Twenty-twenty is ushering in a lot of surprising beauty trends we never thought we'd see again. Things like vivid blue eye shadow of the '90s to equally nostalgic hair claws celebs adore have made a triumphant return, and we'd like to add more to the list: the shag haircut. Popularized in the '70s, the retro cut isn't just making a return—it's fully arrived.
While everyone from celebrities to models to influencers has been opting for the cut recently, we'd like to point out that French girls have low-key been perfecting the tousled, effortless look for a while now with fringe bangs and long layers being the hallmark of many Parisian hairstyles.
Whether you pull inspiration from the retro shags or the modern iterations, one thing is clear: Less is definitely more when it comes to maintaining these cuts, which might be one reason why we're seeing them gain popularity. Who wouldn't want to look cool with the least amount of effort?
Just to be sure we weren't hallucinating, we polled the experts who agreed that they're also seeing the revival of this iconic cut. According to celebrity hairstylist Rebekah Forecast, shags are the natural progression after all the bobs and lobs we saw over the last few seasons, and it's not hard to make the transition. Just grow out your bob a little and add layers, she advises. Patrick Wilson, another hairstylist with a roster of A-list clients, says he loves that this cut is super easy to maintain, and with more people embracing their natural texture, we're only going to see more of it. "While clients are in isolation they are really thinking about change, and the minute those hair salons are back open I predict that people will be up for a restyle," Wilson shared. "At the moment, women are bored with their hair and are even attempting to cut their own bangs at home. My personal advice has always been to wait and let the professionals do it."
We couldn't agree more, which is why we're highlighting the easy, low-maintenance cut that we have the '70s and our French friends to thank for. To see all the shag haircuts from celebs and fashion girls sparking this trend, just keep scrolling and be sure to screenshot your favorites to show your stylist at your next hair appointment.
On French Girls
Lou Doillon's mop of messy waves is as effortless as they come, and with more and more people embracing their own natural texture, this '70s style really works.
According to Wilson, the good thing about this haircut is that it works for just about everyone, no matter the length, fullness, or texture of their hair. Take Claire's curls, for instance, which have that shaggy look thanks to the longer pieces closer in and shorter layers cut on top.
Less is definitely more when it comes to the shag, Wilson says, so keep it simple with the styling: wash and towel dry the hair, prep with a thickening spray at the roots, and add a light cream through the ends.
It's all about creating that effortless, slightly messy effect that looks like you could have just rolled out of bed, but it works.
Forecast advises freshening up your lob or bob with the addition of fringy bangs, and we're fans of Anne-Laure's easy curtain bangs.
The longer layers that frame Leia's face are what make her cut a nod to the trending shag.
Photo:David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar
Alexa Chung may hail from the U.K., but her modern grown-out shag haircut feels undeniably French.
Zendaya proves just how cool a mop of shaggy curls can look.
If straight-across bangs aren't your thing, consider going for curtain bangs like Chloë Grace Moretz.
Halle Berry has perfected this cut over the years, but this particular version with wispy, side-swept bangs might just be our favorite.
Photo:Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Calling all pixie cuts! With a few fringy pieces framing the face, we'd definitely categorize Zoë Kravitz's pixie cut as a shag.
Jennifer Aniston's blown-out shag with the ends curled up is quintessentially '90s.
Photo:David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
It's no wonder Miley Cyrus can pull off a mullet-style shag like no other. Her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, basically invented the mullet.
Why, yes, pin-straight shags do exist, thank you for asking. While a straight shag seems counterintuitive, the Kerry Washington look says otherwise. It's all in the slightly jagged-edge cut of her bangs and the long layers that frame her face.
Photo:CRAIG SJODIN via Getty Images
With its piecey look, Jane Fonda's short cut falls in the shag territory.
Karlie Kloss took a subtler approach and had stylist Rebekah Forecast add in some light layers to give her long bob that retro, tousled look.
We have the '90s to thank for J.Lo's A+ shag with its long layers and face-framing side bangs.
But here in 2020, Lopez is embracing her natural curls and reminding us why this cut is a great low-maintenance option.
Just because Chung is the unofficial queen of the shag haircut, here's another take.
To get a similar look, ask your stylist to add in some light layers and fringy bangs.
Mica's curls really drive home the '70s-inspired vibe of the shag.
Another client of Arrunategui's, Maria described him as the king of the curly shag. Based on her retro-inspired waves here, we couldn't agree more.
Here, Hannah opted for fringy bangs that curtain out right around the browbone.
As you can see by now, more and more fashion girls are trying out different variations on the cut.
Xenia's modern shag plays well with her icy blond color—another big hair trend we're seeing.
How to Style It
Hairstylist Rebekah Forecast explains that the styling products you use really depend on your hair's texture and needs but recommends picking and choosing from the below products in order of application.
If you have a natural wave pattern, hairstylist Patrick Wilson says to tip your hair upside down and encourage movement by using a diffuser at the roots to create more of an undone texture.