Long or short, choppy or blended: Layers can add instant dimension to any look with a few well-placed snips. To determine what kind of layers you should consider for your hair type and needs, we tapped the minds of three hair whisperers ahead (and got some styling tips from them while we were at it).
How to Style Layered Hair, According to Top Stylists
How to Style Layered Hair
“Layers release weight from the hair, so you’ll notice more bounce when styling it, especially if you have curly or wavy hair. For those with straighter hair, your layers may need to be blown dry with a round brush or finished with an iron to achieve the same look that your stylist achieved in the salon,” says Gina Scipioni, director of education for NEUMA.
The one thing to watch out for regardless of your texture is dry ends. “When you have layered hair, your ends are on full display, so you want to make sure you keep them well-moisturized with a hair oil and a deep conditioner. With proper care, layers can really brighten up a look and breathe new life into style,” she says.
20 Layered Hairstyles to Try:
1. Long Layers
Who better to start off with than Jen Aniston, who has maintained her long, sweeping layers for the past couple decades? Again, with straighter styles, you’ll need some assistance from your blow dryer and a round brush to really let your layers shine—or you could always use a blow dryer brush.
Get the look: Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush ($59)
2. Side-parted Layers
Emma Stone makes a strong case for side-parted layers (sorry not sorry, Gen Z). The great thing about the longer length of Emma’s layers is that they can be worn straight down the middle one day and to one side the next.
3. Volume Layers
Priyanka’s buoyant layers are on full display here in all their bouncy glory. “To encourage maximum height at the crown, try a root clipping technique,” advises Erica Conan, director of education for Colorproof. “Using pin curl clips, clip small sections of hair up off the scalp in the desired areas before you diffuse your hair,” she adds.
Get the look: Kitsch Styling Clips ($8)
4. Flipped Out Ends
We love these lightly flipped out ends on Scarlett Johansson. Keep them soft and shiny by working some oil onto them to seal in moisture. Scipioni recommends pairing a few drops of argan oil on the ends only with a flexible hairspray throughout the lengths to give touchable hold to your freshly layered cut.
5. Tapered Layers
Jackie Cruz checks all the boxes with this piecey, layered pixie. The face-framing strands and thinned out ends perfectly hug the curvature of her head.
6. Curly Layers
As Scipioni explains, “layers release weight from the hair, so for those with waves, curls or coils, you’ll notice more bounce when styling.”
7. Face-framing Layers
Have the ends angled so the longest pieces hit the tops of your cheekbones (which slims the roundest part of your face) and part open around your face like curtain bangs. “Bangs have been huge the last few years. I see a slow transition happening from curtain fringe towards a side-swept fringe, another throw-back style,” predicts Conan.
8. Blended Layers
The beauty to having soft, blended layers is that they’re just barely there but, as you can see with Olivia here, the shorter pieces softly frame your face just so, while the longer ends blend in with the rest of your hair.
9. Tapered Waves
“For frizz-free waves and curls, it's essential to apply your products correctly. Never rake your fingers through curly hair. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb to release any tangles and then scrunch your products in, one at a time. This technique will encourage the curls to form into their natural curl pattern and allow each product to work its magic,” advises Conan.
10. Tousled Shag
A little messy and oh so cool, shag haircuts work especially well on wavy hair. The snipped in ends remove weight from your strands, so your waves can really pop. “A shag’s best friend is paste! Use a texturizing paste and twist your hair with your fingers to get that perfectly imperfect piecey look,” says Clayton Hawkins, a celebrity hairstylist in Los Angeles.
Get the look: Redken Rewind 06 Texturizing Styling Paste ($20)
11. Fine Layers
For finer strands, ask your stylist for layers that start below the chin to gently frame your face without making the rest of your strands look thinner.
12. Choppy Layers
The secret to great volume? Choppy, well-placed layers throughout to add lift wherever it’s lacking. Add a salt spray if you desire some beachy texture.
Get the look: IGK Beach Club Volume Texture Spray ($31)
13. Textured Layers
Layers are a great option for women who have naturally curly or wavy hair because they add body and bring out texture. Add some bangs to further elevate your look.
14. '90s Layers
“In order for your layered ‘90s cut to truly pop, you need some velcro rollers. I can’t recommend them enough for volume. They take no time at all to use, and they give so much bouncy lift,” advises Hawkins.
Get the look: Goody Self-Holding Multipack Rollers ($9)
15. Bouncy Layers
Of course, we can’t mention bouncy hair without bringing up the Duchess of Cambridge herself. Fluffy, freshly blown out strands are back in full swing, baby. You’ll just need a blow dryer, a round brush, and some heat protectant spray to replicate the look at home.
16. Invisible Layers
Break up long strands by snipping in a few, graduated layers near the front of your face and concentrated to the lower thirds of your strands like Marisa Tomei here. They’re so subtle, they almost look grown out, which is sort of their appeal: There’s virtually no upkeep or styling necessary.
17. Layered Lob
As Cate Blanchett shows to great effect, you can keep a lob from falling flat by curling random sections and brushing them quickly to fluff them out to the sides.
Get the look: Hot Tools Professional Gold Curling Iron ($55)
18. Tucked Layers
Take a cue from Tessa Thompson and add some dimensional layers at your ends so they curve in towards your chin. Using a flat iron, add a few subtle bends throughout and finish the look with an intentional ear tuck on one side.
Get the look: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Prima 3000 Styling Iron ($190)
19. Waterfall Layers
We love Chrissy’s loosely rumpled and cascading waves. To get lightweight definition, Conan recommends using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner that will “weightlessly plump but also infuse moisture into the hair,” a leave-in product and “keeping your hands off as it dries.”
20. Wispy Layers
If you think about it, bangs are really just shorter layers. They add dimension to the rest of your hair without the full commitment of a cut. To style your wispy fringe like Halle’s above, Conan recommends applying mousse directly to the root area. Then, using your fingers and a blow dryer, “move the hair from side-to-side to eliminate any natural partings from coming out while drying,” she advises.
Get the look: Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse ($29)