The shag haircut has been a favorite for decades
Hair Styling | Shag Hairstyles

The Shag Haircut – Retro Casual Cool

When someone thinks of the shag haircut, they immediately associate it with rock n roll. It is casual, somewhat messy, and eminently cool, immediately bringing to mind images of famous musicians such as Joan Jett and Mick Jagger. However, the shag haircut isn't relegated simply to the category of musicians – it's an extremely versatile and popular hairstyle that can be worn in a number of different ways and with a variety of different outfits. Below we'll take a more in depth look at the range of shag hairstyles that are out there.

Shag hairstyles: where it all began

The instantly cool shag haircut

Casual and carefree, the shag is instantly cool

The shag hairstyle is based on the graduated bob, whereby the hair is combed closely to the scalp. It was created by the barber Paul McGregor, and features a series of layers that are often feathered on the top to create an illusion of volume. While the hair is pretty full around the crown, it thins off around the edges and towards the fringe. What's interesting to note is that at its conception, the shag hairstyle was designed to be entirely unisex and has been worn by celebrities of both genders ever since. In the 70s it was adopted by the likes of Joan Jett and Rod Steward, and it became a popular 90s hairstyle after Jennifer Aniston wore a variation of it in Friends, earning it the moniker "the Rachel" hairstyle.


Different types of shag haircuts

A short shag cut looks dramatic

Worn short the shag looks dramatic

The shag haircut isn't a static hairstyle – it comes in many forms and variations depending on the tastes and proclivities of the wearer. Because the shag hairstyle is more about textures and layers, it tends to work well regardless of the length of the wearer's hair. For that reason, there are a number of different short shag haircuts to suit face-framing androgynous looks, as well as all kinds of rock-inspired long shag hairstyles.


Short shag haircuts are usually the retro type ones you often see in vintage music videos – they're airy, voluminous and rarely touch the shoulder, if at all. Long shag hairstyles, on the other hand, can easily descend past the shoulders while still retaining that choppy, messy look that the wearers usually love. They work just as well with bangs as without, and are adaptable to both curly or straight hairstyles, thick hair or thin. As you can probably tell, the great thing about the shag hairstyle is that it's completely versatile: choose how you are feeling in the morning and style it to your taste.