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Hottest Makeup Trends of the 1980s

Reminisce about neon eyelids, dark lip liner, and layers and layers of blush with these top ten hottest makeup trends of the 1980s.

The 80s were filled with expression, especially when it came to fashion and beauty. From the makeup base to colorful lids and bright lips, these are the most popular makeup trends of the 1980s. What are you happy has stayed in the past? And what do you think should make a comeback? 

Plus, we have even included the step by step process to recreate the look at home. 


First on our list of the best makeup trends of the 1980s is heavy foundation, a trend that would cost women some time and money, layering on the foundation was one of the worst makeup trends when it comes to the base. 

The worst factor of this foundation was that it was typically two shades lighter than their natural skin tone. So the natural look was certainly out the window. Creating a base for the fun colors that the 80s so proudly rocked, the foundation certainly made for a blank surface ready to be painted on. 


The makeup trends of the 1980s always featured the cheekbones. A part of the culture, blush was a must-have item during this decade, often bright pink or even deep plum. 

When in doubt, you would fill those cheeks full of color. No matter your skin tone, the cheeks would be the focal point of your color, with a bright streak of blush. A trend that would be laughed at today, the 80s were all about color, expressing yourself, and uniqueness. 


Unlike decades previous to the 80s, the bushy brow became popular. A thick and natural shake was popular during the 1980s, so Cara Delevigne would fit in quite fine. However, there wasn't much work done to the brows, so if you don't naturally have full brows, you wouldn't fit the trend so well. The most product found in the brows in the 80s would be a dash of brow gel, and you're good to go. 

However, once the 90s and the early 2000s hit, thin brows took their claim back on the eyebrow throne. 


Heavy liner, but not the kind we're used to today, was one of the most popular makeup trends of the 1980s. Think of a raccoon, and you're very close to picturing the eyeliner look done during this decade. 

To recreate, you would trace the tops and bottoms of your lids with matte, very black eyeliner. And to top it off, smudge the liner together, and you're automatically sent back a few decades. A rock and roll vibe, this look would be very strange to see today. 


Blue, purple, and pink eyeshadow were all the rage in the 1980s. Really, anything colorful on the lids was in, and wearing any of these colors was normal for a day to day look. If you really wanted to spice things up, you would create a look featuring each of these colors, the more neon the better. 

Due to the high popularity of bright colors, the brighter the look, the more popular it was. But if this wasn't your cup of tea, bronze shadows were the runner-up. So you could create a bronze goddess look if you pleased as well.  


Believe it or not, colored mascara was also one of the most popular makeup trends of the 1980s, and if you completed your neon eyeshadow look with a bright lash, you were good to go. 

Like we've said before, the natural look was not something that was popular in the 80s, and finding the brightest mascara in your vanity was the best way to start your morning routine. Bright blue mascara was probably the most popular, but don't get us wrong, black lashes were also seen on the daily as well, because there is only so much color you can incorporate into your look. 

Lipstick and Lip Liner

Surprise, surprise, bright lips were in as well. Reds, pinks, and oranges were the go-to colors for lipstick, and lip liners were the best way to perfect the application. Lip liners were often darker than the lipstick, as a way to emphasize the shape of the lips without overlining. This is not typically a trend that would be appealing to today's beauty trends. 

Metallic lips were also a thing in the 80s, and finding the best-frosted gloss was a great way to complete your loop. 

The Overall Look

So now that we've completed the daily routine of the 80s woman's makeup application, let's recap the best makeup trends of the 1980s. To start, heavy and very pale foundation was key to creating the base. 

Then, comes the strong blush, bright in color, and heavy in application. Then, eyeshadow, liner, and mascara were all bright, colorful, and smudgy. And finally, a lipstick and lip liner duo that are both bright and contrasting, and a hint of eyebrow gel will complete the routine. Would you dare to recreate this look?

What's Coming Back

Though the 80s were very different from today, there are certain trends that have made their way back into our own beauty trends. For instance, bold, bushy brows are some of the most popular trends in today's beauty world; just this decade's trends follow filling in the brows to compensate for shape and definition. 

Plus, bright eyeshadow is also making a comeback, though the mascara can stay in the 80s. Bright eyeshadows allow makeup wearers to express themselves as well as challenge themselves. And some of the biggest brands in the world have come out with their own colorful palettes that have been flying off the shelves since their release. 

Try It Yourself

Three years ago, the extremely talented NikkieTutorials on YouTube created a makeup tutorial featuring almost all of the most popular makeup trends of the 1980s. Her video takes her viewers through her step by step process to recreate her 80s era inspired look. 

With extremely colorful lids, and a bright red-orange lip, her finished result is beautiful, and perfect for a Halloween party, or just to try something new. Are you up for the challenge? 

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