“Twirl and scrunch.”
I've never been someone who's put a ton of effort into styling their hair, but repeatedly scrolling past wafty bangs and voluminous shag haircuts in my feed motivated me to quit ignoring things and finally (!) get a fall haircut. I have naturally wavy hair with more defined curls underneath and straighter pieces at the front, so I've always felt my long hair required some sort of heat—curling iron or otherwise—to balance the texture.
A shag haircut, with its seemingly perfect, retro choppy waves, felt intimidating because I thought there would be a ton of upkeep involved. Turns out, it's actually a low-maintenance hairstyle. “[The shag is] a heavily layered cut that’s worn messily,” says Corinna Hernandez, my longtime hairstylist and founder of Pony Salon in Oakland, California. “Bangs can be short to long, and layers can be short in the crown or just [have] more framing to accent your best features.” The shag isn’t necessarily a new hairstyle, but it’s seen a flurry of trendy takes this year alone. In the spring we saw the pretty shag; in the summer the wolf shag took over. Everyone from Zendaya to Alexa Chung has put their own stamp on this hair trend.
And that's the beauty of it. “There are so many versions of [the shag]—there is always the right style version for you,” says Ryan Trygstad, hairstylist and cofounder of Mark Ryan Salon in New York City. “On one end of the spectrum is Miley Cyrus with her stronger, fashion-forward Joan Jett version. A softer version of the shag is the look worn by Freja Beha Erichsen, which showcases a beautiful fringe and cheekbone-skimming shorter pieces.”
Basically, I could create my own mash-up and tack on the voluminous, wafty curtain bangs if I wanted. “The wafty bang is a key element of the new shag,” says Trygstad. “It feels more fluffy and conjures up a Farrah [Faucet] vibe.”
I knew I was in good hands with Hernandez, who gave me my first razor-cut bob haircut years back. We settled on a laid-back shag that would be easy to style—no heated tools required. “The more subdued shag is going to be more client-friendly and work for almost anyone with any hair type,” says Hernandez. If you’re into it for yourself and not exactly sure of which version to ask for, it’s not worth getting tripped up on the naming convention of shag hairstyles; explain what you’re looking for once you’re in the stylist’s chair. Want choppy layers? Just ask. Rather a short shag? Buckle up.
A queen of the razor, Hernandez immediately started removing bulk and length, first in the back, then the sides, with a ton of focus around the bangs. The cut took less than 45 minutes, and we were onto styling and maintenance. Regardless of length, the benefit to getting a shaggy haircut is that it does the heavy lifting. Except for prepping the hair after a wash, there's not a ton you need to do to get your piecey shag looking its best.
I've been the proud owner of a shag cut with long layers for two weeks now, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to join the team. This truly is the first wash-and-go cut I've ever had—four times now I've showered, used texture spray, and done nothing but work the shorter layers and bangs and set them with clips. I learned the modern shag is a cut that can work with any face shape and any level of energy—so long as you explain to your hairdresser what you want.
Best shampoo and conditioner for shag haircuts
Before styling, it all starts with the basics: shampoo and conditioner. “Look for shampoos and conditioners that have a volume-enhancing focus,” says Trygstad. This will make “doing” your hair even easier. The shag is a messy, ’70s-inspired style with lots of layers, so the added volume helps create rock-star texture and fullness so hair doesn’t fall flat.
Shu Uemura Muroto Volume Lightweight Care Shampoo
Christophe Robin Volumizing Conditioner With Rose Extracts
Best styling products for a modern shag haircut
Once you've washed your hair, “you can change the look with different products, or by either blow-drying [for] some volume or letting [it] dry with your natural texture,” Hernandez said. “[The shag] works really well as a wash-and-go style.” Hernandez sprayed Reverie Mare at the roots for volume—salt spray would improve hair texture—then applied Iles Formula to my bangs and at the ends for moisture.
Next up, bangs: She used a round brush to pull my thick hair straight, then curled the hair away from my face, setting with clips. She set two clips on each side and let the bangs air-dry, then started on zhuzhing the shoulder-length shaggy layers of my hair with her fingers. It would look even better on day two, she said—a huge bonus of having a medium-length shag—and all I had to do was “brush through tangles, [apply] light mist, then spray the Iles Formula to the ends before you twirl and scrunch the [bangs].” The clip method is a time-saver that still creates a nice curtain bang.
For those looking to create some major bang volume, try using rollers instead. “One great way to give the bang a poufy, bouncy texture is by using one Velcro roller,” says Trygstad. “After blow-drying, set the bang by rolling it back, away from the face.” Try one roller per side to keep it even.
Iles Formula Curl Revive
Reverie Mare Mediterranean Sea Mist
Conpru No Bend Hair Clips
Goody Double Curl Clips
Drybar Half Pint Small Round Brush
Conair Mega Self Holding Rollers
Christophe Robin Hydrating Leave-in Mist
R+Co Outer Space Spray
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Condé Nast