I did it. I got the shag haircut I’ve been staring at on Instagram for months. The one that looks a little French, a little rock 'n' roll, a little like ‘70s Jane Fonda and ‘70s Stevie Nicks had a perfect, bohemian baby. It was terrifying — I haven’t cut my hair in over a year, and my husband even cautioned me against the shag by saying, simply, “Ugh” whenever I waved screenshots of what I wanted in front of his face — but in the end, it was so, so worth it. My one regret? I didn’t do it sooner.
I actually wasn’t expecting to be “shagged” at all when I settled into the salon chair at Los Angeles’ Stag Hair Parlor. My goal was to get the bare-minimum trim in order to breathe some life into my once wavy, suddenly straw-like strands. But my stylist, Lex Seibel, had other plans. As soon as she heard I was looking for something low- to no-maintenance, and I was open to anything except losing my length, Seibel started throwing out ideas: How about some layers? And long fringe? Before I knew what was happening, I had agreed to a modified version of The Instagram Shag.
“I would definitely refer to this cut as a shag,” Seibel tells The Zoe Report. “Although as opposed to being a traditional shag, with much shorter layers and fringe, we kept the layering a little longer and more curtain-like in the bangs.” These tweaks, she says, serve two purposes: One, they make for a true wash-and-go style, since I don’t have to worry about artfully arranging my bangs every morning (they just flow into the rest of the cut). And two, they give me the flexibility to go longer in between trims. “I have a lot of clients who I see for fringe maintenance more frequently than a full cut, because they love the way all of the layers continue to grow out,” Seibel shares — and really, a style that looks good in the grow-out phase is the ultimate dream. (Especially for me, since I live about three hours away from Stag.)
I’m not gonna lie, watching Seibel snip away was a little scary. So much hair fell to the floor, and I was nervous she took too much off — but it turns out, that was just the result of some heavy layering. Once she was done, my hair was basically the same length I started with. The difference? I’m now the proud owner of long, choppy layers and parted curtain bangs. My waves are healthy and bouncy again, and my volume can only be described as “va-va-voom.”
Obviously, I owe this all to Seibel, but she says my natural texture does play a part in making The Instagram Shag wearable on a day-to-day basis. “It’s definitely a little easier to style with naturally wavy and curly textures,” she tells TZR. “However, as someone with finer hair who does minimal styling, I rely on a salt spray for added grit and texture and voila. I’m ready to hit the road.” In other words, the cut can work for anyone — yup, even the bangs. “I’m a true bang believer, so I hold to heart that there is a fringe for everyone,” the stylist says. “Nothing is more flattering than framing one’s face.”
I left my appointment with one of Seibel’s favorite curl products, Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment, in hand; and I use it daily to keep my style looking shag-tastic (it can be used on wet or dry hair, which is always a plus). When I’m fresh from the shower, I’ll cocktail that with a dollop each of Virtue Labs Moisture Defining Whip and Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Creme, scrunch, and let my waves air dry. Sometimes I take extra precaution with my bangs and blast them with a diffuser for a few minutes.
If you, too, want to nail The Instagram Shag, Seibel recommends Reverie’s Mare Mediterranean Sea Salt Mist and Rake Styling Balm. “Apply salt spray to the root and mid-shaft of towel-dried hair, and hand dry with a diffuser,” she instructs. “Use your fingers and the palms of your hands to build it up, which really gives you the beach, hippie, chill wave that is back and beautiful right now.” Next, apply styling balm strategically — it’s great to give fringe a piece-y texture and tame flyaways. “The waves should be enhanced by the cut naturally, which is low-key the best part,” Seibel says.
I have to agree: If I knew looking (and feeling) this cool required so little effort, I’d have gotten The Instagram Shag months ago.