Women's Chunky Layers vs. Women's Wavy Shag Hairstyles

MC Lyte styles her chunky layers upward at a 2008 Beverly Hills appearance.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Seeking a stand-out style? Trim your locks into a wavy shag or a chunky layered hairstyle. Both of these hairstyles take their cues from red-carpet looks, but offer easy styling and maintenance. Both use the effect of layering to add volume and movement to your hair. But don't mistake these two haircuts as being the exactly the same. Instead, consider a wavy shag a potential subset of chunky, layered looks.

Layered Locks

It goes without saying that chunky layered hairstyles depend on a choppy, layered effect. Shag hairstyles involve layers, too, but they arrive with a whisper rather than a shout. In wavy shag hairstyles, a layer at the crown or around the ears subtly adds movement while keeping the hair framing the face. Women wearing chunky layers tend to style their hair away from their faces, manipulating the layers upward and outward. If they grow out their layers and comb them downward, toward their faces, they've achieved a classic shag hairstyle.

Facial Flattery

If you struggle between choosing chunky layers versus a wavy shag, consider your face shape and the features you want to showcase. A wavy shag softens a face full of angles, creating a feminine fringe of hair. Choppy layers add angles, visually lengthening or widening your face depending on where you place the thickest layers. Wear a wavy shag cut shoulder-length or jaw-length to make your chin more prominent. Manipulate chunky layers upward to draw eyes upward and give yourself a quick facelift.

Beauty with a Bang

Chunky layers and wavy shags both may feature bangs, but with different styles. The classic shag made famous in the '70s featured thick bangs in a single length. Your wavy shag may alter this mod vibe somewhat, with side-swept bangs or wispy waves that more subtly frame your forehead. A style with short chunky layers typically has little to no bangs, with spikes or curls pushed up and away from the forehead. Longer layered cuts get a modern edge with razor-chopped bangs.

Finishing Touches

Your styling products have the last word on whether your hairstyle is subtle or dramatic. Wavy shags benefit from a dollop of volumizing mousse along the crown of the head or raked through the hair for a bedhead look. For a sleeker effect, work smoothing pomade through your roots and on the tips of any strands that threaten to fly away. Highlight a choppy, layered cut by using thicker styling products such as gel, hair putty or wax.

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