Can't-Miss Shag Haircuts, From Short to Long

Updated 03/22/19
01 of 24

The Modern Shag Haircut

Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough. Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The shag haircut is very rock 'n' roll—casual, mussy, and visually effortless. The typical features that make up a shag hairstyle include choppy ends, layers around the crown, and lots of texture.

The shag works on almost every hair texture, and in every hair length. You do have to be careful with the shag, though, because it's a hairstyle that can appear dated with too many layers. Search online for "shag hairstyles" and you'll see tons of photos that look straight out of 1999. Think Jennifer Aniston on the early "Friends" episodes, or a dude with a mullet.

The modern shag is choppy and has lots of texture, but doesn't make you look like you're in an 80s hair metal band.

02 of 24

The Queen of Modern Shag

alexa-chung-shag.png
David M. Benett (l) and Marc Piasecki (r) for Getty Images

Alexa Chung is sometimes credited as the "inventor" of the modern shag hairstyle, and has worn many versions of it over the years. Her looks range from short to long to shoulder-length, to somewhere between the chin and shoulders. It can look both mod and classy, depending on how it's styled, and Chung is proof of that.

03 of 24

The Shag Works With Bangs

Alexa Chung with bangs. Jason Kempin//Getty

The secret to a truly great shag hairstyle fully lies in the cut. Ask for choppy ends and layering. Your stylist may need to create layers with a razor, which helps add movement to hair, and allows the stylist to remove some of the heaviness. As for bangs, they work great with the modern shag, too. Alexa Chung has sported some sexy bangs with the shag, including a pretty blunt cut. Long side-swept bangs paired with a shag hairstyle are lovely as well.

04 of 24

Get the Mussy Look

Julianne Hough. Valerie Macon for Getty Images

Though there are exceptions, shag cuts are at their best when they're not overly done. You know the look: blow-dried to perfection, with not a hair out of place. No matter the hair length, mussy shag almost always looks better. Dancer and singer Julianne Hough is a rockstar at the mussy shag.

To Get the Mussy Look

  • If you have straight hair, ask for choppy ends when you get your hair cut. Scrunch it and let it air dry.
  • For curly hair, ask for layers to be cut in so that the fullness isn't on the ends. You want to avoid A-frame hair, where the ends fluff out like a poodle skirt, a look that is accented with curls. Muss up your curls by allowing them to air dry and twist the curls into thick ringlets as they dry.
  • When it comes to wavy hair, you can skip the flat-iron and embrace your waves. With a great cut, your hair should dry naturally into an envious, gorgeous shape. Freshen your hair with gorgeous highlights, instead. When styling, add texture with a texturizing spray like Sachajuan's Ocean Mist ($31).
05 of 24

A Well-Kept Short Shag

Jane Fonda. From left: Pascal Le Segretain and Jason Merritt for Getty Images

Jane Fonda is another person famous for her shag hairstyles. This is one of her shorter cuts, though she looks lovely with a well-kept longer shag as well.

To get this look, ask your stylist to cut choppy layers from front to back with shorter layers framing your face. This is a neater shag, so feel free to use a molding gel to style your hair.

06 of 24

The Modern Short Shag

Edie Campbell
Edie Campbell. Getty Images: Melodie Jeng (l) and Pascal Le Segretain (r)

Model Edie Campbell wears a great hairstyle that is both shaggy and short. It's an interesting, severe look that works particularly well with her blonde highlights, and looks great on her long, slim face. 

07 of 24

The Short, Sporty Shag

Lisa Rinna. Frederick M. Brown for Getty

The key to actress Lisa Rinna's sporty shag haircut is to not style it too much, according to hairstylist Kerrie Urban in Allure. Urban suggests avoiding products like gels, which make your hair stiff. Instead, opt for styling creams with a medium hold.

08 of 24

A Lovely Medium Shag

Arizona Muse. Kirsten Sinclair for Getty Images

This is a lovely shag hairstyle on model Arizona Muse. It's the perfect example of wash, scrunch, and go. The shag looks best when air-dried or blown dry with a diffuser—just keep in mind that you should always scrunch from below.

09 of 24

The Soft, Sheek Shag

Karlie Kloss. Dimitrios Kambouris for Getty Images

Karlie Kloss's cut is great for women with some natural wave in their hair. It shows that you can get a sleek, sexy style out of a shag with the proper styling. For this look, the wave is accented by beautiful golden highlights.

10 of 24

The Long in Front Shag

Dawn Olivieri. Michael Buckner // Getty Images

Actress Dawn Olivieri wears a great, and sexy, curly shag. Leaving it left long in front allows the tendrils to frame her beautiful face while the back is cut shorter. It still has that wild aspect that makes shags such fun.

11 of 24

The Messy Shag

Dianna Agron. Kevin Winter // Getty Images

Actress Dianna Agron's shag is more messy than mussy, and it's absolutely fabulous. It's another perfect example of a modern shag hairstyle on straight hair and leaves a shorter cut in the back. You can definitely mimic this look after getting the cut. Scrunch in the texturizing spray, and let your hair air dry the rest of the way. The more natural, the better.

12 of 24

The Subdued Shag

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Dianna Agron. Getty: D Dipasupil (l) and Theo Wargo (r)

This version of Dianna Agron's shag is just the right amount of shaggy, mixed with a lot of sophistication. Since bedhead will always be popular, this look will carry you through another year without looking dated.

13 of 24

The Ombre Shag

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Kate Mara. Getty Images Rindoff Petroff/Dufour

If you feel like really changing up your hairstyle, mix the rocker shag with a funky ombré. Actress Kate Mara shows exactly how hot it looks, with her natural roots and super blonde ends. The highlights accent the choppy ends perfectly.

14 of 24

The Long Shag Bob

Maria Valverde. Carlos Alvarez for Getty

Shag hairstyles are basically bobs—long bobs, long hairstyles, and even pixies—but with choppy ends and lots of layers. Spanish actress Maria Valverde offers us a stunning example of a long bob "shagified."

15 of 24

The Fall-in-Love Shag

Jennifer Lawrence. Jason Merritt for Getty

Allure asked Mark Townsend, Jennifer Lawrence's hairstylist and the man behind her layered shag hairstyle, for the story behind the cut. She was apparently inspired by Dianna Agron, and her choice to get the cut was "totally spontaneous." She fell in love with it and "couldn't stop running her fingers through her hair as I was cutting."

If Lawrence could fall in love with the idea of going so short, anyone can. 

16 of 24

The Bowl Cut Shag

Peyton Knight. JP Yim for Getty

Not all shags have extremely noticeable layers. Model Peyton Knight is known for her signature bowl cut it has just enough of a shag cut to look amazing on and off the runway.

17 of 24

The Mature Shag

Carine Roitfeld. Getty Images

The shag hairstyle isn't just for women in their teens and 20s. Here, former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld models a gorgeous shag hairstyle that's mussy and casual, with a little bit of rock-n-roll thrown in. The face-framing nature of the cut shows off her face shape, and highlights her bright smile.

18 of 24

The Gray Shag

Emmylou Harris. Michael Loccisano

Country music legend Emmylou Harris offers up another glamorous shag look that shows off her gray hair. It's a stunning look, and the long layers with full bangs are both classy and timeless.

19 of 24

The Shaggy Mop

Steffy Argelich. Steffy Argelich Instagram, photo by matteomontanariphotography

Model Steffy Argelich is well-known for the gorgeous wavy hair that she wears in a shaggy mop. This length is easy to care for, and doesn't require much more than some air drying, and maybe a light product.

20 of 24

The Gorgeous Blonde Shag

Tori Spelling. Jason Merritt

Medium-length hair can have some great shaping. Actress Tori Spelling allows her bright blonde bob to look both shaggy and elegant at the same time. This look is easy to get by way of curling your hair around a large-barreled curling iron. It's a quick way to take your style directly to super sweet.

21 of 24

The Soft Wave Shag

Marley Shelton. Alberto E. Rodriguez//Getty Images

Sweet and sexy, actress Marley Shelton offers another version of a wonderful medium-length shag hairstyle. This one is accented with soft waves, but it still has hints of that second-day look, which makes it even sexier.

22 of 24

The Curly Long Shag

Ashlee Simpson. Frank Micelotta for Getty

Singer and reality star Ashlee Simpson changes her hair often. When it comes to showing off a super long shag, this look is one of our favorites. The ultra long layers, soft curls, and side-swept bangs work with the deep chocolate color she chose here.

23 of 24

The Hot Long Shag

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Model Freja Beha Erichsen. Photo by Adam Whitehead

Model Freja Beha Erichsen is best-known for her shaggy long hair. It's her signature look, and her thick bangs frame her face perfectly. If you look at her photo shoots, you'll be inspired by just how versatile this look can be from day to day.

24 of 24

The Long Shag With Bangs

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The best bangs on Pinterest. Pinterest: http://honestlywtf.com/beauty/bangs/

A rocker girl hairstyle works so beautifully on people with thick hair. This is a funky style that features heavy bangs and an air-dried look. It's pretty low-maintenance, and can be left wavy or you can go straight if you like.

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