High School Halls: The Hairstyles

I’m back on a Deep-Fried Friday with another installment in my High School Halls series. I’m taking a look at the teenage years back when I experienced them and now.

Lori FreelandA few weeks ago, I covered the fashion trends, but I stated that hair would need its own post. Today young adult author Lori Freeland joins me to talk about hairstyles, then and now. I recently met Lori at a Margie Lawson workshop hosted by the Houston Writers Guild. She’s even more delightful in person (and has beautiful hair).

Welcome, Lori! So thrilled to have you here.

Thanks for asking me! We went to high school at the same time, so this should be fun.

That Was Then

Flock of Seagulls. Yep, that’s where I want to start. Because when I think about all of the crazy hairdos of the 1980s when I was in high school, this is the picture that comes to mind:

Can you explain this? What were we thinking?

Were we trying to mix genders? Or maybe switch them? Not sure.  I do know my boyfriend at the time, who’s now my husband, liked the Duran Duran look.


What hairdos were popular when you were in high school? Did they have anything in common?

Big hair. I had a tight perm than I teased the crap out of it. I do have to say, my best hair? Eighties big when the perm had grown out halfway.

Lori big hair

Do any celebrity hairstyles stand out as getting a lot of attention back then?

Madonna was hot when I was in high school. Whatever she did, we did. The high side ponytail comes to mind. Along with the mandatory leg warmers. Not sayin’ I ever sported either.

Lori side ponytail
*slightly embarrassed grin*

What was your usual hairstyle? Did you do ever anything unusual with your hair?

Big and bold. I had Texas hair in Wisconsin. In the picture of me in the red dress, there’s more hair than girl!

Lori red dress

What hairstyle tools were imperative for a teenager living in the 1980s? What did we need to get the right look?

Like a said, a perm provided a great foundation. Add a sturdy comb for teasing and a huge bottle of extra-hold Aqua Net. A curling iron and hot rollers always sat on my bathroom counter.

My hair is too fine and too straight, so I could never achieve the big hair look. Perms fell out in less than a month! Here’s one of my 80’s looks–not very “in,” I’m sure.

10th grade

This Is Now

I have noticed that girls aren’t getting perms these days; they are straightening their hair instead. What do you notice most about hairstyles today versus the hairstyles of our past?

We definitely went from one extreme to the other—super high to super sleek. Although neither look is wash-and-wear. We use flat irons now in place of hot rollers and perms.

Yeah, you know Selena's hair got flat-ironed here.
Yeah, you know Selena’s hair got flat-ironed here.

What about the guys versus the girls? What characterizes their hairstyles?

There will always be the guys that keep their hair long and I have to say, some of those guys are hot. But gone are the feathery styles and mullets. Girls are wearing their hair more “guy short” these days and the crop looks great—on some girls. I will never be a short hair girl. I think guy hair runs the gamut from sport short to boy band long.

What current celebrities inspire teens’ hairstyles?

I think whatever is popular in Hollywood and on the cover of People magazine eventually trickles down. Everything from royalty and Princess Kate to pop and Pink. There are so many choices and bold seems to rock.

Princess Kate
Princess Kate
Pink (pic by Corbuzon, Wikimedia Commons)
Pink (pic by Corbuzon, Wikimedia Commons)

What hairstyle tools should a teenager have in his/her bathroom cabinet today? What do they need to get the right look?

I’ve moved on from Aqua Net, but I do still own a bottle of pump hairspray and a set of hot rollers. The rollers mostly live under my sink but some days they emerge. Tools now are wide-tooth combs, diffusers, bed head type products, and of course the flat iron.


Thanks for coming by, Lori! Maybe someday you can show me how to get the proper tease going. 🙂

Wild at Heart Volume 2Lori Freeland is a Young Adult author that lives in the Dallas area. In addition to being addicted to flavored coffee with just the right amount of cream, she’s a little obsessed with imaginary people.

Lori’s short story, “Refugee” can be found in the Wild at Heart, Volume II, anthology for young adults.

What do you remember from hairstyles in high school? What are high schoolers sporting today? What grooming tools are a must for your look?

17 thoughts on “High School Halls: The Hairstyles

  1. Man, what a trip to my past THIS is! I’m dating myself, but in high school we all wore our hair to our waists, parted in the middle, and as straight as we could get it (ironing was “in”). Then in the 80’s I had a BIG perm (kind of like you in the red dress). Now, I’m back to calm and straighter and shorter (like your last picture). This was a great post. The first picture with Flock of Seagulls? I agree – what were we thinking?

  2. As you know, I still wear my hair in a “big” perm. I’ve tried the straight look. One the humidity hit it, it looked like I had never washed my hair. I tried short hair, and I looked like a chipmunk. So I wear the big perm. It looks good on me, and it might even come back in style some day.

    1. I’ve really come to believe you should wear what looks best on you, with only slight alteration for current fashion. Like you, I’ve figured out what works for my hair–straight, straight, straight. I don’t care if tomorrow’s fad is Afros and spiral perms, I can’t go there.

      Your hair looks marvelous, Catie!

  3. The feathered look was still the thing when I started high school. Victoria Principal of “Dallas” fame was the celebrity hairstyle to have, and I had it, LOL! By Junior year, I had long, wavy hair almost exactly like I wear now, only then it needed perming to look like that (amazing what pregnancy does to your hair!). Then I went big hair senior year. My daughter and her friends tend to favor more wash-n-wear styles now, and they’re cute.

  4. I love this! The hiarstyles in high school were a lot like there are today… at least for my friends. All us girls had long, straight hair. Not many of us hand bangs or anything like that. Really boring, but classic I guess. Now, in junior high… that was another story. I would take my horribly thin bangs, split them in half, curl the top half back and the front half forward, rat it up, and spray, spray, spray with hairspray. Oh. It was horrible.

  5. My high school had the horrible big hair. In fact, lots of girls only teased their bangs up, kind of like a wall. To look at them from the side was a scary sight. I for one looked sideways in the mirror and made sure my bangs teased down at a nice angle, so much better, lol. 1/2 way through my senior year I went straight 🙂 it was a bit of a controversy. Now a days I still dry my hair straight, although after having my 2-kids my hair is now a bit curly. I wonder if that means something 😉

  6. LOL! I had big Texas hair with the tight perm. Sometimes I curled it smooth but mostly it was teased and scrunched with a lot of hair spray. My sister and I went through a ton of hair spray to battle the Houston-area humity. Sheesh. I don’t spend near as much time or use as much hair spray on my hair now.

    Those pictures are great! 🙂

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