Here's how to bring your makeup back to the 80s

The 1980s throwback was a recurring theme at the SS17 shows. Rachel Marie Walsh reveals how to get the look

"Truly modern makeup breaks with Instagram convention,” says veteran catwalk artist Val Garland.

“This trend is a backlash against false, once-face-fits-all perfection.” Simple colour statement are powerful, expressing individuality and highlighting favourite features. They also emphasise perfected skin by contrast. While the look has an element of protest it is also playful, and backstage at Spring/Summer shows artists referenced 1980s nightlife, Debbie Harry and the final years of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Irish artist Ivy Sullivan recently created accessible takes on the trend for a Dublin shoot.

Fuchsia Lips

Like a 1980s rainbow, Ivy Sullivan’s palette for this look contrasts shocking pink, neon blue, and super sultry smokey eyes.

Ivy’s popping-pink pout comes courtesy of MAC Pro Lipstick in Full Fuchsia, €20. This shade was also big backstage at Cushnie Et Ochs SS17, where makeup artist Sammy Mourabit created a ‘two-toned rounded sexy pout’ by lining and filling in the top lip with Lip Pencil, €19.50, in Cherry and filling in the bottom lip with the same product in Process Magenta.

Ultraviolet Eyes

For Ivy’s modern, graphic take on 1960s banana-style floating liner, try drawing a similar shape (cat’s eye extended out and then arcing back over the eye contour) in MAC Chromaline Gel Creme, €18.50, in High Def Cyan with a small shadow brush. At Jeremy Scott, a “smoked-out Egyptian” eye was the face’s focus, echoing the graphics printed on Scott’s clothing, which “were very 1980s makeup,” according to lead makeup Kabuki for MAC Cosmetics.

Making the retro look accessible, he used a black or brown pencil as an eye shadow, dotting along the lash line and using a shadow brush to blend it out.

“It makes a smoky black or brown under-base.” Next, a sheer shimmery MAC Pigment, €22, was placed on top to create an ombré effect. And like the show’s wigs, each was applied in one of three different colours: an emerald green, lavender or orange.

Tomato Red Lips

Ivy Sullivan’s reboot of 1960s banana-style floating liner in High Def Cyan Gel Creme from MAC, contrasted with lips in a Rouge Corail shade from Chanel.

Earthy eyes also pair well with an orange-red lip. At Carolina Herrera, lead artist Diane Kendal blended brown eye-pencil all over lids and extended it outwards for a subtle cat’s eye effect. She defined the waterline with black kohl, smudged out and into the outer corners. Keeping skin neutral, she made lips the focus with luminous tomato-red cream. Try Chanel Le Rouge Crayon Retractable Longwear Lip Crayon, €35.00, in Rouge Corail.

Barely-Swept Lashes

“There wasn’t masses of mascara around for this season, its not very of the moment,” says Val Garland. To get lightweight definition, try Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara, €22.50, if lashes are sparse or Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara, €23.95 at, if length is an issue. Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara boosts both without looking over-the-top. Ivy kept lashes light with L’Oréal Paris Volume Millions Lashes Mascara, €14.99.

Fresh Skin

Smooth, balanced skin is the perfect canvas for dramatic eyes and vibrant lips. Ivy perfected her models complexion using L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation, €14.99, an easy-to-colour-match classic with a radiant finish. She highlighted each model’s bone structure with Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powder in €44.

At Balmain’s SS17 show, lead artist Tom Pecheaux sought to create a fresh-off-the-beach effect by warming MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation, €32, in hid hands and smoothing it over skin. He then buffed MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, €26.50 down the middle of the face. Pat Darphin Lumière Essentielle Gel-Cream, €46.45, along cheekbones for a lustrous books.

I also love tints rich in skincare ingredients, as they improve overall tone while keeping focus on your colour. Rodial Skin Tint + SPF20, €40, is a medium-coverage BB Cream that provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is high in Vitamin E.

Nailing It

Retro drama was a hallmark of Jeremy Scott’s show during New York Fashion Week. Picture: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

Shy about statement lips and eyes? Keep your fingers on the trend anyway, as colour-flash nails are also very hot right now. Take inspiration from Jeremy Scott, where OPI Infinite Shine Gel Effect Nail Lacquer in Wild Blue Yonder, €16.74 at was the base for geometric shapes by dipping pencil erasers into black polish and then dropping it directly onto the blue nail. Ivy also kept nails blue, opting for a gel manicure with Essence The Gel Nail Polish in 79 Blue, So True, €2.78 at


Hair and make-up: Ivy Sullivan @morgantheagency, using L’Oréal make-up & essence gel nails.

Photographer: Patrick McHugh

Models: Robyn, Eabha and Lucy @morgantheagency


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