If you so much as glanced at TikTok in 2022, chances are you saw someone giving themselves a wolf cut or other shag variation at home. The fact that shags aren’t meant to be precise is exactly what makes them so appealing — and partially why they’re sticking around as a major hair trend in 2023.
The shag haircut is a loose, undone look that doesn’t have to be too perfect. According to Jamie Wiley, a hairstylist and founder and CEO of HAIRBOSS, any haircut that features layers at the top and sides with feathered ends is considered a shag. And, regardless of the type you go with, it’s meant to have that messy, cool-girl vibe. “It’s been so popular and continues to be because it’s versatile and customizable,” she tells Bustle.
The shag can be adapted to work for all face shapes and hair textures, Wiley says, so it can be flattering on anyone. “Having a full consultation with your stylist will determine the best length and where the layers should fall based on your bone structure,” she tells Bustle. But if you want to DIY the look with TikTok as your guide, that works, too.
Once you’re shagged up, Wiley says you can keep your layers defined by getting trims every six to eight weeks — or you can simply leave it to its own devices. “The shag will grow out more seamlessly since there is so much texturing and layering throughout,” says Krysta Rojas, the owner of Base Salon Chicago. With this look, anything goes.
Keep scrolling for a peek at 2023’s biggest shag haircut trends in case you need a little inspo for your Pinterest board.
If you’re looking to keep your length, you could still rock a shag haircut on long hair. While the octopus features shorter layers around your head, a long shag simply has longer layers throughout. According to Rojas, it’s a good choice option if you have extra thick hair. “I tend to stay away from a lot of layering from anyone who is concerned with the density of their hair,” she says.
Shag With Curtain Bangs
For the bangs girlies, Rojas notes that 2023 will see a lot of shag haircuts paired with curtain-style fringe. “The original shag with fringe bangs became popular from the ’70s and ’80s rock and roll scene,” she says.
To make your curtain bangs extra curtain-y, add some volume with a mousse and style in a “messy, lived in” way, Rojas says, then spritz with a texturizing spray once it’s dry so that your ends feather out. “Round and heart-shaped faces are a great fit for this trend,” she adds.
Andrea Cottin, a stylist at Propaganda Salon in Portland, Oregon, says lots of folks will be rocking a shorter pixie shag this year. “The inspiration comes from some ’90s cuts, like Winona Ryder’s in Reality Bites,” Cottin tells Bustle. “I’d style it with a bit of salt jelly or salt spray and a little styling crème to get the ends piece-y.”
Wolf Cut With A Heavy Bang
“Styling-wise for a shag, it’s all about the lived-in, textured look,” Ellis tells Bustle. “If you have natural texture to your hair, applying a cream and letting it air dry will really make the cut pop. If you have straighter hair, go in with a flat iron and throw in a few tousled waves or curls and a texture spray to really piece it out.”
Bowl Cut Shag
Fae Norris, a hairstylist at Rock Paper Salon in Los Angeles, says 2023 will see a lot of bowl cut shags. This is chicer than you might think: The bowl cut, which has a more rounded look to it, still has all the layers you’d expect when turning it into a shag. While all shags are meant to be easy to style, this one’s particularly low-maintenance — simply tousle and go.
For more glam and less grunge, go for the butterfly cut, says celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook. “It’s a shag that is almost like two haircuts in one,” she tells 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.”
To get some lift, focus a volumizing spray on the areas where you want to see more movement. “Make sure to lift up the sections and not just spray all over your hair,” Brook says. “Then use a light leave-in spray on the ends, like Biolage All-In-One spray, to tame frizz and add shine.”
Brook also predicts that the cub cut — aka the shorter version of the wolf cut — will be huge in 2023. “It’s shorter to the chin, blunt, and features edges around the face that are feathery and soft,” she says. You can rock it with or without bangs. “It’s up to you and what suits your face shape best,” she adds. “This style looks amazing on all hair types, textures, and densities. I’m a big fan of this for my curly and wavy clients.”
Glenn Ellis, hairstylist
Sunnie Brook, celeb hairstylist