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 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 55 long shag haircuts that are rife with inspiration.
Shoulder-Length With Texture
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 percent dry and then let it just air dry completely," instructs Friese.
Long and Loose
Never has the shag looked as sultry as it does on Jessica Biel. 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."
Face-Framing With Waves
Gisele wears her layers long and curled with a nice brown tint. While most people think of the shag haircut as a messy, boho look, Gisele 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, blow-dry 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.
Ciara's shag cut naturally frames her face—it's layer perfection. Simply put some sea salt spray in your hair for a similar look.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas's soft fringe 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 ($34) to damp hair. Then blow-dry and finish with texturizing spray to get that undone finish.
It's all about texture with Jennifer Hudson's retro take on the shag haircut. To add volume and texture, try adding something like the Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray ($23). "I like the carefree 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 lives in the form of a soft pony. Tons of height in the crown and all that softness that falls around the face," says 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," says Jones. (Note: this product is out of stock. We suggest trying Verb's Volume Texture Powder ($20) as an alternative).
Taylor Swift's shag helped her transition from curls and ringlets to grown-up waves and bobs. This look is all about volume, so blow-dry with a round brush at the roots and bangs to amp up the sexy nature of this style.
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.
Shag Meets Mullet
A mullet is a shag by another name. Similarly, it has lots of choppy layers and the more modern varieties keep things simple with plenty of texture. To style, brush the sides flat and tapered with the Club Brush ($12) and add a spritz of texturizing spray.
Lightly Feathered With Waves
A feathered, Farrah Fawcett-like take on the shag, this look is all about a high-quality blowout. While drying the hair, be sure to use a smaller-barreled (3/4"-1") round brush to create those brushed-back, defined, feathery pieces that look so killer here.
Curly With Bangs
Whether you have natural curls or not, this curly shag can be recreated at home. Use a wide-barrel wand to create loose waves and brush them out with your fingers for that lived-in look.
Embrace your natural curls with a shag. For a look like this, ensure hair stays well-moisturized by committing to a weekly application of a deep conditioning mask. We love the Hydrate Superfood Deep Treatment Mask from Pureology ($41).
This look is an amalgamation of styles. The layers offer a similar vibe to a mullet, but the bangs are pure 1960s. To style, use a round brush on the bangs and let the rest of the hair air-dry.
This side-swept look is all about the part. A deep side part helps add volume to the roots. A volumizing spray like It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Blowdry Volumizer ($18) helps, too.
Air-drying a shag, and using your fingers to add volume and brush through any texture, is key to a casual look. We like Hairstory’s Hair Balm ($37) to provide the perfect shaggy wave.
Loose, but still pulled together, this textured look has bends throughout and volume at the roots. If you have straight hair like Sandra Bullock, ask your stylist for choppy ends, which will add movement.
Great for those with natural texture, this look sees long, grown-bangs serving to frame the face. Work through a curl cream and air dry for a similar look.
Sometimes, a shag can benefit from a curling iron. After drying and curling, work in a dollop of SexyHair Wetfix & Chill All-Style Dry Creme ($23) for a just-woke-up-like-this look.
Rounded and Curly
A fro meets a shag with this look, which features natural, well-moisturized curls and fringey bangs. Be sure to invest in a finishing product to avoid frizz-causing humidity.
Asking your stylist to leave your bangs at or below eyebrow level helps provide a 1970s, cool and casual vibe. Further the look by keeping ends loose and wavy and using a round brush to curve the bangs just slightly inward.
This undone look is great for those with natural texture. To keep hair moisturized prior to styling, work in a dollop of Amika's Curl Corps Defining Cream ($26).
This classic shag is great for longer hair types and comes accented with soft waves. This style works with hair that hasn't been cleaned in a couple of days, which allows for the style to stay a little longer.
An ear tuck makes every style instantly chicer—even a wavy shag, as seen here. Keep ends razored for an uneven look and part hair in the center to keep things classic.
Wavy With Soft Fringe
Volume on the ends and texture on the bangs—this style offers the best of both worlds. It's also ideal for those who are growing out their fringe, or rock curtain bangs, as it allows the shorter hair to blend into the sides.
Keep bangs brushed down and forward for this look, which pairs straight bangs with loose waves. To keep hair soft and silky while maintaining definition, we love Ouidad's Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel ($26) for summer styles.
A center part helps show off your face and your hair in this style, which is all about well-maintained hair. Keep hair frizz-free with a product such as Cantu's Leave-in Conditioner ($7), which can be reapplied throughout the day.
Bangs and Waves
A hat and a shag go hand-in-hand, particularly if you keep the accessory perched farther back on your head. That allows for a better look at the bangs, which are eyebrow-grazing and full, to match the textured end.s
This is a sophisticated take on the shag, which sees one side much fuller than the other. Try teasing the roots and blow drying the hair with the head hanging upside down to get the most volume.
Beach waves go high impact with ultra-long extensions, seen here. Try clip-in extensions for all the drama without all the commitment.
The bangs here are a little haphazard and that's kind of the point. While the ends are one-length and fairly blunt, the bangs get layers with varying lengths that add character and help show off the face.
Wet Look and Side Part
Another of our favorite wet looks, this style allows a shag to look, well, less like a shag, Just rock a side part and add some gel to waves. Keep hair shiny with a product like Aveda Brilliant Damage Control ($32) sprayed on at the end.
Curling a shag allows the layers to blend fairly seamlessly (which serves to add more mileage to the style). Add volume with a side part and a hair pin on one side, clipping hair above one ear.
Even those with super-straight hair can rock a shag. Just ask your stylist to cut long layers and bangs (and ensure the bangs are layered, too, for a casual look).
This romantic look comes courtesy of layers that are strategically placed around the face. When curled just right, it gives off a retro look (one perfect for evening or a wedding).
Tousled With Layers
The key to perfectly tousled hair? Great products. Blow dry hair until it's nearly dry and finish with Oribe's Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray ($44) for a similar look.
Long and Straight
The long bangs—which graze the eyes and get longer on the sides—mimic the long, layered here. Ask your stylist to cut gradual layers, from the bangs to the ends, for a similar look.
Wavy With Curtain Bangs
Short curtain bangs are one of our favorite looks because they don't require as much commitment as a traditional fringe. Here, Gemma Chan's long bangs are parted in the center, blending in with the rest of her long, wavy shag.
Long Curtain Bang Blend
Those growing out their bangs will appreciate this fresh spin on the shag, which sees long curtain bangs blending into shoulder-length hair. Keep curls natural and well-moisturized to combat frizz.
This look is proof that bangs don't have to be perfect. Grown-out, sparser bangs can shine when worn with a full, loosely wavy style, as seen here on Zooey Deschanel.
Heavy Curtain Bangs
Teasing the hair at the root is a surefire way to mimic this sort of volume. Full bangs can also be parted slightly in the center, for a curtain effect. It's a bombshell look that's easy to recreate.
Bouncy and Retro
Face-framing and full bangs help provide a counterpoint to the loose, bouncy waves seen on Heidi Klum's shag. Keeping hair bent only at the ends, and curling face-framing layers help to keep the look fresh.
A center part adds a glam touch to these long, loose waves and layers. If you want to veer the look in a more gritty direction, try using a sea spray, like Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Sea Mist Texturizing Salt Spray ($14).
The classic Rachael cut goes modern with this long, layered shag. Here, the layers start low, framing the face. So while there aren't any bangs, there's still lots of interest.
This two-layered shop mimics the two-toned hue. For this shag, ask your stylist to keep ends long and create face-framing bangs that skim the ears.
This pinned-back shag is the glamorous version of the look and offers a solid styling lesson for when your bangs grow too long to handle. Just use a curling iron to create loose waves, part your hair on the side, and pin back one side. The bangs will blend into your shag's layers, and the look will be pure sophistication.
Wavy With Undercut
This shaggy style comes with a modern twist courtesy the undercut, which is only one-sided and can be shown off with a deep side part. Then, when you're over it, part your hair in the middle to hide the shaved portion. Win-win.
The ultimate shag requires little more than wearing your hair down, air-dried, and with a lot of texture spray. Even if your bangs are so long they fall into your face, it helps to make the look that much better.
How often do you need to trim a shag haircut?
A trim every six to eight weeks is the sweet spot for most hairstyles, including a shag. This will ensure ends stay healthy (and that hair doesn't grow so long it no longer resembles a shag).
What products are best for styling a shag haircut?
A high-quality texture spray is a must, as is a dry shampoo, which will ensure your bangs and roots don't get greasy between washes.
Does a shag haircut require bangs?
Bangs are a pretty big feature of the shag, however, if you aren't into them, try going to longer, face-framing bangs, that serve almost as shorter layers (they require less styling and can go longer between trims).