Top 5 Worst Hairstyles of the 1980s

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The 1980s was a decade of big, bright fashion fails. Some of the hairstyles of this decade took a small army to achieve, and the results often left us wondering why we even bothered. Forget the leg warmers, Hammer pants and scrunchies. Those were minor fashion faux pas when compared with the worst hairstyles of the 1980s.

5 Flock of Seagulls

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This hairstyle looks pretty much like it sounds—maybe a little worse. Imagine trying to make your hair look like a bird taking flight. Awesome, right? Slicked down straight in the middle with mousse or gel, and then sprayed up on both sides, like wings, the flock of seagulls hairstyle defied reason. Blame Mike Score, lead singer of the synth-pop band Flock of Seagulls, who started the trend. No one perfected it quite like Score, but they sure tried.

4 High-Top Fade

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Who can forget Kid ‘n Play’s sky-scraping coif? The high-top fade, also known as the MC and the Nib, became popular in the 1980s and persisted into the 1990s. Hip-hop artists made it a fad, with everyone from Jay-Z to Kid ‘n Play and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air doing the high-top. If you think it’s bad on the guys, imagine the women who tried the style, like Grace Jones. It’s OK to shudder a bit. Perhaps its popularity was due to how easy it was to maintain. Consider how difficult it is to make tight, dense curls do anything they don’t want to do. With the high-top, you just grew out the top so it stood nice and high, and shaved the back and sides. Trim it into an eraser shape, and you were styling with the ’80s hip-hop elite.

3 Rattail

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Who remembers the rattail? It made a resurgence in the 1990s, but this truly awful unwanted offspring of the mullet originated in the ’80s. Particularly popular with the male population, the rattail is exactly what it sounds like, a short cut with a long “tail” of hair extending from the back. Some devotees of this style braided the tail, others dyed it bright colors, but everyone looked ridiculous.

2 Mullet

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Business in the front, party in the back, and stupid all over: The mullet is a hairstyle that seems to linger. Defined by hair long in the back and cropped short at the front and sides, this hairstyle was worn by men and women, and looked ugly on everyone. However, there’s something to be said for the mullet’s versatility. Some kept it conservative, with the hair reaching the shoulders and the front cropped close to the scalp. Others went wild, growing the back to great lengths and teasing the front to heights that defied the laws of gravity.

1 Big, High and Fuzzy

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To say that hair in the 1980s was processed would be an understatement. This decade brought back the home perm, in which your friend or your mother used a home kit to give you the fuzziest, poodle-lookingest perm possible. Short hair, long hair, already curly hair: It didn’t matter. Everyone did the perm. Included in this atrocity of fashion were the big bangs of the 1980s, teased and sprayed mercilessly to create sky-high bangs that could hold their ground in a hurricane. Maybe there was something in the water back then that short-circuited the part of our brain that said, “This looks ridiculous.” Wait — it was probably the chemicals in all the hair products needed to achieve ’80s rock band hair. Women carried cans of hairspray just in case their hair dared to move, but the ladies weren’t the only ones guilty of this style choice. Men, primarily hair band rockers, also adopted this hairstyle, with higher, poofier results.

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