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10 Best Shag Haircuts for Older Women

By Sandra Roussy September 06, 2022 Beauty

Remember the edgy shag hairstyle from the 80s? Joan Jett popularized it back then, and it is now making a huge comeback.

Shag haircuts are characterized by uneven choppy layers with shorter ones at the crown of the head. Typically, longish feathered bangs are added along with fringed layers around the face. In its essence, this is an organized messy-look hairstyle.

Here’s my list of the best shag hairstyles for older women:

  1. Short Shag – The classic look, but shorter.
  2. The Classic Sleek Shag – The tidied-up shag.
  3. The Iconic Shag – A modern-day shag cut for older women.
  4. The Naturally Curly Shag – Natural curly shag style.
  5. The Shag with Volume – Pump up your shag hairstyle.
  6. Shag with Long Bangs – Let the bangs grow long.
  7. Pixie Shag – Super short shag cut.
  8. Easy Shag Hairstyle – Easy to maintain layered cut.
  9. Salt & Pepper Shag Style – Great color combo!
  10. Straight Shag – Straight clean shag.

The shag is best if you have medium-thick or thick hair – as the feathered layers tend to thin the hair out. It can be cut in a variety of lengths, from short to long, and is rather flattering for most face shapes. It’s a fairly low-maintenance style and is a perfect wash-and-go cut – for us busy ladies that don’t want to fuss too much on our hair but still want to look modern and feminine.

You don’t have to go all out “I Love Rock-and-Roll” and cut your hair like Joan Jett to get the look. Here are some shag-inspired haircuts that are adapted for older women and easily achievable.

Best Shag Haircuts for Older Women

Short Shag

short shag

Take the shag look to short hair for a put-together and elegant style. We can subtly see the playful wispy layers and feathered bangs giving this a modern twist on an iconic hairstyle. Add as much or as little texturing paste to get the effect you want.

The Classic Sleek Shag

The Classic Sleek Shag

You can still sport the shag look without the usual “messy look” associated with it. This hairstyle is a shag cut with less feathered layers. Keep it neat and tidy with a finishing holding spray.

The Iconic Shag

The Iconic Shag

This beautiful woman is wearing a classic modern shag. The style suits her face perfectly and the natural gray gives it an authentic look. Keep the flyaways and your hair shiny with a shine glossing spray.

The Naturally Curly Shag

The Naturally Curly Shag

The shag hairstyle can be cut into naturally curly hair perfectly. Cut shorter curls at the crown and around the face to get the look. Keep your beautiful curls under control with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner.

The Shag with Volume

The Shag with Volume

Add volume to the short layers at the crown for a fun and airy shag style. The messy look is perfectly arranged to look effortless. Try adding a little volumizing and thickening product and fix it with hairspray to keep all-day volume.

Shag with Long Bangs

Shag with Long Bangs

Wearing a longer bang with a shag hairstyle gives it a softer and flirtier look. Blow-dry using a large-barrel round brush to get the volume at the crown and around the face. This style looks great on a variety of face shapes.

Pixie Shag

Pixie Shag

A pixie style can be trimmed to a shag cut by feathering the layers and wisping them towards the front. Dab a little bit of texturizing gel to keep your fabulous haircut in place.

Easy Shag Hairstyle

Easy Shag Hairstyle

This version of the shag hairstyle is easy to maintain and looks good in all colors and face shapes. Keep it frizz-free with an anti-frizz serum.

Salt and Pepper Shag Style

Salt and Pepper Shag Style

Salt & pepper hair looks great in a shag cut. You can ask your hairstylist to add dark lowlights to your gray hair to get the desired effect. Add texture and definition to the cut with a texturizing mousse.

Straight Shag

Straight Shag

Your shag can be worn several different ways, and, on those days when you don’t want wispy feathered layers, you can straighten them with a straightening product and a flat iron.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Did you wear the shag hairstyle in the 80s? What do you think about it? Will you be trying one of the shag haircuts of older women? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Hairdresser here…Why do we now need to call all simple, layered haircuts a “shag”?


OMG…I was thinking the same thing. Lol.


A shag is an uber-layered, somewhat uneven cut, not a simple layered haircut.


Because it’s always been called a shag since the mid 70s. It was a very popular cut. These cuts are retro.


I agree!! That isn’t the shag that I remember!


I agree with you I didn’t see a real shag in their pictures

Gloria Swift

I too agree the real shag is nothing like these. We need pictures from the 70′ anyone have any ? Gloria


Didn’t Jane Fonda have a shag? And Dolly Parton?


No! They did not.

Nancy Delgado

Probably because nothing in the 60’s & 70’s, was neat & orderly, even our hair. (Except the girls that had long hair).


I was laughing looking online at pics of “shags”. I’m with you on this! I was looking for what’s an actual shag, not a Farrah Fawcet hc, not a bob with layers, not a Jennifer Aniston hc which all of these could be also.Im going back and looking at actresses from the 70s to show others what a real shag is

Last edited 1 year ago by Patty

Agreed! Not just any shaggy haircut is a shag.


Because if you were alive in the ’60s that’s where the shag was first called shag. So all the gals now over 60 years old call it a shag haircut

Last edited 10 months ago by Margie
Jeri Taylor

None of these pics are the real shag I had the Shag in the 70s shorter ontop then longer at the bottom.


I was just thinking the same thing summer of 72


I remember when that came out too that was the days when the Bay City Roller then came out! Cropped more on top and and then longer


And this author is trying to attribute this cut to the 80’s. HA! Not hardly…


As soon as I saw “from the 80’s” I got that….😐 “I beg your pardon, 😠 my Gypsy shag in 1974 when I was 10 was a perfect compliment to my peasant dresses and tops worn with elephant bell bottoms.” THANK YOU, VERY MUCH! 😂🤣


Oh, the peasant dress! I wore those.

Sally Brousseau

I totally agree!! When I go in and ask for a 70s retro shag I walk out with a face framing cut and a ‘back trim’
Not a short to long layered cut


Given what the first 2 or 3 stylists said (obviously too young to remember the shag, that’s what these current people think it is.

Nancy Delgado

Agree, these pics are NOT what we wore. Ours was SHAGGY!!!


I totally agree, these are nothing like the shag I loved growing up!!


Totally agree with you ladies!! I loved the Shag but none of what I have seen would I want on my head!!


I agree also, I really want my hair cut in a shag like I had in the 70’s. My hair is fine, so I need someone who knows how to cut it. Jane Fonda is similar my hair is a bit longer, afraid the bottom or ends would look too thin. I shd go thru old pics, but hoping to find one without doing that.

Tina Pack

Exactly. I would never wear any of these. Need pics of the prettiest ones from the 70’s. Then we can talk. Ha ha.


None of them are! I wore one in the late 70’s early 80’s and it was different and I always rec’d compliments. What they show now are just “layered” cuts.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rita

Me too I had a short shaggy short on top long on back


Right on! I graduated in ’76 and these “shags” don’t cut it for me! The best hair stylist I ever had was a dude named Tiny. He cut the best shag I’ve ever had, it was perfection. These aren’t the shag hair cuts I remember having. Matter of fact I can’t find anyone who can cut one…I can’t seem to find any new pictures of the style anyplace.

Lynn Gillespie

I was thinking about it it was always easy to keep but now my hair is thin , it has grown out and now would be the perfect time for a new haircut

Sue Legree

I wear the long shag, finally found someone that can cut one. Long layers are very flattering. I am 68 and get mistaken for 55ish, Its a very youthful look. I love my long hair so lucky to be able to still hang onto it. It takes a very skilled stylist and I am so grateful I found her. HInt: if you see someone and you love their haircut go up and ask them where they got it done, saves a lot of bad hair days.


I cut it myself. And im not a beautician. Its very easy to do. They trick is too brush all your hair up from the nape into a ponytail on your forehead. Then brush the pony tail smooth. Grab it where you want to cut( from the end) after a straight blunt cut , take scissors and make a few cuts up. It creates the wispy look. Remove rubberband and shake hair back into place. There are alot of youtube videos showing how to do this.


Thanks for this. Kindly explain how to “make a few cuts up” for wispy look.


Actually, before you take the rubber band off, hold the ponytail in front of your face, take the scissors & make short little vertical cuts into the end of the hair to make the hair even shaggier. Look up “Wolf Shag” on YouTube.


Dee, I looked up “Wolf Shag” and the picture I saw showed a Carol Brady mullet. 😳 I definitely don’t want that! LOL….


😄 me, neither

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The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website:

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