The Shag Haircut Comeback
These Adorable Shag Haircuts Will Make You Want to Grab the Scissors!
When Harry met Sally back in 1989, women of the world met Sally’s shag haircut, a layered hairstyle that would go on to become one of the most copied in recent history. Fast-forward a few years: Model Freja Beha Erichsen came strutting down the runways with a brand-new version of the shag haircut that had editors . . . well, let’s just say those noises Meg Ryan made in her famous sandwich scene were not far off. “The new shag has a definite rock and roll feel,” says hairstylist Sam McKnight, who has tended to Erichsen’s shag.“It’s almost boyish . . . more messy than pretty, like the shag haircut of the ‘70s.” Think allover layers that look positively unkempt as opposed to perky—Mick Jagger, not Meg Ryan. The fervor over Erichsen’s hair has only increased as she’s grown it out, demonstrating the style’s ability to look good at every length.
According to hairstylist Christiaan, who also cuts Erichsen’s layers, this is because it’s more “ragged out” than its ‘80s incarnation . . . in other words, it has an edgier, hacked-into effect. While the cut may indeed convey toughness, its tousled layers are also undeniably sexy. “Blunt plays well in the boardroom,” Model Solange Wilvert says Christiaan. “But this plays better in before she was the bedroom.” Which should come as no surprise—it is, after all, dubbed the “shag.”
A shag’s intentionally messy layers may make it the ultimate do-nothing haircut. Not only is it wash-and-go, it’s don’t-wash-and go: “I tell people to shampoo only every second or third day,” Christiaan says. “It allows the hair’s own oils to give it some natural texture.” If you need a little something more to achieve the right piecey finish, try a dollop of light hair cream (we like Pantene Pro-V Anti-Frizz Straightening Crème and Kiehl’s Stylist Series Creme with Silk Groom). Rub a pea—size dab between your fingertips and scrunch damp or dry hair lightly for the desired look of semi-dirtiness.
As a more-styled alternative, consider erratically straightening your hair: On air-dried hair, smooth random sections with a flat iron, leaving others untouched. (Don’t let the iron linger—a very quick pass over each section will suffice.) “Vary the sizes of the sections,” McKnight says. “On some pieces, do just the roots, and on others just the ends. The more haphazard-looking, the better.”
How to Get the Cut
Not only can a shag be straight, wavy, or curly, it can also be any length, from above the ears to below the shoulders—making it less of a specific shape and more of a mentality. “This is not a cookie-cutter, cut,” says McKnight, global style ambassador for Pantene. “So it’s even more important than usual to go to someone whose work you know and like.”
- Find a Photo ~~ Because the word “shag” means different things to different people, be sure to bring your hair stylist a picture of what you want.
- Ask Your Pro to Cut Like and Amateur ~~ Tell your stylist to make it look like you took a pair of scissors to your hair yourself. “That’s what Freja always asks for,” McKnight says.“You’re aiming for a grown-out kind of vibe.”
- Seriously Consider Bangs ~~ Full-on fringe is not mandatory, but you’ll at least want to think about a few brow-length, bang-like pieces in front, which can be swept to the side. If you forgo them, make sure your shortest layers are longer than ear length. “Otherwise, shorter bits may get in your face and drive you crazy,” says McKnight.
Customizing the Cut
“The shag is really a bespoke cut,” Mcknight says. “It’s different on every individual.” Here, how to tailor the look to your hair type.
- If you have fine Hair~~ A lot of choppy layers can make fine hair look thinned-out, which, paradoxically, creates an unfortunate fluffiness. As for length: Not everyone with fine hair needs to go short, but if you’re very wispy to begin with, ask your stylist to bring the ends up to at least shoulder length.
- If You Have Thick Hair ~~ Coarse hair usually works with any length of shag haircut, but it may require additional thinning out to reduce the bulk. This can be achieved either by layenng or cutting with a razor (which should not be done more than once every four to six weeks, as it can split and damage the hair).
- If You Have Curly Hair ~~ “Loose curls make a shag look, more free,” Christiaan says. (Those with tight spirals should skip this cut.) Opt for a bob length or a short boy version that has longer layers around the ears and the front. “If it’s too long all over, the curls will form a heavy block,” McKnight says.
Shag Layered Haircuts are Back From the Past
Layered shag haircuts are one of the most commonly requested haircuts that I get. Everyone wants a layered haircut, whether they are long layers, short layers, or somewhere in between. What I’m suggesting a lot right now is an updated version of the layered shag. Remember the shag layered haircuts from the 70’s and 80’s? Well, they are back again in a big way!.
Short Layered Shag Haircuts
Meg Ryan, first made the short layered haircut famous and Lisa Rinna has now perfected it. Their layered shag haircuts are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. A layered shag hairstyle is great for someone who wants a lot of body, movement and texture in their short hair. If you want to steal this hairstyle, I would suggest asking your hairdresser for super short layers blended into the length of your hair.
This is such an easy haircut to style in the morning, you’ll be able to get out of the house in a flash! Blow dry all over, no need to use a brush and then add some texturizing product like Bed Head Manipulator, into the hair and style. I love these short layered shag haircuts since they are so easy to style and so stylish to wear!
Medium Layered Shag Haircut
Incorporating this shag hairstyle, are great for those in the process of growing out their hair. It will give you a fabulous new look while your hair is ‘in-between’ hairstyles. For a medium layered shag, you can get away with longer layers. Have your hairdresser cut in all over layers and then go back and do loads of texturizing throughout for that shaggy look.
Long Layered Shag Haircut
I love, love, love this look! This is a great way to add a lot of volume and body to long, lifeless locks. If you love this long layered haircut too, ask your hairdresser for a lot of choppy layers throughout your long hair. You can style this by flipping hair in and out with a flat iron or large barrel curling iron and then spraying a dry wax spray throughout layered pieces. I like Paul Mitchell’s Dry Wax, because it doesn’t seem to leave too much of a build up on strands.
These long layered haircuts are so hot right now, I think I may just have to copy Ashlee Olsen’s hairstyle and claim it as my own. Remember that we are all about change and switching up your hairstyle this season, so why not try one of these shag-alicious styles.
How to Get the Shattered Shag Haircut
- The Cut ~~ Long, sliced-in layers make one of the sexiest shag hairstyles I’ve seen from the hands of Heidemarie Hisle of Phoenix, AZ, the cut truly emphasizes today’s on the edge styled woman. The longest pieces appear in front for the illusion of length; back and side layers are short enough for control. Jagged bangs bring the feeling full circle.
- The Color ~~ Cool russet with a hint of copper comes from a custom formula you can only get in a hair care salon. By using natural brunette as the base and adding the top tones, you get natural depth and dimension.
- How to Style It ~~ Work mousse throughout your hair and dry as you use a round brush to create the basic shape. When hair is damp, mist on spray gel or a finishing spray and continue to dry, emphasizing the piecey layers. To finish, take a touch of styling crème and finger-comb the front and surface strands.
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