Big brows. Technicolor eyeshadow. Endless blush. If you can’t already tell, we’re talking about the ’80s. The makeup looks that dominated the decade are memorable even now; think Madonna’s red lips and beauty mark, Grace Jones’s neon lids and draped blush, or Brooke Shields’ brilliantly bold eyebrows. Iconic, right? And they’re still worthy of imitation, if you ask us—though we do love a modern twist on any look. Below, the best ‘80s-inspired makeup looks and tutorials, for an updated take on the decade’s whimsical beauty.
1. Sculpted Blush
Lightbulb-bright shades can appear blocky without proper blending, but Lisa Eldridge details exactly how to create a seamless and air-bushed look—which yes, includes lots of colour and all-over blush.
2. Smouldering Eyes
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SMOLDERING AND SULTRY ⚡⚡⚡ Feel the divinity of Mother's newest MTHRSHP Sublime: Golden Opulence Collection. Available now at PATMcGRATH.COM #PMGHowTo EYES 一 Smudge PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil onto the inner & outer third of the lid & blend outwards with a small blending brush 一 Press ‘LOTUS LUXE’ eye shadow onto the lid with a finger 一 Emphasize above the crease & outer corner with 'BLITZ VIOLET ORCHID' pigment from Mothership VI: Midnight Sun using a small blending brush 一 Define the waterline with PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in ‘XTREME BLACK’ 一 Blend ‘PROSPERITY’ eye shadow along the lower lash line with a small blending brush 一 Highlight the inner corner with ‘GOLD FORTUNE’ eye shadow 一 Curl the lashes & apply FetishEYES Mascara LIPS 一 Apply ‘CELESTIAL RUBY’ Lust Lacquer to the top & bottom lip 一 Add dimension to the outer edges of the lip with ‘BLOOD 2’ Lust Gloss 一 Emphasize the center of the lips with ‘CARNAL DESIRE’ Lust Gloss
With smouldering shadow applied high up toward the brows, this glam look from makeup legend Pat McGrath is retro-inspired in the best way possible. To pull it off, go easy on the blush and keep your base sheer, glowy, and skin-like.
3. Glowy & Colourful
Makeup artist Dillon Del Toro shows how to bring together purple lids, glossy scarlet lips, and bright coral blush, even if that combination seems impossible to you now. (Side note: That Danessa Myricks cream shadow is going on our shopping list.)
Related article: Rihanna Is Officially Launching Fenty Skin—Here’s What We Know
4. ’80s Rocker
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80s⚡️ as soon as i got new @hauslabs palette it gave me major 80s vibes somehow so i messed up my hair and this happened девочки, в 80-х не расчёсывались, а начёсывались, я так скажу ⠀ > EYES: @hauslabs stupid love palette > BROWS: @limecrimemakeup dirty blonde brow pen @limecrimemakeup clear brow gel > FACE: @anastasiabeverlyhills luminous foundation @anastasiabeverlyhills contour stick in fawn @nyxcosmetics born to glow concealer in fair @limecrimemakeup softwear soft matte blush in flower.ai @lunarbeauty mercury moon prism powder > LIPS: @limecrimemakeup velvetines lip liner in chiffon @limecrimemakeup extra poppin wet cherry lip gloss ⠀ #makeup #макияж #mua #makeupartist #bushybrows #brows #80s #80smakeup #limecrime #anastasiabeverlyhills #anastasiabrows #abh #sweden #stockholm #makeupideas #макияжглаз #colorfulmakeup #stupidlove #certifiedmua #professionalmakeup #makeuplook #makeupbyme #makeupinspo #muasfeaturing #nyxcosmetics #hauslabs #hauslaboratories #makeupartistry #80saesthetic #bluemakeup
You can see the inspiration—striped blush, pushed-up brows—right off the bat. But a pinky nude lip, neon cut crease, and faux lashes feel current, and the stud-like under-eye detail is a chic take on punk.
4. Modern ’80s
NikkieTutorials‘ ’80s makeup tutorial does ring true for the decade—clock the shiny red lip, noticeable blush, and colourful eyeshadow. Her blending (and Instagram-perfect brows) make it more modern, though.
6. Colour Theory
Makeup artist Sam Visser—who works with supermodels like Bella Hadid—is known for his modern take on retro makeup classics. Take inspo from this look and wear coordinating and bold eye, lip, and cheek colours all at once. Looking for more stunning retro ideas? Head to his Instagram.
7. Blending & Bangs
Inspired by Milani’s Salt-N-Pepa collection and a picture of Naomi Campbell, YouTuber Too Much Mouth shows how to coordinate a flawless makeup look with show-stopping bangs. Since this is the ’80s, and you do need both.
8. Blushing Brights
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JUICY RAINBOW 🌈 – tutoriel I did this makeup very quickly sweetie ♥️ – PRODUCTS USED: EYESHADOW @beautybaycom palette « me,myself and mmmmitchell » in BRUSHES @morphebrushes EYELASHES @hudabeauty FRECKLES @lottielondon BLUSH @maccosmeticsfrance extreme dimension blush « faux sure! » HIGHLIGHTER @maccosmeticsfrance extreme dimension « OH DARLING » LIPS @nyxcosmetics_france lingerie push-up « teddy » | @doseofcolors « honey I’m home ». – #makeuptutorial #makeupartist #makeupaddicted #editorialmakeup #makeuplover #makeuptutorials #makeup #makeupjunkie #wakeupandmakeup #slave2beauty #makeupideas #makeupoftheday #makeuplife #mua #editorial #closeup #eyemakeup #makeupaddict #tutorialmakeup #animalmakeup #cutcrease #graphicliner #cutcreasetutorial #beautyaddict #makeuplooks #makeuplook #motd #newmakeup #avantgardemakeup #beauty
Fluffy brows, matte eyeshadow, bold blush—this look combines all our favourite beauty moments into one that’s just plain gorgeous and timeless. You would look just as cool wearing this in 1988 and 2021.
9. 1-Minute Blush
Blush can make or break an ’80s look. This one-minute tutorial showcases how to connect your eye colour with dramatically draped blush. No matter your schedule, you have time to watch this one.
Related article: The 8 Best Clear Lip Glosses of All Time
10. Bright, But Subtle
Dipping into blue eyeshadow or liner works as another low-key way to give any look an ’80s vibe (without an over-the-top feel). This wearable look from Rowi Singh delivers the colour story.
11. Glossy Draping
If you want to try draping but you’re a fan of a glossy look, here’s how to pull it off. We love how it looks when paired with a blurry lip in the same colour family.
12. Graphic Colour
These geometric and editorial looks from makeup artist Kabuki aren’t, you know, practical. But you should use them as inspiration if you need help venturing out from your regular nude eyeshadow palette, especially if you’re dressing up with the intention of looking totally ’80s.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.