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Everything You Need To Know About Layered Haircuts

Have you ever found yourself scrolling on TikTok or Instagram only to wonder how every creator seems to have a voluminous, full-bodied head of hair while you have seemingly lifeless strands? While genetics, solid haircare, and a styling routine certainly play a role in how healthy and voluminous hair looks, layers can make a pretty big difference, too. In fact, according to celebrity hairstylist Suzette Boozer, layers are responsible for creating that overall coveted look. In that sense, she says it’s not about the products and tools you use; the cut you begin with determines how full your hair can look.

Haircut layers are just as they sound: different lengths of hair layered on top of each other. Whether you opt for short layers or long layers, hair colorist and stylist Jeremy Tardo says that layers are designed to add depth and movement to a hairstyle. “Layers can change the look and feel of hair by increasing volume, reducing weight, and enhancing natural curls or waves,” he explains.

Another way to look at the cutting technique? “Layers create shape in a haircut,” says celebrity hairstylist Nikki Providence. While it may seem counterintuitive, she points out that by reducing weight, layers enhance the appearance of volume. 

Benefits of Layers

Although layers can feel like a major haircut decision, in reality, it’s a cut that will ultimately make your hair look and feel its best. The benefits include: 

  • Remove excess weight

  • Enhance movement

  • Showcase texture

  • Create dimension

  • Provide shape

“Layers work well for various hair types with different approaches,” says celebrity hairstylist Iggy Rosales. “For fine hair, light, long layers add volume; thick hair benefits from internal layers to reduce bulk; curly hair can embrace layers for enhanced bounce; [and] straight hair can gain texture.”

The way layers will benefit you, specifically, depends on your hair type, face shape, and overall appearance goal. At the end of the day, though, Providence says that the biggest benefits of layers are that they “can make your hair feel lighter, have tons more movement, be easier to style, and create shape where you want it.” 

Not convinced? Let’s get into specifics. “Ultimately, layers create shape and movement to hair that wasn’t previously there,” says elite stylist Justin Toves-Vincilione. “For instance, if someone has a one-length haircut, they have a lot of length and weight. This makes it hard to wear a variety of styles. Adding layers can give life and style to a haircut. Whether you want to frame the face, show off the cheekbones, create balance, or build weight, there’s a layering technique that can suit and enhance anyone’s hair type.”

Layers on Fine, Thin Hair

“On fine, thin hair, layering should only be done in areas where density can be compromised,” Toves-Vincilione says. “This is usually at the fringe and on the crown. Avoid layering the perimeter and the interior to avoid losing too much length and density.”

That said, if you want to really rev up the layers, you have two options: opt for a few long layers or go all out with a shag. “Thin hair looks great with a heavily layered shag because this type of hair lays close to the head and can look really graceful if cut well,” Providence says.

Layers on Fine, Dense Hair

If you have fine hair but a lot of it, Providence says layers can enhance movement and body. “Fine but dense hair can take a lot more layering,” she reveals. “I like using internal layers to create movement within the haircut, without necessarily cutting into the top part—this haircut can appear to be all one length but the interior layering can make a more natural line and silhouette.”

Layers on Thick Hair

When you have thick hair, the layering options are virtually endless. “Thick hair is a good candidate for most layers,” Toves-Vincilione says. “Long layers, butterfly layers, and really any round layered haircut is ideal.” When working with thick hair, though, he says to be mindful of the length of your layers. “The goal is to not go too short with the layers (as layers add volume) but create movement that blends and shapes the hair,” he reveals.

Layers on Curly Hair

While you may not notice layers on curly hair the same way you would on, say, straight blown-out strands, they serve a purpose. “Curly hair without layers usually shapes an A-line form—especially when long, the volume is on the end where you start your guideline,” Boozer says. With layers, though, you can achieve just about any shape with curls. “Curly layers are really popular because you can achieve some really creative and fun shapes with the three-dimensionality of curls,” Providence says. 

The trick to achieving the layeredclear consultation with your stylist beforehand. Since layers can take significantly longer to grow out on curls, Providence says to outline your boundaries and ensure that they know how to work with your hair type so that they are well aware of how your curls will respond to the snips. “I think it’s vital to be aware of where in the curl the cut is, and what type of cut you’re making on each curl (blunt or tapered),” she adds. “It’s often best to cut this type of hair dry so you can watch the shape take form, but everyone has their own techniques so you just want to make sure your stylist is someone you trust.” shape of your dreams is to have a

Layers on Straight Hair

Ultra-straight hair can be layered, however, they often require more styling to make them look cohesive. “If layers are cut into stick straight hair, you will see every single cut—this can work, but it’s a strong look and you just want to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into,” Providence says. “This needs to be cut with skill so there aren’t any unintended chops.

Layers on Coily Hair

Considering coily hair is an even tighter version of curly hair, you must book with a stylist who has experience working with your hair type. “Coily hair takes the longest to grow, so go easy on this hair,” Providence reiterates. “It also has the most three dimensionality so the shape will really show. Layers will create lots of shape, but it’s rare to find coily hair without any layers at all because that shape winds up being a triangle.”

Factors to Consider Before Getting Layers

The biggest thing you should consider before getting layers (beyond your hair type, that is), is how much time and effort you’re willing to put into styling your hair. Remember, layers work most effortlessly on dense hair types with slight texture. With this in mind, Providence reminds us that styling straight layered hair can require more effort to maintain.

That said, curly hair needs to be cut with care in order to achieve your most suitable result. So when opting for layers, make sure to consider how you like to style your curls. “Once you decide on the haircut technique, you can choose to have the hair layered while dry or while wet,” says Toves-Vincilione. “Getting layers on curly hair while dry is best for anyone who only wears their hair curly. If you wear your hair curly but also like to straighten it, cutting it wet with high tension is best.”

Beyond that, all of the stylists we talked to emphasized the importance of researching stylists before going through with your imagined cut. “The most important thing to keep in mind when getting layers is that everyone’s hair is different, and what suits you best may not be your [top] choice,” Toves-Vincilione says. “Also, the most available or convenient stylist is not the way to go! Take your time researching and consulting because a bad layered cut is not easy to fix.”

With this in mind, Tardo suggests booking a consultation and bringing inspo pics for your stylist to peruse. “This will help your hairstylist to see what you may have difficulty communicating otherwise,” he says, noting to “be open to your hairstylist’s suggestions and expertise as they can help you choose the right layers for your hair type and face shape.”


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