Can These ‘80s Makeup Trends Ever Go Back in Style?

As the saying goes: trends come and go, but style is forever. This means that what most people wore 20 years ago and saw as stylish may no longer be in fashion and be considered ugly today. But if a person has an eye for style, the trends wouldn’t affect whether or not they looked fashionable because they know how to look timeless without giving in to all the trends.

When it comes to makeup, the ‘80s provided us with the boldest and most colorful trends. Nowadays, YouTube beauty gurus, makeup moguls, and Anna Wintour control the trends that make their way to both Instagram models and high-end fashion shoots. With some styles in different times making a comeback, can some of the main features of ‘80s makeup make a comeback in the next few years?


Full-faced Makeup

If you haven’t been paying attention from 1990 to 2013, you could actually say that full-faced makeup never left. This is also known as “full coverage” makeup, or the style where it’s obvious (at least, to most women) that nothing about a woman’s facial features is natural. This doesn’t necessarily mean a face full of dark and bold makeup, though; sometimes, it can be a soft look, but the face is so impeccably flawless and sculpted that it looks nothing like a natural face.

Nowadays, full-faced makeup still exists, but instead of the heavy foundation that was borderline cakey in the ‘80s, new formulas make it possible to provide full coverage while still looking and feeling lightweight. However, take note that by using full-coverage foundation, you’ll also need to apply other layers of makeup unless you’re going for an unnaturally monotone face without any coloring.


The Beauty Mark

While flawless faces where a trend in the ‘80s, there was one acceptable flaw that some women saw as stylish: the beauty mark. It’s a euphemism for a dark mole located on your face. Sometimes, it may be an unattractive feature, but women like Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawfordwere able to make it work and turn it into a beauty trend. So much so that women who actually had flawless skin were drawing them on for style.

While women like Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, and Eva Mendes can sport their beauty marks confidently, it seems that less women are willing to draw mole-looking circles on their face. There was, however, a new trend seen last year up to earlier this year that is similar to it: fake freckles.

Although freckles were considered a flaw in the past that many women sought to cover with foundation, more women are accepting of their freckles, with some even seeing it as the new kind of beauty mark. As a result, even women with flawless skin draw on their own freckles.


Lash-to-Lid Eyeshadow

Unless we’re talking theatre stage makeup, drag makeup, or costume party makeup, I doubt this will ever go back in style for everyday looks. For those who are familiar with applying eyeshadow, you may know the different parts of the area: from the crease, to the lid, to the lash lines, up to the brow bone. For everyday looks, your eyeshadow should almost always be applied up to your crease area. When going out and you want to try bolder colors, you could extend up to just beneath your brow bone. But in the ‘80s, the style was to cover the entire area from the brow bone down to the upper lash line (sometimes even beneath the lower lash line) with bold eyeshadow colors.

Courtesy of Heartapps

In the ‘80s, this trend could make your eyes pop – and it still can if executed properly. At worst, you could end up looking like The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland with blue eyeshadow coloring the entire area from her lashes to her brows.


Bold Thick Eyebrows

While Cara Delevigne inspired the thick eyebrows in the early 2010’s, these were already a thing back in the ‘80s before ultra-thin eyebrows took over in the ‘90s. But go easy on the eyebrow pencil and avoid drawing chunky rectangles above your eyes, though. Because when we say bold and thick eyebrows were trendy in the ‘80s, we’re not taking it to the extreme. This trend can be traced back to Brooke Shields, whose naturally full and thick eyebrows made her the Cara Delevigne of her time. Because of the bold color of her brow hair, it made it framed her face and drew attention to her pretty eyes.

For a while in the early 2010’s, we saw the rise of the “Instagram eyebrows,” brows that were so perfectly sculpted, shaped, and drawn on that they looked more like art pieces than actual brows. However, the trend seems to have died down after 2016, and the new trend is now back to natural-looking (albeit sometimes thick) eyebrows.


Blue Eyeshadow

Blue eyeshadow was all the rage back in the 1980s and is arguably the zeitgeist of ‘80s makeup. And white it can still look good on a night out, it’s easy to miss the mark on the sultry look and look like… well, The Red Queen, for the worst case scenario, or at least someone with a discolored black eye. In the past, a light blue or periwinkle shade was ideal, but today, if you want to bring back the blue eyeshadow trend, think about metallic blue or more saturated formulas that are sure to make your eyes pop while still blending with the current makeup trends.

Still, wearing blue eyeshadow (and making it actually look good) is easier said than done. If you’re worried you can’t pull off the brow-to-lash style of the ‘80s, wearing it as a liner or only until your crease can help you ease into the color. As you get more comfortable with the color, you can then start expanding into the true spirit of the ‘80s.


Draped Blush

Courtesy of Amazon

For an everyday look, blushes are almost always supposed to be limited to your cheeks and, for some face shapes, your cheek bones. In the ‘80s, however, it was common to “drape” your blush, meaning your blush strokes were more heavy-handed than your everyday blush and extended beyond the cheekbones and onto your temples or the soft area between your hairline and your brows and eyes. Added with the bold makeup colors of the ‘80s, and you get a bold and brash look that ties your bold eyes with the rest of the makeup on your lips and the lower part of your face.

While it’s not very popular for everyday makeup, it is possible to do so if you want. You may need a lighter hand on the blush, and if you’re doing the draping technique, you may also want to avoid heavy makeup on your lips and eyes as it can overwhelm your face. Rihanna pulled off the draped blush look in the 2017 Met Gala even with bold eye and lip colors because she kept it monochromatic and didn’t want her makeup to pale in comparison with the rest of her stunning outfit. But if you’re going for an everyday look, better stick to simpler eyes and a more neutral color to draw the attention onto your eyes.

 Courtesy of Imgix

Fuchsia Lips (and Other Neon-Colored Lips)

Bold lip colors didn’t trend until the ‘80s, with liquid and cream colors straying away from the traditional red, pinks, and neutrals, and entering glittery neon territory. However, the most popular color at the time was fuchsia, which had a glossy wet look that stood out.

We already saw this comeback in the mid-2010’s with the cosmetic industry boom. While some liquid lipsticks included dark and neutral colors, there were plenty of bold, metallic, and glossy lipsticks, liquid lippies, and lip-liners that were truly eye-popping. Fuchsia was even one of the colors that stood out during this trend as it looked modern while also making a nod to the past with this color. However, with the “Instagram eyebrow” and other high-maintenance makeup looks dying down, more people opt for more muted neutrals compared to bold colors. But if trends won’t stop you, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sport a bold pink lip color on a regular day out.


Multicolored Eyeshadow

Aside from the blue eyeshadow trend, people in the ‘80s preferred to wear rich and saturated eyeshadow that made their eyes pop. While this is a trend we can still arguably see today (check out the #eyeshadow hashtag on Instagram to see how color has not died yet), there’s a difference: in the present, multi-colored eyeshadow is painstakingly blended to create a smooth ombre effect; in the ‘80s, people would simply pat on multi-color eyeshadow without having to blend, and somehow, it actually worked as a look.

Since the cosmetics industry boom, I’m pretty sure this new form of multi-colored eyeshadow is here to stay for the next decade or so – or at least some influential online trendsetter can start the trend of wearing all-neutral eyeshadow and make it look good for any type of occasion. If you find that wearing multi-colored eyeshadow without blending doesn’t work, try to use the modern method of color complementing and blending. These colors don’t all have to be on your lid or crease, though. Try using one color for your lid and another for your lower lash.

Trends come and go and, based on the different makeup styles of the ‘80s, a lot of things can happen to these trends. Unfortunately, not all trends can survive the evolution of style and become forgotten and are set aside for a niche group. In other cases, it can make a comeback into the latest trends, but that does not ensure its permanent return into fashion. Or, like in many of these examples, these trends can evolve to meet the new kinds of style; it’s not exactly the kind of style it was almost 40 years ago, but you can clearly see how it inspired newer kinds of makeup styles in today’s trends.


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