Are you ready for a shag? We're referring to the iconic '70s hairstyle, of course. It's quickly become one of the hottest styles for 2022, thanks to its effortlessly done-yet-undone vibe, sweepy curtain fringe, and versatile styling options.
Paul is here to talk you through how he creates this iconic '70s haircut and how he'd customise it to suit different face shapes. He'll show you how to style your shag to achieve different looks depending on your hair texture, so you're free to channel your inner vixen. Let's talk shags!
Defining the look: how Paul creates a tailored shag cut
It's official — the shag cut is having a revival! Effortlessly cool by nature, this cut is characterised by its choppy layers, centre parting, and sultry fringe. The shag was popularised by Jane Fonda in the early '70s and has enjoyed several comebacks in the decades since.
"The look is casual yet chic and, once cut, can be worn in several different ways," says Paul. The versatility of this cut is probably one of the many reasons it's managed to remain so popular for so long. From long layers to the mushroom shag, there are lots of ways to wear it.
"The length can vary depending on face shape — the outline shape can be strong or soft, with the layers kept long and cut through," says Paul. "The fringe is curved to give versatility, with the centre panel cut into, to give a light broken up look when dried naturally."
Paul's tips on how to style a shag haircut
Anyone who's visited the Paul Edmonds London salons will tell you we don't do 'off-the-rack' cuts. Each style is meticulously tailored to suit the individual, taking hair type, lifestyle, face shape, and personal aesthetic into account. With that in mind, Paul shares how to rock a shag cut while working with your natural hair type and texture. With the right products and styling methods, you can work the look in your own way!
Air dry method for a shag cut on curly hair
Think you can't do a shag cut on curly hair? Think again. In fact, Paul's simple air-drying technique and curl-specific product recommendations actually make this styling method super easy to achieve.
"The air-dried look works best on slightly wavy or curly hair," says Paul. "Start by using your appropriate shampoo — such as Kérastase Curl Manifesto — and then apply a thermal protector like Shu Uemura Netsu Design or Shu Essence Absolue Overnight Serum to stop flyaways and fluff. This product combo will give shine and gloss to an effortless air-dry."
Adding body to a shag cut on straight hair
Although shag haircuts look fabulous on silky straight hair, you can elevate the look by adding body to the roots and texture to the lengths.
"On straighter hair, I like to use Shu Uemura Izumi Tonic," Paul says. "It strengthens while adding body." Izumi Tonic is a leave-in hair serum infused with Japanese rice water to give visible fullness, texture, and shine.
Want extra body? Paul recommends spraying Shu Uemura Muroto Volume hydro texturising mist directly into the roots for a texture boost without the sticky residue.
The tousled 'French girl' look
Master the effortlessly chic 'undone' style of a Parisienne using Paul's simple blend of products and techniques.
"I recommend using a heat protection product plus a light hold product such as Shu Uemura Tsuki Shape, before rough drying the hair," says Paul. Tsuki Shape is a heat-active blow-dry spray designed to add body and definition to hair while keeping it soft and natural to the touch.
"Once dry, you can use either large tongs or the L'Oréal Steampod to style the hair — take random sections and gently shape it in different directions to give that natural, undone look."
And finally, the fringe!
A shag cut with bangs (A.K.A 'fringe') is the most popular version of this iconic style. Getting the finishing touches just right will help to frame your face and tie the whole look together.
Paul says: "Blow-dry your fringe using a medium round brush to give a soft feathered look. To finish, brush the hair while turning the head upside down, and spray lightly with Shu Uemura Kumo Hold while the hair is still upside down."
Paul answers your top shag cut questions
I'm thinking about cutting my long hair. Should I opt for a mid-length shag?
"Length is always about what will suit your face," says Paul. "I like to draw attention to the eyes, mouth and cheekbones and play down the jawlines as this lifts the face."
What should I expect with a mid-length/layered look?
"More volume and movement, and faster styling," says Paul. Mid-length shag cuts aren't just easier to dry and style; they also give you more styling options in day-to-day life.
What hair types look good with a shag cut?
"Every hair type looks good with a shag, just because it's very adaptable," says Paul. Whether your hair is curly, straight, fine, or thick, the cut can be customised to work for you.
What is a 'heavier fringe'?
The term 'heavy fringe' refers to a thicker, fuller fringe style. When talking about a heavy fringe in relation to a shag cut, this may mean curtain bangs — a middle parting with longer, sweeping front sections of hair that are typically curled out and away from the face. Shag cuts can also be styled with thick, blunt cut fringes, depending on your preference and face shape. Watch Paul's fringe video to find out which fringe styles suit you.
How can a heavier fringe work if you have fine hair or less volume?
There are cutting techniques that can help make your hair look fuller. Paul says, "by taking more hair into the fringe, it becomes heavier. However, I'd recommend cutting into or feathering the fringe slightly to give versatility and movement."
Are there specific shampoos or conditioners I should use on mid-length hair or heavier fringes?
What styling products can I use?
"I like Shu Uemura Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalisation Serum. Apply to the lengths and tips of dry hair for gloss without greasiness," says Paul.
Are there specific face shapes that don't suit a shag cut?
"It's great for all face shapes," says Paul, "however, the cut will have to be made bespoke for your face." Here at Paul Edmonds London, your stylist will give you a full consultation, assessing your features, your face, and your hair type to find the best shag style for you. It's all part of the holistic service!