If you're shopping for a new 'do but want to keep your length, we have a proposition for you: the long shag. The shag haircut, which we can thank icons like Farrah Fawcett and Joan Jett for, gives you a little more edge to a classic layered look while also giving your hair natural volume. "The shag has been around since the early 1970s. Inspired by rock and roll, the haircut was a symbol of effortless freedom. It's basically an overly layered mid-length to long haircut that promotes volume and texture," says stylist Chris Jones.
And in case you're wondering if you can pull off this style, don't. This is a cut that works for every type of hair texture and face shape. It's true: Long shag haircuts make layered hair just that much more fun. But don't just take our word for it. We tapped Jones and hair pro Gretchen Friese to get their industry insight into what makes this trend so appealing along with a roundup of our favorite celeb long shag looks—with styling tips to match.
Meet the Expert
- Gretchen Friese is BosleyMD's trichologist and stylist. She is also a hairstylist and salon director at Foushee SalonSpa in Denver.
- Chris Jones is a stylist and the owner of Salon Bugatti. He is also a Virtue ambassador.
Click through to see 15 celebrities who are killing it in this long shag haircut.
We like to think that Alexa Chung was one of the first to bring back this trend. Her iconic shag and bangs combo has inspired many to imitate her look. Her undone texture and thick bangs look oh-so-effortless, even at a formal event.
Long shag haircuts were made for natural curls, as seen here on Zendaya. Her curly texture adds tons of volume and movement. Friese adds, "This style is made for curly hair. Straight or wavy hair wouldn’t have the same effect."
And can we take a minute to appreciate her bangs? While most people with curly hair shy from short bangs, Zendaya is rocking them here. To achieve her style, "Use a curl defining cream along with a lightweight gel and diffuse the hair until about 80% dry and then let it just air dry completely," instructs Friese.
Never has the shag looked as sultry as it does on Heidi Klum. Apparently "It's the effortless movement and texture you get with minimal work at home" that makes the shag so appealing, according to Jones. Whereas many of today’s cuts have been simplified to fewer layers and shorter lengths, he says, "the shag goes against the grain, breaks the mold, and brings back a softer, sexier more feminine vibe."
Gabrielle Union wears her layers long and curled with a nice brown tint. While most people think of the shag haircut as a messy, boho look, Gabrielle proves that it can also be sleek and smooth. Her layers perfectly frame her face.
Friese offers pro styling tips for achieving this look no matter your hair type: "Curly hair will need to use a smoothing product and blow the hair out straight with a bend at the ends. For wavy and straight strands, blowdry and use a large barrel curling iron."
Shay Mitchell wears her long shag haircut with beach waves. The undone texture accentuates the layers in her hair, giving her that "fresh-from-the-shore" look. Friese says, "This long shag is great because it really opens up her face" and works best on wavy and straight hair. She advises, "Use a volumizing gel and casually blow-dry. Finish with an extra-large barrel curling iron to create the texture at the ends."
Armed with her rose-colored glasses and long shag, Drew Barrymore plays homage to the decade of disco and disruption. "What I love about this look is that it virtually requires no effort. Throw in a little mousse, rough dry, and go" says Jones.
We are loving the effortless waves with Frida Gustavsson's long shag. Her curtain bangs flawlessly frame her bright green eyes and according to Friese, "They give this cut a little something extra." She recommends this style for those with wavy or straight hair. Simply "Use a volumizing mousse and medium-sized round brush to create this look. Focus on creating the wavy shape at the ends," she says.
Selena Gomez has recently gone back to brunette and got bangs to match her subtle layers. For a similar look, ask your hairstylist to cut your bangs with a razor for an edgier cut.
Behati Prinsloo's shag cut naturally frames her face—basically, it's layer perfection. Simply put some sea salt spray in your hair for a similar look.
Priyanka Chopra's soft fringe totally complements her layered cut while loose waves help to highlight movement. To achieve a similar style, Jones says to apply a small amount of Virtue 6-in-1 Styler to damp hair. Then blow-dry and finish with texturizing spray to get that undone finish.
It's all about texture with Julia Roberts's long shag haircut. To add volume and texture, try adding something like the Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray ($23). "I like the care-free look of this style," comments Friese.
She points out, "Wavy hair would be best for this look but it can work with slightly curly hair as well." Style "using a lightweight gel and either diffusing the hair or even air drying and loosening up the locks with fingers once the hair is dry."
Dakota Johnson wears a shag haircut with soft, wispy layers and a slight wave. The waves highlight her layers, but she kept her texture sleek and shiny, probably thanks to a good serum, like this one from OGX ($7).
Halle Berry looks youthful with this shag-fringe combo that underscores light, airy texture. "The beauty of this haircut actually lives in the form of a soft pony. Tons of height in the crown and all that softness that falls around the face," comments Jones.
To style, prep hair with a volumizing mousse pre-blow-dry and follow with texturizing spray. The secret ingredient? "A light dusting of Virtue Lifting Powder in the crown for added volume," reveals Jones.
Finally, Taylor Swift has had a shag cut since 2014 and has been growing it out. The longer length gives her that edge to match her newest music.
Camila Cabello demonstrates the wearability of the shag. "This in my opinion is a slightly more modern, conservative approach to the long shag," says Jones. "The long fringe complements the soft layers without feeling overly layered," he adds. To get her lustrous locks, try one of our must-have shine-inducing products.