The Shag Isn't Going Anywhere This Summer - Here's How To Make It Your Own

Don't fight it, guys. The shag haircut is in and it's not going away. Yep, the old classic is reigning supreme for summer 2023 and it only seems to be getting more and more popular. From Zendaya to Jenna Ortega to Madonna, so many celebrities have been proudly rocking this look — which was founded by barber Paul McGregor — on the red carpet and beyond, giving us total hair envy the entire time.


But what the heck does a shag haircut actually constitute? Hairstylist Devin Toth explained the look to PopSugar, sharing, "The shag haircut is, in a nutshell, a lob with a fringe. It's so popular right now because it adds a different, more interesting kind of geometry around the face, and not just at the bottom length of the haircut like the lob does at the collar bone." But don't think there's only one way to wear a shag. There are limitless ways you can get on trend and put your own stamp on it at the same time. "With this haircut, it's really about working with the natural texture and shape of the hair. You can have long hair or you can have hair above the shoulders — it should be tailored to each person," celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak shared with Refinery29. So, with that said, has been doing some sleuthing to find the creme de la creme of hair inspo to show you the best ways to make your shag your own.


Bring out the curls

Seriously, how gorgeous does Zendaya look here? Because she (naturally) sets the trends when it comes to hair and beauty, the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" star rocked this look all the way back in 2021 while promoting "Dune," but this stunning look has stood the test of time. The star's hair look here appears to be inspired by the voluminous curls we saw a lot of back in the 1970s, but if you wanted to make it a little bit more modern, you could always cut it a little shorter to really nail that short hair trend. 


Another way you could change up this style to match your personality is by opting for a more side-swept fringe and, if you're lucky enough to have naturally curly hair like this you want to show off, this is a great option for leaving your hair to do its own thing without too much styling. "The point of the shag is to have minimum to no styling involved because this cut is all about embracing your natural texture and being able to roll out of bed," hairdresser Hannah DiFolco told Nylon, meaning you won't have to keep on checking for those pesky signs of hair damage that are all too often caused by excessive heat.

Go long

Though you're probably thinking of a slightly shorter look when picturing the shag 'do, we totally get it, short locks just aren't for everyone. And that's okay because there are plenty of ways to rock a longer shag too! This just proves that you don't have to chop it all off to be a part of this hair movement. Because this cut is already a '70s-inspired trend, you could go all out with the retro theme and add lots of layers while letting your locks stretch down even further than your shoulders.


This version of the shag features bold, shaped bangs that really work to shape the face, but depending on your preference and your face shape, you could always keep this part a little longer or a little shorter to perfect the look to your liking. To really get your throwback on and make your hair super big, you could add extensions for even more volume. "The length can really transform the feeling of the cut, but a shag works for all lengths because it's just adding layers and face-framing to an existing length," Bumble and Bumble hairstylist Erickson Arrunategui told InStyle.

Opt for the octopus

We're not asking you to get your hands on an actual octopus here, but this type of shag is known as the octopus shag because of the way the ends resemble the animal's tentacles. For this one, you're probably going to want to avoid the dry shampoo because the idea is that your hair, and particularly the ends, look as piecey as possible. "This haircut is a version of the shag where you're adding a bang and maintaining the length but creating long ends [that look] like an octopus," hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa, Jennifer Korab, explained to Bustle.


This style of shag is probably best worn straight so you can really see the juxtaposition between the main bulk of the hair and the ends, so you'll want to dig out your flat iron when it comes to styling. Unlike some of the more voluminous options on our list too, this style is more for our shag lovers who prefer their tresses to sit a little flatter against their head without a whole lot of texture and volume.

Hello highlights

Another way to make the shag your own is to bring a little light into your style — no matter what your original color. As none other than Lizzo herself proved here, your hair doesn't have to be blonde, bronde, or even brown to make the most of some blonde highlights, because even the darkest shags can still be brightened up. If you're feeling really brave though, why stop at blonde? Why not give us a little Barbiecore and go for pink or another super bright color?


We also love the length of Lizzo's cut and the way that, while it's pretty short, it was curled to add a little more texture. Celebrity stylist Christiaan Houtenbos told Formulate that adding a few curls is a great way to add a unique touch to the basic cut. "Loose curls make a shag look more free," he explained, recommending a shag bob cut for those who have hair that's naturally a little more curly. "If it's too long all over, the curls will form a heavy block," he added.

Thicken up the bangs

Although a lot of shag cuts tend to rely on wispier, feathered bangs, there's absolutely nothing to stop you from going a little heavier on your front piece of hair and creating something a little blunter. What works best for you will be dependent on your face shape and how willing you are to commit to the style, but bangs tend to be pretty universally flattering if you get the cut right for your shape and preference.


Though there aren't a whole lot of different ways to style blunt bangs once they've been cut in, you do have a few options to play with. To make short hair look like this a little more unique, you could change up your part and brush your bangs over for something a little more side swept, or you could even clip half of it up to open up your face a little more. "Bangs can be short to long, and layers can be short in the crown or just [have] more framing to accent your best features," Corinna Hernandez, hairstylist, and Pony Salon founder, told Glamour.

Focus on the fringe

One of the biggest focal points when it comes to a shag is the bangs, or fringe if you will. So why not change up how yours look to really personalize the look? There are countless different ways to style and cut the hair that hangs over your forehead, and, as this shag and mullet-inspired combo look proves, you can most definitely think outside of the box and still look stylish. Here, the bangs have been cut in an inverted V shape so the middle is a lot shorter than either end, which can work to frame the face and be the real talking point of your look.


This style isn't for the faint-hearted though, as severe bangs like these can take quite a while to grow out when you decide you're ready to change things up again. So just be extra sure you're ready to commit before cutting your locks into a look like this. You'll also want to consider your face shape and features before trying out something as dramatic as this. "Use your facial features to decide where you want the hair to fall and what features you want to bring out," hairstylist Erickson Arrunategui told InStyle.

Bring in the balayage

One of the things we love most about the shag haircut is that it's so open to personalization. Pretty much anything goes when it comes to making the look your own, including what you do when it comes to color. So you could even try hitting two trends in one by bringing in a little balayage to your shag.


Exactly how much of a balayage effect you incorporate is up to you, but there's no doubt going blonde on the ends is a great way to make this look your own while changing it up just a little. Not only that, but balayage also looks super chic when your hair is curled, which is one of the very best ways to wear your shag 'do — especially with heavy layers. "Rounded or shaggy layers work great for those with wavy or curly textures because it's a softer haircut and takes away that 'Christmas tree' or triangular shape that so many of us try to get away from," stylist Chloe Swigert explained to Allure.

Wear the wolf

Another style of animalistic shag is the wolf cut. This version of the shag 'do is kind of like mixing the shag with a mullet, while putting a more modern twist on both. The typical way to have this popular cut is by cutting it to brush the shoulders, plus, it holds a whole lot of texture because it's pretty heavily layered.


When it comes to styling a cut like this, there are so many different ways you can go to make it unique to you. Those with the traditional length can try a curl or a wave to give the hair some volume, or, if you prefer your locks to be straighter, just grab your flat iron. Equally, we love the wolf cut when the ends are curled towards the face to give you a throwback vibe and frame your face all at the same time. Win-win!

Brave the butterfly cut

The butterfly cut is another very popular shag cut right now that's ideal for those who want to keep their hair longer with a decent amount of volume. "It's a shag that is almost like two haircuts in one," celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook explained to Bustle. "The top layers are cut in a way that can be worn on their own in a shaggy bob-like look, while the lengths get tucked under."


You'll probably notice that it gets its name from the heavy way the bangs are cut, to look like swooping butterfly wings falling on either side of the face. But exactly how swooping you go is totally up to you, as a very similar look can be achieved by cutting the bangs a little shorter and diluting the drama just a little. Equally, how long you keep the ends is also up to you and, if you really want to change it up, you could even change the place of your part to make it a little heavier on one side.

Make the mini-bangs your shag go-to

While, technically, your hair has to have a bang to make it a shag, that doesn't mean it has to be a super long bang. You can actually try out the mini-bang for a throwback, rebellious feel that will give your tresses a super personalized touch. The micro-bang involved cutting the hair above your eyebrows really short to frame your face. "The shorter your fringe is, the more volume and movement you will have," Antonia Wazir, Mizani global curl specialist and stylist, explained to Bustle.


Micro-bangs will usually finish a few centimeters above your eyebrows and, although they can be very short, can still be styled very much to your preference even if you don't have a lot of hair to work with. You could have your super short bangs brushed to one side, thinner and feathery, thicker, or longer on either side to shape your face. Just remember though that once you cut this kind of bang into your locks, it will take a while to grow it out.

Play with your part

A lot of shag customization is going to come from the cut, but you can also add your own elements once it's cut and styled. One of the best ways to do this is to play with your part, and this eclectic example proves it. Gone are the days when you need to keep your part poker straight, because different hair parts are your key to a personalized look.


If you want to enjoy a more permanent style, have your hair cut with the part you're planning on keeping. This can be anything from a severe zigzag to having your locks layered over one another in a more random pattern. Equally though, if you don't want to commit quite that much you could wait until you've had your cut with a side or middle part and then make the most of being able to change things up to let your individuality shine through.

Bring back bed head

If you like your hair to look a little unkempt and like you just got out of bed, then this is the shag style for you. It's also perfect for those who have a natural wave or curl in their locks but don't want to spend time in front of the mirror tousling every hair perfectly into place. Because it's pretty short, it's super low maintenance, too! As ARC Scissors Architect and shag expert Rachel Williams told of the shag look, "It's a cut for all lifestyles, but if you're a tousle and go type, this cut is perfect for you. It's low-maintenance and really shows off the natural texture of the hair."


The reason this look works as a bed-head look is that it's shorter and doesn't even reach the shoulders, but you could definitely grow this out a little and get the same effect if you're not a fan of the short length. Though this person opted for blunter baby bangs to complete the look, we think more sweeping bangs would also work here if that's the look you prefer.

So much shaving

When we told you there was an abundance of ways to make the shag your own, we really meant it. This way isn't subtle, but it's certainly unique. If you really want to step outside the box with your shaggy hair, why not really go bold and shave off the sides to create a severe line across both sides of your head?


To reiterate, this one's pretty bold and will take some maintenance, so you'll really have to be willing to commit if this is how you want to customize your shag look. But, oh boy, will it be worth it to get your individuality out there. We'd recommend leaving a bold cut like this to a professional rather than trying to complete this one at home by yourself, though, as you'll want to make sure you keep the lines razor sharp and keep up with regular appointments to keep it in line (pun very intended).

Extend the bangs

Bangs are an integral part of the shag cut, that we know, but there's absolutely no rules when it comes to how you cut and style them. To bring a unique twist to the shag, try a deep cut set of bangs that are cut well into the sides of the hair. Not only is this distinctive in itself, but there are several ways you can take a cut like this even further to really show off your personality.


You could cut bangs like this super far back onto the sides of your head for something really deep set, and change up the length. Maybe you like it longer on the ends and shorter in the middle? Maybe you want your bangs super blunt and the same length all the way past your ears? Anything goes when it comes to putting your own spin on a look like this!

Pick a pixie

Shag looks most certainly do not have to include long locks that go all the way down to your shoulders and beyond. For our short-haired readers out there, there's a look that can work for you too! Those who prefer the super low-maintenance joys of very short hair can ask for a Pixie shag. This look means your hair is pretty short, but still has chic bangs.


To customize this look, you can do more than you might think to personalize it. You could change the angle or center of your part, or give yourself any style of fringe you might like, from thin to heavy to long to short. There's no hard and fast rule about the length of a Pixie cut, either. "People who have shorter face lengths (round, heart, oval) and want a cut that's minimal styling will love a pixie cut," hair and makeup artist Sophia Porter told Ipsy. That means it can be anything from a couple of centimeters to a long all the way around your head, to a much choppier shag. It all comes down to your preference when you're considering the shag 'do.