Shaggy rocky hairstyles

Shaggy rock star hair started in the 1960s, becoming more styled throughout the next two decades. Modern shaggy rocky cuts are well groomed compared to their original ‘60s counterparts, which were mostly created by rock stars of the day growing out shorter cuts and letting their hair hang in a natural, messy way.

The cut

Most shaggy rocky hairstyles are based around variations of the shag cut. This became famous in the 1970s, with a multi-layered, highly stylized look worn by the likes of Jane Fonda and David Bowie. The ‘70s shag cut featured a distinctive chunky top section, neat fringe and fine long layers that sat close to the nape of the neck.


Taken up by rock stars, such as Joan Jett and Chrissie Hynde, you can make your shag cut look more rock-chick with a few classic features. An essential brow-skimming fringe focuses attention on your black eyeliner. Having your hair dyed black has been associated with a rocky look since the 1980s, when hard rock and metal stars wore long, dyed shaggy styles. The texture of your layers should be visible, so roughly blow-dry hair, tipping your head upside down and messing your style up as you go.


In the past, shaggy rocky hair was messier than today. Rock stars in the 1980s, backcombed hair right to the ends so that it sat out in a spiky fluff. Punk idol Patti Smith sported a shaggy style on the cover of her 1975 album “Horses”. This was a more enduring version of the look with wild, messy hair framed by a heavy fringe. Robert Smith from The Cure had a famously teased-up shorter shag style, which you could recreate by backcombing with a fine-toothed comb and lots of hairspray. Rod Stewart’s 1980s and ‘90s cut looked like a shaggy long pixie cut, made more mainstream with long, pointed layers and blonde highlights.


Modern shaggy rocky hair combines updated versions of the multi layered shag cut, with new styling tools and techniques. To highlight the pointed, shaggy layers, straighten hair using ceramic flat irons. These make your hair look instantly groomed and bring out shine. Smooth a dab of lightweight texturizing paste through the ends, to separate layers without compromising the natural movement of the cut. You can also use slices of color to show off the texture of a shaggy cut. This looks more striking when contrasted with dyed black hair all over your head. Modern salon techniques mean that dying your hair still leaves it shiny and vibrant. Make your rocky style more emo by having your style cut in an asymmetric shag, and styling a long, side swept fringe.

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About the Author

Shefali Choudhury is a qualified make-up artist and nail technician, with more than 12 years experience of professional makeup in beauty, film and theater. She graduated in fine art from Central Saint Martins and has been writing professionally since 2007.