How To Get 80s Curly Hair

Just as you were getting used to the middle hair trend and saying goodbye to your side part, the next trend has arrived.

Well, it seems as though you don’t have to give up that side part just yet. It looks as though big, curly 80’s hair is making a comeback.

Everyone wants to know just how our moms achieved this style when they were our age and became the queens of the discotech.

Let’s go over the exact process you will need to know how to do to achieve the same look to wear out tonight as well as some pro tips and tricks.


To get curly ’80s hair, you need to prepare properly with the product. It is difficult to get long-lasting curls that stick without the proper use of products to hold the style. Depending on your hair type you will need different kinds of styling creams, gels, and sprays.

If you suffer from pin-straight hair like me, you have to prepare yourself for a big transformation. Wash and condition your hair the day before so that you have some natural oils in your hair to make the look stay. On the day of, wet your hair completely. Then, to create curls that don’t fall flat, fill your hair with a volumizing cream. This will hold whatever style — in this case, big ’80s curls — once the heat is applied.


The signature look of the ’80s curls is their tight, unbrushed ringlets. Curls today are much looser, wavy, and natural-looking. If you have tried to achieve the modern curls the Kardashians are wearing you are probably used to running a brush through after heat is applied. In this case, resist! But first, let’s get started.

Alternatively, if you don’t like mousse in your hair consider using a styling cream. Basically anything that will hold the style in place, since the curls we are about to attempt take a lot of power to keep up.


Volume is the key, and we are going to start working on that even before we start curling. Put as much volume into your roots as you can! Detangling hair first will also make the next step easier.


Time to blow dry. Focus the attention on your roots by flipping your hair upside down. This will cause the hair to lift up and away from your scalp, giving you an extra half inch at least of space between scalp and curl. It’s all about illusions with big hair, so the more dramatic we can make it, the better.

If you want to, instead of flipping your hair upside down attach a diffuser to the end of your blow dryer. Concentrating this at the roots will also work to lift the hair away from the scalp for voluminous locks.

When you are finished with your roots, move down the shaft and dry to the ends. The next step can be damaging if your hair is not completely dry, so try to avoid it as best as possible. Otherwise, you’re losing volume in the long run by repeatedly causing damage to your long hair.

Images from the 1980s


The ultimate source of volume and the foundation of your big hairstyle. This part is even more important than the curls, so make sure you do it right and don’t skip or rush through this step. When teasing your hair, you want to focus on small, sectioned areas of hair one at a time.

These sections should be no more than 2 inches thick in width. Start with the bottom layer of your hair before working up to the crown. Don’t worry if your hair is looking like a rat’s nest by the time you are done with this step — it’s supposed to!

Pro Tip: Clip up the top layers as you work on the bottom. This will save you lots of time and energy.


Next is the fun part — curling! You can use rollers, heatless and heated, or even a chopstick, but if I’m being honest I do not have the patience to sit and wait for my hair to dry naturally. If you do decide to go this route, I recommend a few things.

  • Stay small! The smaller the roller the tighter the curl, the bigger the hair.
  • Sleep on it. This is again a trick directed at those as impatient as myself.

If you do sleep on it — you should! — cover your curls in a hair silk so that you both protect them from coming out in the night, and protect your hair from any pulling that could damage and break it.

Applying heat

Before curling, section your hair again so that you can reach the bottom layers first. Now your hair is ready for The curls!

  • Use a small barrel curling wand, the smaller the better, and grab your first piece of hair.
  • Back to front or from one side to the other does not matter, so long as your sections are small like your teasing sections were earlier.
  • Twirl the top of the strand of hair before you begin. This allows better grip and a tighter curl.
  • Wrap tightly down the barrel of the curler and hold for 12-15 seconds.
  • Repeat until all your hair is curled! Do the top section the same as you did the bottom half.

Finishing touches

Now you’ve got your springy curls, make sure they last the whole night through by applying hairspray. I like to use a soft one so that the curls aren’t stuck in a helmet around my head, but this is really up to personal preference.

And voila! You are now looking like an ’80s pop star, just like Madonna and Mariah Carey. When styling this ‘do, remember the 80’s way to wear it — a deep part on the side of your head! You can also rock a cute side pony for a more funky look. Either way, ’80s curls are back, and you are officially on trend with your new style and know-how.


Hi I'm Hati and my hair is naturally very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. Hopefully you will find it useful! My other main passions are food, art and animlas. I have a little cat who I love very much.

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