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Last updated: February 13, 2020

The Modern Shag: Cutting Tips You Should Definitely Be Using

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Cutting A Shag: Tips To Try ASAP

Have a client that wants a cool, retro chop? Two words: THE SHAG. This ’70’s cut is becoming one of the hottest haircuts of 2020. Want to know more? BTC spent the day with Joico Educator Ricardo Santiago (@stylistricardosantiago) at the Academy of Hair in Los Angeles for JoiCon: a special in-depth training where Joico Educators learn the newest products and trendiest techniques. Scroll down to get all the cutting tips and tricks to use behind the chair!


Start With Sectioning

Always remember to keep sections clean with visible partings. Click through the slideshow for Ricardo’s section breakdown:


At the apex, bring diagonal forward partings to each ear, creating one large back section.



Stationary Guide + Square Layers = A Strong Perimeter

Start by creating a stationary, center guide. Then point cut to create a strong baseline that has movement. Here’s some takeaway tips:


  • Keep tension minimal! “Since this haircut is disconnected, you really want to utilize natural fall,” explains Ricardo. If tension is too tight, the perimeter will bounce back up when dry, resulting in a helmet shape.


  • Use a cutting comb to keep sections square and flat. This will prevent any beveling with your fingers, resulting in a flip.


  • For the sections at the temples, overdirect the hair to client’s nose and slide cut for softness around the face. To ensure balance, use the shortest piece of hair from the previous section as a guide. Connect the perimeter by point cutting. 


Pro Tip: When cross checking, look away from the section. We’re serious! Ricardo recommends training not only your eyes for balance but also your sense of touch. “Sections can look even when standing so close,” he explained. “So rely on how the hair feels instead of just how it looks.” 




Be Creative When It Comes To Layers

“This step is where you can really customize the look to your client,” Ricardo explained. He broke down his layering techniques like this:


  • To remove weight from the larger back section: take radial sections above the occipital bone and overdirect straight out from the head. Allow hair to fall out of the section to maintain a strong baseline and point cut a square layer. 


  • When cutting the top triangle sections it really depends on your client’s vibe. Are they feeling retro? Cut shorter, more disconnected layers at the crown. More modern? Then layers should be longer and more blended. It all comes down to the angle:  


    • Split the triangle in half with a horizontal parting, creating three thin sections. 


    • Use the center section as a guide and create an angle with your cutting comb. Point cut the section from short to long (the degree of the angle will depend on the client’s preference). Then, bring the other sections in to the guide. Repeat on the opposite side.




Finish With The Fringe

The staple of a shag haircut is of course, the curtain bang. Here’s how to get it:

  • Create a small vertical section in the center of the forehead. Bring it straight out from the head and point cut from short to long—at about a 45 degree angle.


  • Overdirect the sections on either side to the center guide, this will preserve the length on the sides for a curtain result.



Pro Tip: When overdirecting the hair, always overdirect towards you, advises Ricardo. “It’s much easier to maintain body positioning and consistency when you bring everything towards you instead of reaching,” he explains.


Check Out The Finished Look!


Click Through The Slideshow To See More Of Our Day With Joico!

Part of JoiCon is hands-on training for both cutting and color techniques!

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