A Guide to Iconic 80s Mens Hairstyles

80s mens hairstyles
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The 1980s were a decade of bold statements, from neon lights and leg warmers to shoulder pads and, of course, outrageous hairstyles. Iconic 80s Mens Hairstyles were all about volume, texture, and defying gravity. From rock and roll-inspired mullets to perfectly coiffed business cuts, there was a style for every man, each reflecting the diverse music, fashion, and cultural movements of the era.

This guide delves into the most iconic 80s mens hairstyles, exploring their origins, characteristics, and how to achieve a modern take on these classic looks.

The Mullet: Business in Front, Party in the Back

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Undoubtedly the king of 80s hairstyles, the mullet reigns supreme. Characterized by short hair on the sides and top, transitioning to a longer section in the back, the mullet offered a touch of rebellion within a somewhat conventional haircut. Popularized by rock and heavy metal musicians like David Bowie, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Axl Rose, the mullet embodied a carefree, rocker attitude.

How to achieve a modern mullet:

  • Ask your barber for a short back and sides with a disconnected longer section in the back.
  • The length of the back can vary depending on your preference, but keep it proportional to the rest of the hair.
  • Avoid a blunt cut in the back. Texturize the ends for a more modern and effortless look.
  • Style the top with a slight wave or tousle for added texture.

The Perm: A Wave of Popularity

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The perm, a chemical treatment that adds curls or waves to hair, was a defining trend of the 80s Mens Hairstyles. From tight coils to loose, beachy waves, perms offered men a way to add volume and texture to their hair. Popularized by musicians like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, perms were often paired with a short back and sides or a full head of curls for a luxurious look.

How to achieve a modern perm:

  • Perms today are much more relaxed and natural-looking than their 80s counterparts. Discuss your desired curl pattern with your hairstylist.
  • Consider a partial perm for added texture and movement rather than a full head of tight curls.
  • Modern perms use gentler chemicals and techniques, minimizing damage to your hair.

The Flat Top: Taking Height to New Levels

Flat Top
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The flat top, a short haircut with a flat, squared-off top section, exuded a sense of masculinity and authority. Often paired with a high and tight fade on the sides, the flat top required regular haircuts and a commitment to the style. Popular with athletes, military personnel, and those who favored a clean-cut look, the flat top offered a no-nonsense yet stylish option.

How to achieve a modern flat top:

  • Ask your barber for a short haircut with a flat, squared-off top section. The length of the top can be adjusted to your preference.
  • The sides should be faded high and tight, creating a clean contrast with the top.
  • Use a strong hair gel or pomade to maintain the flatness of the top section.

The High and Tight: A Timeless Classic

High and Tight

The high and tight haircut, featuring short hair on the sides that gradually tapers to the skin, has been a popular style for decades. In the 80s Mens Hairstyles, it was often combined with longer hair on top, styled in a pompadour, flat top, or with volume and texture. The high and tight offered a clean, versatile haircut that could be easily adapted to various styles.

How to achieve a modern high and Tight:

  • This is a relatively simple haircut to achieve. Ask your barber for a high fade on the sides, blending seamlessly into the skin.
  • The length of the hair on top can be adjusted to your preference.
  • Style the top with a product that offers hold and texture, depending on your desired look.

The Jheri Curl: A Wet Look with Soul

Jheri Curl
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The Jheri curl, a tight curl style achieved with a chemical relaxer and conditioning oil, was a prominent hairstyle in the African-American community during the Iconic 80s Mens Hairstyles. Popularized by musicians like Rick James and Charlie Wilson, the Jheri curl required a specific routine to maintain its distinctive sheen and definition.

It’s important to note: Due to the harsh chemicals used, the Jheri curl can damage hair if not properly cared for. This style may require significant maintenance and may not be suitable for all hair types.


Remember, these 80s Mens Hairstyles continue to inspire modern trends. Whether you’re attending a themed party or simply seeking retro flair, these iconic looks offer timeless appeal.