Eye Makeup – 80's Style

I have been gleefully ignoring all the signs of my aging.  In my mind I’m 29 and sticking to it.  Just the other day I heard one of my favorite songs by the Split Enz piped through an elevator’s speakers – I took this as a sign the universe loves me and wants me to be happy, not as an indicator that I’m getting older. Then the inevitable happened, dress up day at work – 80’s style.

Has this much time really passed?  Have so many years really gone by that the fashion trends of the 80’s are celebrated (or laughed at derisively) as a team-building exercise?  The sad answer is yes, this much time really has passed and the fashion trends of the 80’s have replaced the tried and true hippy dress as your workplace’s morale booster.  If you cannot escape the nightmare, at least you can look glamorous.

If it’s the 80’s it’s the Three B’s

Big, Bold and Bright – nothing quite describes the makeup trends of the 80’s better than these three B’s.  Adopt them as your guidepost and you won’t be steered wrong.


  • Big: Big hair, big shoulders, big accessories – if it’s not big, and neon, it’s all wrong.  Tease your hair, go for it, add some mousse too, and when you think it’s big enough flip your head upside down and spray the whole thing with half a can of hairspray to make it even bigger.  Eyes can be made to appear larger with some creative use of eyeliner and shadows, just make sure to balance out your massive hair and defined features with equally large earrings.  Don’t forget the power shoulders, which can be achieved by the addition of at least two pairs of shoulder pads on each side, buy your second-hand jacket two sizes larger than necessary to accommodate the extra shoulder height.  The idea is to create the illusion of being larger than life, which pretty much defined the mentality of the 80’s.


  • Bold: Heck yes, a fuscia lip looks great on everyone!  Add a slick layer of hot pink gloss to make your kisser really stand out!  Seriously, the bolder the better.  You know how these days folks say you should pick a single feature and emphasize it?  Well that’s all fine and good for today’s standards, but you would have been laughed at for that less-is-more mentality back in 1987.  If you want to look authentic at your next 80’s party, you’ll play up your eyes, cheeks, lips, hair – all of it – and you will laugh in the face of blending.  If you’re going to take the time to contour, you want folks to appreciate your colorfully rendered cheekbones from across the room.  Remember, the 80’s was all about vying for attention, it’s going to take some pretty tall hair, and at least three different colors of scrunchy socks to command the appreciation of onlookers.


  • Bright: If someone doesn’t ask you where you hide the batteries to power the brightness of your outfit, you’re not in authentic 80’s gear.  Neon was the color of the day, take your pick, pink, yellow, green, blue, orange, all of them all at once – so long as it is ultra bright it is all right.  To take it over the top, pair bright colors with bold accessories.


Everything in the 80’s was played up to the extreme.  Big, bushy eyebrows, four or more shadow colors and a smokey eye during the day, these are just a few of the defining trends.  There was a prevailing sense of joy, fun and freedom that came through not only in the fashion trends, but in the makeup application as well.  Women were all about expressing their power and really playing up their femininity with bold, bright makeup choices, but even then there was an underlying sense of adventure in those darkly shadowed eyes.

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