Wolf Cut vs. Shag Cut: What's the Difference?

Written by Ashley Mishler

Wolf cut, shag cut, ’70s shag, wolf hair—you’ve probably heard one of these names in the last year, so what’s the difference? Is there one? The short answer, yes. However, to the standard eye, it might be hard to notice what breaks up these styles. If shaggier do’s intrigue you, read on to learn the key difference between the wolf cut and the shag cut (and how to ask for them in the salon)!

The Shag

Ah, the classic shag—babely, bouncy, beautiful. This ’70s-inspired crop has been making the rounds again and honestly, it looks good on everyone. There is something so dreamy about the voluminous bangs, perfectly blended face framing, and endless layers through this look. The key difference that sets a shag apart is the scissor work around the face and top of the ears. Think expertly angled and blended, face-hugging fringe and framing, as well as short, cropped layers that hit around the top of the ear for extra volume. There’s almost a “heaviness” to a shag, but not in a blunt or bad way. Check out these examples:

The Wolf Cut

The wolf cut can appear very close to a shag, but there are some key difference. Wolf cuts tend to cross into more of a “mullet territory” as they aren’t afraid to get shorter and choppier. Think less hair hugging the face, even more layers and shorter layers at the crown, and a purposeful disconnection in length. This contrast of length and uber-short layers is key to creating that “wolfy” look. Additionally, many wolf cuts will use bangs, taking them a bit further back toward the ear, blending into the shorter layers at the crown. This is another key difference between the wolf and the shag. Check out these examples to see the wolf cut in action:

Looking for some more Shag-spiration? Here’s how to rock a modern shag!