Sure, a dramatic hair transformation can help shed years from your look. But if you’re like us, you might not want to lose too much length in order to turn back the clock. What can be equally as age-defying? Adding layers to your ‘do. That’s because layers give hair movement, draw the eye away from aging flaws and more. And since there’s a variety of layered cuts, there’s an option that will work on everyone. Not sure you’re ready to make the snip? Keep scrolling to learn all the benefits and see the variations of a layered cut that will have you requesting layers the next time you go to the salon.
The 2 biggest benefits of a layered cut
No matter if you have short, medium-length or long hair, there’s a type of layering that can be done to beautify your cut, insists hairstylist Julien Farel, who’s worked with Kate Beckinsale and Rachel Weisz. Layers work well on all hair types, especially curly or wavy hair as they define and re-shape curls and waves.
1. Layers remove weight so hair fluffs up
Infusing a cut with layers takes away some of the weight of hair, especially long hair, says Farel. By removing weight, you allow hair to assume more of it’s natural wave or curl, which adds volume. And even straight hair puffs up a bit.
2. Layers add volume and movement
If you’re dealing with thinning hair, a layered cut gives hair depth and dimension, says Farel. This tricks the eye into seeing a thicker, fuller mane.
The 8 best layered cuts
1. Long layers
Long layers, as seen on Sarah Jessica Parker above, ensure longer strands don’t look lifeless. Instead, they give hair “instant movement,” explains Chaz Dean a hairstylist who’s worked with Drew Barrymore and Eva Longoria and founder of Wen hair care. They are achieved by leaving your tresses long and cutting into the hair just a few inches above the ends — and the goal is to avoid choppy, severe lines.
What to ask for: A cut with long, graduating layers that begin near the collarbone.
2. Short layers
In the short hair category, pixie and crops with layers, like Gabrielle Union above, ensure shorter strands don’t like flat against the scalp. And the volume added from short layers directs the eye up to give features a youthful lift and takes the focus off of an angular jaw, says hairstylist Luis Gonzalez, owner of Vida Salon in Denver.
What to ask for: Short, stacked layers throughout the top of a pixie or crop hairstyle.
3. A layered bob or lob
Take a classic bob or long bob (aka lob) from basic to beautiful with layers. This not only adds mega volume and body to the cuts, says Gonzalez, but it also prevents these styles from requiring maintenance as they’ll continue to look great as hair grows.
What to ask for: An above-the shoulders lob with graduating layers throughout.
4. Blended layers
Love layers but prefer a more subtle layered look? Then blended layers, as seen on Julia Roberts, are for you. They create movement so hair appear more buoyant, says hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, who’s worked with Brooke Shields and Anjelica Huston. Plus, blended layers can be cut in a way that enhances highlights or balayage if your hair is colored.
What to ask for: Layers of various lengths that blend seamlessly into each other.
5. Face-framing layers
Layers that are structured around the face, like Jennifer Aniston’s style above, help open up the face and act like a picture frame to showcase gorgeous facial features. These layers can begin as short as check-length or as long as chin-length and are created in graduating tiers that “bulk up” thinning hair. They are often cut with a razor to help strands sweep inward.
What to ask for: Tiered, face-framing layers cut at an angle that curve in toward the face.
6. Choppy layers
If you’ve always liked the look of “beachy waves,” choppy layers, as shown on Jennifer Lopez above, are the way to go. These layers create an effortless look that makes hair appear like it’s been styled even when you don’t have time to style. And if this type of layers looks familar to you, that’s because they’re prominent in this year’s trendy hush cut.
What to ask for: Choppy layers with lots of angles and texture. Bonus: When styling hair, use a sea salt spray to emphasize the texture of layers.
7. Wispy layers
The combination of wispy fringe and layers add volume to hair and can cleverly conceal aging beauty bothers like forehead furrows. This cut and layer combo, as shown on Halle Berry above, is also often referred to as a wolf cut. Wispy layers are often created by a hairstylist running the sharp side of scissors down the length of the hair and cutting upward in discrete pieces (a technique known as shearing) to create delicate layers and bangs that frame the face.
What to ask for: Hair that’s left long with wispy, blended layers and piecey, full bangs.
8. Feathered layers
Designed to look almost like a bird’s feathers (hence, the name), a layered cut made of feathered layers, as seen on Lisa Rinna, provides volume and texture without thinning hair too much. This style is created by a stylist using a razor in a V-shape to create light, feathery texture.
What to ask for: A jaw-length cut with stacked razor-cut layers that begin 3″ away from roots and piecey, brow-skimming bangs.
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