How to Rock Bold ’80s Makeup in a Modern World

The 1980s was a decade of extreme extravagance. The decade was a mix of bold, punk looks (graphic eyeliner and vibrant shadows) and soft details (brushed eyebrows and warm blush). It has shaped our aesthetic landscape in recent years. Benjamin Puckey says that the ’80s was characterized by boldness and creativity.

Donni Davy, Euphoria’s makeup leader, has a trick for determining what makeup trends from the past will survive into modern times. Davy says she loves to look at old makeup ads because they always mirror what the current mainstream is doing. The 1980s makeup ads feature ‘natural’ eyebrows that are not sculpted and blush applied directly to the cheekbones. They also show pink or rosy lips and a blush that is placed on the cheekbones.

Rosy Noir

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Zendaya’s makeup is reminiscent of the 1930s and modern Margiela, but the fuchsia eyeshadow that encloses the eyes is a clear 80s influence. Puckey said that bright eye makeup was back in the 80s. “Vibrant blues, purples and pinks are the main colors,” she added.

Downward Cat

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Puckey, who loves the ’80s, says that liquid eyeliners in various colors or black were applied to both upper and lower lashlines, creating bold shapes such as wings and graphic designs. Lucy Boynton shows off the versatility of liner by creating a downward-facing wing. You can interpret it to suit your style.

Gilded Wing

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Emma Watson’s black wing is given a touch of opulence by metallic gold touches at the outer and inner corners. You can achieve the same effect by using gemstones and shimmer.

Frosted finish

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Puckey says that metallic and frosty textures were used as well. Adut Akech’s modern interpretation features a drenching of luminosity all over, with glowing skin and chrome lids paired up with glossy lips.

Colorblocked Shadow

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Davy: “When I consider mainstream beauty trends, I think about eyeshadow. Lots of eyeshadow.” Natashalyonne also agrees with her lids pressed into slate gray and neon orange. Puckey says that this look is a quintessential ’80s. “I love the color-blocked look with three rectangles in a row. The middle color is centered and serves as a highlight.”

Turquoise Wing

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Turquoise, a favorite of the 1980s, is given a modern twist by Lupita Nyong’o using a metallic version. The shade looks great when applied to lids in a wing shape. Half Magic’s Glitter Pill Merquoise is the perfect product to create a shimmering, colorful cat eye.

Graphic Gray

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“The high-fashion looks were blended, winged and upwards with a shimmery finish. But it wasn’t as dramatic for the everyday mainstream beauty look where browns and grays were used,” says Davy. Miley Cyrus’s ’80s style is a blend of neutrals, drama, and shimmer.

Bold Aqua

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Please, more turquoise! Emily Ratajkowski combines the bold color with a thick smoked wing to create a look that is equally at home today and in the 1980s. You can complete this shape with any color. So, expand your palette to make it yours.

Punk Rock Pink

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Selena Gomez captures the punk spirit of the 1980s with a hot pink shimmery shadow applied to the lids and inner corners. Although the color is a throwback to the ’80s, pairing it with clean skin or a nude pink lip will keep the look modern.


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Lily Collins has a long history of embracing the ’80s, but her interpretation here is more subtle — it’s about the brows. Puckey says that “Fuller brows with a brushed up look were popular, and there was less emphasis on plucking or sculpting.” Think of the decade’s brows as an homage to Brooke Shields. Collins’ matte lips also contributed to the look.

Cool Blue

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Halle Bailey’s icy-blue shadow is reminiscent of the 1980s. To achieve the desired level of drama, finish your own frosted pales with soft and feathery eyelashes.

Era Neutral

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The ’80s were dominated by bold colors, but there was also a place for natural looks. Retro looks include brows, strong blush and lips with defined lashes.

Mob Wife

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Sydney Sweeney, a mob wife, shows how to channel the 80s opulence through softer notes. The timeless look combines a shimmering neutral eyeshadow, an overlined lips, and a blush swirl.

Coral Lips

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Puckey describes the lip styles of the 1980s as “bright colors like fuchsia and bright pink were popular, usually in matte finishes.” Gigi’s coral shade is a great adaptation of the vibrant look, which will be on trend in 2024.

Colorful Cat

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Puckey says that bold eyeliners are back in style. She notes that pulling across the waterline is a trend. Create a playful look using contrasting colors and a double-wing.

Pop of Pink

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When applied lightly, a bright shadow will look more appealing. For a striking, yet simple look, pull your electric pink eyeshadow into a soft wing like Florence Pugh.

Defined Laces

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When upper and lower lashes have been defined, a minimal makeup moment can become something more. If you’re not sure what else to do, swipe on some mascara and then see.

Carnelian lip

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Red-orange is still a hot color (as you can see from our two last looks). The first option asks you to pair your slightly overlined lip with a heavy eyelash and very little else.

All-Around Liner

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Tracee’s mostly matte orange-red lip looks great with the all-around liquid liner. This is the kind of theatrical make-up that was popular in the 1980s.

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