10 Totally 80s Hairstyles We Can’t Believe We Wore

“HEB in the 1980’s” by rutlo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Let’s step into the time machine and prepare for a journey back to the colorful Era of the 1980s. Known for its bold and over-the-top fashion trends, the 1980s left a memorable mark on popular culture, including its hairstyles. From sky-high perms to gravity-defying mullets, the 1980s pushed the boundaries of hairstyling in ways that still leave us amazed and slightly embarrassed.


“My Hair 28 – The asian mullet” by bglee818 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Short hair or long hair? Male or female haircut? The mullet is like the ultimate answer to these questions. It’s a unique hairstyle that became popular during the ’80s. It’s one of those bold haircuts that some people love, and some absolutely hate! It is special because it’s short at the front and sides—but long at the back.

Big Perm

“Lydia Jivan – Girlfriend 1988 80s Hair” by Whiskeygonebad is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In the 1980s, big hair was very popular. Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Madonna, and Farrah Fawcett were known for their permed hair—those curly waves held in place with lots of hairspray. But then, out of nowhere, perms went out of style. However, things have changed a lot in the last 30 years, and getting a perm nowadays is way different from how it was done in the wild ’80s.

Flock of Seagulls

“Getting ready for bed yielded some #weird #hair results… From the front it was full flock of seagulls. Wat.” by ClevrCat is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

This hairstyle got its name from a band famous for their crazy hairdos. It’s all about making a statement! Picture this: the hair on top is short and pointed, kind of like a bird’s wings, swept up and back. The sides and back are shaved, giving it a bold and futuristic look. But it gets even more extreme—people often dye their hair in different colors, with blue and blonde being the top choices. 

Rat Tail

“cut your hair” by Julep67 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If the mullet made people look twice, the rat tail would make them stop and stare. This hairstyle became popular in the edgy punk subculture in the 1980s. As the mullet became too common, the rat tail stood out as a more unique choice. Named because it looks like a rat’s tail, this style features a single long strand of hair at the back of the neck, often braided, decorated with beads, or bleached.


“Inked Mohawk Man” by Culture Kicks is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The mohawk hairstyle was a hit for men in the early 1980s. This look involves shaving both sides of the head—leaving a strip of longer hair in the middle. Depending on how you style it, a mohawk can be high maintenance. Originally, this bold hairstyle was for rebellious or punk guys who wanted to stand out. Today, mohawks are still a cultural symbol in some communities, especially those with indigenous roots.

Jheri Curl

“File:Jheri Curl Smile (395044434).jpg” by foundphotoslj is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Created in the 1970s by hairdresser Jheri Redding, the Jheri Curl became hugely popular in the 1980s, especially after superstar Michael Jackson rocked the wet look. This hairstyle involved a two-step process: softening the hair and setting the curls. The result was shiny, loose curls that looked glossy and smooth. Although it was a big hit back then—it’s a hairstyle we’ll probably never wear again.

Ponytails with Scrunchies

“Scünci Hair Bands 80’s Retro 1980’s Fad Display at Walgreens Stores 5/2014 Scrunci Hair Bands. #Scrunci #Scrunchi Scrunchy #ScunciHairBands #ScunciHair #1980s #80s #fad” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ponytails have been around for centuries, but in the 1980s, they got a fresh twist with the introduction of the hair “scrunchie,” a big fabric hair-tie often in bright neon colors. Ponytails were usually worn high on the back or side of the head. They were secured with scrunchies for a fun and carefree look. While this style was popular with younger girls and teens—many adult women wore it too. 

Aqua-net Bangs

“NKOTB fantastic” by jencookingdiva is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In the 1980s, the big hair trend wasn’t just for the rest of your hair—bangs got the same treatment. Women styled their bangs, also called “mall bangs,” to stand tall and fluffy. This look required lots of teasing and loads of extra-strength Aqua-Net hairspray. You could see these sky-high bangs on everyone, from teenagers at the mall to famous celebrities.

Hi-Top Fade

“Hi-top fade” by Paul Uzzo is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The hi-top fade was another 1980s hairstyle that focused on height. Made popular by rap artists and hip hop groups like Doug E. Fresh, Salt-N-Pepa, and Kid ‘N Play, this look featured short hair on the sides and very long hair on top. As the decade went on, the style became more structured and even taller—turning into a symbol of the Golden Era of hip hop music.

Bowl Cut

“bowl cut” by theogeo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The bowl cut was a major ’80s hairstyle that got a lot of attention. It had the same length all around and was popular among young kids. But sadly, some adults tried it and ended up looking like mushrooms! Nowadays, grown-ups get ideas from this cut when they go for blunt bobs. Blunt bobs are like a cooler version of the bowl cut because they’re often longer in the back—which is more flattering.