The Wolf Cut Is a Trendy Take on the Shag — and You're Going to See It Everywhere This Fall
The saying "history repeats itself" has never been more true when it comes to fashion and beauty. Take the shag haircut for example. This iconic haircut has made its way back into the limelight from the '70s, where the most popular divas were seen rocking this voluminous, choppy haircut. Hey, Farrah Fawcett.
In 2021, however, the shag haircut is back — but with a modern twist. It's called the wolf haircut, and it's been most notably worn by celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, and Keke Palmer.
While shag haircut trends have been popular since the start of vax girl summer, celebrity hairstylists say a wolf haircut is this season's most recent iteration of the style that will continue to turn heads this fall.
So, what makes a wolf haircut so special? Well, it's gives us all the nostalgia we crave but with a modern twist. It's similar to a mullet, but trust us, it's way cooler than the traditional "business in the front, party in the back" haircut you're probably familiar with. This haircut is more edgy, layered, and has a total rockstar vibe that anyone can wear.
What Is a Wolf Haircut?
"The wolf haircut is a mix between a vintage shag and a slight mullet," celebrity hairstylist, Sarah Potempa and founder of The Beachwaver Co. tells InStyle. "Essentially, it's like taking two different periods (the '70s shag and '80s mullet) and smashing them together into a modern-day look."
One of the signature parts of this haircut is its volume and layers — lots of layers. Nick Stenson, celebrity hairstylist and Matrix artistic director, says the choppiness and lack of blend in the layers is key to a wolf haircut. Typically, a wolf haircut will offer shorter layers at the top of the head to enhance volume and texture with longer layers in the back, says Potempa. The results offer an edgy, almost undone, messy, rocker vibe.
Celebrity stylist and Matrix brand ambassador, Sharon Spellman, says it's also is a gender-neutral haircut that can be customized in many different ways depending on your preferences. "My top tip would be to make sure you're prepared on how exactly you want your haircut done and specify whether you want more or fewer layers and volume," she says.
Does a Wolf Haircut Work For All Hair Types?
"The wolf haircut is going to look better on someone who needs more volume and body, so most people with fine hair love this look on them, but really, it could be rocked by any hair type if you're looking for more volume for your hair," says Lovette Candice, a celebrity hairstylist.
That said, Stenson says, if you don't enjoy hair that moves and has a more "lived-in attitude," this may not be the cut for you. "If you are open to a more tousled hair vibe and looking for a great way to spice up your look, you should try it out," he says. This haircut also works on all hair lengths. However, Pompeo says it's important to note that if you have shorter hair, the results will look choppier and more piece-y.
How Do You Style a Wolf Haircut?
There are so many ways you can style a wolf haircut, depending on your hair texture. For those with naturally curly or wavy hair, this cut is perfect for emphasizing your hair texture. Stenson says all you'll need is a leave-in conditioner and let it air-dry for a playful, tousled look. And because these hair types tend to be drier, you may want to apply a spray like the Matrix Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Treatment Spray ($28, ulta.com) to help control any potential frizz.
For those with straight and fine hair, you may need the help of some additional hair products and tools to get that tousled look. "If you tend to have flat hair, using a heat tool, like the Beachwaver S1.25 ($129, beachwaver.com), for a slight bend that will give the hair added texture," says Pompeo. After you've created the waves, you can add dry shampoo to add volume and sea salt or texturizing spray to make it look more like beachy waves.
You can also give yourself a big bouncy blowout with this hairstyle as there are no rules to styling a wolf haircut. It's all about having fun and experimenting with new ideas. "Styling the wolf cut can be so much fun because you could change up the whole vibe by the way you style it," says Candice. "You can kick the ends out and give it that beautiful blow-dried look or rock it up with a hot tool and give it that Miley texture she's been walking around with."
Wolf Haircut Ideas To Try:
Now that we know what a wolf haircut is, here are some inspiration pictures you can take to your next hair appointment.
One of the most notable wolf haircuts seen today is Miley Cyrus' cut who shows us that the choppier and messier the cut, the better.
If you don't want to give up your length, you don't have to with a wolf haircut.
Curly hair and a wolf cut go together like peanut butter and jelly. It's a match made in heaven.
You can also add some fringe to your shag for a more '70s take.
Take a page from Keke Palmer's book and add some micro-fringe to your shoulder-length wolf cut.
If you prefer a more subtle take, ask your stylist to keep the layers on top a bit longer than a typical wolf cut.
And finally, it doesn't get any edgier and cooler than a pixie wolf cut.