80s eye makeup looks were all about fun. Moving away from the tightly defined style of the 60s, and past the more natural looks of the 70s, the 80s was when people really began to experiment with color and finish.
And this playful look is becoming more popular than ever, as people again use makeup to express themselves. If you want to brighten up your Instagram feed, or turn heads on a night out, look to the 80s for some style inspirations.
In this guide, we’ve picked some of the most iconic 80s eyeshadow looks for you to recreate at home.
Eye Makeup Essentials for Recreating 80s Style
80s makeup might seem like a world away from modern looks, but you can recreate many of your favorite styles with products you already have in the house. Here are the essentials:
- Eyeshadow. Eyeshadow plays a key role in many of these looks, and 80s icons weren’t afraid to experiment with color. Try Colourpop Strawberry Shortcake to recreate Blondie’s pink style, or Covergirl Midsummer Night Mayhem for Grace Jones Blue.
- Kohl eyeliner pencil. Many 80s looks are finished with a touch of smokey eyeliner. Kohl is best for a blended finish. Rimmel makes good kohl liners on a budget.
- Blush. 80s blush had a tendency to extend from the cheeks and up to the eyes! Powder blushes can be used to create a soft look, like these options from Covergirl. Or use a cream stick, for an intense finish.
- Eyebrow powder. Brows were big in the 80s, and they tended to be soft, rather than clearly defined. Use a powder kit, like this option from Wet N Wild.
- Mascara. The best way to finish an 80s eye look was with lots and lots of mascara! Maybelline mascaras deliver high impact at a low price.
Look One: Bold and Blue
The Inspiration: Blue eyeshadow was everywhere in the 1980s, and we’re not talking about a shimmer of navy to add a pop to a smokey eye. 80s blue eyeshadow was applied all across the eyelid, layered to create an opaque effect that was immediately distinctive.
You have to be cool and confident to pull off the 80s bold and blue eyeshadow look. Take a look at Grace Jones in the Pull Up To The Bumper video, to see what we mean.
Blue eyeshadow started as a trend in the 70s, but by the time it reached the 80s, it had gone electric. Darker blues signal a more edgy, rocker glam, while bright blue shows you’re here to party.
How To Create The Look
- Take a flat shader eyeshadow brush, and use it to apply blue eyeshadow across the eyelid. Work up towards the crease, packing the color in. You want to apply shadow from the inner corner to the outer corner.
It might look a little messy (and very intense) at this stage, but you’ll soften the look soon.
- Use an angled brush to create a cat eye shape at the outer edge of the eye.
- Using a blending brush, soften the edges of your blue look so it pulls up toward the brow bone. You might want to soften the cat eye edge, but you can keep it sharp if you prefer.
- Add definition by using a blender brush to apply a charcoal shadow to the outer crease.
- With a liner brush, apply charcoal shadow to the upper lash line.
- Use a thin, dense blush to apply blue eyeshadow to the lower lash line. Buff the shade out, for a softened finish.
- Apply a pearly eyeshadow (or highlighter) to the inner corner and brow bone using a blending brush.
- Finish the look with lashings of intense black mascara to the upper lashes. Keep the lower lashes bare (or use a small amount of mascara) to open up the eyes.
- For the rest of the face, use a matte base, and apply pink-toned blusher high on the cheekbones, pulling towards the temples.
- If you want to keep the look modern, lips should be simple. A fresh peach or nude lip will work well. For full 80s glamor, pair your bold eyeshadow with an equally bold red lip.
Look Two: Pink All Over
The Inspiration: Pink eyeshadow is a tricky look to master, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Blondie superstar Debbie Harry. Check out her all-pink look for George Burn’s 85th birthday party in 1981. All pink, all over.
To pull off the Debbie Harry all pink look, you have to pick a shade, and stick with it. From the eyes, to the cheeks, to the lips, this makeup is about coordination. It helps if you have some rock star cool confidence as well, to take the edge off this feminine style.
Forget precise lines — you need to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed,
For a more daytime pink look, replace the baby pink with a neutral peach. Monochrome is in right now, and you can use a cream (Also check out A History Surrounding Vanishing Cream) blusher to achieve a toned down 80s look.
For party season, don’t be afraid to break out the pink. The final touch? Like Debbie Harry, you need a pink dress to match.
How To Create The Look
- Start with a medium coverage base foundation. This look has a glow to it, so a satin finish is best, but your usual base product will work.
- Use a flat eyeshadow brush to apply pink eyeshadow all across the eyelid, and toward the brow bone. Apply a light layer to the lower lash line.
- Using your finger, or a makeup sponge, apply pearl shimmer or highlighter to the inner corner. Blend toward the center of the lid.
- Apply a darker purple to the outer corner of the eye with a blending brush.
- With a black kohl pencil, line the upper lash line and the waterline. Add a slight flick at the outer corner.
- Line the lower lash line with kohl. Use your finger to gently smudge the line, creating a smokey effect.
- Finish the eyes with lots of black mascara.
- Apply a blush in a similar pink across the cheekbones, and up towards the temples. When you reach the eye, the blusher should blend with your eyeshadow!
- Finish the look with a matching pink lipstick.
Look Three: Smokey Peach
The Inspiration: It is impossible to talk about the 80s without mentioning Madonna. From her music to her makeup, Madonna defined the decade.
The smokey peach look takes a classic, vintage style, and plays around with the colors and proportions. It pairs big brows with dark cheeks, bold red lips, and a smokey eye that goes all the way to the brow line.
Smokey peach takes curated vintage beauty and adds rock star wildness. Like many 80s looks, the eyes matched the cheeks, with a darker peach adding contours to the face.
Avoid precision with the eyes and brow: everything is purposefully messy, apart from those perfectly shaped lips.
How To Create The Look
- Start with the base layer. To add a modern touch, keep the base simple and dewy. For full 80s style, try a foundation one shade lighter than your normal choice. This will allow the blusher to really pop.
- Use a fluffy blender brush to apply peach eyeshadow across the eye. This is quite a flat look, and the peach should cover from the inner lid, past the crease, and up to the brow.
- Soften the edges of your eyeshadow using a blender brush.
- Use black or brown kohl pencil to line the entire eye. The line should be reasonably strong.
- Blend the kohl to give a smokey look using a dense, short brush.
- Finish with a lot of intense black mascara, on both the upper and lower lashes.
- Apply a dark peach blusher (or even a light bronzer) to the cheeks, and towards the temples.
- Fill in the brows with a pencil or shadow.
- Finish with red lipstick.
Look Four: Pale Shimmer and Big Brows
The Inspiration: The 80s wasn’t all about packing on as much eyeshadow as possible (although that was certainly a popular look)! Some preferred a more laid-back style, with plenty of shimmer and soft eyebrows. This is the 80s look to try if you aren’t quite ready for vivid blue.
When it comes to this look, no one did it better than Brooke Shields. She was an 80s icon, in no small part thanks to her impressive arches. And when your eyebrows are that good, the rest of the face can stay soft and simple.
The eyeshadow here stays relatively tame, and your skin should be kept glossy and simple. This look has a youthful glow, but with enough bronzing to take you from day to night.
How To Create The Look
- Start with a sheer base. A tinted moisturizer or BB cream will work well. Use concealer to cover any blemishes and dark circles but keep coverage light.
- Set the base using a translucent powder, applied lightly. This look should have glow, rather than a matte finish.
- Using a large, fluffy brush, apply bronzer across the jawline and around the face, with a touch across the bridge of the nose to draw the look together.
- Apply a peach blush to the cheeks and up the temples, keeping things light. Brighten the look with a champagne highlighter on the cheekbones, and the temples.
- Use a flat shadow brush to apply a shimmer eyeshadow across the lid, and up toward the brow.
- With a blender brush, apply a cool brown shadow to the outer corner of the eye, and blend towards the crease. Apply the same color to the lash line, using an angled brush.
- Apply a light coating of mascara to the upper and lower lashes.
- Fill in the brows using an eyebrow powder and brush them out with a spoolie.
- Finish the look with a slick of lip gloss.
The 80s is a time known for some daring fashion looks, and eye makeup played a big role. Blue and pink are iconic colors of the 80s, and perfect if you want an unforgettable party look.
For long nights out, try a smokey peach eye. Or keep the shadow light, and let your brows do the talking.
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