It’s sexy, swingy, and easy to manage: Meet the neo-shag.
YOU KNOW A LOOK has officially arrived when Taylor Swift is wearing it. Miley Cyrus? She’s another bellwether. But the moment the neo-shag was spotted in a recent Celine campaign, it was undeniable. It’s not quite the shag of the 1970s, says hairstylist Sally Hershberger, who chopped Joan Jett’s hair into the style more than 40 years ago (and resurrected it with Meg Ryan in 1995)—and that’s a good thing.“The original silhouette was severe—it was cropped with extremely short layers around the top,” she says.“Now it’s more about softly framing the face, drawing attention to the eyes and cheekbones.” Could this be your new look? “It’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll, and it makes everyone a little sexier,” adds Hershberger.“Who wouldn’t want that?”
MAKE THE CUT Getting the neo-shag doesn’t require much bravery on your part.“It totally changes your appearance without compromising a lot of length,” says celebrity stylist Serge Normant, known for creating the soft layers on Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker. In fact, Hershberger says the style looks best on hair that hits the collarbone or lower. What’s critical is that the front layers are short, says Los Angeles hairstylist Riawna Capri, who has recently tended to Swift’s locks.“They should hit above or around your cheekbones,” she says. If you’re feeling gutsy, add soft bangs.“They make you look younger,” explains Hershberger.“They open up your face and draw the eye upward.”
WORK WITH YOUR TEXTURE The neo-shag is perfect for those with waves or curls.“That hair type tends to bend around your face, so you don’t need to do any extra styling,” says Capri. The only caveat? “When you cut it, leave some extra length so strands don’t shrink up when your hair dries and curls, changing its shape,” saysNormant. If you have straight hair, “use a curling iron to give the layers a little movement,” Capri says. That’s how it looks the coolest, she says. Bonus: Shorter layers can give the appearance of naturally fuller, thicker hair.
KEEP IT SIMPLE The easiest thing about this look? It takes minimal time to style.“It’s supposed to be a little messy,” says Hershberger. If you have bangs, dry them straight out of the shower; otherwise, they’ll pouf up. To encourage texture and enhance your layers, rake a dollop of a lightweight mousse (try Sally Hershberger 24K Supreme Body Volumizing Mousse, $32) through damp hair, focusing on roots and mid-lengths. Then scrunch, and let the rest of your hair air-dry, or use a diffuser. For an extra-piecey look, rub a texturizing paste-like R+Co Sand Castle Dry Texture Crème ($29) between your palms and gently tousle your layers once hair is dry. Sam Neibart