20 smells that will zap you right back to the 1980s
Take a whiff of the decade.
Out of all our senses, smell is most closely linked to memory. At least, that is what the smarty-pants scientists say.
So, if you want to travel back in time, you need only to huff, whiff and sniff. The scent of a beauty product can summon the feelings of first dates. Perhaps you remember the smell of certain toys. And there are those trendy foods you haven't tasted in ages.
Let's go back in time like Marty McFly to remember some strong smells of the Eighties. These stuck out in our mind. Which smells do you associate with the 1980s?
1. Drakkar Noir
Those who dreamed of being Gordon Gecko liberally splashed this fragrance from Guy Laroche Paris in locker rooms. Citrusy and floral, Drakkar Noir was a Ferrari poster in a bottle, the odor of aspiring Yuppiedom. It launched in '82, and was the top-seller three years later.
2. Salon Selectives
The sweet, fruity scent lingered in your head like the catchy commercial jingle.
Image: Helene Curtis
3. Burnt Hair in a Crimper
Flat hair was a no-no in the '80s. But careful with that crimper! Hold the Conair closed for too long, and you were left with the scent of singed hair.
Image: Sears / wishbookweb.com
If your sister or daughter happened to burn her bangs on the crimper, you could simply pop open the Renuzit Adjustable. The egg-shaped plastic pots could be found on end tables in every apartment.
Image: The Drackett Co. / Gregg Koenig
5. Strawberry Shortcake Dolls
People were so concerned with the smell of their hair, the act of sniffing follicles turned into a popular toy. Launched at the dawn of the decade, Strawberry Shortcake (along with her raspberry and apricot pals) reeked of synthetic fruit and plastic.
6. Plastic Halloween Masks
The chemical odor of the plastic was just as strong as the cutting sensation from the sharp edges that dug into your face.
7. Scratch 'N Sniff Stickers
A true academic motivator. Image work productivity if your boss gave you a "Scooper Dooper" chocolate ice cream sticker on a spreadsheet.
8. Chocolate Diet Drinks
Speaking of artificial chocolate smells, diet chocolate drinks were all the rage for the aerobics-crazed masses of '80s. Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge soda and Slim-Fast shakes were chocolate-ish, and that was close enough.
9. Sweaty Spandex
Look, it's gross, but it's the true. With all the Jazzercize, Jane Fonda tapes and hair metal bands, there was a lot of sweaty spandex going around.
Image: Sears / wishbookweb.com
10. Aqua Net Hairspray
It was not just for women. Not only did groups like Poison and Cinderella sport spandex, they went through can after can of Aqua Net.
Image: Aqua Net
11. Lip Smackers
The taste of so many, many first kisses, from Dr. Pepper to watermelon.
Image: Bonne Bell
Sorry for repeatedly bringing back the memory of burning hair.
13. VCR Head Cleaner
Look, it was probably just simple rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, but VCR Head Cleaner seemed like a magic potion for clearing up the picture on your Ghostbusters tape.
14. Warm video game cartridges
Cruddy pictures would sometimes plague your Ataris and Nintendos, too, at which point you would pull out the cartridge and blow the dust out of the inside. Holding the games up to your face, you would get hit with the smell of warm silicon circuit boards.
15. Dot Matrix Printer Paper
The dzzzzt-dzzzzzt-dzzzzt sound certainly still rings in our ears, but the zig-zagging stacks of dot-matrix paper had a distinctive scent, too.
16. Cinnamon dental products
First hitting grocery shelves in the late-1970s, Big Red blew up in the '80s thanks to its infectious jingle. ("So kiss a little longer…") Cinnamon flavors were all over the place in the toothpaste aisle, too, with Close-Up at the peak of its popularity.
17. Big League Chew
Inspired by the wads stuffed in baseball players' cheeks, this shredded treat hit you with the scent of bubble gum or artificial grape when you ripped open a pouch. Like candy cigarettes, but for chewing tobacco.
18. Microwave Popcorn
The miracle of nuking food took off in the early 1980s, mostly thanks to the new wonder of microwave popcorn. Pillsbury sold its bags in the frozen food section, with the TV dinners and whatnot. That warm butter odor… Mmm.
19. Cool Ranch Doritos
Introduced in 1986, Cool Ranch Doritos seemed like a radical idea. Now, ranch is everywhere, and overseas these chips are known as the "Cool American" flavor.
20. Oxy, Stridex and Noxzema
All that candy and junk food meant one thing — you had better stock up on your acne medicine. Oxy and Stridex pads could be found in most teenage medicine cabinets.
SEE MORE: 20 smells that will take you right back to the 1970s
Time for another dose of nose-talgia. READ MORE
Nair...nasty, messy, and ineffective. Dx
Surprised I don't recall 13-15.
My brother loved Big League Chew. Just like our dad's tobacco, lol. I'll never understand cinnamon candy--blech!!
But the last 3...mmm. Stridex was my best friend through high school and beyond. In my 30s somehow now, and the zits never ever diminish as promised no matter what you do...disgusting pointless things that have no right to endlessly show up uninvited...thank goodness for salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and concealer (though no shade is truly light enough for me...)
And love the crimped look, but with natural curls, the way I know the smell of burnt hair is from leaning too close to my candles. x3
I liked the scratch n sniff stickers.
I didn't notice chocolate drinks until 1992 when Tom Cruise drank Yoohoo in A Few Good Men. I went to the store and bought Yoohoo. It was great!
I used to take aerobics back in the 80's.
Nacho cheese Doritos are much better than cool ranch Doritos.
I also used to do aerobics; I still have all of my Kathy Smith VHS tapes..somewhere...
Cool Ranch smells - and tastes - like barf. Thanks...but no thanks. I'll stick with my Nacho Cheese flavored.
#14- Atari 2600 Berzerk. One of the most faithful ports of any arcade
game for that system!
I had to dig a little to find the list because I didn't remember what I had for the eighties. It was neoprene. (?)
#10 - Aqua Net had been around for years before the hair bands discovered it.
#13 - It was alcohol.
#16 - Dentyne was around for years before Big Red, and those of us who remember the '60's remember Adams' Cinnamint gum.
#17 - Big League Chew was invented by Jim Bouton, of "Ball Four" fame.