many things, and one of them are the different hairstyles that people rocked. And one of the most iconic hairstyle of the 1980s was “The Mullet”.

80s mullet
The Popular 80s Mullet Haircut

In addition to the mullet, hairstyles like flattops, hi-top fades, jheri curls, permanent waves, large hair-dos and puffed up styles were also favorites. However perhaps the one haircut that stands out the most in the late 20th century was the mullet, and that’s what we are digging into here today.

Even though these days many people stereotype the mullet haircut as something that only backwards rednecks sport, back in the 1980s the mullet haircut was actually pretty mainstream.

The 80s Mullet Haircut

The mullet was actually a very popular haircut that became part of the lesbian culture in the 1980s. Back then, most women used it as a way to express themselves and identify as members of the culture in public. This topic was heavily discussed in the documentary “American Mullet” in 2001.

80s mullet
Mullets Were Big In The 80s With Lesbian Culture

Another interesting fact is that the mullet was actually pretty popular worldwide during the 1980s and could be seen everywhere from Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom. They even became a thing in continental Europe.

The Mullet Perm

Besides the standard “wavy” style 80s mullet, there was also the “Mullet Perm” hairstyle. This was essentially the cross between the standard mullet and the popular perm hairstyle that was all the rage amongst women in the 1980s.

the mullet perm
If You Were Really Ambitious In The 80s You Could Perm Your Mullet Too
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The mullet perm was really a sight to behold, and if you were willing to put in the work to create this hairstyle, it definitely got people’s attention. Basically it was the combining of two of the most epic hairstyles of the 80s and it let the ladies know that you were serious about how you looked.

Celebrity Mullets

When it came to pop culture many celebrities, most of them men, began sporting a mullet starting around the 1960s which helped a few of them to stand out even more. One of the first public figures who rocked a mullet in the 1960s was the talented Welsh singer Tom Jones.

tom jones mullet
Tom Jones Was A Mullet Forefather

But it was the 1970s when the mullet haircut began gaining more and more popularity. Around then, rock superstars such as Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and Rob Stewart were seen with mullets.

Paul McCartney In A Mullet During The 1970s

Perhaps the celebrity that helped the mullet become a trend in the early 1970s and 1980s was the legendary David Bowie. The best-selling artist was a huge deal in the 1980s who influenced millions around the globe with his voice and personality.

Bowie debuted the mullet in an orange color in the early 1970s for his “Ziggy Stardust” persona that instantly demanded attention. Combined with his radical androgynous style, the mullet became a trademark for David Bowie, which inspired people to be themselves regardless of sexual orientation, religion, or anything else.

David Bowie Mullet
David Bowie Popularized “The Mullet” During The 1980s

Besides David Bowie, many other stars also rocked mullets in the 1980s and helped the haircut gain popularity. Known as “German hair” in Italy, the unique haircut was the go-to hairstyle of glam metal and rock bands. The mullet looked cool, especially when superstars such as Billy Ray Crus and James Hetfield (from Metallica) wore it.

One of the reasons that the mullets succeeded is because this new trend was a unique way to celebrate yourself as part of the crazy and very in-your-face culture during this wild decade. But it wasn’t just rockers and heavy metals that loved the mullet trend.

Many others such as bikers, country singers, punk jocks, and yuppies did as well. Additionally, actors such as Patrick Swayze (from his work in “Dirty Dancing” and “Road House”) and Kiefer Sutherland (from “The Lost Boys”) also pushed the mullet into the mainstream and made it a socially acceptable and even cool hairstyle to have.

Patrick Swayze Rocked A Mullet In “Road House” (1989)

And although men loved having mullets because they looked cool, the style was also worn by women believe it or not. Some of the most iconic mullet looks from women in the 1980s were those of Cher, Jane Fonda and Joan Jett.

Is The 80s Mullet Still Popular?

Even though mullets were commonplace in the 1980s, they now have a much smaller following. A lot of it is due to the fact that these days mullets tend to be a haircut that is associated with negative stereotypes. Whether that is an unfair classification or not is really up for debate.

Regardless one thing about mullets is that they will always be a thing of the 1980s, and their quirk will forever be remembered. Maybe one day they will return, but we think most will agree this was a hairstyle that was probably best left in the 1980s.

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