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Layers often seem like to answer to all of your hair styling woes. Locks lacking volume? Get layers. Has your style got no movement? Get layers. Hair too thick? Layers. Hair too thin? Layers again.
However, layers come in all shapes and sizes, and not all layered haircuts are created equal. The ‘do that looks flawless on your best friend may not have the same effect on you. So how do you figure out which layered cut is best for you?
We reached out to Danielle Keasling, Matrix Artistic Director and owner of Salon Karma in South Carolina, to help us identify the most flattering layered haircuts around. Keasling dropped some serious knowledge about layers. By the time you’ve finished reading, we’re sure you’ll have found the perfect layered cut for you.
First, we wanted to know exactly why layers are universally flattering. Keasling insists that the answer is simple.
“They hide flaws and give options to every hairstyle,” she says.
While layers look good on just about everyone, there are several different techniques to cutting layers and each produces a distinct look. Before asking your stylist for a cut, you’ll need to figure out what hair goals you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re looking for an edgier style, Keasling recommends asking for square or horizontal layers.
“Square or horizontal layers are going to create hard lines and choppy texture,” she explains.
If you’ve got super thick hair and are trying to get rid of some volume, Keasling says vertical layers will “take away density at the perimeter [of your hair],” while “diagonal layers can create more diffused layers and add volume and body.”
If you still aren’t sure which layers are for you, there are three main things you should consider when deciding on the perfect haircut: hair texture, density, and face shape. Think of these aspects as the triumvirate of finding the right hair style.
Face shapes are complemented by the perimeter lines with layers creating density or thinness in areas needed...The perimeter lines establish the foundation of the shape. The layers are the cherry on the top.
Layers have the ability to disguise almost anything you don’t like about your hair. Whether you think you have too much hair or your mane lacks volume, layers are the cure-all. They’ll also highlight any facial features you absolutely love. That’s the genius of the whole thing.
Now that you understand the basics of this technique, check out our seven favorite layered cuts for every face shape.
If your face is the same width all around, fairly even, and full, you have a round face shape.
Long, face framing layers are a favorite of girls with round faces everywhere and for good reason—they’re insanely flattering. When your hair falls flat, it brings attention to the shape of your face instead of your gorgeous strands. Ask your stylist to cut a few diagonal face-framing layers for a supremely flattering style.
If you're looking to add more length to your face, consider adding side swept bangs to your ‘do. Side swept bangs move the eyes diagonally across your face, making it appear longer (and thinner).
If you have a wide forehead and jawline, you have a square face shape.
If you are looking to soften the lines of your strong jaw, consider a graduated bob with layers that begin below your jawline. The longest part of the bob will soften any harsh lines, and the layers will create just the right amount of movement.
When styling your hair at home, try styles with deep side parts to create volume near the top of your head. The volume near the crown of your head will help to balance out your face.
If your face is very long and narrow, you have an oval face shape.
Having an oval face is a blessing and a curse—when every haircut looks amazing on you, how do you choose? While you can pull off almost any look, a layered lob may just be the most flattering cut of all.
Unlike super long locks that can often highlight the length of the face, the ideal lob will make your face look perfectly proportioned. While the lob would look flawless on its own, adding layers to an already flattering cut allows you to highlight the best parts of your face.
If you have a wide forehead, strong cheekbones, and a narrow chin, you have a heart face shape.
Because your face is narrower near the bottom, consider asking for a layered bob. A voluminous bob that hits right at your chin will bring fullness to your narrow jawline.
If you’d like to minimize your wide forehead and accentuate your cheekbones, ask your stylist to add soft side swept bangs to your bob. The angle of the bangs will bring focus to your cheekbones and away from your forehead.
If you have a small or narrow forehead and a strong jawline, you have a pear face shape.
If you’re looking for a style that will have a slimming effect on the widest part of your face, opt for long layers. The length of your locks will automatically make your face appear thinner, and the layers will create enough volume that your locks aren’t lying flat against your face.
If you’re looking for a shorter ‘do, consider a tapered pixie cut that is short on the sides with lots of volume on top. The height on the top of your head will add fullness to the top of your face.
If you have pronounced cheekbones and a narrow forehead and chin, you have a diamond shaped face.
Just like ladies with heart face shapes, women with diamond face shapes should consider cuts that will bring fullness near their narrow jawlines. A layered bob with lots of volume will bring fullness to the top and bottom of your face. If your face is on the longer side, consider adding piece-y bangs to visually shorten your face.
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