Fact Checked

What is a Shag Haircut?

Sonal Panse
Sonal Panse

A shag haircut is a layered hair style that can be worn short, medium or long. The layers are cut in an even progression, with the short layers at the top and longer layers at the bottom. The overall effect is a tousled, shaggy crown of hair with uneven feathered, fringed or wispy ends, but, from the 70's shag to more modern emo styles, this haircut comes in a good many variations. As a style, it is very easy to maintain at home, which, along with its trendy look, accounts for its popularity.

It is a good idea to consult an experienced hair stylist before deciding on the type of shag haircut. Based on the face shape and hair type of a person, the stylist can determine whether a short haircut, medium hairstyle or a long shag will be suitable. A short hair style with a messy shag or a medium one with bangs, for instance, can create a thinning effect on people with round or plump faces. Someone with square or angular features, on the other hand, might go with the softening effects of a long shag haircut.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

When going for a short hairstyle, keep in mind that the hair once cut will take time in growing back. It is also not possible to wear a ponytail or a braid with short hair. Therefore, a person who tends to get bored with one style quickly might be better off going for a medium or long hair style. With a long shag haircut, the layers are kept relatively long, with the shortest one ending at ear-lobe level, allowing for quite a lot of experimentation.

Hair type, of course, is another important consideration. Generally, the trademark layered form of a shag haircut works best with thick, wavy or curly hair, although expert cutting and styling may make a positive difference for fine hair. To achieve a sexy shag look, try going for different types and lengths of layers and bangs. Adding highlights will also help as they will draw the eye to the hair texture.

A stylist may cut a shag haircut with scissors or with a razor, depending on the effect required; scissors can give a more feathery appearance. The ends may be styled with a curling iron or a round brush. Blow-drying and conditioning the hair can help add volume, if needed.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


A shag also refers to a black hairstyle popular in the 70s/80s where you had a little afro just at the back of the head across the back hairline. The rest of the fro is cut short. Maybe that's technically a "curly shag haircut"?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Woman with hand on her hip
      Woman with hand on her hip