Men’s Shag Haircut: What It Is & The Best Styles For 2023
Bring some rock 'n' roll flair to your look with the classic shag haircut.
Nothing says messy and effortless like a classic shag haircut. The hairstyle harks back to the 70s and 80s when celebrities and rock stars fashioned this time-enduring ‘do.
The shag’s popularity rests on its versatility and ease of maintenance. You can fashion this hairstyle on curly, long, straight or short hair. The adaptability also stretches to face types since it can complement multiple profiles, from oblong to heart-shaped faces.
In most cases, all it takes to style this cut is a blow dryer, a brush, a holding product and a couple of tousling touch-ups. Stick around to learn more about the shag haircut and see some of the best contemporary examples for men.
What is a shag haircut?
A shag haircut features layered side and top sections with wispy ends. It can be as long or short as you prefer and, in most cases, the cut appears casual and messy.
Men aren’t the only recipients of the shag haircut. The style’s creator was celebrity barber Paul McGregor, who debuted the shag cut on the actress Jane Fonda for her role in the movie Klute (1971).
The unisex hairstyle gained popularity throughout the 70s and 80s, particularly during the rock ‘n’ roll era when notable artists like David Bowie and Mick Jagger sported it. Today, it exudes the same carefree edge as it did back then.
What you should know before getting a shag haircut
One of the reasons why the shag haircut remains timeless is its low-maintenance appeal. Preparation is minimal if the barber has done their job correctly. You should only need to blow dry your hair after a shower and shape it to your liking with a small amount of paste or grooming cream.
A shag haircut is also a versatile option in terms of occasions, working just as well for a party as it does meetings during the working week.
Depending on your preference, it can incorporate a full fringe, sideburns, waves or curls. Speaking of which, shaggy cuts complement wavy and unruly hair types particularly well, offering a lot of movement and bringing out the hair’s natural texture and volume.
Who does a shag haircut suit?
The best part about the shag haircut is that it complements multiple face shapes and hair types. From coarse coils to pin-straight locks, the hairstyle is adaptable, as you’ll see below.
Aside from that, look to adapt the length of the hair to accommodate your unique profile. For instance, if you have a round face, then avoid a fringed long shag haircut, which only shortens your features. If you have a long face, on the other hand, try introducing a fringe and bulking out the sides to create width for balance.
15 cool men’s shag haircuts for 2023
Check out the various shag haircuts below to inspire your next trip to the barbershop.
Mod-style shag haircut
There’s something about this style that screams ‘mod’. Separated into curls and brushed forward at the front, it definitely has a ‘just woke up like this’ vibe, which is a hallmark of the style.
Shorter layers on top and length around the sides and back stop it becoming too bouffant.
Brushed forward mid-length shag haircut
Shaggy haircuts tend to have uneven fringes with plenty of texture which is then reflected around the back and sides.
It makes it an easy look to pull off if you’re growing your hair out and is best styled using a paste or volumising dust to create definition, as shown here.
Short curly shag haircut
A shorter fringe, curly sideburns and a similar length all over makes this short shag ideal for those who have wavy hair and need to take some of the weight out of it.
Brushing the hair forward and leaving it to its own devices is what helps create its authentic look.
Mullet-style shag haircut
A hybrid style that blends the mullet cut with the shag, the wispy, flicked-out longer ends at the nape of the neck provide a contrast to the shorter, fuller sections on top.
Whereas shaggy styles often leave the ears on show, this keeps them covered, almost creating a messy ‘bowl’ shape.
Wavy hair shag haircut
Layers, texture, waves, sideburns – this has shag haircut written all over it. Leaving some of the ear to peek out amidst the mass of hair is another hallmark of the shag haircut that adds to the profile and shape of the cut.
Fringe-free shag haircut
Leaving the hair pretty much one length all the way round creates volume and texture, while keeping it off the face stops it looking too heavy and balances out the facial hair.
Tucking it behind the ears stops it becoming irritating and some root boost powder is all you need to give it some guts and hold.
Blonde messy mid-length shag haircut
Shaggy cuts look great on blonde men because the messy texture and layers make the hair look thicker and fuller.
The graduated length from fringe to nape of the neck helps to highlight the cheekbones for a striking silhouette.
Shag haircut with Caesar fringe
There’s a misconception that shaggy haircuts have to be floppy, long and fall into or over the eyes. This demonstrates that’s not always the case.
A blunt Caesar cut fringe that sits high on the forehead places emphasis on the curls while the shorter length through the top makes it more appropriate for those who need to look a little more put together for their daily business.
Choppy but structured shag cut
This hairstyle might look messy but look closer and you’ll see there’s great attention to detail throughout the cut.
Tapered ends that just skim the eyebrows, the definition created by the wavy texture, and the strong rounded shaping all combine to create an effortless, just-woke-up-like-this look.
Short cropped shag haircut
Brushing the hair in different directions is what gives this cut the ‘shaggy’ effect.
It’s a great option if your hair tends to be unruly and you don’t like using too much product. It’s also an option for guys with thinning hair as it helps disguise any patchiness.
Short mullet shag haircut
If you’ve got straight hair that doesn’t have much movement or texture then this is a good way to incorporate the shag into your style.
Layering the hair through the mid lengths and ends but leaving it wispy helps get the look while the lack of side burns and flicked out ends give the cut its mullet attributes.
Mid-length shag haircut
There’s something very 70s about this shag haircut; almost a touch BeeGees.
The short fringe combined with height on top and weight through the back and sides creates a rounded shape that frames the face so it looks synergistic with the facial hair.
By keeping the cut close to the head it also stops it looking too ‘mushroom’ in shape.
Unstructured shag haircut
Softer layers that are unstructured and left to fall naturally are what ups this cut’s shag credentials.
A long fringe of differing lengths that hides the brows and skims the lashes also gives the style (and its owner) a nonchalant vibe, which is essentially what the shag haircut is about.
Shag haircut with centre parting
If your hair is too thick or heavy and has a knack of wanting to lie flat on the head rather than messed up or spiky, this middle part will give your style some structure.
The longer layers also encourage the hair to flick out at the ends, which start at the cheekbones and fan out all the way to the nape of the neck. This stops it looking too ’90s curtains’.
Rock ‘n’ roll shag haircut
A heavy fringe, flicked out sideburns and ends and a chunky texture make this shag haircut all a bit rock ‘n’ roll.
A volume powder or pomade twisted through the ends and top section helps create separation and definition on darker hair – something to think about.