2023's Biggest Shag Haircut Trends

Including the octopus and TikTok’s beloved wolf cut.

The 9 must-know shag haircut trends of 2023.
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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.


Wolf Cut

The wolf cut — a style that has racked up over 2.6 billion views on TikTok — looks modern with a retro twist. “This cut originated from punk rock stars of the ’70s who wanted an edgy look that was easy to style yet full of character,” says Krysta Biancone, the co-founder of Amari Salon & Spa and stylist at Hair by Krysta.

Lots of folks DIY the look at home by tying their hair up into a ponytail to pull strands forward before giving them a chop, but it’s also something you can ask for at the salon. Either way, a good wolf cut will feature lots of layers at your crown to create volume, texture, and movement, Biancone tells Bustle.

The wearable cut is perfect for anyone who wants a low-maintenance hairstyle. “It works best on medium-length hair but can be adapted for short or long lengths, too,” Biancone says. “And it looks great on all face shapes.”


Octopus Shag

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The octopus is another increasingly popular take on the shag. “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,” says Jennifer Korab, a hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa.

This style looks best when it’s textured and undone, Korab tells Bustle, but you can also glam it up by using a large curling iron for added wave. The more piece-y and tentacle-like your ends look, the better.


Long Shag

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

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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.


Pixie Shag

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

Hairstylist Glenn Ellis has noticed more clients asking for wolf cuts with a heavy bang. He points to Sophie Thatcher’s hair in Yellowjackets as the perfect example.

“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

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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.


Butterfly Cut

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.”


Cub Cut

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.”


Jamie Wiley, hairstylist, founder and CEO of HAIRBOSS

Glenn Ellis, hairstylist

Krysta Rojas, owner of Base Salon Chicago

Jennifer Korab, hairstylist, owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa

Andrea Cottin, stylist at Propaganda Salon in Portland, Oregon

Fae Norris, hairstylist at Rock Paper Salon in Los Angeles

Sunnie Brook, celeb hairstylist