No matter your hair type, there isn’t much that layered haircuts can’t do. Make thin hair appear fuller? Check. Reduce weight from bulky hair? Check. Decrease drying time? Also, check—but wait, there’s more!
Face-framing layers are the way to go if you want to subtly experiment with shorter hair, balance your face shape, or accentuate your favorite features. L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Madison Sullivan explains why this haircut is so popular and what to know about making it work for you. We’ve also rounded up 35 of our favorite face-framing layered hair ideas, including how to style them when you need a break from the shorter pieces. Scroll away!
What are face-framing layers?
Face-framing layers are sometimes referred to as angles, but they’re simply shorter pieces of hair cut strategically around the perimeter of the face.
“Once the shortest piece is established based on a consultation [with your stylist], the face-framing layers will gradually get longer and connect cohesively to the length of the cut,” says Sullivan.
What's the difference between face-framing layers and layers?
These style terms may seem interchangeable, but there is actually a key difference.
“You can have face-framing layers without having layers throughout the rest of the hair,” notes Sullivan. “But if you have layers in your hair, you will likely have at least some longer face-framing layers.”
She says this happens because layers travel around the head.
“When the front of your hair is layered, that hair will end up falling toward your face creating face-framing layers. At this point, you can choose if you want the face frame to be shorter than the layers throughout.”
It’s worth noting that all hair lengths can incorporate a face frame, not just those with princess-length tresses.
Are face-framing layers a good idea?
Like weighing the decision to cut bangs, you may question how an angled ‘do will impact your daily styling routine or if you have the energy to maintain them. The upside of long face-framing layers is that they can spice up your style with minimal upkeep since they eventually grow to blend in with the rest of your haircut. And, if you end up loving them, they only need to be freshened up with your regularly scheduled trims (about once every six to eight weeks).
Think about your lifestyle, too.
“If you work out a lot or like to pull your hair off of your face and want it all to fit back into a headband, clip, or elastic, consider these things before choosing the starting point for the face frame,” Sullivan advises.
Who do face-framing layers look good on?
Anyone can pull off face-framing layered hair as long as the style is customized to their face shape, which can also help guide the length of the angles.
“If you feel like you have a round face and don’t want to accentuate that, consider starting the shortest part of the face-framing an inch or two below the chin. The extra length will help elongate [your face],” says Sullivan. “Is there a facial feature you love and want to bring out, such as high cheekbones or beautiful lips? Starting a face frame at either of these points on your face will draw attention and accentuate them.”
On the contrary, long face-framing layers can be strategically cut to draw focus away from other features you may not be as fond of.
“If there is something you are insecure about, you may want to avoid beginning the face-framing layers at that point on your face and start them down a little bit lower,” adds Sulivan.
A professional stylist will examine your facial structure and help procure the most flattering cut; therefore, we always recommend visiting the salon instead of attempting to DIY the style at home. All you have to do is ask for a face frame, angles, or shorter pieces around your face—and don’t forget the reference photos (we’ve got you covered below!).
How do you style face-framing layers at home?
Bouncy volume and flipped ends can help highlight the curvature of your angles and add body to your mane.
“Use a large round brush or flat iron to bevel hair in under to show off the face-framing layers,” says Sullivan. “You can also use this technique to flip the hair back and away from your face for a different effect.”
In addition, she says that blow-dry creams can help control your ends, and they pair nicely with mousses to help hold to your flipped style. Unsure where to start? We love Biolage Professional’s Volume Bloom Styling Mousse and Hydra Source Blow Dry Shaping Lotion.
Now that you’re clued in on all things face-framing layers, here are 35 curated ideas to cut, color, and style your look.
20 Face-Framing Cuts and Colors
Butterfly Cut Face-Framing Layers
The butterfly haircut is the ultimate face-framing layered look that can help you fake the appearance of shorter hair when the rest of your length is pulled up.
Fluffy Face-Framing Layers
Curly Face-Framing Layers
Curly manes can absolutely hop on the face-framing bandwagon. Ask your stylist about a dry cut to help you achieve the most precise layers without sacrificing your curl pattern.
Light and Bright Face-Framing Layers
Bring focus to your angled cut by lightening up your hair through the mid-lengths to the ends.
Your stylist will likely need to use bleach to lift your base color, so be sure to keep a hydrating mask on hand to help nourish and condition your strands. We love Matrix’s new Food For Soft Rich Hydrating Treatment Mask.
Face-Framing Layers with Curtain Bangs
Curtain bangs aren’t budgeting from the spotlight, and the good news is that they pair seamlessly with face-framing layered hair.
Face-Framing Layers with Full Fringe
Speaking of bangs, a full fringe will satisfy those hoping to make a more dramatic statement. If you opt for full bangs to complement your long layers with face-framing pieces, be prepared to head to your stylist every few weeks to touch up their length and rid them of split ends.
Face-Framing Layers with Korean Air Bangs
Copper Face-Framing Layers
Looking to kick face-framing layers on long straight hair up a notch? Dye your hair a copper shade, a hue that always seems to stay in style.
Dark Cinnamon Face-Framing Layers
Blown-Out Face-Framing Layers
Wondering how to style face-framing layers on choppy shoulder-length hair? A bouncy blowout is always the answer. Contrary to popular belief, you can recreate salon-quality blowouts at home with a few handy tips from our blow-dry guide.
Ponytail with Face-Framing Layers
We love how updos put our face-framing layers front and center, and no style is hotter than the high ponytail right now. Before crafting your pony, prevent your volume from falling flat by spritzing Redken’s Root Liifter Volumizing Spray Foam onto your scalp.
Face-Framing Layers with Flipped-In Ends
Curling your ends towards your face breathes new life into your hair and conceals frayed ends in a pinch. It’s also a breeze to style if you have a flat iron and a heat protectant on hand—all you need to do is a quick flick of the wrist.
Octopus Cut with Face-Framing Layers
Side-Swept Face-Framing Bob
It’s totally possible to have short hair with face-framing layers! Side-swept layers snipped into your sassy bob are all it takes to get that contouring effect. Plus, the diagonal swoop can help narrow a rounder face shape.
Color-Blocked Face-Framing Layers
Those with jet-black hair may have difficulty showing off all the nuances of their layered cuts, but there’s a surefire way to make your dark locks pop: blonde color-blocking. The chunky highlight will illuminate your face-framing pieces and add brightness to your complexion.
Face-Framing Layers with Claw Clip
Wrapping your hair up with a claw clip is a straightforward way to let your face-framing layers steal the show.
Coily Face-Framing Layers
Choppy Face-Framing Layers
Another great variation of face-framing layers on short hair? Ask your stylist for extra choppy layers all around the head for an effortlessly tousled look.
Silk-Pressed Face-Framing Layers
Work with your technician to create a face-framing haircut that looks just as good natural as it does silk-pressed.
Mocha Face-Framing Layers
Brown hair is anything but basic. All you have to do is snip in some face-framing angles, spritz on some shine spray, and boom—you’ll be an expensive brunette.
15 Pulled-Back Styles for When You Just *Need a Break*
Mini Braids with Pigtails
Pigtails are all grown up, and we love how they look alongside tiny tendril braids.
The mini pouf is officially back—and just in time to keep our face-framing layers out of our faces. Throw on some hoop earrings for some extra mid-2000s nostalgia.
Retro Comb Headband
Have overgrown layers? A stretchy comb headband has never looked so appealing. This Y2K hair accessory is high on our must-have list thanks to its comfort and ease of use—as long as you don’t poke yourself in the face.
If you only want to lighten up the burden of face-framing angles on one side of your face, enlist the help of metal statement clips and stack them however you please.
Bubble Braid Tendrils
Have neutral-colored elastics and a bit of spare time? Bubble braids can take your hairdo to the next level.
To brush your locks out of your eyes, a chic knotted headband is an obvious choice. Here’s how to find the best headband based on your face shape.
When accessories just won’t do, you’ll have to break out the big guns and slick back your hair. Above, Sullivan gives us a step-by-step of her go-to routine.
Wet look hairstyles are mainstays on the red carpet, but that’s not the only reason why we love them. The heavy-duty stylers used to slick back your hair ensures your face-framing layers stay neatly locked into place. Pick up a strong-hold gel like Matrix Controller Gel to add structure and shine without stiffness or flaking.
Whether your hair is long or short, pin-straight or curled tightly, plaited hairstyles are always a good idea. Some ‘dos, like this side braid accent, can be created in mere seconds.
Twist your face-framing strands up and away from your face and pin each section at the crown of your head. Don’t forget to get creative with the geometric parting of your hair!
Half-Up Oversize Bun
Half-up hairstyles have been living rent-free in our heads since middle school, but any hair enthusiast will tell you that they’ve come a long way since the early aughts. This jumbo high bun is just what you need to rein in your shorter pieces.
Conceal greasy roots and hold back your hair? Bandanas are a win all around.
Double Dutch Braided Pigtail
Calling all workout buffs! You’ll want to add these double Dutch braids into your rotation of sweat-sesh hairstyles. Set your plaits with a bit of hairspray to keep the ends of your face-framing layers from poking out.
Swap out your headband in favor of a stylish bang braid and be prepared to rake in all the compliments.