Iconic 80s Hairstyles for Women: Unveiling the Cultural Influences and Vibrant Subcultures

Iconic 80s Hairstyles for Women: Unveiling the Cultural Influences and Vibrant Subcultures

Hero photo: erikast.pierre

Step into a time machine and transport yourself back to the vibrant era of the 1980s, where big hair, bold colors, and fearless styling ruled the beauty scene.

In this article, we’ll delve into the cultural influences behind the iconic 80s hairstyles for women. From the disco subculture to the mood of society, we’ll unravel the factors that shaped these trendsetting looks.

Get ready to step back in time and discover the hair trends that defined an entire decade.

A Journey Through the Wild and Wonderful World of 1980s Hair

The 1980s was a time of immense social and cultural change. Society was experiencing a newfound sense of optimism and empowerment, which translated into bold and assertive hairstyles.

Frizzy shag was a rockette hairstyle. Photo by @stray.gutter.cat

Women embraced confident looks characterized by height, volume, and edginess, mirroring the spirit of the era. From the power suits in the corporate world to the rebellious punk subculture on the streets, hairstyles became a form of self-expression and assertion of individuality - not only for women.

Maybe that’s the attraction of 80s aesthetic these days. Nobody in their right mind would say that the mood in society today is rife with optimism, but on the other hand, making sure your hair is aesthetic is a good way to get some fun into your life.

So, let’s look at some inspo - both from the 80s and from today’s hair stylists’ work. Do get inspired!

Curly shags got popular with 80s rock music. Photo by @maxicit

The Cultural Influences:

The 1980s witnessed a diverse range of cultural influences that left an indelible mark on hairstyling trends for women. Pop culture icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson served as fashion influencers, inspiring individuals to experiment with their hair in bold and unconventional ways. Their larger-than-life personas, along with their music videos and performances, fueled the desire for unique and eye-catching hairstyles.

A short cut like that of Claire Standish in The Breakfast Club. Photo: @ajumpintotherightplace

Disco Fever:

The legacy of the disco era in the 1970s continued to influence 80s hairstyles for women. The love for voluminous curls, bouncy waves, and glamorous updos was prevalent, reflecting the disco’s glitzy and extravagant nature. Women embraced hairstyles that exuded energy and movement, often achieved through the use of curlers, perms, and hairspray.


Punk and New Wave:

The punk and new wave subcultures of the 1980s played a significant role in shaping hairstyles. The punk movement embraced unconventional and anti-establishment styles, with spiky haircuts, vibrant colors, and shaved sections.

Glam rock mullet on wavy hair. Photo @lauravonblum_makeup

Mohawks and asymmetrical cuts became synonymous with rebellion and nonconformity. The new wave subculture, on the other hand, favored sleek and avant-garde hairstyles paired with bold makeup and futuristic fashion.

Feathered mullet and shorter types of the wolf cut were popular among musicians of that era. Photo: @lund_hair

…Rockers usually kept their curls messier, but we can do it our way in 2023. Photo: hollygirldoeshair

Celebrity Icons:

Celebrities were cultural icons who influenced hairstyles in the 1980s. The Farrah Fawcett feathered butterfly cut, popularized by the actress, became an emblematic look of the decade.

The famous Farrah Fawcett good hair, photo by @lileelurex

Other influential figures like Princess Diana and Cyndi Lauper showcased their distinctive hairstyles, which inspired countless women to emulate their looks. These celebrity hairstyles symbolized different facets of femininity and individuality.

Iconic 80s Hairstyles for Women: Unveiling the Cultural Influences and Vibrant Subcultures
Iconic 80s Hairstyles for Women: Unveiling the Cultural Influences and Vibrant Subcultures
Wolf cut on short and mid length hair

The 1980s was a time of bold experimentation and self-expression, reflected in the iconic hairstyles of the era. From disco-inspired curls to punk’s daring rebellion, cultural influences and vibrant subcultures left an indelible mark on hairstyling trends for women. These hairstyles captured the mood of society, fueled by empowerment, creativity, and a desire to stand out. As we look back on this era, we are reminded of both the extravagance and the freedom that defined 80s hair. So, dare to embrace the spirit of the 1980s, and let your hair become a canvas for self-expression and individuality.