The 80s was a wild decade, but we can’t deny that it gave us plenty of iconic trends that continue to this day. Admittedly, the color palette at the time isn’t as appealing today, especially with the bright neon everything. But it did give us ripped jeans, biker jackets, and, of course, over-the-top hairdos. Nowadays, we’re seeing a resurgence in trends from the era, including 80s hairstyles for guys.
Hairstyles in the 1980s were eye-catching and bold. We’re talking about buzzcuts, majestic mullets, spiky mohawks, slicked-back hair, and wild curls. In this list, we break down all the memorable hairdos that defined a decade. Get ready to dig out your bomber jackets and denim as you sport these 80s hairstyles for guys!
The Most Rad 80s Hairstyles for Guys
1. The 80s Big Hair
Everything was bigger in the 80s, including hairdos. One of the truly decade-defining trends of the era was big, voluminous hair. From rock stars on stage to common folk on the streets, everyone fluffed up their hair and added volume to it. This was often accomplished by using the right styling products and tools. If you want to recreate this men’s hairstyle today, you will need a good volumizing mousse, a sturdy comb to fluff your hair, and hairspray to hold it in place. With just these three products and tools, even men with straight hair could get this truly 80s hairdo.
2. The Mullet
Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus is probably one of the most famous people to sport a mullet. This 80s hairstyle for guys is all about business in the front, party in the back. While this hairdo has its fair share of jokes, it’s surprisingly flattering and suits most men with different face shapes. In order to achieve this vintage hairstyle, you simply need to cut your hair short in front and on the sides and leave the back part to grow long. Admittedly, this particular hairdo isn’t gaining as much traction now compared to the 1980s, but if you want a hairstyle to stand out in a crowd, a mullet will certainly make a statement.
3. Jheri Curl
African-American men may already be familiar with the Jheri curl. First made famous by Michael Jackson, who wore this hairdo in his Thriller music video, this iconic 80s men’s hairstyle is ideal for afro-textured hair. This is especially for those who didn’t want their naturally curly hair in tight perms. Invented by Jheri Redding, this hairdo is glossy, loose, and is easier to maintain than other popular hairstyles for black men at the time. After The King of Pop himself, other notable celebrities who also sported this 80s hairdo were Lionel Richie, Prince, and Samuel L. Jackson. With that lineup, there’s no doubt that Jheri curls are one of the best curly hairstyles for men out there!
4. Wet Look
Another classic 80s hairstyle for men is the “wet-look.” Despite it actually originating in the 1940s, plenty of men were sporting this sleek hairdo in the 80s. In order to achieve this vintage and undoubtedly suave look, you will need the right hair product and lots of it. You can opt for mousse, pomade, or even good ole hair gel to create this look. Simply apply a decent amount of product onto your hands, run it through your hair, and style your hair with a comb. The great thing about this hairstyle is that it works with any hair type, from thick, messy curls to fine, flat hair. This look will surely catch people’s eyes. It will make you look like you just stepped out of the shower, smelling like the best soap for men.
5. Old-School Hip Hop Style
Hip-hop and its evocative fashion never went away since its birth in the early 1970s. However, in the 1980s, we saw more and more hip-hoppers wear intricate braids and twists that suggest certain fun freedom in their character. Nowadays, we still see lots of men with this African-American hairstyle. And it’s no surprise since it’s a versatile hairdo that works with long, medium, and short hair. Besides its eye-catching and stylish appearance, there’s also another reason why black men love this hairstyle. Culturally, braiding is a social art that comes with ancestral roots. It’s part of Black culture and is an outward expression of who they are.
6. Hair Band Glam
Are you familiar with Van Halen frontman, David Lee Roth? If yes, then you’re also probably familiar with his famous and inherently 80s hairstyle. Dubbed as the hairband glam, this hairdo was popular among rock groups of the era. This 80s hairstyle for men has been achieved thanks to an insane amount of hairspray on very long, back-combed hair. Undeniably one of the best long hairstyles for men who love head-banging to music. Nowadays, though, we still see plenty of men wear pumped-up manes. Although, today, they are rather tamer and subtler.
7. Punk Rebellion
Similar to hip-hop, punk never really went out of style. Mohawks may be the first thing that pops into your mind when talking about punk. However, those who weren’t ready for the head-turning silhouettes of that cool ‘80s trends turned to bright and colorful hair colors. Vibrant colors on short spikes were a go-to for many edgy and totally punk men. If you want to achieve this look, dye your hair in any color you want, style it with spikes, and top it off with hairspray to keep them in place.
If you are ready to show everyone your rebellious and daring side, a mohawk will certainly do the trick. A true icon of the 1980s punk music movement, mohawks are bold and unique. You can get this hairdo by shaving the sides of the head and leaving a strip of hair in the middle. Apply wax or pomade to your palms and work the product through your hair, running them upwards and forward. Repeat this action until you get your desired look. Look up the coolest ear piercings for men and you’re good to go for your next punk rock concert!
If you’re not ready to shave the sides of your head but still want a punk-ish 80s hairstyle for guys, you can also opt for a faux hawk. This less dramatic take on the 80s punk trend doesn’t require you to shave the sides of your head. It simply calls for you to style your hair like a regular mohawk.
9. The Cool Guy
One of the 80s hairstyles for guys that are inherently vogue, the Cool Guy hairdo is perfect for men who want a clean and smooth look. Typically worn by men with short or medium hair, this look is achieved by keeping the hair on the side of your head tapered smoothly. Add some product and comb back your hair for a swoon-worthy look. Add a pair of sunglasses and you’ll look like you just came out straight out of a magazine.
10. Buzz Cut
Looking for a low-maintenance hairdo? You can get any more low- maintenance than a buzz cut. This haircut is a common style for men in the military since the service requires new recruits to shave their heads all the way down. It’s a great haircut for men who want a fresh and masculine look. A buzz cut is also a perfect way to give your scalp and hair a break if you like experimenting with hairstyles for men. Excessive drying, heat styling, and product build-up can result in damaged hair.
If you think your hair is beyond repair or just don’t want to bother with maintenance, the first thing you need is a good hair clipper. For first-timers, use the number three blade guard and start by shaving against the growth of hair.
Buzz cuts are one of the men’s short haircuts that suit guys with square face shapes best. Although, it does wonders for those with oblong or diamond face shapes, too.
11. High Top Fade
Regardless of whether you were born and raised in West Philadelphia, this next hairdo on our list will have you looking like a fresh prince from Bel-Air. This 80s hairstyle for guys is a staple in the hip-hop community. It was popularized thanks to legends such as Kid ’n Play, Daddy Kane, and the fresh prince himself, Will Smith.
This haircut for black men typically has long, very smooth, and flat hair standing up on top of the head. The hair around the sides of the head gradually fades. The hair on top is usually trimmed into an angular shape, as well. Unlike other hairstyles on this list, the high-top fade isn’t something you should do on yourself. It’s best to look for a barber who knows how to fade the sides perfectly.
12. The Greaser Hairstyle
Despite its name, the greaser hairstyle is actually one of the neatest-looking 80s hairstyles for guys. While this hairdo may have originated in the 1950s, the 1980s also saw plenty of young men with sleek, combed-back hair. The number one thing you need to achieve this vintage hairstyle in this modern era is a high-quality hair styling gel. Brush back your hair, using plenty of hair products to get that greasy look, while also holding the hair firmly in place. Part it on one side or both if you want a truly attention-grabbing and undeniably sexier look.
13. Quiff Hairstyle
Technically speaking, a quiff is a hair that’s brushed upward and backward away from the forehead. However, in the 1980s, it was one of the hairstyles for guys that was shorter at the back and sides. Similar to the high-top fade in that aspect, the quiff has volumized hair towards the front.
It combines the 1950s pompadour hairstyle and a semi-mohawk cut. You can wear it smooth and neat or add texture and movement for a seemingly effortless look. A more casual and toned-down version of the iconic 1950s hairstyle, the quiff suits a range of ages and face shapes.
14. Top Curl
Another great 80s hairstyle for guys that lets you show off your natural curls, the top curl is a cute and playful hairdo. By letting your hair on top grow out while tapering the hair on the sides, you get to emphasize your curls. This also makes you seem more carefree and fun. Simply tousle your curls, style them any which way you want, and step out the door! You can also opt to use a light hold gel to keep them in place.
15. The Perm
The man perm or the “merm,” is another 80s hairstyle for guys that are making a comeback. If you’re looking to experiment with curly hair trends, this may be the one for you. Although, in order to achieve the luscious set of waves or curls on your head, you will need to endure a two-hour procedure called a cold perm.
This process involves curling sections of your hair, adding a chemical treatment to change the natural hair texture, and letting that sit for a few hours. Afterward, the stylist rinses the solution out, dries the hair, and applies a neutralizer to stop the perming process. From here, you’re left with tight, vintage-looking curls that are reminiscent of the 80s.
This treatment can last up to six months, depending on your hair type. Using the right products to take care of your man perm will also help it last longer. Modern versions of the perm are much looser compared to the ones from the 1980s. One of the 80s hairstyles for guys that you can a modern twist to, this hairdo is definitely something you should consider.
16. Bon Jovi Style
American rock band Bon Jovi rose to fame in the early 1980s and, along with their rise in popularity, we saw the rise of their influence among the public, as well. Frontman Jon Bon Jovi and his own trademark rocker hairstyle earned acclaim at this time too. It was so popular that when he cut it off in the 1990s, it actually made it onto a CNN report.
Now the modern Bon Jovi-inspired hairstyle is a mix between messy beach hair and soft rock style. It’s ideal for men with medium-length hair and can be achieved by getting a layered haircut. Add some gel or hairspray to add some volume and structure, and you’re good to go! It’s definitely one of the men’s medium hairstyles you should consider if you want to emulate the sexy, messy vibes of your favorite rock bands.
17. Modern Mullet
The 80s mullet, typically has hair teased to create a voluminous pouf on top of the head. Meanwhile, the modern mullet is subtler, with shorter and flatter hair at the top. While it still has long hair at the back and short side hair, the modern mullet is chic. It’s so on-trend that even Korean pop stars are rocking the modern mullet. Super Junior’s Eunhyuk sported a blue and black mullet hairstyle.
18. One-Sided Glam
The men’s side part is a classic look that we still see today in the streets. It’s a hairdo that will make you look like a true debonair. To achieve this 80s hairstyle for guys, it’s best to keep the tops of your hair around three inches longer than the back and sides. Apply a bit of product and sweep the top hair towards one side and Voila! The one-sided glam. Take note, though, that this hairstyle works best with thick and straight hair.
19. Classic Rockabilly
Another 80s hairstyle for guys that takes inspiration from rock-and-roll is the classic rockabilly. It’s also another hairstyle that’s reminiscent of the rebellious 1950s. Think of James Dean and his messy swept-back hairdo. This hairstyle had a sudden spike in popularity during the 1980s and now, we’re seeing it on red carpets and silver screens. To create this classic modern hairstyle for men, you must combine the quiff and pompadour style. We’ve seen celebrities like Zayn Malik rocking this type of hairstyle.
20. Slicked Back Hairstyle
Another one of the 80s hairstyles for guys that is a mainstay in the business world is the slicked-back hairdo. Men in the 1980s who wore this hairstyle were probably businessmen on Wall Street. After all, it is certainly a clean and professional look. Think Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, or Michael Douglas in the 80s classic Wall Street. Both actors sported a slicked-back hairdo that exudes power and professionalism. One of the easiest ways to learn learn to slick your hair back is by using a wide-tooth comb and just the right amount of product. Remember, you want slick and sophisticated, not greasy or wet.
21. Wavy Hair
Wavy hair never went out of style. Till today we still see plenty of men donning this hairstyle. While the perms and Jheri curls are tight and coily, wavy hair is much more loose and relaxed with added movement and flow. If you don’t have naturally wavy hair and don’t want to risk any chemical treatments, you can always turn to styling tools and hair products. Use hair products that add texture to the hair and enhance curls. Scrunch your hair with fingers in order to help boost the wave patterns. Once you’ve got the waves you want, you can now style your hair any way you want.
22. Male Flat
So far, we’ve discussed all the big hair trends of the 80s. But did you know flat hair was also one of the more popular 80s hairstyles for guys? Modern takes of this hairdo are evident with Grant Gustin as The Flash in the CW series. Although, just be sure to keep your hair healthy by using the right products. If you don’t want more harsh chemicals in your hair, you can always opt for natural hair conditioner alternatives to give life to your mane. Remember, flat doesn’t always mean limp and lifeless.
23. Beach Blondie
If you don’t want a drastic haircut but still want one of the best 80s hairstyles for guys, why not dye your hair beach blond? Bright and vibrant blonde hair was extremely popular during the time. And we can see why light-colored hair adds a sense of calm and softness to your style. We also can’t deny how ladies love well-groomed blonde-haired men who are oh so charming.
24. Bob Cut
The bob cut is actually an 80s hairstyle that women wore during the era. However, there was a surprising number of men who also rocked this haircut. The man bob gives any man a stylish and sophisticated look, just as long as they do it right. Typically, this hairstyle is for men with medium to long hair, it can start from around the chin down to the shoulder. You can add waves and texture to your locks to give the bob cut more life. Alternatively, you can also go for soft blunt cuts for a sleek hairstyle that works well with men with oval, square, or heart-shaped faces.
25. Modern 80s Combo
Can select just one hairstyle? Who says you have to? The beauty of these 80s hairstyles for guys is their versatility. Several of the hairdos listed can be combined for the ultimate 80s look. Shave the sides of your head while sporting a mullet for a quirky fade haircut. You can also try running a razor and add some stripes on the sides for a more unique look. If you have dreads or twists, combine it with the classic high-top fade for a modern hip-hop look.
Finding the Right 80s Hairstyles for Guys
The 1980s gave us plenty of iconic and memorable hairstyles. Admittedly, not every single one will work for you. This can be due to multiple reasons, from hair texture, type, length, and face shape. However, one of the key elements of rocking 80s hairstyles for guys is confidence. Learning how to have confidence and building a more positive body image are still the most important factors in carrying yourself. But if you are ready to express and embrace your individuality, there’s nothing like a totally tubular hairdo to do the trick.