Unlike the 1970s, which celebrated a more natural, subtle aesthetic, the 80s were all about making a statement. Makeup wasn’t just a routine — it was a powerful medium for self-expression. The era was characterized by a flamboyant “more is more” attitude, with colorful and intense 80s makeup looks taking center stage.
Consider, for example, the ubiquity of blue eyeshadow in the 1980s. This trend, spanning shades from the lightest sky blue to the deepest teal, was an unmistakable emblem of the decade. Coupled with bold, often geometric eyeshadow shapes and even multicolored shades, 80s eye makeup in general epitomized the daring spirit of the times.
Equally notable was the enthusiastic application of blush. Shunning its traditional role as a subtle enhancer, blush in the 80s adopted a more audacious approach. With bright hues often swept up to the temples, it was a standout feature of the decade’s makeup landscape.
And then there was the eyeliner. Dark and decidedly dramatic, this trend accentuated the eyes, drawing them into the limelight. Complementing this was the trend for colored mascara, which, in shades from electric blue to vibrant purple, added an unmissable pop of color to the mix.
Even the lips had their moment of drama in the 80s. Lipstick came in intense shades of deep reds, corals, and fuchsias, often with a lip gloss finish for an added touch of glamour.
What truly set 80s makeup apart, however, was its undaunted spirit. This was an era when conventional beauty norms were challenged, and individuality and self-expression were celebrated. From Madonna’s bold aesthetics to Cyndi Lauper’s vibrant style, the 80s gave us iconic beauty looks that still resonate today.
So, as we delve into these 80s makeup tips directly from the decade that invented them, we are reminded of an era that celebrated bold self-expression, extravagant use of color, and a fearless spirit.
Although beauty trends come and go, the influence of the 80s persists, continuing to inspire and shape the landscape of the beauty industry today. And while opinions may vary on blue eyeshadow or vibrant blush, one thing is undeniable: the 80s left an indelible imprint on the world of beauty.
Some top 80s makeup tips: Polished pewters
For knockout evening glamour, try deep burnished pewter on eyes; balance with magenta red on lips. To achieve the eye drama: Apply shadow on lid, then line entire eye with same shadow, using a sponge-applicator tip. Reline bottom lid with pencil.
80s makeup tips: Prairie Pales
Merle Norman’s color-washed shadow, highlighted. Black kohl pencil rims eyes.
A sheerly romantic way to complement prairie fashions, and more — with gentle shades of wheat and heathery blue-gray on eyes, desert coral on lips and cheeks. They’re tints with true color, add up to a look that’s flattering for anyone, a natural for blondes.
80s makeup: City Brights
From Elizabeth Arden: gemstone green shadow, golden highlighter, ink-blue pencil.
Make-a-statement colors with a soft edge create this sophisticated fall face-dramatic at, night, dynamic for day. Shimmering topaz is smoothed on eyelids, intensified at corners, then blended upward; entire eye is lightly rimmed in deepest blue pencil.
80s makeup: Country Rustics
Here, Aziza’s khaki eyeshadow. beige highlighter, brown kohl pencil.
To wear with classic autumn tweeds . . . the new earth colors- khaki, copper, coral — with warm brown undertones that flatter any complexion, especially a redhead’s.
The focus here, and for all the palettes shown, is on eyes and lips. Cheek color is barely there.
80s makeup: Avon color for dark skin (1983)
We’ve chosen three models with different skin tones to illustrate the wide range of makeup Avon has developed for darker skin tones. We have made the selection even wider with Eventone Bronze Beauty Makeup Light to Medium Cover, six gorgeous shades especially formulated for darker skin tones.
BEAUTIFUL COLOR FOR LIGHT SKIN TONES
Light skin tones have the widest color choice; almost any eye, cheek, lip and nail color will flatter. Soft shades will give the most natural look; brighter shades can be matched to clothes for a vibrant, pulled-together look. Use strong colors sparingly for accents.
BEAUTIFUL COLOR FOR MEDIUM SKIN TONES
Bright colors work the best for medium skin tones. Gentle tones may be lost, and deep tones may look dull. For the most natural look, keep lip, cheek and eye makeup in the same color family — for example, all coppery russets.
BEAUTIFUL COLOR FOR DARK SKIN TONES
The strongest, most intense colors are the most flattering for dark skin tones. Plums, reds and magentas for cheeks, nails and lips; strong jewel-toned blues, greens and burgundies work for eyes.
Jewel box style: Authentic ’80s eye makeup tips & tricks from 1982
The prettiest faces for spring glow with the clear colors, the depth and fire, of gemstones
Ruby red retro 80s makeup
This season’s reds, in lipsticks, blushes, are soft yet brilliant, never harsh. Team with vivid eye makeup for jewel effect.
Marcia’s cheeks and lips are in ruby tints, eyes have sparkling turquoise on lid, glimmering gold beneath brow, sapphire under lower lashes, gently extended just beyond corner.
Fashion, Marisa Christina. 18k gold necklace, Henry Dunay. 14k gold earrings, H Jack Gordon.
Amethyst & purple makeup in the 80s style
Rich shades, subtle when applied, give the jeweled look. A new spring touch: darker-than-usual color — deep rose shadow — as eye highlighter.
The romantic face — Catherine’s is all violet and rose. The pretty light/dark shading, as of amethysts themselves, is achieved by intensifying the blush in cheek hollows, keeping the under-eye cheek area light.
Fashion, Levino Verna. Diamond necklace and earrings, Harry Winston.
Opal tones in awesome 80s makeup
Seemingly muted, these spring makeup shades of blue, peach, ginger have iridescent undertones that catch the light. We used two lipsticks: copper for deep color, then peach, to brighten.
Opalescent color lights up Barbara’s face. Eyes are the shimmery focal point with soft silver on outer half of lid, sapphire blue under lower lashes.
Fashion, Ron Lo Vece, Ltd. Diamond necklace and earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels.
Coral pink in retro 80s makeup
Newest corals are sunnier, softer, used in new combinations – here, with pastel violet, pink. Stunning! That’s Cynthia in warm sun-burnished shades. To get the all-over glow, start with blush on cheeks but don’t stop there – blend at temples, chin, tip of nose too.
Fashion, Muney Designs, Inc. 14k gold necklace, Krementz & Co. 14k gold earrings, McTeigue & Co.
Vintage 80s Bonne Bell Sorbet Colors makeup (1986)
“Colors as cool as ice — now that’s a hot fashion statement. Pretty peaches, fruit-flavored pinks, soft greens. I start with Sorbet Colors for my face, toss on frosty-cool, cottony clothes, then add chunky ice cubes of pastel jewelry. For a look that’s fresh, cool, and downright pretty.”
SORBET COLORS: FASHION THAT STARTS WITH YOUR FACE.
Bonne Bell dishes out colors so icy-cool, they make everything else you wear just an accessory. The Sorbet Colors fashion face case features eyeshadows, blushers, mascara, and translucent powder. In shades that are just like sorbet: cool, refreshing, and almost too sweet to be true.
Plus a collection of lip-sticks in fresh-as-fruit shades of strawberry, peach, and raspberry. So this spring, get the fashion scoop. With Sorbet Colors from Bonne Bell: Shadows, blush, powder and mascara.