Style 101: The Shag Cut

Published 03rd Nov 2023 by hjiadmin

A nod to the 70s, the Shag cut remains a popular choice for clients from every corner. The haircut is an edgy classic which has recently come back into its own, being sported by stars such as Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish

This Style 101 is here to give you some style inspiration, as TONI&GUY's international artistic director, Cos Sakkas walks us through the look and shares his tips and tricks for creating the perfect shag cut.

"I love the shag haircut. It’s edgy and non-conformist. But it was also its effortlessness because you can wash and go, or spend time styling it. It can be super soft and feminine in one style, or load it with products and give it more aggressive volume and you have a totally different feel. It’s incredibly versatile, it suggests a rebellious nature and can really transform a client’s overall image," explains Cos.

How to Create It

The shag suits all hair types and lengths, it's the perfect cut to grow out an existing cut as it's meant to look a little lived in. The natural texture of the client’s hair dictates how to approach cutting the shag. On very straight hair, Cos tends to cut while the hair is wet and add the detail when hair is dry, while on naturally wavy hair, he prefers to do the entire cut on dry hair. This way it’s easier to work with the natural texture. "When creating a shag of any length, start with the hair below the occipital bone, holding the section straight out at a 90-degree angle. I cut this section to the desired length and use it as my guide throughout the cut."

Top Tips

When creating a fringe, take face shape into account. With a wider face, you don’t want a thick, blunt fringe as this will make your face look wider still. Instead, cut in a narrow fringe and part in the centre to slim down the features. Slimmer faces can embrace heavier bangs. Getting the right length of layers The way they sit individually onto the cheekbones, the strength you give it on the outline, it’s really important that it doesn’t look, it still needs to be quite head-hugging otherwise you look like a nutter! Stays tight but loose to the head with no width, layers don’t create volume.

No No's

  • Don’t get overzealous when removing weight from the mid and bottom layers — this can create a mullet rather than a shag.
  • Do not give it volume through the sides

The shag's popularity has soared over the past few years, with A-Listers from every corner stepping out with the 'do. Here are some of our favourites:

Our Favourite Celebrity Shags

Lady Gaga

Dressed in style for the Rolling Stones surprise set at Racket NYC in New York, Lady Gaga debuted an excellent new cut. Her shag featured a face-framing fringe and tousled ends, creating a sexy, un-done vibe. 

This is a great example of how a shag cut can work for straight-haired clients. Applying texturising products before you style can provide the hair with some hold, and give the appearance of thicker hair. Once the hair is dry, use a styling tool to add some lift at the ends. 

Suki Waterhouse

Again, Suki Waterhouse's cut shows you how well a shag can work on straight hair. Her mussed, face-framing layers are echoing the grunge, rock-star aesthetic she's adopted since her role as Karen Sirko in TV series Daisy Jones and the Six. 

This cut looks best with some grit and texture running through the hair; sea salt sprays are a great way to achieve this.

For some shag cut inspiration, with looks from hairdressers check out our HJI gallery, such as Callum Standen-May. In our gallery, you can create bespoke searches by selecting the cut, style, length, colour (and many more!) categories that you're looking for.



Published 03rd Nov 2023

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