How to Achieve the Shag Cut on Each Curl Type

Shag Cuts for Curly Hair
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

The shag cut is perhaps one of the most popular nostalgic styles of all time, and for good reason.

While many cuts can only be achieved with hair that's a certain texture or length, the shag works for nearly everybody, including those with natural hair. Celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross, Halle Berry, Esperanza Spalding, and Yara Shahidi have all tested the layered look, proving that this is a cut that looks beautiful on wavy, curly, and coily hair.

InStyle spoke with New York City-based hairstylists Emely Miranda from Nexxus Salon and Mia Emilio at Devachan to find out how you can make sure you're getting the perfect cut during your next salon appointment, as well as the best ways to style your hair once you get home. Keep reading for their expert tips.

01 of 03

Type 4: Coily Hair

Type 4 Coily Hair
Tara Ziemba/Getty Images

While some are under the impression that the shag can't be achieved on type 4 hair in its natural, coily state, Emilio disagrees. "I think if you're educated on your client's hair texture and your client can carry the look, anything is possible," she says. A stylist "can modify a look to your hair texture and needs."

To achieve the shag on this curl type, both stylists agree that the hair should be cut dry to avoid issues with shrinkage. As far as at-home styling goes, Miranda recommends using a moisturizing treatment in the shower, like Nexxus' Humectress Masque, which will hydrate each strand. Afterwards, Emilio says using a styling cream like the Supercream Coconut Curl Styler from DevaCurl works to create coil definition to show off the layered cut. She also adds that finishing off with a gel will help to weigh down type 4 hair, since it's prone to shrinking.

02 of 03

Type 3: Curly Hair

Type 3 Curly Hair
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Much like with coily textures, both stylists recommend cutting the hair dry. This way, the look can be customized, and any surprises from shrinkage can be avoided. For when you're styling your new shag at home, Miranda says to use a heavy conditioner and custard to give you more hold and control. Emilio adds, "Don't over work your curls while applying your products. Scrunch and hold rather than [just] scrunch."

The Devachan stylist also recommends going back to your salon to trim the shorter layers of the cut every two to three months if you want to maintain the style.

03 of 03

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Type 2 Wavy Hair
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Since type 2 hair is much less prone to shrinkage, Miranda says she would start the cut off with wet hair, then customize the look once the hair has dried. However Emilio warns that clients should be mindful of how the stylist creates layers. "With wavy hair you want to create movement with long to medium length layers, but [you can] add a few shorter layers in the crown area," she says. "Too many layers will make you lose the movement in this curl pattern."

For at-home styling, Emilio adds that people with this curl texture should use light creams and foams while the hair is wet to avoid weighing the hair down. She also recommends using Devacurl's Beautiful Mess Sculpting Pomade on dry hair to create a tousled look.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles