Hair Layering 101: Which Layered Hairstyle Are You?

“Should I add layers to my haircut?” Like most questions regarding hair, the answer is “It depends…” You might be surprised to hear that the vast majority of today’s haircuts have at least a little bit of layering.  Layering can do a lot of different things in a haircut depending on how and where on the head it’s done. Check out these photos and tips to discover which layered hairstyle is for you!

face framing layered hairstyle

Layering can be used to:

  • Create volume by removing weight
  • Collapse hair or remove fullness or bulk
  • Enhance curl or wave by gently removing weight that is pulling it down
  • Can take the corners off of the “triangle” that curly hair becomes when it’s all one length
  • Soften an angular or blunt cut
  • Frame the face; layering can be done only around the front, it’s not an “all or nothing” technique
  • Add movement and interest to a cut
angled bob layered hairstyle

Layering tends to work well for all hair types, however the finest, thinnest hair types tend to “fall apart” (i.e. become too wispy or straggly) when too much weight is removed. Now, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of adding layering to your cut.


  • Can change the shape of your cut without losing length
  • Can give more versatility to your cut (i.e. easier to curl or straighten, can be easier to put up)
  • Almost always more softening and flattering to the face and hair than one length cuts
  • Can create volume and movement
  • Cuts down on drying time for thick hair


  • Cuts become higher maintenance – need more frequent trims
  • If done too much or on wrong hair type, can collapse the hair instead of adding volume, and the ends can look wispy
  • Styling might take more time on a layered cut, especially on fine/thin hair
  • Can be harder to put up or in a ponytail if layering is too short
  • Can take FOREVER to grow out, especially if you keep your hair long

Still not sure if layering is right for you? A trained, experienced stylist can help you evaluate whether or not it’s a good idea to go for it. Before you head to the salon for a chat with a pro, there are a few general types of layering you should know:

  • Angled: Hair goes from shorter on top to longer toward the ends (think Victoria’s Secret model hair; most long layering is the angled type).
long layered haircut
  • Uniform or round: Hair is the same, or almost the same length all around the head (shag cuts or cuts with “lots” of layering).
  • Vertical: Similar to uniform, hair is sectioned, held, and cut vertically, leaving more length and weight on the top, collapsing the sides and bottom ( think “The Rachel”).
shaggy layered hairstyles

Lastly, here are some tips to help you get great layering results:

  • Many cuts use a combination of the above techniques, and not all stylists use the same terms.  Always look at pictures with your stylist to make sure you are both speaking the same language.  Most unhappy haircut outcomes are due to simple miscommunication.
  • If you want a look that you’d describe as chunky, piece-ey, flicky, airy, etc, you should discuss texturizing your ends during your consultation.
  • Pick a focal point on your face that you’d like to emphasize (eyes, cheekbones, corner of lip, etc; this is a great place to start the shortest point of face-framing layers.
  • If your hair is fine but you’d like movement in your otherwise blunt cut, your stylist can deeply point cut your hair just through the top section – this will give an illusion of layering without taking away important fullness from the overall shape.
  • For salon results at home, follow your stylist’s product and tool recommendations and ask them to show you exactly how to style your new layers at home.

Happy Layering!