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Last updated: November 02, 2018

The Sally Shag—11 Tips For Cutting Your Best Shag

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Two words: THE. SHAG. We know, we know, it was HUGE in the ’90s, but in our humble opinion, we don’t think The Shag will ever go out of style…and of course Rock Star Stylist Sally Hershberger agrees. She took the BTC “On Tour” stage at The Chicago Theatre to showcase her iconic cut and to put it simply, it was MAJOR. While all of the educational presentations rocked the first-ever “On Tour” stage, the shag was definitely a segment highly anticipated by every attendee in the theatre.


But why is the shag such a big deal? In the words of Sally, “It really is what women want. It’s sexy and wearable.” Sally did three Shag cuts on stage, all on models with different hair lengths and types, highlighting the fact that The Shag can be created on anyone. Check out some of the biggest tips and transformations from the stylist who made the shag, THE SHAG.



Sally Hershberger took the BTC “On Tour” Stage to showcase her iconic Shag cut.


1. Perimeter is Key
For Sally, it’s all about the perimeter. When framing the perimeter, work in small sections. This will help you keep track of the cut and allow you to see what is actually happening. “Once you get your frame, you can go to town on everything else.”


2. Work Front to Back
If you are used to working back to front, it’s time to rethink your steps. According to Sally and her team, the front is the most important part of your cut. If you start in the back, you can’t really take in the person’s face, and it becomes much harder to create the look without taking in the facial features.


3. Just Tip It!
When working with a razor, never go in with the intention of thinning out the hair. Sally goes in with her razor, after doing a majority of the cutting, to get the edges looking just right. Razors can make the hair look tattered, so instead of thinning, just tip the edges!



The Shag is a haircut that lives on the head. Don’t worry about having a hard part when creating this style.


4. Learn the Rules, then Break Them
Whenever you’re doing a cut, it’s always important to know the rules first. To keep your shag looking the best it can, Sally suggests cutting the bottom layer of the hair about an inch shorter than the layer that will rest on top. “The Shag is about the disconnect,” Sally explained.


5. Section, Section, SECTION!
If you ever get lost in a haircut, the easiest thing to do is to go back into where the cut was going right. This is when sectioning becomes very important, because if you are sectioning, you can retrace your steps and find
another starting point. If you don’t section, you’re cutting blind.



6. Move Around
When cutting a shag, you have to move with the hair. To see certain angles you have to be at certain levels. Don’t be afraid to stand directly in front of your client while cutting. You have to be able to see how your cut looks from this angle.


Short hair? DON’T CARE! The best part about The Shag? It can be worn on any client!


7. No Part? No Problem!
Get out of the mindset that your cuts need a designated part line. The Shag is a style that lives on the head. The haircut must flow and be versatile, having a hard part can sometimes hinder this.


8. To Blow-Dry or Not To Blow-Dry
You don’t always have to blow-dry your client. If you give your client a really great haircut with really great precision, it will dry perfectly on its own!


9. Cutting Wet Verses Cutting Dry
Cut wet and then go back in and dry-cut the hair. Cutting your client’s hair wet first allows you to create the base of the style, then go back in on dry hair to perfect the look and decrease any added bulk.


Sally performed 3 cuts on stage showcasing that anyone, with any hair length, can rock The Shag.


10. Value Your Cut
“If you don’t value your cut, your client won’t either,” Mary Brunetti, Director of Education at Sally Hershberger’s New York City Salon, said on the “On Tour” stage. And it’s true. The Shag is a style that can make your clients look 10 years younger…and how do you put a price on that?!


Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to stand up. If you need to see them at a certain angle or to see how the hair is looking and falling, specifically when they are standing, don’t be afraid to ask them to move around. You’re the expert and want to give them the best cut you can. 


*Bonus Tip* Don’t feel like you HAVE to chat during your cut. Sally told the audience that The Shag happens best when it happens organically. “It’s OK to not talk while doing a haircut…Calvin Klein isn’t chatting on the phone while he’s cutting a dress.” Well said, Sally. WELL SAID!



From drab to SHAG!
Check out Sally’s total transformations during BTC “On Tour”





Click here to see more from “The Shag” class on Facebook!


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