Top 10 Iconic 1980s Mens Hairstyles

The 1980s was a decade of bold style, colors, and silhouettes. It was also the era of perms, mullets, and some of the most iconic hairstyles that we still talk about today. For men, the ’80s hairstyles were a mix of everything: from big and wild to sleek and stylish. If you’re looking for some retro inspiration or just a trip down memory lane, here are the top 10 iconic 1980s Mens Hairstyles that made a significant impact on the fashion world.

The Mullet

The mullet is perhaps one of the most talked-about hairstyles of the 1980s. Known for its business in the front, and party in the back style, this medium-length 1980s Mens Hairstyles was a staple for rock stars and celebrities. It was a hairstyle that defied convention and is still a symbol of the carefree spirit of the ’80s.

The Evolution of the Mullet

The mullet went through various incarnations throughout the 1980s, from the shaggy versions sported by pop stars to the more structured mullets seen in the business world. The key to a great mullet was maintaining enough length in the back to contrast sharply with the shorter front and sides.

The Jheri Curl

The Jheri curl was another stand-out style of the ’80s, made famous by celebrities such as Michael Jackson. This glossy, loosely curled look required a special perm technique and lots of maintenance, including the use of activator spray to keep the curls bouncy and wet-looking.

The Cultural Impact of the Jheri Curl

This style was more than just a trend; it became a cultural phenomenon, particularly in African-American communities. The Jheri curl represented a move toward more natural hair textures, albeit achieved through chemical means.

The Flat Top

With a precise and geometric style, the flat top was all about sharp angles and clean lines. This cut was especially popular among men in the military and those looking for a tough, masculine look. The top of the hair was usually styled to be perfectly flat, hence the name, often using a liberal amount of hair product to keep it in place.

Celebrities Who Rocked the Flat Top

Stars like Grace Jones and Will Smith in his “Fresh Prince” days made the flat top a part of their signature looks, inspiring many to adopt this high-impact style.

The Hi-top Fade

The hi-top fade was another hairstyle that left a lasting impression during the ’80s. Characterized by longer hair on top that gradually faded into much shorter lengths on the sides and back, this cut was a staple among hip-hop stars and fans.

The Social Relevance of the Hi-top Fade

This hairstyle became synonymous with the hip-hop movement, representing a bold and unapologetic approach to fashion and personal expression.

The Rocker Mane

For those into the heavy metal scene, the rocker mane was the go-to hairstyle. This wild and often unkempt look was all about volume and length, with many opting to let their hair grow as long as possible.

The Iconic Rocker Hairstyles

From Bon Jovi to Guns N’ Roses, the rocker mane was a symbol of rebellion and a carefree attitude, making it one of the most memorable 1980s men’s hairstyles.

The Preppy Look

In stark contrast to the wild rocker mane, the preppy look was all about neatness and sophistication. Think of the hairstyles from “The Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – short, tidy, and often parted to the side or combed back.

The Influence of the Preppy Look

This hairstyle was a reflection of the conservative fashion trend that was also popular in the ’80s, representing a clean-cut image that was both classy and accessible.

The New Wave Hairstyle

The New Wave music movement brought with it a unique aesthetic, and the hairstyles were no exception. This included asymmetric cuts, bold streaks of color, and lots of texture.

The Artistic Expression of New Wave Hair

Musicians like David Bowie and bands like Duran Duran embraced this look, which was as much a statement of individuality as it was a fashion choice.

The Big Hair

“Big hair, don’t care” could have been the motto of the ’80s when it came to hairstyles. For men, this meant lots of volume, achieved through perming, teasing, and blow-drying.

The Excess of the ’80s Big Hair

This larger-than-life style mirrored the excesses of the decade and was seen on celebrities, from actors to rock stars, who weren’t afraid to go big or go home.

The Feathered Look

Inspired by the ’70s but carried well into the ’80s, the feathered look was all about layers. This style was made famous by icons like Farrah Fawcett and John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.”

The Feathered Look’s Enduring Appeal

Though it began in the previous decade, the feathered look maintained its popularity in the ’80s due to its versatility and the way it flattered various face shapes.

The Rat Tail

Lastly, the rat tail was a quirky and somewhat controversial trend. It involved growing a small section of hair long at the nape of the neck while keeping the rest of the hair relatively short.

The Rat Tail as a Statement

This hairstyle was definitely not for everyone, but it was a way for the more adventurous to make a unique personal statement.

Revival of 1980s Mens Hairstyles

Today, we see a resurgence of these iconic ’80s hairstyles, often with modern twists. The enduring appeal of these retro hair looks lies in their boldness and the way they push the boundaries of personal style.

Incorporating ’80s Styles into Modern Looks

Many contemporary hairstyles borrow elements from the ’80s, such as the textured top of the flat top or the faded sides of the hi-top, proving that good style never really goes out of fashion.


The 1980s mens hairstyles were diverse, daring, and sometimes downright outrageous. They reflected the vibrant and eclectic nature of the decade’s culture and continue to influence modern hair trends. Whether you’re looking to replicate one of these iconic styles or just appreciate the nostalgia. There’s no denying the lasting impact these hairstyles have had on fashion and personal expression.

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