The FOMO we’re feeling from London Fashion Week is real, and the only way we know how to deal is to dissect the quintessential cool girl mane that’s having a forever-moment in London—the British girl shag. Beachy waves and balayage might be Cali girl hair staples, but the Mick Jagger-esque boyish cut has been dominating ‘dos across the pond for decades. To help us Angelenos (and all laymen) master the look, we enlisted Luke Hersheson, Creative Director for Hershesons in London, and the man behind the manes of Brit-girls like Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, and Felicity Jones. Here, Luke’s guide to making the British mane your own, getting the right texture for the shag, and make-or-break-the-look styling tips.
1. Layers Are Key
I suppose the British girl shag is a little bit rock and roll, think Mick Jagger, Chrisy Hynde, Stevie Knicks, Edie Campbell – it's a slightly grittier, very grown out mullet. The rebel haircut, but feels very sexy and nonchalant at the same time. It has to have lots of layers, fringe or no fringe. The key point is that there are loose, soft, fine ends with lots of layers that hug the head shape, to give it a slightly boyish feel. It’s an anti-styling haircut that needs to feel very lived-in.
2. Embrace Texture
The modern way to wear the shag is to make it grittier, use a little surf spray, and ditch the waving tongs. Hair that has a kink or a curl to it works much better than poker-straight hair. I think it’s more about embracing your natural textures.
3. Mimic The Muses
One customer's layers is another hairstylist's graduation so it’s much easier to take your stylist a reference picture. Edie Campbell, Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Kate Moss all rocked it well a few years ago. Take a picture of Mick Jagger as a starting point, or Kate Moss in the naughties Missono adverts. Edie Campbell is a more extreme version of it.
4. Never Brush
The look requires less effort, but more confidence to do less and use less products and tools. Rely more on embracing natural waves, movements, and a great haircut. Never, ever brush a shag – it will ruin it.
5. Give It Grit
For styling, use anything that’s matte (we say use the OUAI Matte Pomade) and not shiny, or a little salt spray (hello, Wave Spray) when it’s wet. Hairspray helps make it feels grittier and more lived-in.