Shag Hair Styles

Lisa Marie
13 Shag Hair Styles for Men and Women
13 Shag Hair Styles for Men and Women

Shag hair styles are fun, easy-to-maintain looks suitable for different lengths of hair. For men, women, and teens interested in a carefree style, shags are the perfect choice.

Types of Shag Hair Styles

The best way to define a shag style is that it has the "messy-on-purpose" look. While most shags do require minimal styling to look their finest, they present a carefree, confident attitude because they do not need extensive maintenance or styling before being worn. Shags invariably include layers, but the types of layers and how they are arranged vary depending on the length of the hair.

  • Short Shags: Shag hair styles for short hair may involve several layers, typically framing the face, while there are fewer layers in the back to give a slightly more uniform appearance without sacrificing volume.
  • Medium Shags: Shags for medium hair can have either a few or many layers, depending on personal preferences. A greater number of layers will lighten the hair and add additional volume, while fewer layers present a sleeker look.
  • Long Shags: Long hair in a shag style often uses fewer layers, since very long hair will appear ragged and unkempt with too many layers.

Regardless of the length, the outermost layer (from the crown of the head) is typically the longest, providing a smooth finish to the style and giving the hair a natural flow. Shag styles can also be wavy, though curly shags are very difficult to manage and tend to tangle easily.

Celebrity Shag Hair Styles

Many celebrities have worn shag hair styles and made these looks popular. Actress Meg Ryan sported her famous short, messy shag hair cut for many years. She also wore many different layered and shaggy versions of the bob haircut throughout her career.

Singer Ashlee Simpson also sported medium length shag hair for many years in her early career. The rocker and actress wore both a platinum blonde and raven colored shoulder length shag hair cut with layers and short bangs.

Actress Lisa Rinna has one of the most famous shag haircuts in Hollywood. For years, the actress has been sporting a short brunette shag. The cut features multiple razor cut short layers as well as bangs.

Adding Details to a Shag Style

Any shag style can be easily modified to suit personal preferences and individuality. Teens, in particular, enjoy the styles for both the quick, easy maintenance and the ability to personalize the look. Adding highlights or vibrantly colored tips or streaks to the hair is a great way to make a bold statement, while choosing eye-catching accessories is another way to spice up the style for special occasions.

long shag with bangs
Long Shag with Bangs

Choosing Your Best Shag

The first thing to consider when choosing a shag style is the length. Short cuts can take a long time to grow out if you later decide you don't like the look, while longer styles can be easily trimmed away. Next, consider face shape before choosing a final style: longer hair helps balance a round face, while tapered bangs and fringe can soften angular facial features.

Shags do not typically work well with very fine hair, which can tangle easily and can become weighed down even with carefully designed layers. Because of their multiple layers, shags are not easy to braid, though they can be tamed with multiple styling products if you want a more uniform look.

How to Style a Shag Hair Cut

Styling is very easy, as it is designed to be slightly messy and carefree. For best results when styling, apply a volumizing root lifter or volumizing mousse to clean damp hair.

When blow drying the hair, use hands and fingers to tousle and lift the hair until it is 90% dry. This will help create definition in the shaggy layers of the hairstyle and save time when styling. Take a small round brush and lift hair by the root and blast with warm hair to add extra volume to the style. For even more volume, dry the hair with the head upside down.

If you want a choppy looking shag, consider flat ironing the ends of the hair. Make sure to apply a heat protecting spray, such as Chi's Iron Guard prior to straightening the hair.

For a softer, more manageable finish, add a styling cream such as Bumble and Bumble's Grooming Cream to the hair, working the product from root to tip. Use fingers to separate hair until the desired look is achieved. For a more edgy look finish the hair with a strong hold gel to create structure, such as Nexxus's Exxtra Gel working the product through the ends of the hair and tousling the hair until a messy, edgy look is achieved.

Caring for Shag Hair Styles

short shag
Short, Choppy Shag

The best part about these styles is that they're relatively low maintenance. Shags typically need trims every 4-8 weeks, but because they're purposefully erratic, ragged ends are not as noticeable. After washing, hair can be left to air dry naturally or it can be minimally styled with a bit of volumizer or spray for control. Using conditioner regularly will help keep the style healthy and prevent tangling between the different layers.

If letting the style grow out, go for 8-12 weeks before trimming. While growing out other hairstyles requires more frequent trimming, messy or split ends on a shag hairstyle are not as noticeable. After this initial grow-out phase, layers can be trimmed to blend in with the hair better without taking too much length off, and the shag can be transformed into a smoother, more subtle hairstyle.

Jaunty, flirty, and carefree, shag hair styles are a great look for anyone who doesn't want to spend hours styling the perfect coif. They are suitable for any hair length, and can even be personalized, making it easy to find the best look for your lifestyle and hair care preferences.

Shag Hair Styles