When to cut or NOT to cut layers in your hair?

I am currently growing a bad haircut so I spent plenty of time thinking about it, haha!

I arrived to the conclusion that layers make your hair appear more voluminous. But they also emphasize the fact that the ends of your hair are always already skinnier than the roots, and the top layer of hair is usually the most damaged (from hair pins, clips or elastic clasps, or from highlighting or styling them with hot tools). Thus, if you have a layered haircut while growing your hair longer, the damaged state of the ends and of the upper strands can be emphasized by the layering… Plus, non-layered hair is more versatile in terms of updos.

Thus, I recommend to cut layers if:

  • You have curls or waves that you want to show off. Indeed, layering will make your strands of hair lighter, which will make them keep all their natural movement! (rather than being weighed down).
  • Your hair is really thick, the ends are not thinning out, and it tends to have a pyramidal shape if you cut it one-length. Usually, the shorter your hair, the more acute this problem is.
  • You want to maximize your volume. Same argument: layered strands of hair are lighter.
  • You wear your hear down most of the time and you want it to have a nice movement.
  • You are maintaining a length that you are happy with.


So I recommend NOT to cut layers if:

  • You are in the process of growing out your hair. If you really want to keep a layered haircut during growth phase, from my experience you might have to go to the salon every 3 or 6 months to maintain your ends in good condition. Else, the ends may look really skinny, and the top layer really damaged. Contrastingly, a one-length haircut can handle a little thinning ends without looking too damaged overall, and it is much easy to trim by yourself (or by asking your mum of flatmate or whomever). My point is: from my experience, a blunt cut may save you a bit of money and trouble from going to hair salons during the growth phase.
  • You wear your hair up most of the time and like to try different hairstyles. I mean, have you tried to do a braid on layered hair? It just won’t hold (except for French braids and the like). Buns also look messier, and have more trouble holding, when you have layers.
  • You often wear ponytails, and you don’t like the look of a skinny ponytail. Because a layered ponytail WILL look skinny.
  • You want to maximize shine. Indeed, non-layered hair (or long layers, on very long hair, that start no upper than at shoulder level), give your hair strands enough length to reflect the light. Especially if your hair is not perfectly straight. Mine is mostly straight BUT a little bit wavy and frizzy, so I struggle to have shiny hair, and having enough length to reflect the light makes a major difference! (contrastingly, when I have short layers, my strands of hair go in every direction so they don’t reflect the light)
  • Your hair holds any wave or curl easily. If it does, you don’t need to lighten it up by layering it in order to get a nice effect.


Personally, my hair is rather coarse and voluminous. So from my experience: if my hair ends anywhere above the shoulders, I need at least a bit of layering, else I look like I have a bowl or pyramid on my head.
However, when it’s at shoulder length or longer, I tend to wear it up, because it gets tangled really easily. Besides, I like to wear my hair up during my commute so that it doesn’t get tangled or it doesn’t get stuck between my bag and my shoulders. But then I like to wear it down at work to look nice. And then wear it up again for my workout at night. Thus, I like to do a really quick and simple bun, braid or ponytail that should hold without any fixating product. Plus, my hair holds any wave really easily. So when my hair reaches my shoulders, I feel much more comfortable with something more like a one-length cut.
However, when my hair gets really long (like below the bra strap), it starts to be a little weighed down and just hangs there, so a bit of layers starting from the collarbones (or lower) can give it more movement without making the ends look too skinny.
Right now I’m at the awkward phase when my layered bob is no longer a bob, but is still layered! So I’m cutting the ends patiently until it gets one-length. And I’ll start layering again in one or two years when it becomes really long!

So in the meanwhile, I compromise: if you have layered hair but want to wear it up, there is a variety of pretty updos based on french braids that can look really cute (I can make a video to show the ones that I do). This is if you tend to do your hair in the morning and want to keep it up all day, because it takes a few more minutes than a plain pony, and might require a bit of pins and product to hold.

To conclude, I’ll say that we should really talk to our hairdressers. Too often I stepped out of the salon with a cut that doesn’t fit my hair type, or my needs, or just looks bad with my natural texture.

I can cut hair one-length myself on other people (I’ve been doing that on my mum for 15 years); I can also do it on myself when it gets long enough. But I’m too afraid to cut layers myself, I’ve managed to do it on a friend like two times, but the third time I tried the result was a complete failure, so I tend to recommend to see a professional for anything a little complicated. Unless you feel really adventurous and feel comfortable following a Youtube video for a layered cut.
So if you can’t afford to go to the salon every month, the required frequency of trimming, and whether you can envisage do do it yourself (or ask a friend) may be something to consider.

Have a good day, and have great hair! (and now I’m sighing, looking at the layered mess with skinny ends that ends somewhere around my collarbones and looks really funny)