Did you know that the shag is making a comeback? It’s true; however, it’s not the same hairstyle it was in the ‘70s or ‘80s. Let me explain…
The haircut known as “the shag” was originally influenced by the “hippie” generation of the ‘70s. They became part of the punk movement that was also enjoyed by pop stars where the haircut was heavily layered and textured. David Bowie and many other stars wore these looks, which made the hairstyle quite famous. The mullet also became a favorite style proving that long hair could stay longer with the diversity of a short look that focused on facial features. Often these styles were shown off by adding punky colors to draw attention to the cut.
Styling a shag was entirely different then, as the hair was usually set on large rollers and teased to get a messy look. As we moved into the ‘80s, the hairstyle became more of an unkempt surfer look and was easier to style to appear more natural.
Wild and piece-y, the newest shags are even more disheveled with loads of layers, shattered texture, and disconnected ends. Shags, no matter the length, are edgy by nature. Hair color is a plus, where adding highlights or a bolder color effect emphasizing that choppy look. The haircut itself can be razor cut, texture cut with shears to promote the shattered texture or chunked merely out with cutting shears of choice.
Newer versions of the classic haircut feature more wash-and-wear hair with the use of styling product to show off the texture. These looks can be accomplished with the use of a round brush and blow-dryer or a blow-dryer and diffuser to scrunch certain sections of the hair for the desired effect. Smoother, piece-y looks can also be created utilizing a flat iron to bend the hair at the root and add movement to the ends.
The styling product used to achieve these looks will depend on the hair texture and how much hold or volume you choose. For naturally curly, wavy or just fine, wavy hair you may want to use a mousse with a blow-dryer and diffuser. Just tip your head forward with the hair directed into a diffuser and use your fingers to dry, keeping the curls in a natural wave pattern. A shine product can be used on the ends to show off the cut. For naturally smooth, straighter hair or fine strands you may choose a styling gel for extra volume and hold. Use a round brush and blow-dryer to bend the ends and show more movement. The addition of a shine product or extra gel on the ends after the hair is dry will also show off the pieciness of the cut. Once dry and styled, lightly mist with hairspray for more movement and texture.
Last, but certainly not least, remember that there is no right or wrong way to style a shag. What is important is to just have fun with it!
1. Hair: Darren Ambrose • Makeup: Mary Jane Frost • Photo: Jenny Hands
2. Hair: Raffel Pages • Photo: David Arnal
3. Hair: Amparo Fernández • Makeup: Trini F. Silva • Styling: La Condesa • Photo: Rebeca Saray
4. Hair: Karine Jackson using Organic Color Systems • Makeup: Belinda Zollo • Photo: Andrew O’Toole
Marjorie Smith brings several decades of beauty industry experience to light with her insightful mix of technical knowledge and aesthetic expertise. Her career as a hairdresser, educator, and platform artist has evolved into marketing strategy, product development, and brand management. She is also a highly skilled technical writer specializing in hair color.