The 80s Hair Redux

As fashion revisits the decade of excess, we look back at three key hairstyles that have stood the test of time.

80s Redux Hair


When it came to the 1980s, ‘greed was good’ but the big hair was better. And as a nod to the decade that gave us classics such as Spielberg’s Back to the Future trilogy and neon and torn netting fashion statements, it perhaps the image of Madonna singing “Like a Virgin, touched for the very first time’ wafting down a Venetian canal in a gondola with titian red permed hair, that defines the era best. With that memory now firmly in your cortex, let the idea of the return of the ‘curly shag’ really blow your mind. Yes, folks, the perm has been reimagined to become the front-runner in 2018 hair trends.

However, today’s version of the perm is looser, with curls brushed out slight for an effortless, undone approach that feels fresh and modern. Think, Emma Stone or Jaime King. Haircare formulations have moved on from mousse too and now offer hold without weighing hair down. You’re going to need lots of product for big hair, says Gary France, label.m International Education Manager. Ask your stylist for formulations that are going to add volume, but are easy to apply and to rinse out. Look to label.m Weightless Hairspray and label.m Resurrection Dust to help build body without stickiness – just enough for the curls to keep their shape without looking too defined or crispy.


80s Redux Hair


Discussing all things ‘perm’, TONI&GUY’s Dana Monkman helps us understand how the new perm process works. “To begin the process, we set perming solution and our perming rods, which can vary in size depending on the tightness of the curl that you want,” says Monkman. “The time for this to set varies and will depend on the curl and texture of the hair. We then rinse the hair and apply a second solution which sets the hair in shape. To finish, the rods are removed, and the hair rinsed thoroughly”. The longevity of the perm, according to Monkman, depends on the tightness of the curl you choose (the tighter the curl, the longer it will last). A perm should last, she suggests, anywhere from three to six months. The versatility of the perm, to create movement and ease of styling in straight hair, will transcend seasons.

If perms and volume was a recurring theme throughout the 1980s, even shorter hair demanded generous root lift – artfully demonstrated with the sculpted flat top style beloved of Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen. Grace Jones’ natural Afro hair proved the perfect base to achieve a highly graphic block cut – skimmed at the sides and teased from the roots for a stunning geometric effect that suited her androgynous style.


80s Redux Hair


Meanwhile, the crimp offered up the after-hours glamour in spades. It was born in the 1970s disco era but didn’t reach mainstream popularity until the mid-80s. The style gained traction when Daryl Hannah stole hearts in the 1984 hit film Splash, resplendent with a hip-skimming crimped mane. Eventually, the crimp was embraced by hordes of teenage girls and because of the obligatory style for school proms. It made a triumphant return to the catwalks last year at Gucci, and it is now enjoying a renaissance with the masses thanks to the new generation of models, such as Gigi Hadid, who have adopted this strikingly instagrammable style as their own.


80s Redux Hair“The crimp is more relevant than ever, as it offers so much versatility.”


The Crimp 2.0 focuses more on selectively crimping parts of the hair to gain volume at the roads and add texture, and crimped ends are the perfect foil for wet-look roots. ‘The crimp is more relevant than ever, as it offers so much versatility’ says Katie Prescott Senior Stylist at TONI&GUY Canary Wharf. ‘Crimping helps to produce a very malleable texture and is a great base to form a range of multifarious looks’.

Whichever hair tribe you pledge allegiance to, remember that the 1980s mantra of ‘more-is-more still rings true.