24 Can't-Miss Shag Haircuts, From Short to Long

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The Modern Shag Haircut

Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough. Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The shag haircut is very rock 'n' roll—casual, mussy, and visually effortless. The typical features that make up a shag hairstyle include choppy ends, loads of layers around the crown, and lots of texture.

The shag works on almost every hair texture and in every hair length. One does have to be careful with the shag, though. It's a hairstyle that can appear dated with too many layers. Search online for shag hairstyles and you'll see many photos that look like they're straight out of 1999. Think Jennifer Aniston on the early "Friends" episodes or guys with a mullet.

The modern shag is choppy and has lots of texture but doesn't resemble an 80s hair band. The images in this gallery show off the very best shag hairstyles today.

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    The Queen of Modern Shag

    David M. Benett (l) and Marc Piasecki (r) for Getty Images

    Brit it-girl Alexa Chung is sort of the inventor of the modern shag hairstyle and has worn many versions of it over the years. Her looks range from short to long to shoulder-length, to somewhere between the chin and shoulders. She has also shown that it can look both mod and classy, depending on how it's styled.

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    The Shag Works With Bangs

    Alexa Chung with bangs. Jason Kempin//Getty

    The secret to a great shag hairstyle lies in the cut. Ask for choppy ends and layering. Your stylist may need to create layers with a razor and there's no need to be afraid of it.

    The razor helps add movement to hair and allows the stylist to remove some of the heaviness. As for bangs, they work great with the modern shag, too. Alexa Chung has sported some sexy bangs with the shag, including a pretty blunt cut. Long side-swept bangs paired with a shag hairstyle are lovely as well.

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    Get the Mussy Look

    Julianne Hough. Valerie Macon for Getty Images

    Though there are exceptions, shag cuts are often best when they're not overly done. You know the look: blow-dried to perfection look with not a hair out of place. No matter the hair length, mussy almost always looks better.

    Actress Kirsten Dunst insists on choppy ends because she hates when her hair looks too done. While she often sports sleek, long tresses with gorgeous waves, dancer and singer Julianne Hough can also rock the mussy shag.

    To Get the Mussy Look

    • If you have straight hair, ask for choppy ends when you get your hair cut. Then scrunch it and let it air dry.
    • For curly hair, ask for layers to be cut into your hair so that the fullness is not on the ends. You want to avoid A-frame hair where the ends fluff out like a poufy skirt, a look that is accented with curls. Muss up your curls by allowing them to air dry and twist the curls into thick ringlets as they dry.
    • When it comes to wavy hair, you can skip the flat-iron and embrace your waves. With a great cut, you may never have to flat-iron again and your hair should dry naturally into an envious, gorgeous shape. Freshen your hair with gorgeous highlights, instead. When styling, add texture with a texturizing spray like Not Your Mother's Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.

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    A Well-Kept Short Shag

    Jane Fonda. From left: Pascal Le Segretain and Jason Merritt for Getty Images

    Jane Fonda is famous for her shag hairstyles. This is one of her shorter cuts, though she looks lovely with a well-kept longer shag as well.

    To get this look, ask your stylist to cut choppy layers from front to back with shorter layers framing your face. This is a neater shag, so feel free to use a molding gel to style your hair.

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    The Modern Short Shag

    Edie Campbell
    Edie Campbell. Getty Images: Melodie Jeng (l) and Pascal Le Segretain (r)

    Model Edie Campbell wears a great hairstyle that is both shaggy and short. It's an interesting look that works great on her long, slim face and with those fun blonde highlights.

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    The Short, Sporty Shag

    Lisa Rinna. Frederick M. Brown for Getty

    The key to actress Lisa Rinna's sporty shag haircut is to not style it too much, according to hairstylist Kerrie Urban in Allure Magazine. Urban suggests avoiding products like gels that make your hair stiff and instead opt for styling creams with a medium hold.

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    A Lovely Medium Shag

    Arizona Muse. Kirsten Sinclair for Getty Images

    This is a lovely shag hairstyle on model Arizona Muse. It's the perfect example of wash, scrunch, and go. The shag looks best when air-dried or blown dry with a diffuser, just keep in mind that you should always scrunch from below.

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    The Soft, Sheek Shag

    Karlie Kloss. Dimitrios Kambouris for Getty Images

    This is a great medium shag cut for women with some natural wave in their hair. Model Karlie Kloss' hairstyle is very trendy and shows that you can get a sleek, sexy style out of a shag with the proper styling. For this look, the wave is accented by beautiful golden highlights.

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    The Long in Front Shag

    Dawn Olivieri. Michael Buckner // Getty Images

    Actress  Dawn Olivieri wears a great curly shag that is super sexy. This one is left long in front to allow the tendrils to frame her beautiful face while the back is cut shorter. It still has that wild aspect that makes shags such fun.

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    The Messy Shag

    Dianna Agron. Kevin Winter // Getty Images

    Actress Dianna Agron's shag is more messy than mussy and it's fabulous. It's another perfect example of a modern shag hairstyle on straight hair and leaves a shorter cut in the back.

    You can definitely mimic this look after getting the cut. Simply scrunch in the texturizing spray and let your hair air dry the rest of the way. The more natural, the better.

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    The Subdued Shag

    Dianna Agron. Getty: D Dipasupil (l) and Theo Wargo (r)

    This version of Dianna Agron's shag is just the right amount of shaggy, mixed with a lot of sophistication. Since bedhead remains so very popular, this look will carry you through another year without looking dated.

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    The Ombre Shag

    Kate Mara. Getty Images Rindoff Petroff/Dufour

    Double up on the trends and mix the rocker shag with a funky ombré. Actress Kate Mara shows us how hot it looks, with her natural roots and super blonde ends. The highlights accent the choppy ends perfectly.

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    The Long Shag Bob

    Maria Valverde. Carlos Alvarez for Getty

    Shag hairstyles are basically bobs—long bobs, long hairstyles, and even pixies—but with choppy ends and lots of layers. Spanish actress Maria Valverde offers us a stunning example of a long bob "shagified."

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    The Fall-in-Love Shag

    Jennifer Lawrence. Jason Merritt for Getty

    Allure Magazine asked Mark Townsend, Jennifer Lawrence's hairstylist and the man behind her layered shag hairstyle, for the story behind the cut. Essentially, she was inspired by Dianna Agron and it was "totally spontaneous." She fell in love with it and "couldn't stop running her fingers through her hair as I was cutting."

    If Lawrence could fall in love with the idea of going so short, anyone can. And she can definitely wear it with grace.

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    The Bowl Cut Shag

    Peyton Knight. JP Yim for Getty

    Not all shags have extremely noticeable layers. Model Peyton Knight is known for her signature bowl cut it has just enough of a shag cut to look amazing on and off the runway.

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    The Mature Shag

    Carine Roitfeld. Getty Images

    The shag hairstyle isn't just for women in their teens and 20s. Here, French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld models a gorgeous shag hairstyle that is perfectly mussy and casual. The face-framing really shows off her shape and highlights her bright smile.

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    The Gray Shag

    Emmylou Harris. Michael Loccisano

    Country music legend Emmylou Harris offers another glamorous shag look that shows off her gray hair. It's a stunning look and the long layers with full bangs is both classy and timeless.

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    The Shaggy Mop

    Steffy Argelich. Steffy Argelich Instagram, photo by matteomontanariphotography

    Model Steffy Argelich is well-known for her gorgeous wavy hair that she wears in a shaggy mop. This length is easy to care for and doesn't require much more than some air drying along with a light product.

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    The Gorgeous Blonde Shag

    Tori Spelling. Jason Merritt

    Medium-length hair can have some great shaping as well. Actress Tori Spelling allows her bright blonde bob to look both shaggy and elegant at the same time.

    You can get this look by curling your hair around a large-barreled curling iron. It's a quick way to take your style from mussy to super sweet.

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    The Soft Wave Shag

    Marley Shelton. Alberto E. Rodriguez//Getty Images

    Sweet and sexy, actress Marley Shelton offers another version of a wonderful medium-length shag hairstyle. This one is accented with soft waves, but it still has hints of that mussy look, which makes it even sexier.

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    The Curly Long Shag

    Ashlee Simpson. Frank Micelotta for Getty

    Singer and actress Ashlee Simpson changes her hair often, moving from short to long and blonde to brunette. When it comes to showing off a super long shag, this look is one of our favorites. The ultra long layers, soft curls, and side-swept bangs really work with the deep chocolate color she chose here.

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    The Hot Long Shag

    Model Freja Beha Erichsen. Photo by Adam Whitehead

    Model Freja Beha Erichsen is best-known for her shaggy long hair. It's her signature look and her thick bangs frame her face perfectly. If you look at some of her photo shoots, you'll be inspired by just how versatile this look can be from day to day.

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    The Long Shag With Bangs

    The best bangs on Pinterest. Pinterest: http://honestlywtf.com/beauty/bangs/

    A rocker girl hairstyle works so beautifully on women with thick hair. This is a funky style that features heavy bangs and an air-dried look. It's pretty low-maintenance and can be left wavy or you can go straight if you like.