The ’80s makeup style is known for heavy layers of brightly colored eyeshadows, blush and lipstick. If you’re interested in trying out a retro ’80s look for a Halloween costume, ’80s party, performance or other event, there are a few makeup tips to keep in mind in order to pull off the look effectively.

Foundation and Powder

Women in the ’80s typically wore a thorough and even application of matte foundation in a color that matched the individual’s skin tone with no visible lines. After the foundation, women applied a loose powder or powdered bronzer to get a tanned glow, if desired.


Women of the ’80s placed much or their makeup focus on their eyes. Women used vivid, bold colors of eyeshadow, such as canary yellow, bright blues and greens, purple and even hot pink. Most eyeshadows were made of mica, a mineral that has a shimmery appearance and reflects light. Mica is long-lasting when placed on the eyelids and was usually applied with a damp eyeshadow brush or sponge. Women applied the shadow with a brush to the entire eyelid — all the way from the base of the eyelid to just below the eyebrow. Heavy black eyeliner lining both the top and bottom lids was also popular in the ’80s. In addition, women regularly curled their eyelashes and applied mascara to enhance the look of a dramatic eye.

Blush and Contouring

Blush colors of the ’80s were typically bright shades of pink and red applied (often heavily) along the apple of the cheek and the cheekbone line. In addition to blush, many women of the ’80s contoured their cheeks in order to slim the face and give the cheekbones a more defined look. They accomplished this by using a brush dipped in a slightly darker shade of foundation or bronzer then brushing the powder in the hollow of the cheek.


Bright red and bright pink lipsticks were common in women’s makeup fashions of the ’80s. Women lined their lips with a complementary lip liner color and then finished off with a thick layer of brightly hued lipstick. The goal look was that of large, pouty lips.