What are the Different Types of Layered Hairstyles?

Marco Sumayao

Layered hairstyles are often a requested haircut at salons. Many women sport a type of layered haircut, including celebrities and models. More common styles include long layers, medium layers, and curly layers. Individuals can also choose to get niche layered hairstyles, such as Asian haircuts and choppy “emo” layers.

A layered hairstyle.
A layered hairstyle.

Hairstylists recommend certain hairstyles with layers depending on the client’s desired hair length, hair type, and hair texture. The shape of the client’s face is another consideration. If a client has a long or oval-shaped face and wants to keep hair long and straight, long layers may used to frame her face and add body. The first layer starts at chin-level to create a soft frame that flatters the face and continues down the entire length.

Asian hair is typically very thick and straight, so it may greatly benefit from layers.
Asian hair is typically very thick and straight, so it may greatly benefit from layers.

Medium layers are done in a similar fashion, except the hair at the back ends right below the neck and gets shorter as the cut approaches the face. The shortest layer usually ends at the cheek bones to frame the face. Unlike long layered hairstyles, which often look good on long faces, medium layers flatter any face shape.

Face framing layers work well with a round or oval-shaped face.
Face framing layers work well with a round or oval-shaped face.

One of the more common misconceptions about layered hairstyles is that they only look good on women with straight hair. Several layered styles, however, have been known to flatter women with curly or wavy hair. The shortest layers for these hair types end below the chin; any shorter, and the cut will create too much volume around the head. Layered cuts for curly African-American hair also require more maintenance than straight layers because the look fades faster as hair grows out.

Asian hair is very thick and straight and, thus, can look good when layered. Like long layers, Asian hairstyles also frame the face with layers that end at chin level. A few shorter layers are then added to create more volume at the top of the head. Side-swept bangs finish the look and draw attention to the eyes.

Layered hairstyles are generally conservative, but rough, choppy layers can create an edgy look popular among teenage girls. Rather than creating clean, even layers throughout, the choppy layers are designed to look messy and uneven. Like Asian hairstyles, many of the layers are concentrated at the top to create volume. The rest of the layers are cut unevenly down the length of hair.

This style of haircut for men is limited in comparison, but no less flattering. Short and medium styles can look neat and classy and can be styled to look messy using gel or hair wax. Men with longer hair benefit from a hairstyle with top-heavy layers and a layered back. With some tousling and styling, this hairstyle can give off a casual “surfer” vibe.

Hair wax may be used to make short and medium hair styles look messy.
Hair wax may be used to make short and medium hair styles look messy.

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Discussion Comments


@lighth0se33 – My hair grows way too fast for layered short hairstyles. I prefer to keep long layers in my hair, because when I need a trim is entirely up to me.

My shortest layer is several inches past my shoulders, and my longest is nearly to my waist. I love the way the different lengths fall in the back! They give my hair a natural swing and make it more alluring than straight hair of all one length.

I am going for a trim soon, because my hair has started to get stuck in zippers and car doors, so it is more of a safety issue than for appearance's sake. I feel that a person with hair of any length can benefit from layers because of the variety they add to a style.


I think that medium length layered hairstyles look good on people with curly hair. Short layered styles are too puffy, but medium lengths are just right. Curly hair can flare out toward the ends if you don't have some layers to give it shape.


It's always good to bring pictures of layered hairstyles that you like with you when you get your hair cut into a new style. Words can only go so far to describe to your stylist what you want, but pictures provide definitive proof.

I have had miscommunications with stylists before and wound up with choppy layers that I hated. All I could do was wait for it to grow out, and that took a long time. It's so much easier just to bring a photo in the first place!


Most medium layered hairstyles require regular trims. I had hair just below my shoulders and layers that started at the bottom of my nose, and since my hair grew fast, I had to get a trim every two months to keep up the look.

I have a long face, so long layers drag it down. That's one reason it was important to keep the style trimmed.

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