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Give Your Clients These Totally Tubular Hairstyles Straight Out of the 80s

More variations on the mullet? Stranger things have happened.

The 1980s isn’t just a decade; it’s a style, an attitude, a whole vibe. Gen Z may never know the pain of trying to tape their favorite song off the radio or TV channels going off the air late at night, but they’re still embracing these totally tubular hairstyles. With the mega-hit Netflix series Stranger Things putting this decade in the spotlight, clients are seeking these revived ‘80s looks — but let’s be real, they never really went out of style.  

Hungry like the wolf (cut)

When a shag and a mullet love each other very, very much, they combine to form the wolf cut, a Gen Z trend with a distinctly ‘80s vibe. Short in the front with long, wispy layers in the back, the wolf cut has taken over social media, with DIY videos being among the most popular forms of content. However, if your clients want their wolf cuts to resemble those of Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, and Keke Palmer, it’s a good time to remind them that at-home haircuts rarely achieve the intended result. Embrace the wolf cut in your salon and flex your stylists’ mastery to attract the Zoomer crowd rocking this look.

Additionally, because the wolf cut is trending, it represents opportunities for your own salon’s social media growth. Client photos, video tutorials, styling and maintenance tips — there’s a wealth of content just waiting to be created. 

The soundtrack:

  • “Hungry Like the Wolf” - Duran Duran

  • “Bad Reputation” - Joan Jett

  • “When Doves Cry” - Prince

  • “Don’t Stop Believin’” - Journey

  • “99 Red Balloons” - NENA

Pump up the volume

The 80s were the era of “big hair, don’t care.” Perms, hairspray, mousse, excessive teasing — whatever could be used to produce more volume was in vogue before the ‘90s ushered in more sleek styles. With trends being cyclical, it’s only natural that big hair is back, and it’s up to you to help your clients achieve new heights with their hairstyles.

From massive curls to thick layers to product-enhanced blowouts, there’s almost no wrong way to do big volume. Help your clients choose the right cut to support this look and recommend products (preferably from your salon!) to help them achieve similar results at home.

The soundtrack:

  • “The Metro” - Berlin

  • “Love is a Battlefield” - Pat Benatar

  • “Pump Up the Jam” - Technotronic

  • “Running Up That Hill” - Kate Bush

  • “Total Eclipse of the Heart” - Bonnie Tyler

Big crimping

Few things say the 1980s like crimped hair. Popularized by ‘80s icons like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Brooke Shields, the aggressively wavy zigzag style perfectly embodied the culture and style of the era. These days, you’ll find crimped hair on celebs ranging from Sophie Turner and Amanda Seyfried to any number of Kardashian-Jenners, but there’s a new twist: rather than being crimping-ironed into shape, today’s crimped hair is softer and more of a beachy wave.

The soundtrack:

  • “Lucky Star” - Madonna

  • “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” - Cyndi Lauper

  • “White Wedding” - Billy Idol

  • “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” - The Smiths

  • “I Think We’re Alone Now” - Tiffany

Save the drama for your bangs

While Millennials and Gen Z fight over how to part hair, Generation X has always known that the real question is how you wear your bangs. Do you want them big and curly? Dramatically long and statement-making? Short and edgy? Sleek, feathered, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen?  There’s a style of bangs for every vibe and mood; for more inspo, look no further than this gallery.

The soundtrack:

  • “Master of Puppets” - Metallica

  • “Round and Round” - RATT

  • “Rock You Like a Hurricane” - Scorpions

  • “Shake Me” - Cinderella

  • “Never Say Goodbye” - Bon Jovi

Androgyny is always in style

Men wearing makeup? Women wearing men’s clothing?! These concepts weren’t at all common in the 80s, but plenty of high-profile figures still challenged long-established gender norms. Artists like David Bowie, Boy George, Robert Smith, and so many others walked so that Harry Styles could run, and they looked amazing doing it.

Let your clients know their gender identity shouldn’t limit their style. Women can have buzz cuts, men can rock eyeliner, and everyone is free to be who they are. As a stylist, it’s up to you to help your clients express themselves, so encourage them to think outside the stereotypes and be exactly as feminine, masculine, or androgynous as they want to be.

The soundtrack:

  • “Don’t You Want Me” - The Human League

  • “Just Like Heaven” - The Cure

  • “Ashes to Ashes” - David Bowie

  • “Karma Chameleon” - Culture Club

  • “We’re Not Gonna Take It” - Twisted Sister

Looking for more ways to become a better boss and leader? Our Manager’s Handbook to Salon Operations has everything you need to level up. Get your free copy now

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