Maybe She's Born With It? Seriously???

Wednesday, August 04, 2010
It's about time I paid tribute to 80s makeup - that bold, brash, bright stuff that we gals (and some boys) spackled to our faces during that decade. The 1980s were all about BIG (and not just the Tom Hanks movie and Peter Gabriel song by the same name, although they were certainly appropriate for the time): big hair, big shoulders, and big makeup. I recently watched 1988's Working Girl for perhaps the 5th time, and not only is it a classic movie, but it's now a wonderful period film due to the outrageous hair and makeup, especially on Joan Cusack, above, who looks like a cast member from Cats.  

Women's faces were canvases - literally - during the 80s and this stuff was painted on. There really was no such thing as too much - blush was applied in dark strips and eyeshadow in multiple, gaudy colors that would make Mimi from The Drew Carey Show envious. Makeup styles from this time were certainly inspired in part by pop stars Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, and hair boy bands. Neon clothing influenced the trend as well, I'm sure - after all, if you're going to be wearing loud clothes, your face needed to match, too. And if you remember a lipstick shade that was called Cherries in the Snow, frosted eyeshadow, or green mascara, then you wore makeup during the 80s. So come with me, if you dare, through a little visual tribute to 80s makeup....just collecting these make me want to reach for a jar of Noxema!

Actually, this one may be from the early 90s....but the one below (and I believe that's Kelly Lebrock on the right) is definitely 1982!
I think I remember this Christie Brinkley one....the correct way to apply blush was to put it all over your face.

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  1. LOVE IT!

    I know it's for the best that we toned down on makeup, but I loved it. You are so right, our faces were a canvas. What dramatic looks we had. Do you remember the video Donna Mills made? I think it's called The Eyes Have It and it's a how-to for awesome eye makeup. I should pick that video up (I think clips are on YoutTube)! Donna had CRAZY makeup.

    I'm on the 9th season of Dallas right now, and it's been really interesting watching the main actresses' looks change with the times. In the late 70s when the show premiered, they all looked totally different. I have to say, Sue Ellen is the only woman who has ever had a sexy mullet. It comes into great play when she gets thrown in the drunk tank!

  2. I must confess I hadn't heard of it, but it looks like the entire tape (or most of it) is on YouTube (of course!) I'll have to watch it sometime. As I came of age in the 80s, my first exposure to makeup was during this time. I had green mascara, multiple eyeshadow shades, and I remember putting blush all over my face!

  3. Did this makeup style take its cue from popular art? Check out the art of Patrick Nagel. Perhaps best known for Duran Duran's "Rio" album cover, his artwork for Playboy, his prints, and the color pallette(s) that he used seemed to define the roots of the decade's aesthetic. I distinctly recall the impact his art and style made on me and the Zeitgeist.


  4. This compilation of photos is just horrible! This is typically what I hate about the 80s, along with the fluo colours, the haircuts, ...

  5. Wow. This is painful. I tried to replicate many of these styles as a teenager. The worst was falling asleep without taking it off, and waking up with your face on the pillow!!!

  6. Oh, I lived through the 80's and definitely remember the "striped" cheek color!!! GUILTY as charged!

  7. I wish we still did makeup this imaginatively today! Obviously, there are fringe groups that do but the mainstream is really quite dull and boring. I remember getting a massive palette of eyeshadows when I was about 12 - there must have been about 60 shades. My sisters and I used to spend hours creating all kinds of weird and wacky looks. Fun!

  8. I really enjoyed seeing these pictures. I don't think that I overdid it with my makeup - well, maybe a few times. I didn't wear it that much though. I did have some semi-big hair when I got a few perms in the 80's.

  9. Cherries In The Snow lipstick is from the 50's!!
    It was my Mom's favorite lipstick in college, and she wore that shade on her wedding day!


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