I know what you’re thinking, who would want to revisit the perms, leg warmers and shoulder pads that
dominated the 1980’s? In just ten years make-up went from perfectly natural to thick foundation, motorway blusher and neon eye shadow. Cyndi Lauper is one of the most recognisable icons of the decade and one only has to look at her matted hair and orange eye shadow to realise that the 80’s was the ‘more is more’ decade.
Make-up was literally painted onto faces, hair was back-combed to new heights and no colour was too
bright for the fashionable female. Women wanted you to be able to tell they had layers and layers of make-up on, why hide when you can stand out from the crowd?
The delicate golden glow of the 1970’s was well and truly gone, and by the mid to late 80’s looking pale and
striking was the ultimate look of choice. Some women opted for liquid foundation one or two shades lighter than their natural skin tone so that any bright colours they used would pop more. Eyes were covered in block coloured shadows, from the inner corner to the temple and right up to the brow bone. Smoky eyes in unusual colour combinations
is what most on-trend were aiming for all lined with stark black eye-liner on the lower and upper lash line.
No fashionable 80’s woman was complete without the perfect winged eye-liner effect. But we are not talking a
delicate flick. Eye-liner was applied in heavy strokes, often continuing past the end of the brows with a characteristic winged shape forming between the liner and shadow. False eye-lashes made the whole thing even more OTT, as did thick pencilled eyebrows, fake beauty spots a penchant for electric blue. Strong eyebrows were also on-trend and accentuated with an eyebrow pencil to add to the drama of heavy eye makeup.
Fuchsia and orange were the most on-trend colours for lipstick. Women used lip-liner to make their
lips look bigger and more defined, often going beyond the natural line of the lip and filling the gap with thick bright (and matte) lipstick.
Perhaps the most characteristic beauty trend of the 80’s is the way in which blusher was applied. Purposely
placed in the hollow of the cheeks (if you suck in your cheeks it’s the area between your cheek bones and bottom teeth), blusher was applied in perfectly straight lines. Women didn’t know what a blending brush was and even if they did they wouldn’t have dreamt of using it. Often a shimmering/white powder was used on the cheekbones to accentuate their sharpness. The result was an eclectically sculpted face (think David Bowie and Debbie Harry).
Today, this sounds like every woman’s worst nightmare. Most of us have spent a lifetime laughing at the
hair, beauty and fashion disasters that fill the 1986 family scrapbook. So you may be surprised to learn that some of the biggest fashion designers in the world regularly succumb to the extravagance of the 1980’s. When modern designers attempt to capture the essence of the 80’s for their catwalk shows it usually takes one of two forms; the combination of strong eyes and lips and/or the clever use of powder to contour the cheekbones.
For both of these looks start with a good layer of full coverage foundation. We love Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue ($60) because it gives a professional looking finish without any unwanted shine.
Next use a small amount of highlighting cream like Benefit High Beam Liquid Highlighter ($26) on the very edge of your cheekbones, the bridge of the nose and the temples to begin the contouring process.
Don’t be afraid to really go for it with the blusher. Use a rich raspberry or plum coloured shade in the
hollow of the cheeks and up towards the temples. If you feel confident, don’t use a blending brush, but if in doubt take a small brush and blend downwards towards the jawline. Morphe Angled Blush Brush ($10) is angled which allows you to apply and blend the blush more strategically.
For the eyes pick any colour that takes your fancy, whether it be purple, yellow, orange, green or a combination of them all. Start with a lighter shade and cover the whole of the eye area, all the way up to the brow bone. With a darker
shade use a brush to apply it only to the eye socket, making sure to angle the colour in a smooth flick towards the end of your eyebrows. Achieving the winged/triangle effect that was so fashionable in the 80’s can be tricky so try and use an angled brush like MAC’s Medium Angled Eye Shadow Brush ($25).
If you place your finger in the crease of your eye socket and move it outwards until you hit the brow bone,
that is where one side of the triangle should start. If you run your finger from your lower lash line towards the end of your eyebrow in a curved motion, that is where the other side of the triangle should be. Use a brush to create these outer lines with your chosen shadow and simply fill in the middle. To keep the whole thing fresh and modern, blend the shadow well to create a more subtle shape. To complete the look line eyes with jet-black Kohl liner and don’t forget lashings of black mascara.
For lips, you will need to find a lipstick and lip liner that work in perfect harmony. We love Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Sky Pink ($4.99) combined with Revlon Colour Stay Lipliner in Pink ($7.99). Using pink or nude lipstick looks fresher with heavier eye makeup and avoids the garish brightness of the more popular 80’s lip colours bringing the whole look bang up to date.