10 Surprising 80s Comeback Beauty Trends
Who doesn’t love a good throwback? Right now we’re having a a bit of a 90s moment: choker necklaces (even the wire tattoo-looking ones!), matte lips, platform sneakers, slip dresses… even if you’re not actually getting into these things, the runways in the last few season were full of 90s throwbacks.
Then Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” video came out & whaaaatttt? Is that a perm?? Nope, just Taylor’s natural ringlets with curly bangs. That got me thinking about my own perm in the late 80s…. not that chic.
THAT got me thinking about how some 80s beauty trends didn’t really deserve to die. I mean, look at my awesome leotard and curls from these early pics? Timeless.
So here’s my lineup of 80s beauty & style trends that really deserve a comeback:
These pearls of radiant powder in pastel macaron colors were on the vanities of every major 80s celebrity when they came out in 1987. My aunt had the classic round container & I love how flawless her skin looked after swirling the colors together & adding a loose dusting to her face. I’ve since purchased this product maybe 10 times in the last two decades. I still think it’s a beautiful way to set your makeup. It now comes in pretty pearlized finishes for an ambient candle-lit effect & pretty blush tones for a rosy glow. Such a gorgeous product and pretty packaging deserve a place on any vanity.
Photo: Universal Studios
Evian water was everywhere in the 80s! Bottled water was cutting edge back then and the more pure & European the better. Now we have guilty feelings about all the plastic bottles floating in the ocean, but you can get that Evian fix today with a a fine mist in a (recyclable) can. I’ve used a purified water mist to boost my facial hydration for years. It has a nice blurring fix on top of makeup & perfect for drier winter conditions.
I think this was in the shower of every 80s teen and a staple part of a “clear skin” routine that usually involved lots of harsh toners and acids. While I can’t recommend alcohol based toners or Oxy cleansing pads because they are so stripping, I gotta say, the St Ives Apricot Scrub still holds up. The formula is much gentler now and the price to quantity ratio is pretty high. I think it suits my husband’s tougher complexion better, but it still does a nice job of physical exfoliation. Limit this to once a week though! And keep it gentle, please.
+ bold brows
Brooke Shields eyebrows have been having a renaissance for awhile now. Though I won’t go full Cara Delevigne, a tidy, fuller brow does help everyone look more youthful. I love the NYX Eyebrow Powder Pencil for a natural look. I will admit that I am waiting for full 30s/70s/90s shaped and arched brows to make a comeback. There was something so nice about a good eyebrow wax and a tidy thin shape that looks more elegant. I guess I’ll have to wait for that. Considering the fact that trends come and go, I will definitely not be indulging in microblading, but if you have, leave a comment below!
+ big(ger) hair
In the last few months, Taylor Swift is embracing her permed-looking natural curls and both Emma Stone and Julianne Hough have gotten texture perms. I think we’re still a few years off from a full spiral perm comeback, but embracing natural texture or tighter more polished curls is always feminine and pretty. The Instagram waves are going to fade out at some point. I feel like some bounce and curl looks fresh and pretty, particularly with healthy trimmed ends and glossy color.
+ “getting your colors done”
Ohmigosh, I LOVED my mom’s Color Me Beautiful book from a million years ago. I thought that book held all the secrets of being chic and stylish. Does anyone else remember this book? It sorts women into four seasonal color categories (summer, fall, winter, spring) based on skin undertone, eye color, and hair color. These seasons help determine which clothing and makeup colors help you look your best. I had completely forgotten about this until I recently watched youtube vlogger Mimi Ikonn film a two-part series on finding your colors. Take a look at this link and this link to see the full effect. It makes a huge difference! Some professional image consultants still use this system, but you can DIY it too. Try finding the book at a Goodwill or library book sale. It’s still a fun read. And who doesn’t want flattering-looking clothes all the time?
If you want to really dive into the image consultant 80s book genre, you have to go deep into reddit to find this gem. The Kibbe Archetypes are a way to find your personal style based on physical features like body structure and shape. I wouldn’t say it’s really a comeback beauty trend because it’s so niche, but it’s a really fun waste of time to research. It’s also an interesting way to find your best style looks. Pinterest has a TON of info on this too. For some strange reason, most of the links are Eastern European and Russian. Try doing this totally 80s Russian Pinterest probe if you want to take your mind off the news.
+ pegged jeans
While pants still haven’t gotten much fuller than they have been since the mid-2000s, cuffing or pegging jeans still gives an casual undone but done look to any style. Anything can be half cuffed – sleeves, sweaters, skinny jeans, and it helps your look go from boring to looking professionaly styled in minutes. If you take a look at any blogger’s #ootd, you will see a lot of cuffing going on. I also heard the term “French cuff” way back in middle school. I don’t think it’s a bad way to go as we’re likely moving into slouchier pants.
I can’t tell you how many high school girls lately are sporting scrunchies on their wrists! It’s insane! And every Japanese fashion magazine I’ve read lately has scrunchies all over the place. What is happening?? I personally am staying a million miles away from using scrunchies during daylight hours, but they are still a gentle way to tie your hair back at night when you’re doing a skincare routine. Even the ouchless hair ties can sometimes go a little too tight and pull at hair. A scrunchie is going to give you that perfect combo of tidiness and gentle hold that helps your hair stay healthy. You know, because perms need a gentle touch.
+ workout videos
I could still totally get into Cindy Crawford’s Shape Your Body video if I had it today. It was my go-to workout VHS as a middle schooler. It was so much fun for this non-athletic book nerd to work out in her room without the constant bullying of gym class. Even though I am way more body confident these days, I still love the convenience of a good workout video. Youtube really makes it cheaper than it’s ever been to get a solid burn in 20-30 minutes. Of course there are a million paid videos like Tone It Up, BeachBody, BBG, and Lauren Gleisberg, but if you’re just getting into fitness or coming back after a long hiatus, free workouts are so easy to find. And if you search hard enough, you can still find Cindy Crawford’s Shape Your Body online…
There you have it! 10 Surprising 80s Comeback Beauty Trends! This was a really fun post to write because I got to revisit some of my favorite throwback trends. I will definitely keep you updated once more vintage beauty trends come back. Hope this was as fun to read as it was to reminisce.
But please, do your research before you totally dive into a perm. The Evian facial spray is a much better way to get your 80s fix without a $200 price tag and months of regret…