Shag haircuts still trending right now, and below, I’ve put together pictures of some of the best and most modern ways to get this trendy cut. I’ve also included some of my best advice about how to choose the right one that works for you. But first…
What is a Shag Haircut?
A shag haircut is a versatile style characterized by lots of layers, especially around your face. Created by hairstylist Paul McGregor in 1971 for Jane Fonda, this classic cut is back in a big way. (Source)
Today, stylists customize shags to suit hair of every length, texture, and thickness.
If you have shorter hair, the layers will be a bit choppy and extremely volumizing. This is especially true if you have fine hair.
With medium-length shags, you get the best of both worlds. The mid-length ends will make your face look longer and closer to oval, the ideal face shape. The layers will give you volume and tons of styling options.
Rocking long locks? That means you can ask for even more layers! A long shag haircut is perfect for creating maximum texture on any hair type.
The shag haircut is also perfect for waves and curls. You can look forward to less frizz and balanced volume with this style.
In a nutshell, this shaggy hairstyle can enhance your appearance regardless of face shape, age, hair texture, or hair type.
The Best Shag Haircut for Your Face Shape
Your face shape is one of the biggest deciding factors in which shag haircut is best for you. That’s why it’s so important to figure out your face shape first.
It’s also crucial to remember that we all have unique genetics. And they have a huge impact on our facial features. (Source) Odds are you won’t be a perfect match for the textbook definition of your face shape. And that’s okay!
Follow these guidelines based on whichever is the closest match. You can pick 2 if you’re torn. Most importantly, ask your hairdresser to confirm your findings before starting the cut. This guarantees you’ll get a gorgeous shag.
Here are my expert tips on choosing a shag based upon your face shape:
- Diamond: The goal is to bring your cheekbones into balance with your chin and forehead. If you’re willing to go bold, a short shag mullet is the perfect choice. For a more timeless look, try a medium or long shag with chin-length layers.
- Heart-Shaped: Avoid volume in the crown and temples to create the illusion of an oval face shape. Any length of shag will be flattering, so long as you ask for face-framing layers. And bangs are perfect for your face—see the next section to learn more!
- Oval: You have what’s considered the ideal face shape. So, all you need to think about is your hair type and desired level of upkeep. Feel free to ask your stylist for their recommendation if you’re struggling to decide.
- Round: You’ll want a shag haircut that elongates your face shape and features. A medium or long shag with lots of volume on top is the easiest way to create this effect.
- Square: The focus for your face shape is rounding and softening your features. Your shag shouldn’t have much volume at the top. Instead, you’ll want face-framing layers starting around your cheekbones. When it comes to length, you can go as long or short as you want.
- Rectangle: The goal is always to achieve the illusion of an oval face shape. The easiest way for you to do so is a chin-length shag. Ask for layers that add a lot of movement and bounce around your jawline. This combo is perfect for softening and rounding your features.
How to Decide on Bangs
Deciding whether to add bangs to your shag can be a tough call—I know, I’ve been there. Your face shape and desired level of maintenance are the biggest considerations.
Here are my best tips for choosing fringe that suits your facial features without requiring tons of upkeep.
- Diamond: You want fullness around your forehead to balance your features. Curtain bangs or a heavy, side-swept fringe achieve this and draw attention to your eyes. Ask for layers or framing to help blend your fringe, and you can go 2-3 months between bang trims.
- Heart-Shaped: Bangs are an excellent choice for balancing the width of your forehead. And any variation will suit your face. If you opt for a full fringe, ask your stylist to cut them just above your eyebrow. With curtain or side bangs, ask for layers and wispiness. You should be able to go 2 months between bang trims with these tips.
- Oval: You have so many choices with this face shape. A center part with no bangs will give your shag hairstyle a classic feel. Side bangs or a classic full fringe will also be very flattering. But remember a full fringe will need more frequent trims.
- Round: Since the goal is to make your face look longer, avoid full bangs on your forehead. Side bangs or curtain bangs will add length to your face. Bonus: Both options will only need a trim every 1-2 months.
- Square: Wispy side bangs will help soften and round your facial features. When paired with lots of face-framing layers, this option can look gorgeous for 3-4 months before you need a bang trim.
- Rectangle: You can wear any style of fringe you like, so long as the ends are soft and wispy. A blunt edge on your bangs will only make your face look more angular. Ask for your bangs to be layered and wispy. With this trick, you shouldn’t need a bang trim for up to 2 months.
Hair Type Considerations
It’s true that your face shape should be the first thing you consider when choosing a shag hairstyle. But your hair type is a close second.
As you look through the photos in the gallery below, keep your hair texture in mind. You might adore a curly, bouncy, effortless-looking shag. But if your hair is fine and straight, getting that look every day could take hours.
Here are the lowest-maintenance shag variations by hair type:
- Wavy: A short or medium-length shag with lots of layers will help your waves look their best. If you prefer wearing your hair straight, ask for a long shag haircut. The extra weight will keep your locks from getting too fluffy or wavy.
- Curly (including perms): Any length will look great on you. If you opt to go shorter, remember your curls will bounce up quite a bit. A long shag would be gorgeous too, so long as your stylist blends the layers properly. I suggest finding a stylist who specializes in curls for the best results.
- Coily: If you visit a stylist experienced with coily hair, a shag is one of the best haircuts you can get. This hair type varies quite a bit from person to person. That’s why I recommend finding a stylist to cut your hair dry. Layers are important, but they need to be perfectly customized to your head of hair.
- Straight (including relaxed hair): Do you want maximum texture and movement? Then ask for choppier layers regardless of length. Getting your shag cut with a razor instead of scissors is a great way to achieve this. For a sleeker look, ask your stylist for a modern shag with longer, blended layers.
- Fine: The shorter you go, the more volume you’ll get. If you aren’t ready for short hair, that’s fine too. Ask your stylist for a medium-length shag and razored layers to get the best of both worlds.
- Thick and/or coarse: A shag haircut for women can make thick and coarse hair look more styled and intentional. Adding edgy, choppy layers will reduce bulk and unwanted volume. Best of all, you’ll need to do very little daily styling.
- Gray: First, consider the texture of your gray hairs. Are they wiry and unruly, or soft and flat? For wiry hair, a short shag will make you look effortlessly youthful and on-trend. If yours are soft, ask for your ends to stay mostly one length. You’ll want strategic layers and a bit of thinning to add movement and infuse freshness into your look.
- Damaged or heavily processed: A shag haircut is perfect for damaged or processed hair. You can preserve your length while cutting off most of the damaged hair to create layers. The punkier you’re willing to go, the more damage your stylist can remove.
How to Style Your Shag Haircut
My favorite thing about shag haircuts for women is that you can customize it to any hair type or lifestyle. And with my pro styling tips below, you can easily make every day a great hair day.
Styling a Shag on Fine to Medium Hair
Volume and texture are the name of the game here. Your shag haircut is full of movement and dimension. Showcasing these features will give you a fresh, youthful look.
If you fall into this category, I recommend Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse. This product is incredible for fine to medium hair because it offers all-day thickness and fullness. It’ll make your hair feel and look thicker without any crunch or stickiness.
Bonus: it’s also a heat protectant! Apply this product to damp hair from roots to ends. Follow with blow-drying for maximum volume. As you blow-dry, brush your hair up and towards your face. This creates movement in your ends and lift at your roots.
Styling a Shag on Thick or Damaged Hair
Styling can be tricky when you have thick or damaged hair. You want your hair to look and feel fabulous, but too much heat styling can cause long-term damage.
As a hairdresser with damaged hair, I can’t speak highly enough of It’s a 10 Silk Express Miracle Leave-In. Every product from this brand offers 10 distinct benefits, like heat protection, replacing lost proteins, and nourishing dry/frizzy hair.
Mist this product on damp hair from your roots to your ends. Start with just a spritz or two on your roots, and a bit more as you work down. Comb through with a wide-toothed comb. Let your hair dry naturally if you want to show off your natural texture.
If you decide to blow-dry, avoid lifting your hair too much. Instead, brush your hair down as you dry to reduce bulk and unwanted fluffiness. Then touch up your ends with a flat iron or add curls if desired.
Styling a Shag on Wavy, Curly, or Coily Hair
The shag haircut and curly textures are a match made in heaven. You won’t have to do much in the way of daily styling to look amazing.
Focusing on your hair care routine is the key to these textures. If you aren’t already using a deep conditioner or hair mask, now is the perfect time to start. Taking this extra bit of time when washing your hair will make daily styling that much easier.
I’m a huge fan of the Davines LOVE Curl Hair Mask. This product adds softness and moisture to your curls without reducing their elasticity. You can say goodbye to tangles and frizz without sacrificing bounce and volume.
Use a dollop weekly (or monthly) in the shower after rinsing your normal shampoo and conditioner. Then style as desired.
Maintaining Your Shag Hairstyle
Another great thing about shag hairstyles is they don’t have to be high maintenance. At the same time, you can ask your stylist for a dramatic or more edgy version to show off your punky personality.
This huge spectrum of options is why I’ve broken things down by levels of maintenance below. Consider your hair type, face shape, and preferred level of upkeep to choose the perfect shag.
- In a perfect world, you’d visit the salon once every year or so. Ask for a shag with blended layers and bangs that’ll look good grown out. When your stylist knows you want a low-maintenance cut, they’ll customize it accordingly.
- You enjoy getting a wash and trim every 8 to 10 weeks. You can play with fun details like super-short layers in the crown area or trendy bangs. Trim up anything you enjoyed at your next visit, and don’t touch any areas you’d like to grow out.
- You have no qualms about visiting often for quick cleanups. Ask your stylist for their creative vision of your shag and see how it sounds to you. Shag haircuts don’t need monthly trims unless you have very precise bangs or a super punky style, like a shag mullet.
- You need to be able to get out of bed and start your day right away. The best thing you can do is choose a shag hairstyle that suits your hair type. Whether you’re a busy mom or just not a morning person, this will make mornings go smoother. Be sure to tell your stylist if you need to pull everything into a ponytail— short shag layers are hard to pull back.
- You don’t mind spending 15 minutes or so doing your hair before going out. Again, try to pick a shag that’s mostly compatible with your natural texture. But feel free to go crazy with the layers. Don’t be afraid to add bangs and face-framing layers. These sections only take a couple of minutes to style each morning.
- You’ll spend up to an hour blow-drying, curling, or flat ironing your shag each day. Go with whichever inspiration photo speaks to you most! And confirm with your hairdresser that it’ll flatter your face shape. Finally, invest in a good heat protectant to avoid frizz and split ends.
Shag Hairstyle Ideas
Now you know exactly what varieties of the shag hairstyle are perfect for you. Check out these photos of gorgeous shags below to get inspired before your next salon visit!