Recent retro favorites like Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ have led to an almost complete resurgence of everything 80s. While Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ has been perhaps the most apparent mark of this in pop culture of late, our fashions are also currently taking inspiration from the past. And our hairstyles haven’t escaped unscathed either.
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The bold, brave cuts of the 80s are well and truly making their way back into hairstyle top spots, and it’s easy to be tempted by those voluminous curls and hairspray-heavy trends. In reality, though, making an 80s haircut work for you in 2023 is all about remembering one key fact – these trends went out of favor for a reason.
If you go all out with a questionable mullet, then, you might end up regretting your choices, especially when the trend passes and you can’t even out all of those stark layers. But, does that mean you can’t make any retro cut work for you? Not at all. There are some great, and less questionable, ways to revive a retro haircut, and we’re going to consider them here.
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Step 1: Understand your options
There are a lot of retro hairstyles out there, some of them fabulous, and others just downright scary. To make sure your new style doesn’t fall into the latter category, it’s worth understanding your full wealth of options. This way, you’ll be far better able to settle on a choice that’s right for you. Top retro hairstyles that are seeing a significant resurgence right now include –
- Feathered layers: Stars like Farrah Fawcett made rollered feathered layers, mostly held in place with copious amounts of hairspray, stylish back in the 70s. Now, we’re seeing this trend yet again, championed by iconic figures like Clayton Hawkins.
- Curly shags: The curly shag hairstyle was iconic in the 70s and 80s when stars like Cher were rocking their poodle perms. And, thanks to representation from stars like Zendaya and Natasha Lyonne, it seems like they might be back.
- Mullets?: Mullets seemed like the hairstyle we’d never see again, but modified mullets are very much back in Vogue, as can be seen from young icons including Miley Cyrus and Scarlett Johannson.
Step 2: Do your research
Research is crucial before any haircut, and can help you to understand the versatility of a style, the work that it requires, and the true reality of your options. Before getting an 80s cut, then, it’s well worth looking at inspiration not just from now, but also from the 80s themselves. This way, you can build a complete understanding of what the trend in question looks like, what your options are within that, and whether or not it’s truly a style that you can see working for you right now.
Once you’ve settled on a general idea of the style you like, it’s also well worth taking the time to try it on with tools like hairstyle try on apps. This way, you can see in the flesh whether a style looks good, or simply makes you look like your mom in that 80s home movie that you’d all rather forget.
Step 3: Always modernize
It’s also worth remembering that you should always modernize a retro look if you want to make it work for you. This is especially true when it comes to something like the mullet which, despite being a fashion laughing stock since it was last doing the rounds, has started to emerge yet again.
Still, you might regret heading to your hairdresser and asking for a straight-out mullet that, no matter current trends, will inevitably leave you standing out in the office. By comparison, a modern mullet alternative like a wolf cut could see you on trend, but without such a stark style choice. Plus, you’re then free to look at more modernized ways to style a wolf cut for everyday wear in a way that you’d struggle to do with a full-on mullet.
Step 4: Keep it manageable
80s hair was big, bold, and typically pretty high-maintenance. Back then, though 9-5s were way more common, and the lack of smartphones meant that, once they were off work, people had far more time to fuss with hairspray and other hair stuff. Now, we live in an always-on culture that’s seen countries like France embracing the low-maintenance natural look. It’s worth remembering this when you choose your retro style, and make sure that you’re not picking something that requires styling time you just don’t have in the morning.
Luckily, with modernization in mind, this could be an easier goal to achieve than you would think. For example, modern iterations of old techniques like perms, which can now be delivered using digital curling rods, can last for upwards of a year without major maintenance in some cases. Equally, opting for a shaggy style that enhances your natural curls could mean embracing the retro alongside a more recent focus on natural looks as seen in locations like France.
Step 5: Think about longevity
While it’s still going pretty strong well over a year after the last season of Stranger Things aired, this 80s-style resurgence could end any day, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with a retro style that’s once again out of fashion.
This isn’t such a major concern for long styles that can easily be changed, but it is worth bearing in mind before you go all out with a short mullet style or a long-lasting perm. To avoid that, make sure that you’re fully committed to the style because you like it rather than because it’s everywhere right now, and take care to ensure that you have other options, like up styles, pixie cuts, etc., if you do decide to change in the near future.
Retro styles can look amazing with a modern slant and, right now, they can put you at the center of the most popular style trends. Just make sure you’re doing retro right by following these steps first.
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