80s hair redux

80s hair redux

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

The 1980s were a heady, intoxicating blend of money, electropop and Spielberg blockbusters. Thatcher was in power; greed was good, and hair was huge. While we’re grateful some 80s milestones have remained firmly where we left them (MC Hammer parachute pants, we’re looking at you), some classic trends have been dusted off and reimagined for a younger audience, and none more so than 80s hair. Of all the 80s hair tribes, most pale in comparison to the perm. Thirty years ago, this translated as a bountiful mane of tight, corkscrew curls à la Kylie Minogue. The style even graduated to Hollywood. Case in point being the curly-haired line-up of Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1988 cult film The Witches of Eastwick.

Today’s version is looser, with curls brushed out slightly for an effortless, undone approach that feels fresh and modern. 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.

The Witches of Eastwick, effortlessly undone curls, Kylie Minogue circa 1985

Volume was a recurring theme throughout the 1980s, and even shorter hair demanded generous root lift – artfully demonstrated with the sculpted flat top style beloved of Grace Jones and Brigitte Nielsen. 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. It was a subversive look that nodded to the decade’s punk movement. For a modern riff on Jones’ iconic cut, experiment with fading at the sides and apply label.m Wax Spray for a healthy sheen. Tania Faenza, Stylist at Toni&Guy Canary Wharf, advises against using too many dry styling products. ‘Dry-look products tend to be overused when creating big hair but shine-promoting products – like label.m Wax Spray – are able to sit over the exterior to give a more natural finish.’

‘The crimp is more relevant than ever, as it offers so much versitility’

Katie Prescott Toni&Guy Canary Wharf

Meanwhile, the crimp offered up 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 Madonna wore her hair crimped as she stormed the pop charts while Daryl Hannah stole hearts in the 1984 hit film Splash, resplendent with a hip-skimming crimped mane. Eventually the crimp was embraced by hoards of teenage girls and became the obligatory style for school proms.

Grace Jones, Brigitte Nielsen

It made a triumphant return to the catwalks last year at Gucci, and 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.

The Crimp 2.0 focuses more on selectively crimping parts of the hair to gain volume at the roots 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.

A graphic flat top crop, Daryl Hannah in Splash, 80s hair icon Madonna, a modern day take on the crimp,
  • Words: Catriona Day

  • Photography: Gautier Pellergrin Hair The Toni&Guy Academy Team. Photography (this page, top left) Frankie Chan Hair Hango Liu and Wendy Wen. Photography (far right) Kevin Luchmun Hair Dexter Johnson. Additional photography Rex Features