The 80s were an influential decade for men’s hair. Characterized by outrageous fashion trends and styles of excess, 80s hairstyles were unique and iconic. Featuring perms, mullets, high tops, Jheri curls, feathered hair and mohawks, the 1980s offered various ways to style long, medium and short hair. While some of these hair trends carried into the 90s, others were better off dead and forgotten. Whether you’re looking for a classic retro style or getting ready for a themed party, check out the best 80s hairstyles for men. With some of these popular men’s hairstyles of the time making a comeback, consider this guide inspiration for your hair in the future!
- 1 1980s Hairstyles For Men
- 1.1 Men’s Perm Hair
- 1.2 Big Hair with Volume
- 1.3 High Top Fade
- 1.4 Slicked Back Hair
- 1.5 Jheri Curls
- 1.6 Buzz Cut
- 1.7 Mohawk
- 1.8 Mullet Hair
- 1.9 Pretty Boy Hairstyle
- 1.10 Dyed Hair
- 1.11 Spiky Hair
- 1.12 Feathered Hair
- 1.13 80s Rock Hairstyles
- 1.14 Classic Greaser Rockabilly Hair
- 1.15 80s Punk Hair
- 1.16 80s Boy Hairstyles
1980s Hairstyles For Men
Men’s Perm Hair
The perm was and still is an iconic hairstyle for men. Today, the tight coils appear far more natural, and they combine perfectly with other styles. From an undercut to a fade, you’ll rock this 80s classic with minimal effort. A men’s perm is a long-lasting haircut, too. While it takes commitment to stick with a style for up to six months, it also means your fresh hairdo will be a breeze because it involves very little maintenance.
Big Hair with Volume
Big hair was an 80s phase that was encapsulated by the likes of David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider. Aside from having volume, it was usually long, especially at the back. This allowed it to flow while staying firmly in place. If you want to try big hair with volume today, you’ll need a sturdy comb and plenty of hairspray to pull off this memorable 80s classic.
High Top Fade
Rappers and hip-hop stars made the high top fade their own in the 80s, with Big Daddy Kane being the most notable celebrity to pull off this flattering style. The high top fade looked so smooth and textured that it continued into the 90s with Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Using a clean fade on the sides with added volume on top, this hairdo was incredibly striking. Modern-day wearers can combine it with dreads or twists to make it unique.
Slicked Back Hair
If you had slicked back hair in the 80s, you were probably a player on Wall Street. Slicked back hair is masculine, and gives an instant power appeal to the wearer. Think Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen in the 80s classic Wall Street. Now, it comes with an undercut on the backs and sides, but it doesn’t take away from the strong style that makes it noticeable in a crowd.
The Jheri curl is iconic because it transcended genres. In the 80s, it didn’t matter whether you were a gangsta, pop star, or crooner – everyone got permed hair and styled Jheri curls. Michael Jackson made it famous, and the likes of Lionel Richie, Prince, and Ice Cube followed. It was popular because it transformed afro-textured hair into loose curls rather than a tight perm or a nappy ‘fro. Perfectly-styled, it works on all types of lengths to this day.
Nothing is more low-maintenance than a buzz cut. Clipped to within an inch of the scalp, it was a favorite of Tom Cruise in the 80s because it required little upkeep and no styling. What makes this style accessible is that it suits several face types and doesn’t need a professional. Take your clippers, set them to the desired settings, and go over your head a couple of times so that your hair is uniform before checking in a mirror.
Cut by shaving the sides and back down to the skin and leaving a strip in the middle, the mohawk was a striking 80s trend that turned heads. Even though the punk movement adopted it, Mr. T made it famous in the A-Team. Daring and edgy, you can recreate this look and make a bold statement with a less extreme fade. A tall patch of gelled hair adds a rebellious streak if you prefer a striking style without a number one.
From Hollywood to the rural country, the mullet was a very popular men’s hairstyles in the 80s. Mel Gibson and Andre Agassi preferred the “business in front and party in the back” look. It was not only a focal point with an edgy appeal, but it suited lots of face shapes, making it very flattering. The mullet isn’t coming back in the same way as other 80s styles, yet it’s perfect for men who want to stand out from the crowd with a sleek-yet-messy statement.
Pretty Boy Hairstyle
Embraced by preppy pretty boys, this reliable look was both textured and clean-cut without being as bold as a mullet or perm. It was also consistent and required next to no maintenance, which is why it was coined the “just out of bed” look.
Punks ruled the 80s era, and nobody rocked dyed hair like the Sex Pistols. Incredibly eye-catching, Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten would cement their self-expression by switching the color of their hair from yellow to green to red to pink to highlight their personalities. It’s best to go to a barber or hairdresser if you want to bring back this style as bleach can ruin your hair.
Billy Idol made spiky hair trendy because it had great definition and an edgy look. Spiky hairstyles are workable with any length of hair, although the style works better with shorter haircuts. The 80s version included frosted tips or bleach, which means you can combine spiky hair with dyed hair for the ultimate hairdo.
Farrah Fawcett made feathered hair popular in the late 70s, and guys like James Spader ran with it in the 80s. Designed by cutting in layers and a center parting, it’s pushed back to make long faces appear more rounded. It’s an excellent way for men with mid-length hair to add texture.
80s Rock Hairstyles
Rock hairstyles in the 80s could be long and messy or structured and defined. Whether it was Tommy Lee of Motley Crew fame or Jon Bon Jovi, the 80s rockstar hair styles used gel and hairspray for bold finishes that were sexy. They still are for men who want to replicate their favorite bands or musicians.
Classic Greaser Rockabilly Hair
Although 50s movie stars broke this trend, the likes of Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe brought rockabilly hair back in the 80s in the film The Outsiders. Short on the sides and full slicked back hair on top, 80s celebrities secured the greaser hair look with a pomade that added a wet, greasy coating and held the hair firmly in place.
80s Punk Hair
Sid Vicious was the main component of 80s punk hair, a mixture of spiked mohawks that were dyed, due to this commitment to the style. His was the biggest, loudest, and most rebellious punk hair that showcased his cool and daring character.
80s Boy Hairstyles
Cute and innocent-looking, boys hair in the 80s focused on simple styles instead of glamorous Hollywood cuts. From the dorky bowl cut to Leonardo DiCaprio’s youthful look late in the decade, 1980’s boys hairstyle’s were not nearly as adorable and trendy as the kids haircuts trending today.