The Cringe-Worthy Beauty Trends From the ’80s

When it comes to beauty trends, the ’80s were all about more is more. And while there are some trends that have evolved throughout the decades, many of the ’80s beauty trends are now reserved for Halloween costumes and themed parties.

With that said, we thought it would be fun to unearth some of these cringe-worthy beauty trends and have a laugh at all of the ridiculous hairstyles, crazy makeup trends, and bad haircuts of Madonna’s favorite decade. Read on for some of the most cringe-worthy beauty trends from the 1980s.

1. Blue eyeshadow

blue eyeshadow

This was the “it” shadow of the ’80s. | WelmaduPlessis/iStock/Getty Images

In the ’80s, one of the most substantial beauty trends was definitely eyeshadow — blue eyeshadow, to be exact. And while the aqua color has seen a comeback in recent beauty trends, it seems as if everyone has learned their lesson about the horrors of solid blue eyeshadow that reaches all the way up to their eyebrows. Not a good look.

2. Untamed eyebrows

Madonna's untamed eyebrows

Madonna in Who’s That Girl started plenty of trends. | Warner Bros.

It’s safe to say that you can always tell the decade by the eyebrows, and the ’80s were no different. Eyebrows in the ’80s weren’t just natural-looking, they were untamed — and quite bushy, to be honest. While we are all for a natural-looking brow, the Groucho brows can certainly stay in the ’80s.

3. Gigantic teased hair

Meryl streep big teased hair

Even Meryl Streep was a victim of 80s hair. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When we think of the ’80s, we instantly think of big hair. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little volume, it seemed like women — and even men — in the ’80s took it a tad too far (much like everything else in beauty and fashion). Between the teasing and the cans of aerosol hairspray, it must have taken all of the ’90s to brush those bird’s nests out.

4. Faux beauty marks

Madonna like a virgin video

Another Madonna classic from the Like A Virgin music video. | Warner Bros. Records via Youtube

Beauty marks have had an interesting history, to say the least. And while natural beauty marks are a beautiful and unique trait — one that celebrities like Madonna made popular — we can’t get behind faux beauty marks. We just can’t.

5. Feathered bangs

D.J. Tanner rocked the feathered bangs look on Full House but we hope it doesn’t come back. | Warner Bros.

With teased hair came teased — aka feathered — bangs. And they were like the 8th wonder of the world. How did they stay in place? How much hairspray (or glue) was used? Who decided this was a good idea? We have so many questions.

6. Palm tree hair

Another Full House trend showcased by Kimmy Gibbler. | Warner Bros.

Another horrific style from the ’80s (and partially into the ’90s)? Palm tree hair. You know, the super high half ponytail that was help in place with an atrocious scrunchie and left your hair to drape over the crown of your head? The name may be clever, but the hairstyle is just … no.

7. Colorful contouring

Contour and highlight makeup

Like this, but in green… | llhedgehogll/iStock/Getty Images

With celebrities like the Kardashians being so open with their glam routine, contouring has definitely made a comeback in recent beauty trends. That being said, this trend is not nearly as bad as the colorful contouring in the 80s. Between the blush, bronzer, and all the other colors of the rainbow used in ’80s makeup looks, let’s just say we’re happy we left colorful contouring behind.

8. Perms

Whitney Houston’s perm was legendary, but these days, fewer chemicals might be better. | Youtube

One of the key components of gigantic teased hair in the ’80s? Perms. You couldn’t get the look you were going for without them. And while chemical perms are usually super damaging to your hair, proof of said perm is enough to scare you away from ever trying that again.

9. Too much blush

80s makeup

There’s nothing natural about this. | Olgaecat/iStock/Getty Images

In addition to colorful contouring, women in the ’80s loved their blush. And, in turn, they used far too much of it. We’re pretty certain some even used it to replace of eyeshadow (or they applied it awfully close to their eyelids). Let’s just say we’ve learned our lesson. When it comes to blush, less is always more.

10. Crazy eyeshadow

Colorful makeup

Blue and yellow eyeshadow is definitely a look that should stay in the past. | Quantiumpix/iStock/Getty Images

In addition to blue eyeshadow, women used all sorts of different colored eyeshadows. From pinks to purples to yellows, it seemed there was no shortage of color in the ’80s. And they didn’t just put it on their eyelids. They applied these colorful shadows on the sides of their eyes and under their eyes, too.

11. Mullets

Billy Ray Cyrus Mullet

The mullet was one of Billy Ray Cyrus’ most well known characteristics. | Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

Let’s just say it: The ’80s was the decade of bad hair. And mullets were a big part of that. Perhaps the most confused hair cut of all times, mullets were not a pixie cut, not yet a long bob. Add a perm and some hairspray, and you have yourself a 1980s nightmare.

12. Rat tails

Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars wore this style after the 80s, but he started an unfortunate resurgence. | 20th Century Fox

Speaking of confused haircuts, here’s another one: Rat tails. It seems as if people just wanted to experiment with how fast their hair grew, so they trimmed around a patch of hair. Science experiment, or not, this hairstyle doesn’t make sense and we will forever wonder about its purpose.

13. Heavy foundation

Heavy 80s makeup

Do yourself a favor and let your skin breathe sometimes. | Lunamarina/iStock/Getty Images

Another trend from the ’80s that wouldn’t fly today? Heavy foundation. With trends like no-makeup makeup and skin care-inspired beauty products, people are steering clear of heavier foundation and allowing their skin to breathe.

14. Hair crimping

Girl with crimped hair

This was an easy way to fry your hair. | Izusek/iStock/Getty Images

If you didn’t perm your hair in the ’80s, you most likely crimped it. And while it wasn’t as damaging as a perm, it was still cringe-worthy. The waffle hair crimpers gave hair a wacky kink that — when combined with colorful scrunchies and hair clips — was just too much.

15. Dark lip liner

Dark lipliner

Lip liner is great, but stick a little closer to your lipstick color. | Stockbyte/iStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing wrong with using a lip liner before applying lipstick. That said, using a lip liner that is a few shades darker than your lipstick or lip gloss? Questionable. While this trend isn’t the most offensive on our list — see: rat tails and gigantic hair — it still doesn’t belong in the 21st century.