Shag Type Hairstyles

Meg Ryan, famous shag enthusiast, at the Bambi Awards.

Photo: Florian Seefried/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

New York City stylist Sean James Decuers tells "Good Housekeeping" magazine that he calls shag type hairstyles "layers with an edge." These cuts are seriously fierce, with punk rock spirit and runway-ready style. It's probably not a look your conservative grandma would love to sport. Yet, if you're looking for a cut with attitude, go ahead and get shaggy.


For decades, shag hairstyles have been the go-to looks for ladies who want locks with a little bit of edge. Exhibit A in the shag hall of fame is superstar Jane Fonda, who rocked a slightly mullet-esque--yet undeniably cool--shag in the 1970s movie "Klute." Later on in the 1980s, singer Pat Benetar's short, pixie-like shag inspired countless copycat cuts. Then in the 1990s, the shag boom reached terminal velocity when superstar stylist Sally Hershberger gave Meg Ryan her signature choppy shag. With Hershberger's transformation, Meg's famous locks became one of the most requested cuts in salons across the nation.


If you're looking for a polished, feminine cut worthy of a lunching debutante, stay far away from shag-type hairstyles. These 'do's are all about chaos and ragged edges, with piecey, choppy layers that feel both modern and a little dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that shags are traditionally cut with razors instead of scissors, which is what helps give shag hairstyles their choppy and super-textured look. These cuts vary from short to long; they have more volume at the top and layered, shaggy texture through the middle and ends.


Like all cuts, shag hairstyles may suit some girls better than others, depending on hair type and face shape. Have a round face? Then you're a perfect shag contender. Because shags have more volume up top, they can help slenderize and lengthen the appearance of your face. Shags will also add texture and volume to straight, fine or wispy hair. That doesn't mean ladies with thicker or wavier hair can't rock this style; it'll just take a little extra work to whip your 'do into shape.


Just because you love Pat Benetar's short shag doesn't mean it's the right cut for your hair, so talk to your stylist before making the shag plunge. Talk about what length will suit you best, and what you'll have to do to keep up with the style at home. For instance, if you have curly hair, you might have to blow dry your shag straight, so all those shaggy layers don't puff up like a poodle and sabotage the cut.

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