This Season’s "IT" Cut Is the Textured Shag

Elizabeth Jakaitis | April 14, 2017 | 3:00 AM
George Papanikolas created the textured shag on model Hailey Baldwin.
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Matrix Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas has named the textured shag the most on-trend cut this season. Its messy styling is cool and casual, but color looks bright and expensive. 

"One hairstyle emerges as the most in-demand among my trend-setting clients," says Papanikolas. "It’s a heavily layered and textured shape, reminiscent of the '70s shag, but cut with modern, seamless blending and punctuated with tons of gleaming highlights."

Here are Papanikolas' tips for the cut, color and styling of this of-the-moment look.


Whether your client’s hair has some natural wave or curl, or if it’s fairly straight, the haircut is the same. Create lots of layers by pulling sections straight out, and keep the perimeter fairly blunt. This look is all about the fringe—it should be heavy and fall below the brows. Normally we avoid fringes on curly hair, but when the hair is layered like this, a curly fringe is cool.


Be generous with color placement—if highlights aren’t fairly chunky the color will disappear among all of the layers. I do full highlights on this haircut, starting at the nape and working all the way up. I find that partial highlights result in a light top section with dark hair underneath and it looks unbalanced. Place lots of light around the face. If the client wears her hair straight and curly, or if you’re doing balayage, smooth the hair before applying the color. If the hair is straight or wavy, or if you’re foiling, you can work on the natural texture.


To achieve "IT" style status, this cut must be worn messy, textured and imperfect. If the hair has some natural texture, I’ll apply a bit of Matrix Total Results Curls Please Contouring Lotion to damp hair, then use my fingers to form ringlets. That’s it—don’t touch it again until the hair dries! Then gently finger-pick through the hair to soften up the texture, and reapply the lotion to the ends or wherever you see frizz.

If the hair is fairly straight, I’ll apply Matrix Style Link Blow Out Curvy Cream to damp hair, then scrunch it in with a diffuser. Don’t round brush the hair—you want to encourage movement. Once the hair is dry, I’ll wind sections around a ½-inch iron, twisting each strand as I twirl it around the barrel and omitting the last one-to-two inches. This produces a texture that’s more of a wave and less of a ringlet. Once the hair is set and cool, flip the head over, mist with Matrix Style Link Playback Dry Shampoo, followed by Style Link Texture Builder and tousle for rumpled, wavy texture.

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The texture category in the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) demonstrates texture skills with designs that complement the individuality of diverse hair textures. Hair texture may be natural or chemically treated, but entries must display wearable, cutting-edge textured hair styles.

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