How to Cut Shag and Bob Hairstyles

Updated February 21, 2017

The shag and bob are hairstyles that have been around for many years. The shag hairstyle is a layered cut that has a shaggy, carefree appearance; it was made popular in the seventies by celebrities such as Farrah Fawcett and Jane Fonda. A sleek, basic one-length hairstyle, the bob is an easy-to-manage haircut that never seems to go out of style. Both cuts are trendy, stylish and fairly simple to execute.

Wet the hair and comb it out. Section it into seven sections: the right side, the left side, the top, the right crown, the left crown, the right nape and the left nape. Clip each section up and leave a quarter-inch of hair down around the perimeter -- this is the part that will be cut first.

Decide how short to cut the hair, beginning at the nose. Comb the front perimeter hair straight up to a 180-degree elevation. Select a half-inch piece of the hair and cut it; this will be your front guide. Hold the hair without tension; this will ensure it hangs on its own. Applying tension to pull it straight can produce uneven results.

Work your way around the perimeter, combing half-inch segments straight up and cutting them according to the front guide. You will then have a guide around the entire perimeter.

Undo the right and left nape sections. Comb half-inch segments straight up, cutting according to the back guide. Repeat this process all over the head, one section at a time, in half-inch segments of hair.

Comb all the hair straight up to make sure it's cut evenly. When combed up at a 180-degree elevation, the hair should form a horizontal straight line. Dry the hair and style, or let it air dry to take advantage of its natural texture.

Wet the hair. Comb the hair, section it and clip it into seven sections. Leave a quarter-inch of hair down around the perimeter.

Comb down the front hair that was left out of the clips. Determine how long you want the cut, hold the hair without tension and cut it. This will make your front guide.

Use the comb to note the cutting line you wish to follow for the back. Cut a one-inch section in the back; this is your back guide. Following this guide, cut around the perimeter, from back to front on each side, until you reach the front guide.

Unclip the right and left nape sections and comb them down. Cut half-inch segments of hair from back to front, using the previous cut line as a guide. Repeat this process until all the sections except the top are cut according to the guide line.

Unclip the top section of hair, part it in the centre and comb it down on all sides. Cut it according to the guide line. Dry the hair fully and style. Use a flat iron to further straighten and smooth the style.


Practice on a mannequin initially to get used to the techniques mentioned above. Remember that as it dries, wet hair shortens as much as 1 inch to 1.5 inches; always cut it a little longer than the actual length you'd like.

Things You'll Need

  • Water mister
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • Hair clips
  • Scissors
  • Hair dryer
  • Flat iron
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About the Author

Based in Royal Oak, Mich., Christine Wheatley has been writing professionally since 2009. She contributes to several websites, specializing in articles about fitness, diet and parenting. Wheatley has a Bachelor of Arts in art from Calvin College.