Looking for short shag haircut inspiration? Look no further than our complete guide. We’ll give you 30 trending examples, the key features of each, and things to consider before your next salon visit.


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30 Short Shag Haircuts for Women

Short shag haircuts have been popular at different points in time, usually thanks to celebrities sporting them throughout the decades. Everyone from Taylor Swift to Mick Jagger and Jennifer Aniston has worn these trademark messy, choppy haircuts at some point.

What Is a Short Shag Haircut?

Woman haircut shag multi color style icon. Simple glyph, flat illustration of Haircut icons for ui and ux, website or mobile application
Art Studio G/Shutterstock

A shag cut is any cut that combines gradual layering with shorter layers near the top of the head and progressively longer layers underneath.

Think of a Christmas tree and how the top branches are shorter than the branches underneath. This type of cut gives the illusion of added height at the crown of the head.

It’s also perfect for messy styles and a tousled, slightly disheveled look. Short shag haircuts are some of the most popular versions of the shag. Short shags can be worn as short as a pixie or nearly to the shoulders.

They also have a ton of options:

  • Part it down the middle with bangs for a 70’s vibe
  • Opt for a hard side part
  • Use it for face-framing layers for a more modern look

If you’re considering getting a short shag cut, it’s helpful to have plenty of examples to look at. When you visit your stylist to request this cut, you should bring inspiration photos to show them exactly what you’re going for. 

And if you’d like to blend features of more than one cut below for your own unique take on the shag, just tell your stylist. “I like the bangs from this cut, but I’d like to combine that with the shorter layers we see in this other example.”   

Check out these examples of short shag haircuts to see which one might be best suited for you! We’re sure that with 30 examples, you’re sure to find a trendy style to fit your look and style.

30 Examples of Short Shag Haircuts

Short shag cuts have a lot of variation and flexibility. There are hundreds of ways to style it, several length options that fall under the short category, and endless ways to make it your own. Here are 30 of the best examples we found for these cuts.

Short Shag Haircut 1

Beautiful smiling redhead woman with a short shag haircut in a denim shirt on red brick wall grunge, industrial background. Young stylish girl on the street with retro photo camera.
Youproduction/Shutterstock

A long, shaggy top complements the shorter back and sides of this casual cut. Long layers throughout the top keep it loose, freeform, and full of movement.

Short Shag Haircut 2

Beauty Young Woman Portrait over White Background. Beautiful Model Girl Face. Short Curly Hair, Fresh Clean Skin and Green Eyes. Hairstyle. Haircut
Subbotina Anna/Shutterstock

This choppy version of a stacked bob creates more body and volume in the hair, which is great for oval or square faces. Short layers throughout the hair add dimension and make the cut suitable for messy or formal styles.

Short Shag Haircut 3

Portrait of happy woman with short shag hair in basic t-shirt rejoicing and pointing finger at copyspace isolated over white background
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

A little tousling and light layering make this short shag haircut perfect for anyone who wants “wash and go” hair. When you’re up for styling, a curling or wave iron can add polish to this otherwise casual cut.

Short Shag Haircut 4

Closeup portrait of a beautiful young asian japanese girl woman with freckles with black short pixie haircut in red shawl scarf looking straight into the camera
Anna Kraynova/Shutterstock

Longer face-framing strands around the face with lots of layering throughout are the standout features of this short, shaggy cut.

Short Shag Haircut 5

Portrait happy smily young sexy girl listening to music in white headphones on an isolated yellow background. Pleasure. The emotions of people. Monotone. Copy space
Larina Marina/Shutterstock

Get a disheveled look that can be dressed up or down with a cut just above the shoulders and random, choppy layers throughout.

Short Shag Haircut 6

Photo of beautiful laughing woman with short hair
Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock

This haircut has a rocker vibe and so many different ways to style it. Ask for brow-length bangs and choppy layers throughout with shorter layers up front.

Short Shag Haircut 7

Blond model in studio rocking a short shag haircut and blue shirt against a light sky blue background
Iconogenic/Shutterstock

Straight hair can look great with a messy cut like this. Use pomade or wax to create a piecey look with lots of layers at different lengths.

Short Shag Haircut 8

Portrait of attractive blonde woman with curly short hair
YuriyZhuravov/Shutterstock

This haircut is somewhat blunt on the bottom for a precise edge, but features lots of texture thanks to heavy layering throughout. Use a curling wand or iron to give it partial waves and accentuate the cut’s shagginess.

Short Shag Haircut 9

profile of a beautiful woman with red lips and short feathered red hair in modern bob over studio background
Luba V Nel/Shutterstock

Get the tousled, messy look with a shorter cut by having your stylist create volume at the crown with shorter layers that gradually transition into longer layers at the sides and nape of the neck.

Short Shag Haircut 10

Fresh hair color and cut
JasmineCoeBlogs/Shutterstock

This cut is on the longer end of the short hair spectrum. But thanks to the shorter stacked back, it delivers that shag look for anyone who doesn’t want to go too short.

Short Shag Haircut 11

Hair bob with short curls on the female head with red hair side view against the background of black isolate.
PushAnn/Shutterstock

Opt for looser waves instead of the tight curls in the photo, and this cut is positively shaggy. A little height at the back keeps it from laying flat to the head.

Short Shag Haircut 12

For a piece on short shag haircuts, Cheerful short-haired girl in trendy glasses posing with pleasure in new knitted attire. Indoor portrait of pleased curly young woman standing in front of yellow wall.
Look Studio/Shutterstock

This one is totally shagadelic, baby! The basic cut – short layers stacked in the back with longer layers around the sides – is paired with messy curls for a look that says “I woke up like this” in a good way.

Short Shag Haircut 13

Young woman portrait. Closeup beauty studio shoot. Healthy clean skin and perfect makeup on beautiful face of white model with short shag haircut
Yuri Shevtsov/Shutterstock

If you like the look of a tousled, messy cut but want to clean it up a bit, you’ll like this one. The layers and bangs are long and even for a more polished look that you can texturize and piece in different ways – we especially love this style with some soft waves.

Short Shag Haircut 14

Portrait of young pretty woman with short curly shag hairstyle wearing round hipster sunglasses and mint top, looking away, posing against white studio wall background
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

This stacked bob keeps some layers long for an updated look. Shaggy cuts like these always look great in waves or curls to accentuate the different lengths of layers in the hair.

Short Shag Haircut 15

Beautiful young woman smiling with her new pair of eyeglasses isolated on white background
Rido/Shutterstock

A deep side part looks great with long bangs that blend seamlessly into the short hair. Cut in gradual layers at the back, this cut has height at the crown that is super flattering for all face shapes.

Short Shag Haircut 16

Beautiful young woman outdoors. Romantic model in summer outfit. Short curly hair, fresh clean skin and blue eyes. Hairstyle. Haircut
Kseniia Perminova/Shutterstock

Even if you’re not sure about how you’ll deal with short hair, this cut can work for you. Keeping the front layers long creates the illusion of more length while making your mane more manageable.

Short Shag Haircut 17

Beautiful young woman wearing short shag hairstyle autumn outdoor, focus on a hair.
Lena Pan/Shutterstock

There’s something edgy about straight hair with a shaggy cut like this. You might want to use hair products to define the different layers and pieces for more visual interest.

Short Shag Haircut 18

Beautiful woman with short white hair on white background
Antonio Sanches/Shutterstock

This cut is pretty short in the back, fading from short to gradually longer layers around the side of the face. We love the asymmetrical look here!

Short Shag Haircut 19

Young woman with modern short shag hairstyle
FlexDreams/Shutterstock

Revive the Myspace days with this punchy shag cut. It works best with thick hair cut short in the back with choppy layers at the bottom of the front.

Short Shag Haircut 20

Closeup of beautiful young woman with red lips looking sideways on white background
Sirtravelalot/Shutterstock

A cross between a pixie cut and a shag cut, this is a great option if you’ve been itching to go super short or are growing out a pixie. The long face-framing layers give this cut dimension.

Short Shag Haircut 21

Image of woman with short hairstyle, view from behind. Haircut. Hairstyle
SunCity/Shutterstock

An undercut in the back takes this shaggy style to a new level. Keep the layers long in front for more styling options.

Short Shag Haircut 22

Girl with a short stylish haircut on a dark background. Space for text
Shadow777/Shutterstock

This is like the sister cut of the one shown above without the undercut. You can wear it sleek and straight or add hair products to mess it up a bit.

Short Shag Haircut 23

Cosmetic studio concept against red background featuring a short shag haircut image against red background
Ariuxz Nawrocki/Shutterstock

Take the shaggy style to the max with these ultra-long layers around the face and shorter layers toward the sides and back.

Short Shag Haircut 24

Beautiful young woman with short pixie light blond hair looking at camera and smiling
DreamBig/Shutterstock

Keeping a little more length on the face-framing layers makes this cut easy to style. Choppy layers around the back are perfect for creating the messy look.

Short Shag Haircut 25

Jessica Alba at the world premiere of her new movie "Valentine's Day" at Grauman's and rocking a short shag haircut
FeatureFlash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

Jessica Alba’s take on the shaggy haircut is chin-length, but can easily be translated into a shorter style. A middle part and layers throughout the hair give it a 70’s vibe.

Short Shag Haircut 26

Happy young fashion woman with pixie hair walking on city street Stylish female model in tank top and silk scarf
Wrangler/Shutterstock

The shaggy haircut doesn’t always have to be worn messy. This is a great example of taming those signature layers of this style to lay down with added volume at the crown.

Short Shag Haircut 27

Young woman with a short shag haircut close up face beauty portrait.Short Hair style. Female model isolated white background.
Yuri Shevtsov/Shutterstock

Some soft, side-swept bangs look great with any shag cut. This short-medium length offers lots of styling flexibility.

Short Shag Haircut 28

Young woman with short hair posing beside graffiti background
BCFC/Shutterstock

Add a little more sass to your shag by styling it pin-straight with a hard part. The gradual layers throughout create interest at the ends, which are choppy and create dimension.

Short Shag Haircut 29

Young woman short hair wearing eyeglasses sitting at desk studying online on laptop distance education looking at screen laughing cheerful funny lecture
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock

Fans of super-short hair will love this wavy take on a shag style. It’s one of the best wash and go cuts out there, and keeping the top a little longer widens your styling options.

Short Shag Haircut 30

Pretty young brunette in a sheer print blouse
Hank Shiffman/Shutterstock

Hair that nearly hits the shoulders is perfectly suited for a shag cut! As long as you have your stylist work in some messy layers throughout, this cut is easy to wear messy or polished.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Short Shag Cut

Before you run to the salon to get this cut, there are a couple of points you should consider and keep in mind. Here’s what you should know about short, shaggy haircuts.

Shag cuts will make your hair texture more pronounced. Because shag cuts always feature shorter layers at the top of the head, there will be less weight pulling on your hair. So if you have natural curls or waves, they’ll become more pronounced with this cut. 

Growing out layers can be a pain. Layers are the main commonality between shaggy haircuts, and growing them out when the time comes can be a pain. You might notice some sections growing out faster than others, resulting in an uneven look.

The style will look weighed down once it grows out a bit, and you’ll be forced to either cut the hair to the length of the shortest layers or continue to get the layers trimmed every few weeks. 

Trends come and go. The shag cut trend is in right now, but styles come and go. Are you willing to have the choppy layers cut into your hair if you decide that it’s no longer the look for you a month or two down the road? Keep this in mind before you get it done. 

Bad layers will seriously mess up your hair. Layers done by an inexperienced stylist will not only look bad, but they can also hurt your hair. Layering done with a razor can damage your hair cuticle, making it frizzy, weak, and prone to split ends. 

Not every shag cut flatters all face shapes. While there are adjustments your stylist can make to ensure the cut suits your face shape, most shaggy cuts are best avoided by those with heart-shaped, wide, or long face shapes. They are typically flattering for oval and square-shaped faces. 

Choosing the Right Shag Cut for You

Now that you’ve seen a range of examples and looked at a few important things to consider, you might be ready to choose the right cut for you. Getting a great haircut that will suit you involves the following. 

  • Length: Choose a cut in the right length for you, based on your face shape and how you plan to style it. If your hair is curly or wavy, both very short and longer shag cuts can be flattering. If your hair is pin-straight and you’ll need to style the cut each morning, choose a length that will be easiest to style.
  • Face Shape: Choose a cut that flatters your face shape, accentuating your favorite features while softening those you’d rather play down.
  • Maintenance: Shags with very short layers will require more trims and regular maintenance than those with longer, more blended layers. Consider how often you’re willing to visit the salon when making your choice.
  • Style Commitment: The shag style does require some degree of commitment no matter what, thanks to the layers throughout the hair. But some styles, like those featuring an undercut or very short layers around the face, will really mean you’re in this for the long haul.
  • Stylist Experience: When it comes to getting a shag cut, you want a stylist with lots of experience. The intricate layering requires years of expertise to properly pull off without damaging your hair.

If you’re set on a shag haircut with a shorter length, keep these things in mind as you browse examples of this iconic style. Decisions on new haircuts shouldn’t be made too quickly.

Give it some thought, and make sure you consider the pros and cons of this cut. Who knows? It might become your new signature look! To get started, head over to our salon finder tool to find your next stylist.

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Author: Debra Carpenter

Debra is a Nashville-based content creator and strategist. As the daughter of a long-time hair stylist and salon owner, she’s spent most of her life as a guinea pig for new color and cut techniques. Writing for respected publications like Forbes and HuffPost, she’s committed to bringing her passion for great hair to the masses.