80’s Male Haircuts: Retro Styles Revisited

by Ramsha

The 1980s was not just a decade; it was a phenomenon in fashion and hairstyling that left an indelible mark on history. Among these were the regular haircut, a timeless classic characterized by its neat, clean lines and versatile simplicity. It stood as a bastion of traditional grooming amidst the flamboyant trends of the time. Meanwhile, the boys’ long haircut broke the mold of conventional male hairstyles, echoing the era’s penchant for freedom and individual expression. This style was more than just about length; it was about challenging norms and embracing a more fluid sense of identity. As we explore the iconic styles of the 80s, from the infamous mullet to the daring perm, it’s essential to appreciate how these trends were not just about hair. The 80’s male haircuts are a testament to the era’s spirit of experimentation and its lasting influence on fashion and culture.

Iconic 80’s Male Haircuts

The 1980s was a decade that redefined the boundaries of style and personal expression, particularly through its distinctive haircuts. Each style from this era tells a story of cultural shifts, musical influences, and bold fashion choices. Here’s a closer look at some of the most iconic haircuts that defined this vibrant decade:

  1. The Mullet: Epitomizing the phrase “business in the front, party in the back,” the mullet became an emblem of 80s audacity. This haircut featured a unique contrast, with a conservative short front and sides, while the back boasted a cascade of hair. Loved by rock stars and movie celebrities alike, the mullet was a defiant rejection of traditional clean-cut looks, symbolizing a blend of rebel culture and mainstream fashion.
  2. The Perm: A daring choice for the fashion-forward man, the perm was all about curls and waves. This style was achieved through chemical processing. This offered a permanent curl or wave to the hair, resulting in a voluminous, often flamboyant look.
  3. The High Top Fade: Deeply rooted in hip-hop culture, the high top fade was more than just a haircut; it was a statement of identity and belonging. This style featured hair that was cut extremely short or completely shaved on the sides. It is with a longer, often sculpted, segment on top. It was a haircut that spoke to the vibrancy and creativity of the urban youth. This is particularly within the African American community.
  4. The Jheri Curl: Known for its glossy, loosely curled look, the Jheri curl was a popular choice for those seeking a softer, more fluid hairstyle. Created by a special chemical treatment, it gave a shiny, wet appearance that was both stylish and distinctive. This look gained immense popularity thanks to musicians and movie stars, becoming a cultural phenomenon in its own right.

80’s Male Haircuts Celebrity Influences

The 1980s were a time when the line between celebrities and their influence on fashion blurred, especially in the realm of hairstyles. Icons like David Bowie and Michael Jackson didn’t just entertain; they set trends that defined a generation.

  1. Influence of Music Icons:
  1. David Bowie: Known for his chameleon-like transformations, Bowie’s hairstyles ranged from the vibrant Ziggy Stardust red mullet to the slicked-back, sophisticated look in his later years. Each style Bowie adopted sent waves through the fashion world, inspiring countless fans to emulate his daring choices.
  2. Michael Jackson: Jackson’s influence extended beyond his legendary music to his unique fashion sense, particularly his hair. His Jheri curl became a signature look in the 80s, synonymous with his groundbreaking album “Thriller.” This glossy, curled style became a must-have for fans wanting to capture a piece of the King of Pop’s flair.
  1. Film and Television’s Role:
  1. The 80s saw a surge in movies and TV shows that heavily influenced hair trends. Iconic films like “Top Gun” popularized the military-inspired buzzcut and crew cut, thanks to characters like Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. TV shows like “Miami Vice” brought in the slicked-back, casual look, making it a staple in men’s fashion.

80’s Male Haircuts Styling and Maintenance

The 1980s wasn’t just about bold hairstyles but also about the products and tools that made these styles possible.

Popular Products and Tools:

  1. Mousse and Gel: These were the go-to products for achieving the volume and hold required for many 80s hairstyles, especially for perms and mullets.
  2. Hair Spray: Essential for keeping hairstyles like the high top fade and rocker hair in place.
  3. Curling Irons and Perming Kits: Used extensively for creating perms and maintaining the Jheri curl.
  4. Blow Dryers: A must-have for achieving volume and assisting in styling.

The Revival of 80’s Male Haircuts in Modern Fashion

The influence of the 1980s on today’s fashion is undeniable, particularly in the realm of hairstyles. This era’s bold and unique styles are experiencing a resurgence, adapted to fit contemporary tastes and aesthetics.

  1. Adapting Retro Styles for the Modern Era:
  1. Blending Old with New: Today’s stylists are reinterpreting 80s hairstyles, blending them with modern trends. The mullet, for example, has seen a revival with softer edges and more textured looks, making it more wearable and versatile.
  2. Incorporating Contemporary Techniques: Advances in hair care and styling tools have allowed for a more sophisticated approach to 80s styles. The perms of today are far less damaging and more refined. This offers a nod to the past while aligning with current hair health trends.
  1. Insights from Fashion Experts:
  1. Nostalgic Appeal: Fashion experts often cite the nostalgia factor as a key reason for the revival of 80s hairstyles. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and offer a connection to a culturally rich past.
  2. Cultural Cyclicity: The cyclical nature of fashion means that trends inevitably make comebacks. The 80s, known for their bold and experimental styles, provide a rich source of inspiration. It is for a generation seeking to redefine its identity through fashion.
  3. Celebrity Influence: Modern celebrities experimenting with 80s hairstyles have played a significant role in their revival. When influential figures in music, film, and social media embrace these retro styles, they become trendy and desirable.


The enduring impact of 80s hairstyles on today’s fashion landscape is a testament to the decade’s innovative spirit and its lasting influence on cultural expression. These hairstyles were more than just a trend; they were a form of self-expression and rebellion against the norm. Their revival in modern fashion is not just a fleeting homage. But a continuation of that spirit, inviting a new generation to experiment and express themselves.

Whether it’s through adapting a classic mullet to suit a modern silhouette or embracing the volume and drama of a retro perm, these hairstyles offer a unique and retro look that stands out. The encouragement to experiment with these classic styles goes beyond mere fashion. It’s an invitation to connect with a past era and make a bold statement in the present. The 80s hairstyles remind us that fashion is cyclical, creative, and, most importantly, a fun way to express our individuality.

You may also like