Meg Ryan at the The Academy in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection ...
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Beauty

Make Fall’s Most Popular Shag Haircut Work For You

Here's the 101 on the shaggy, low-maintenance style.

There’s no doubt that the shag haircut is in the midst of a major modern comeback. One quick scroll through TikTok and you’re bound to come across someone with a viral “wolf cut”, which is a mashup of a shag, a mullet, and a bathroom haircut you give yourself. In fact, the hashtag #wolfcut has over 677 million views and counting.

Long before TikTok was invented, the shag was born around the year 1965 and can be attributed to a barber named Paul McGregor who first gave the cut to Jane Fonda, according to The New York Times. From there, the choppy, layered hairstyle became central to the ’70s culture, albeit usually associated with counterculture and rebellion with rockstars like Mick Jagger and David Bowie adopting the style. In the ’90s, Sally Hershberger gave the famous cut to Meg Ryan on the set of French Kiss and a shag icon was born. As as we well know, everything ’90s is back again.

Today, hairdressers like Brooklyn-based Hannah DiFolco are once again seeing an uptake in shag requests in the salon. “A lot of people come in with inspiration from across the board,” she told NYLON. “It might be ’70s rock and roll Patti Smith photos but, inspiration aside, I feel like what most clients are really looking for is something lower maintenance that embraces their natural hair texture.”

Rumor has it that the shag haircut suits all hair types, textures, and curl patterns. From wavy to straight and thick to thin. Here’s how to make the shag revival work for you.

Will a Shag Work on Fine Hair?

If you have finer hair, DiFolco says the shag haircut is actually great for you. “I would absolutely recommend a shag to anyone with fine hair,” she says. “I think people with fine hair fear losing too much weight or volume from their hair, but fine hair can still be weighed down and that’s why it tends to hang and feel limp and lifeless.” The beauty of this layered style, says DiFolco, is that it works for everyone.

How To Choose A Shag Haircut Shape

While the shag notoriously works for every hair type, that doesn’t mean that everyone should get the same exact cut. Today’s shag can have ’70s face-framing curtain bangs like Billie Eilish’s hair that broke the internet), a full fringe like Miley Cyrus’s current look, or go more dramatic and tow the line between a shag and mullet like Barbie Ferreira or Rihanna (or Miley earlier this year). The best style for your hair and face shape is up to personal taste and how much change you’re willing to make. Wherever the bangs or layers land will direct the most attention to your face. If you’re still unsure, this is something your hairdresser can help you out with. “The key is to create each design specifically to each individual's hair texture, density, and wave pattern,” DiFolco told NYLON. Obviously, the longer the layers, the less dramatic the look and the easier it is to grow out, if you don’t end up falling in love with the new cut.

How To Style a Shag Haircut

After choosing the right shag cut shape whether it’s from an appointment with your hairdresser or taking the scissors into your own hands, you’re then tasked with maintaining the effortlessly messy look. Thankfully, the layers should do most of the styling work for you. “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,” says DiFolco.

Turns out the key to styling your shag is the rock and roll lifestyle after all and making sure not to fight it with too many products and curling irons. If you are looking for product recommendations, DiFolco tells all her clients to take care of their scalp by using a boar bristle brush every night to distribute natural oils. You may also want to use a curl definer or a texture boosting product while your hair dries for extra definition or oomph. Aside from that, feel free to just jump out of bed and embrace the well-planned messiness that comes with this iconic ’70’s favorite shag.