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80s Hair Styles: Big Hair

Hair styles of the 80s are the most diverse and humorous characteristics of this decade. Big hair, in particular, is one of the most notable trends of the decade. In early 80s, the New Romantic fashion styles kicked off the decade with great hair experimentation. For a while there seemed to be a competition to see who could build the tallest hair, have the strangest angles, the biggest hair or a favourite of this site - how much plastic, metal and mousse you could fit into your hair and still keep your head upright. In this first part of on ongoing series, eighty-eightynine will look at big hair.

Big hair is not unique to the 80s - the 60s had the beehive and the 70s had the afro. What set the 80s big hair styles apart was their diversity. The start of the decade saw the extravagance of strange hair colours and cuts. By 1984 the trends had settled and focused on one simple concept - volume. More hair was better - big hair was better, Bananarama had some of best examples of 80s big hair - pretty much reflecting the fashions of the decade (but maybe not the best fashions) from cuts styles to volume and flicks. The 'Hair Bands' of the 1980s applied this style which was strongest around 1987-88. Your hair could go up, out and down. It could look like you put your head in a candy floss machine - as long as it wasn't straight - this was the ultimate sin in the early 80s (often met with the criticism 'she needs to do something with that hair').

By 87-88, the 70s started to return and it was suddenly okay to have a retro look. You could even have short hair provided it was bleached, dyed a bright color or spiked with hair gel).

Many accessories were available to assist with this process - you could tease your hair and stick it up with mousse. Some mousse even contained glitter or other sparkle pieces to give your big hair 'extra interest and individuality'. If you think shampoo stings, try getting glitter mousse in your eyes - a common occurrence as some brands tended to flake.

Like any cultural period, bands of the 80s reflected styles of the decade. Below you will find photos of Dave Stewart, Sisters of Mercy, Bananarama and more.


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For those into 80s trivia... there is a curious reference to Flock of Seagulls in Pulp Fiction. The scene is set in the apartment where Jules and Vincent have gone to collect Marcel's brief case. Jules turns to one the boys in the apartment and says "You, Flock of Seagulls, you know what we're here for?". Unfortunately in the film, it wasn't that apparent that the character (Brett) was sporting a Flock Of Seagulls hair style. This joke is explained in the screenplay - Brett is supposed to be wearing a surfers cut which the script describes as a 'Flock of Seagulls' hair style. It probably would have been to distracting for the audience to have him wearing the same hair style as that worn by the band in the 80s. The band did not wear big hair, it was just rather odd. See the photos above.

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