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How to Hand Style: Shag Edition

Hand styling is a term that has been buzzing around the hair community for some time, but what is it exactly? In short, hand styling is exactly what it sounds like, using your hands as the main styling tool throughout your hair routine. One of the best cuts to try this technique with is the shag, so we spoke to shag hand styling expert Margeaux Therese Hamrock of Salon Wire in Long Beach, CA. Here’s what she had to say on how to hand style your shag!

About the Expert

Margeaux Therese Hamrock is a razor haircutter, educator, and eco-friendly beauty advocate who is a stylist at Salon Wire in Long Beach, California.

How to Hand Style Your Shag

“To me, hand styling is setting down the brush and working predominantly with your hands to shape and set the hair for either an air dry or a diffused blow dry for a more organic result,” says Hamrock. “I prefer hand styling my shags because I believe the beloved rebel haircut is meant to be worn loose. That doesn’t mean a coiffed shag doesn’t look great, it’s just my preference is really a more lived-in feeling to the whole look and vibe. I guess I pull more inspiration from street style or subcultures than maybe the conventional over-stylized look.”

Step 1: Grab the right tools.

We asked Hamrock for some tips on getting her signature hand style at home, and how to get started. “You’ll first want to set your hair up for either the air dry, or the diffuser, so this is where I reach for a comb, clips, etc, to comb the hair in to place and clip if necessary. Putting in some effort here and setting your hair up in a shape to then hand style is key.”

Step 2: Put your hands to work.

While many of us have been taught to avoid touching the hair as much as possible when styling, when it comes to hand styling, that isn’t the case. “Don’t be afraid to touch your hair,” says Hamrock. “Each texture reacts different to touch, how it’s touched, and when within drying process that it’s touched.”

“If you have hair that is more prone to frizz make sure to only touch your hair in a downward fashion (think ironing between your hands, beginning closer to the root and working down toward the ends). If you have straight, limp, or non-frizzy hair, molding a wave can add some nice movement throughout. Try folding your hair into your hands in an accordion-type fashion starting at the ends and gently releasing to keep that shape, section by section.”

“I also suggest to not overly finger the hair. Hand styling is much more about palms and pinchers than it is just running your fingers through or breaking up your hair by overly fingering at it. Try to use your palms, or index and thumb, to shape the hair. Lastly, whether you are going to air dry or diffuse, keep your hair ‘small’ when you’re hand styling it dry and once you are dry then come from underneath, near the nape, with a flat hand and utilize your palms against your head. Keep your fingertips facing up toward the sky, massage your roots with your palms to give some natural lift that doesn’t create frizz,” notes Hamrock.

Best Products to Hand Style Your Shag

When it comes to hand styling a shag, Margeaux’s favorite products are a combination of treatment and styling. “I like to wash hair with Hairstory’s New Wash, prep and nourish the hair post-wash with Reverie’s Milk, an anti-frizz nourishing leave-in treatment.”

From there, it all depends on if the blow dryer is involved. “If I am working with an air-dry finish with my hands, I’ll reach for Reverie Rake Styling Balm for light hold and memory. I use a pea-sized amount and work it through the mid and ends shaping the hair with my hands. If I am going to blow dry, diffuse, and hand style, I like to reach for Hairstory Undressed, which is a saltless texture spray. I use this once the hair is a little dry, spraying at the roots through ends while molding it into shape as I diffuse. I find that when you hit this with heat from the blow dryer it expands in a very cool way, creating volume with very flexible hold.”

Need some more shag-spiration? HERE are 12 ways to wear a modern shag!

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