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10 Major ‘80s Makeup Trends We Still Love Today

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Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

The ’80s are back in the beauty world in a big way. We’re seeing retro trends like blue eyeshadow, pink lips, bold blush, and a more-is-more approach to makeup turning up on both the celeb set and influencers. But let’s not forget where these looks came from; we can turn to actresses, models, and singers from the ’80s to show us how these trends are really done. “The bright eyeshadow looks, exaggerated blush, and metallic lip are all making a comeback,” says Steve Kassajikian, Urban Decay's global makeup artist. “These looks are fun, playful, and complement all skin tones.”

Compared to the neutral hues we’ve seen in recent years, you might not be sure you’re ready to embrace bold ’80s makeup looks, but don’t stress: We’ve got you covered. We rounded up 10 best beauty looks from the ‘90s with expert tips and statement beauty products to make pulling off these looks more manageable. (Perm not included.) 

Love historic makeup trends and want to go even further back? Check out our ’70s makeup blog


About the Expert:

Steve Kassajikian is URBAN DECAY’s global makeup artist. He represents the brand around the world and creates content for their social channels.

1. Pretty in Pink Lips

A photo of Christie Brinkley with a neutral makeup look and bold pink lip
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Christie Brinkley is a total ’80s icon, so it comes as no surprise that her bold pink lip is serving up serious inspo. If you prefer neutrals and aren’t ready to embrace some of the bold looks of the decade, this is a good gateway trend to try if you want to embrace ’80s beauty. While Christie rocked her pink fuschia lip with a smoky eye, you can also take the look totally ’80s and pair the trend with another popular ’80s look: blue eyeshadow. “I love pairing a blue eye look with a pink cheek or lip,” says Kassajikian. If you’re looking for a pretty pink gloss, try the URBAN DECAY Revolution High-Color Lipgloss or the SMASHBOX COSMETICS Gloss Angeles in Sorbet Watch and check out our roundup on pink lipstick here.

2. Pink and Purple Only

A photo of Debbie Harry with a blush on your eyes look
Photo by David Redfern/Getty Images

Debbie Harry was doing the “blush on your eyes” look long before TikTok ever made it a trend decades later. “I love color, so I’m really excited that colorful eyeshadow is trending again,” says Kassajikian. Debbie let the bold hues speak volumes, and if you want to recreate the look, Kassajikian recommends applying “a fun shade like purple all over the lid paired with some mascara for a simple yet bold look.” We love the Bomb AF Eyeshadow Palette from BEAUTY CREATIONS COSMETICS because it has a slew of pink and purple hues to choose from. Whether you want a shimmer shade or a flat matte pigment, this eyeshadow palette has you covered.

3. Blushing Beauty

A photo of Madonna onstage at Madison Square Garden in 1984 in New York City
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Forget highlighter—defining your cheeks in the ’80s was all about exaggerated blush that matched your eyeshadow. This bold ’80s makeup trend (which is also known as draping) was seen on everyone from Debbie Harry to Madonna to Iman. If you want to try it out, simply “apply your blush a little higher starting on the cheekbones and blend back to your hairline,” says Kassajikian. Opt for a pink shade, like KALEIDO COSMETICS’ Blush in Primadonna. To avoid streaks, Kassajikian recommends following this pro tip: “Build the color as you go for more of an even blend in a patting motion to avoid harsh lines.”

4. The Bold and the Beautiful Brows

A photo of Brooke Shields wearing a dark hat with a white brim, and holding a pair of sunglasses, circa 1985
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Bold eyes and bold brows defined the ’80s, and ever since Brooke Shields and Cindy Crawford launched the trend in the ’80s, there have been different iterations of this look. If you spent years overplucking your eyebrows, it might be tough to pull off this look, but an eyebrow pencil, brow gel, and a brush can make a major difference. Let Brooke Shields’ iconic brows serve up inspo and stock up on the basics. If you feel like your brows are a bit sparse and you want to take a more natural approach to penciling in your eyebrows, try BENEFIT COSMETICS Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel.

5. Statement Shadow

A photo of Cher wearing a large butterfly pin in her hair on March 2, 1974 in Los Angeles
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wearing colorful eyeshadow that extends from your lash line all the way up to to your eyebrow defined the ’80s, and we love pretty much all of Cher’s makeup looks from the ’70s and ’80s. If you want to try this look at home, it’s best to stick to bright eyeshadow colors. “Use lighter/brighter shades and gradually blend out for this,” says Kassajikian, who recommends staying away from moody colors. “Anything too dark or smoky will make the eyes look heavy/smaller,” says Kassajikian. 

6. Electric Blue Eyeliner

A photo of Diana, Princess of Wales sporting a blue liner look
Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Blue ruled the ’80s, and this electric eyeliner trend is no different. The beauty of sporting this shade is that it works on practically everyone regardless of your complexion and hair color. “A blue liner will look great on all skin tones and eye colors, it enhances colored eyes and brightens brown eyes,” says Kassajikian. Take a cue from Princess Diana and add a burst of blue eyeliner to your waterlines for a pop of color, like the URBAN DECAY 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Roxy, which is a metallic, bright blue. “Use color as more of a pop rather than all over,” Kassajikian says, for those who prefer more minimal looks. 

7. Pops of Neon

A photo of Boy George rocking a neon stripe of pink shadow with a bright metallic pink lip
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Neon colors dominated ’80s fashion in addition to making major waves in the beauty space, with vibrant colors popping up on lips and eyes. Take a cue from Boy George and rock a neon stripe of pink shadow with a bright metallic pink lip. The combo might sound intimidating at first, but he definitely rocked it. While you can even incorporate multiple colors into your look to create an ’80s dream eye, sticking with one shade is a more modern take on the ’80s trend. 

8. Colored Mascara

A photo of Cyndi Lauper wearing a leopard print hat and a colorful mascara look
Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

How much color is too much color? If we’re talking ’80s glam, the limit does not exist—and that’s exactly where colorful mascara comes in. Cyndi Lauper was iconic not only for her impeccable fashion sense, but for the way she played with makeup, like the bold choice to wear an orange smoky eye with purple mascara (not to mention a glossy red lip to top it all off!). The pop of color was totally captivating.

9. Ready to Rock

A photo of Cher rocking a bright purple hairstyle with a pink smoky eyes and pink lips
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Want to look like a rockstar? Look no further than this winning ’80s combo. Pink smoky eyes and pink lips were the go-to of the decade for glam rock goddesses, and Cher was one of the OGs rocking this trend, right down to her spiked purple mullet to match. To recreate the look at home, pair a smoky eye with a matching pink lip. 

10. Metallic Lips

A photo of Jane Seymour wearing a blue outfit with plunging neckline and a blue fascinator, and a metallic fuchsia lip
Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

Metallic lips come in all colors, but there’s something about Jane Seymour’s metallic fuchsia lip that makes this trend seem so attainable and cool. “Line your lips for precision before applying the metallic lipstick, and keep the eye makeup minimal to allow the lip to be the focus,” says Kassajikian. After you apply your lip liner, reach for a liquid lip. Check out the CIATÉ LONDON Glitter Flip Transforming Glitter Liquid Lipstick in Infamous or opt for a slightly darker berry, like the ESTÉE LAUDER Pure Color Liquid Lip in Wine Shot

Beauty trends come and go, but if you want to try more fun makeup looks without blowing your budget, be sure to sign up for the IPSY Glam Bag. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
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Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated April 2, 2023 12:00 AM