- Makeup in the 1980s was defined by bold eyeshadow and strong lips.
- It's easy to translate '80s makeup for today to create a modern look.
- We tapped a pro makeup artist to break down how to create an '80s-inspired makeup look.
The '80s were pretty epic: Pop music and pop art were booming, TV sitcoms reigned supreme, and bangs reached new sprayed-and-stayed heights. And when it came to makeup, the '80s were all about loud colors and attention-grabbing beats.
Even if you weren't around to experience the '80s, it's easy to re-create an '80s-inspired makeup look that will still look totally modern, especially with tips from makeup artist Suzy Gerstein. Whether you were there for the Greed Decade, wish you were, or just want to try something new, this is exactly what you need to create an '80s makeup look.
Tool's You'll Need to Create an '80s Makeup Look
How to Create 4 Signature '80s Makeup Looks
Blue eyeshadow: "The key for making this trend modern is keeping the rest of the face as neutral and fresh as possible," says Gerstein. That means sticking to a tinted moisturizer and spot concealer rather than full-coverage foundation. Then, choose a cream blush in a neutral tone and a similarly colored lip in either a glossy or sheer texture, she says. When it comes to creating your statement eye, it's all about layering. "Scribble a pencil onto the lid first, then lay down a powder shadow on top by pressing it onto the lid with a stippling motion," Gerstein says. "This packs the color on without the shadow fallout." Blend all the edges away with a clean, fluffy shadow brush. For a natural-looking highlight, Gerstein suggests putting a touch of concealer on a damp Beautyblender sponge and applying it to the browbone as a natural highlight. Then curl your lashes and finish with black or even brown mascara.
Strong red lips: Think Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video circa 1985. "A red lip is a go-to statement for me personally and professionally because it conjures that strong, powerful, '80s woman," says Gerstein. The key to getting any great lip look: moisturize them first. Apply an excess amount of a lip mask like the Alpyn Beauty Willow & Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask ($28), says Gerstein. Shape the lips first with a lip pencil and use your fingertips or a small, fluffy brush to pat and buff the edges to avoid going too full-on, she says. "Blot with half of a two-ply tissue and apply another layer followed by more liner and another pat-out of the edges," Gerstein explains. "I like this strong lip with no mascara, but if you're only comfortable with some on, go for it. Just use less than you normally would."
Fluffy eyebrows: Brows were big and bushy in the '80s — a trend that's (thankfully) back in style now. Brush upwards with a brow brush and then define them with a pencil. If you want to make them even more defined, add a swipe of tinted brow gel for a more bold look.
Statement cheeks: Blush was intense in the '80s, so for a more modern look, we're all about the pigment rather than the quantity. Instead of applying it on the apples of the cheeks, follow the '80s cues and use blush as more of a contour. To really nail the contour, you can place a business card or credit card diagonally at the corners of the lips and swipe powder blush with a tapered brush along the top of your cheekbone all the way up to your temple. If you're new to bold blush, start with a hint of color and build from there. Grab your Beautyblender or a fluffy brush to buff out any edges and diffuse the color a bit.
Best '80s-Inspired Makeup Looks