It’s official: What’s old is new again. Case in point? See the 2000s-era baby-part hairstyle and ’90s jewelry trend, for starters. But when it comes to your haircut, the inspo is going way, way back to the choppy, perfectly imperfect shag haircut of the 1970s. These days, though, it’s looking a little more layered and grown out, with more modern details like playful flips, easygoing waves, and curtain bangs bringing it up to 2023 speed.
To get these fresh takes on the old-school cut, it helps to have the right hair products to match, such as volumizing texture spray and dry shampoo. Here’s exactly how to score the look for yourself — and what you’ll need on hand from Ulta Beauty to get your best retro, effortless hair day.
The shag is widely loved by many because it offers a ton of natural volume and style to the hair, but is generally super low maintenance as the cut alone adds texture and movement. We love that it has an effortless, model-off-duty vibe — and that it’s not meant to look too polished or perfect.
When it comes to talking with your hairstylist about this cut, we’d recommend asking for a heavily layered shag and telling them exactly what length you want it to be. Better yet, bring a photo, as this will give your stylist a really clear depiction of the kind of results you’re hoping for. As for styling, you can either go the air-dry route to enhance one’s natural texture, or you can blow it out with a round brush to get those fun flips.
As low-maintenance as it is, however, a few key products can go a long way, whether you’re styling it damp or touching up third-day hair. For starters, if you’re heat-styling your hair, don’t forget to prep it with a heat protectant. Hot Tools Pro Artist Heat Defense Instant Detangling Mist is a lightweight, ultra-nourishing formula that keeps damage from messing with your shag. And, if you’re trying to extend the lifespan of your style, try Drybar’s The Curl Party Heated Curling Brush. It quickly reshapes soft curls and waves on unwashed hair, making it a winner for touch-ups.
If you’re letting your hair air dry and have some natural texture to work with, you can’t go wrong with scrunching in PATTERN’s Curl Mousse. It offers effortless volume and a medium touchable hold to waves, curls, and coils — giving your shag that much more dimension. Another bonus: It’s infused with marshmallow root and castor oil to aid in smoothing and softening strands.
Meanwhile, some products work whenever, wherever. Texture and volume sprays can be used as a finishing product or as a way to refresh second-day hair. Simply spritz it on roots for volume, or on the ends of your layers to help fluff them out. Consider Kenra’s Professional Volume Mist, which can be used on both wet or dry hair to give hair bounce and lift in order to keep the shag moving. (That way, the layers will be more visible — which is kind of the point.)
We also recommend using dry shampoo to score extra volume at the roots. While yes, it does cleanse greasy hair, too, dry shampoo also gives strands extra grit, which helps keep it voluminous. We’re fans of Verb’s Dry Shampoo Light Tones and Dark Tones, which works overtime to both cleanse hair and give strands a lift at your crown. Plus, like the name implies, the rice starch-powered formula comes in light and dark shades, which allow it to disappear into different hair colors without leaving any telltale, chalky residue.
While celebs are loving the shag, these tips — and having the right stylers on hand — make it a breeze for anyone to try, no red carpet required.
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