Are '80s curls making a comeback?

What a feeling

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / March 22 2023

When we reminisce on the curly hair of the ‘80s, we have a tendency to focus on some of the worst haircuts of the decade.

But we’re not trying to emulate bad perms, glam rock mullets and teased hair (perfect for headbanging) in 2023. 

We’d much rather channel Jennifer Beals’ fluffy and voluminous curls in Flashdance, thank you.  And considering we’ll never be able to bust a move like Beals, we think it’s more than a reasonable compromise. 

With the bob cut catapulting back to popularity in the last few months (it’s topped our list of autumn hair trends for 2023), we suspect we’ll be seeing curly iterations of the wolf cut and the cub cut as the year unfolds.  

Celebrities with curly hair in 2023

As per usual, a few brave celebrities have spearheaded the comeback of ‘80s curls, so we can feast our eyes on some ample celebrity hairstyle inspiration before we make any rash decisions— we can practically hear our hairdresser’s breathing a sigh of relief. 

Bella Hadid has everyone convinced she stopped by the salon to perm her hair into tight, springy waves, but we suspect she probably just plaited her hair before she went to bed. A classic curly hair hack by anyone’s standards.


Megan Thee Stallion has been embracing her natural texture recently and we’re loving the results. Her stylist cut layers into her hair to increase body and volume, and a long fringe to draw attention to the Revlon ambassador's eye makeup at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party


Yara Shahidi’s always had some enviably defined curls (seriously, how does her hair always look so shiny?). Recently she chopped off a massive amount of length and now she’s rocking a very on-trend curly cub cut. Her layers have been cut to add volume and lift her face, without adding width to the shape of her bob. Absolute *chef’s kiss*.  


How to create ‘80s curls

If you’re texturally challenged, there are a few ways to create the tight, bouncy and fluffy curls synonymous with the ‘80s.

1/ Use a skinny curling wand

Skinny curling wands are perfect for creating tight and bouncy curls. Plus, unlike larger barrel curling wands, you’re able to curl the hair strand closer to the root. 

Curl your hair in sections using a tool like the Hot Tools 24K 10mm Curling iron ($125 at Adore Beauty) — try teasing your hair at the root if you’re after a bit more volume. Once your hair has cooled down, run your fingers through your hair to avoid Shirly Temple curls, and set your hair with a medium hold hairspray like Living Proof’s Flex Shaping Hairspray ($45 at MECCA).

2/ Curling rods

Old school curling rods are a great way to curl your hair without using heat. You can pick up a set for less than $20 from Amazon too — try the Tifara Beauty 42-pack 7" Flexible Curling Rods ($15.28 at Amazon Australia). 

Section damp hair and coil it around each curling rod, making sure to fold in the ends to stop the curl from unraveling. Once you’ve done this to your entire head of hair, you can wrap your head with a headscarf and sleep on them or wait a few hours until the hair is completely dry. 

When they’re ready to come out, simply unravel your hair from the rollers and separate the curls with your fingers. 

@myvintagetears An updated curl tutorial since I got a perm and new rollers since the last one :) #80s #80shair #80saesthetic #vintage #vintagehair #style #hair ♬ Private Eyes - Daryl Hall & John Oates

Prefer a beachy wave? These are the best Dyson Airwrap dupes for the job. 

Main image credit: @bellahadid

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).

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