Shag Haircuts For Curly Hair: 9 Styles That You Will Adore

Shag haircuts are the new ‘it girl’ cut, with all the most fashionable women sporting them at the moment. They are perfect for everyone, regardless of hair texture and length – but there is no denying that they look incredible on those of us blessed with curly locks. 

If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘shag’ when it comes to hair, then all you need to know about the style is that it is characterized by a lot of layers, especially around the crown, as well as an outgrown-looking set of face-framing bangs.

The shag hairstyle works so universally because it adds a lot of movements and lift (which can be useful if you have thin, fine, or straight hair), whilst also thinning out the hair around its lengths (which can make it thinner around the lengths and easier to care for, if you have thick or curly hair). 

If you have curly hair and are looking for a trendy way to change up your hair, then look no further than this article.

We have compiled all of our favorite shag haircuts on curly hair, so you can pick out your favorite and take the pictures straight to the hairdresser, and walk out feeling great. Read on

1. Zendaya’s Runway Model Shag Haircut

Zendaya always epitomizes style and fashion – especially when it comes to her hair.  From waist-length braids, to red hair and a full fringe, or a fluffy natural Afro, she is always ahead of the curve.

And that is definitely true when it comes to this trend – she is often cited as one of the first celebs to take on this iteration of the shag hairstyle, and probably inspired legions of other women to take the risk.

You can expect Zendaya like results if you have thick, curl hair (that is of a 2 C, 3 A, or 3 B curl pattern). Ask for layered, medium to long length layers, with a long, face-framing straight across fringe, which is graduated slightly into your curls. 

2. Taylor Swift’s ‘I can do both’ Short Shag Haircut

Taylor Swift really can do both – she can sing country and pop, she can be a femme fatale for ‘Reputation’, and be sweet as pie for ‘Folklore’, and she can rock both curly and straight hair no questions asked.

This hairstyle comes from the era of iconic pop songs that have become eponymous with her discography, like ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Shake It Off’, and ‘Blank Space’.

During this period, she balanced the ‘approachable BFF’ image, with her down-to-business bombshell look, and this hairstyle certainly did some of the heavy lifting.

Her hair could be worn curly and messy or could be seamlessly straight and elegant, and her dramatic sweeping bangs just topped the looks off, helping to take her from a just rolled out of bed look to ready to the met gala without a trip to the hairdresser.                                                                                                                                               

This kind of haircut is great if you have tresses that can be ‘either/or’ and can transition between curly and straight on a day-to-day basis. It is choppy and messy, without being chunky, making it is easy to wear both with your natural curls or waves, as well as your straightened hair.

We recommend this style if you have in-between hair, or if you like to straighten your hair often. If you have any hesitancy about the shag look, this is the one for you! 

3. The Tight Coily Shag (as seen on Yara Shahidi)

The Tight Coily Shag (as seen on Yara Shahidi)

Don’t be fooled by the loose curls you have seen on this list so far – the shag hairstyle works on tight coils too. Here, Yara Shahidi’s short shag hairstyle is sculpted to suit her face shape, and straddled the line between a thick, lush Afro puff, and a traditional shag.

There are quite short lengths, especially around the top section of Yara’s hair, to achieve the rounded shape. 

Yara Shahidi has styled her shag haircut with a slightly less traditional set of shorter, curly bangs, that just rest on her eyebrows. This works perfectly for her, and is truly the cherry on top of a showstopping hair cut.

We recommend a look like this if you have tight, voluminous coils, that will give you a lot of volume when cut to shorter lengths the round look (and short bangs) will particularly suit those that have a longer, squarer face shape.

If you go in for this kind of haircut, make sure that your hair stylist cuts your hair whilst it is dry – otherwise you might suffer from shrinkage when your hair dries, amd end up with a shorter chop than anticipated. 

4. Tracee Ellis Ross’s Fluffy Retro  Shag

Tracee Ellis Ross’s Fluffy Retro Shag

For years, Tracee Ellis Ross has been an advocate of rocking natural hair in Hollywood. This is another hybrid style, which seems to be sitting on the fence between a coiffured Afro and a vintage style 70s shag.

Showing her natural curls on the red carpet has been purposeful, she told Lola Gunnaike at Marie Claire magazine that ‘Learning to love my hair in a world that doesn’t mirror that celebration has been a form of both resistance and the claiming of my identity, my selfhood, my legacy, my ancestral lines, the history that I come from’. 

Tracee has maintained the length of her hair, wearing it long enough to fall over her shoulders, whilst still keeping it the mid-length. If you ant a look like this, ask for a shag style haircut, with short, fluffy and graduated layers.

Add in a dense, dramatic fringe to cap off the Tracee Ellis Ross look.

5. Sandra Oh’s Balanced, Classic Shag

Sandra Oh’s Balanced

With Sandra Oh’s shag hairstyle, we get a feel for the classic, longish shag haircut. Sandra has layers in her hair from about midway down, around her ears, and has long lengths that fall below her shoulders.

The piece de la resistance for this haircut though is her thick, textured curly bangs, that fall romantically (and a little impractically – though who needs practicality on the red carpet) into her eyes. 

We think that Sandra Oh’s look is great if you have a few different hair textures on your hair, and if you feel like at any one time, your hair can be wavy, straight, and curly all at the same time.

Rather than trying to cover up a non-uniformity in her hair, Sandra’s stylish a has played off this, and turned it into a feature, with her long locks showing lovely, laid-back waves, whilst the shorter layers are curlier and springier, adding a lot of face-framing volume. 

6. Natasha Lyonne’s Signature Shag

Natasha Lyonne’s Signature Shag

Natasha Lyonne’s shag haircut has become her signature look over recent years. Wavy long layers, a choppy moon fringe (which, for the uninitiated, are curved baby bangs, that fall in the shape of a crescent moon.

The look has become completely associated with Natasha Lyonne, not least in part to her 2019 series, ‘Russian Doll’, where she rocks an auburn red version. She played the straight-talking, party-loving Nadia, and birthed the chop du jour.

Mid-length and half-fringed, the look takes historical inspiration from strong, hard-partying women of the rock and roll past, like Joan Jett, Anita Pallenberg, and Stevie Nicks. 

It is a perfect look for those with loose textured curls, as it emphasizes the dynamism of your hair, and your natural, unique texture. Regardless of your hair thickness, this look can work well for everyone, helping lighten thick curls, or bring a choppy illusion of weight to finer, thinner locks. 

7. Freja Beha Erichsen’s High Effort Bedhead Shag Look 

Freja Beha Erichsen’s High Effort Bedhead Shag

Freja Beha Erichsen rocks a Parisien-looking shag hairstyle, that has been perfectly styled to look as though it hasn’t been styled at all.

She has totally nailed the bed head look, which accentuates her naturally wavy/curly hybrid hair, making her look like a classy Parisian, or a 70s rock star. 

If you’re after Freja’s model look, then ask your hairdresser for a shaggy lob, with a soft, eyebrow skimming fringe that is graduated into the hair through curtain like long bangs. 

8. Farrah Fawcett’s Era Defining Shag Haircut

Farrah Fawcett’s Era Defining Shag Haircut

Farrah Fawcett has always been an icon of hairstyles, and her sweeping, voluminous curls inspired an army of copycats, an indie-pop song, and hundreds of products that claim to help you achieve the signature look.

But, her shag hairstyle shouldn’t be overlooked either – the feathered look inspired a generation. If you adore Farrah’s look, then ask your hairdresser for shaggy, textured layers, that go both backward and forwards, to achieve Fawcett’s trademark antigravity look. 

Remember, even if you have the most triumphantly curly hair, this look will take quite a bit of styling to achieve Farrah Fawcett-worthy tresses. Think all things texturizing powder, hot curlers, and hair spray, so that your curls remain voluminous and lush, whilst still feeling choppy and rock and roll. 

9. Halle Berry’s 21st Century Shag 

Halle Berry’s 21st Century Shag

Halle Berry is the queen of the modern shag style, mixing together buttery highlight, rich lowlights, and beachy textured soft, loose curls.

Her lengths are perfectly tousled, and bathed in tones of honey, simultaneously making it look like she’s spent a summer in the sun, and also as if she goes to the salon every day.

Halle has worn a few different versions of the shag over the years, differing in lengths (from a short length just below her jaw, to a longer look falling below her shoulders) and textures (ranging from a 3 A ringlet, to a loose 2 B wave). 

The key to pulling off a Halle Berry-like shag haircut is the texture – you need a little of wave or curl for this longer haircut to work, without looking flat or straggly.

As Halle has longer layers than a lot of the styles on this list, if you try this style, make sure that your hair has enough lift and volume.

But, the payoff will be great if you do decide that this is the style for you – it will look great fresh out of the salon, and will still look great a few months later when it has grown a couple of inches. The long layers mean that growth is disguised, and rather than outgrown and unkempt, it will look glamorously messy. 

Final Thoughts 

The shag hairstyle can work for (nearly) everyone, especially if you have some hair texture. On this list, we have covered a wide gamut of options and shown you what a shag looks like across a lot of lengths (from jaw length to past the shoulders), and textures (from barely-there waves to bouncy coils). 

If you do opt for a shag haircut, there are a few things that you will need to do to keep it looking in tip-top condition between salon visits – use plenty of deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners, so that the ends don’t look dry and frazzled, as the many layers can exacerbate crispy split ends.

Use gentle heat, such as a diffuser, when you blow-dry, to keep your fair fluffy, but not overly styled. 

Give the style du jour a go – the shag is a really adaptable hairstyle, so you can go as conservative or statement as you like with it. Whether you want a big chop, or just a little revamp, then there is a shag cut that will work for you!

Lynn Pearson