The Instagram Account Providing 1980s Hair and Make-Up Inspiration

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@beautybook1985 chronicles scans from original vintage beauty publications

“I was looking for really good 1980s hair and make-up references for my own personal use,” explains graphic designer and founder of Instagram account @beautybook1985, Laura Wingrove. “I was struggling because all I could find online was people recreating looks that Madonna and Cyndi Lauper had worn. But I wanted something that real women were wearing – not just models and pop icons. So I went on the hunt for the original books that women would have used at the time.” 

A year and a half down the line, Wingrove has amassed quite a collection of original vintage beauty publications, the images from which she meticulously edits, scans and posts to Instagram as often as she can. Nothing is ever sourced from the internet, making the account a true archival resource. “The first book I found was when I was looking on eBay for a pair of 1980s earrings, ” she says. “It was called The Complete Beauty Book, and it was published in 1985. I thought if I am this excited about what I’m seeing, then there must be other people who are too. I have to share it!”

Certainly, from the fabulously kitsch to the downright bizarre, @beautybook1985 is a visual treasure trove. It harks back to a time where pearlescent lipsticks and pastel eyeshadows were slathered on faces with a trowel, and when perms and bouffants – no doubt held aloft with 5,000 litres of Elnett – was the only way to style your hair. “I’ve tried to recreate some of the make-up looks – but not the hair,” laughs Wingrove. “The first tip for hair is usually ‘always get a perm’ and I’m not quite ready for that yet!”

The majority of the women in the images featured on the account are unknown 1980s catalogue models (although, there is one of Iman in the early days of her career, sporting a turquoise sweatband, coral lipgloss and a smokey eye). Through her research, Wingrove also noticed that most of the models in the books she sourced were white. “One thing I will say about the books that I do have is that the representation is incredibly poor,” she says. “Something that I’m striving to do is find resources that also celebrate afro hair and women of colour. This is something I am really trying to be as conscious of as possible – the account won’t stop until I run out of books!”