Byrdie June 3, 2024



55 Short, Layered Haircuts For Every Hair Type and Color


If you think that short, layered hair is a style that only some can pull off, think again. Short layers can work regardless of your hair type, texture, face shape, and beyond. In fact, layers are the ultimate versatile cutting technique, amping up styles for those with thin hair, add body to straight pieces, and even adding depth and volume to natural curls. Below, find 55 short, layered haircuts that'll finally inspire you to make the chop once and for all.



Adrianne Johnston is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. 

Colin Ford is a professional hairstylist and education director at Sachajuan.


Curly Shag

Model Mica Arganaraz already has covetable curls to work with, and she keeps the curl pattern bouncy and gorgeous by cutting layers into her shag with strategically snipped bangs. "Layers are great for adding softness and movement while showcasing texture," says Johnston. "They can eliminate bulk for thick hair, create fullness for thin hair, and add an edge or balance, depending on your desired look."

Key Takeaways

  • According to Johnston, layers work for all hair types; they can remove bulk for thick hair while creating texture and fullness for thin hair.
  • "Remember to consult with your hairstylist to find the best layered haircut that compliments your hair type, face shape, and personal style," Ford adds.

Layered Lob

Tons of professional hairstylists—including Anh Co Tran—make bobs and lobs their signature "cut," brilliantly working with a hair's natural texture and using the layered pieces to add dimension and movement.

Tightly Coiled

Though layers can typically help add heft and texture to thin hairstyles, they're just as gorgeous on tightly coiled curls. These ones add shape to the style (and tons of versatility). "Curly hair can vary throughout the head, so observe the consistency of the curls to determine what layering is best," Johnston says.

Color Play

Layers are a great way to highlight (no pun intended) a dimensional dye job. If you have highlights or lowlights, the movement and texture created by the layers will allow the deviations in your color to look even brighter.

Full Volume

Remember what we said about layers creating volume? This is a perfect example of how they can pump up your look for ultimate fullness, depending on your texture.

Layered Shag

The '60s-inspired shag is without a doubt one of the coolest hairstyles right now. The only way to get it? Lots of layers. "You need enough hair and density to pull off a layered shag," says Johnston. "The more movement and piecey parts, the better, without looking stringy."

Add Some Bangs

Take a cue from Georgia May Jagger and add some bangs to your vintage-inspired shag haircut for extra sex-kitten oomph. But be honest with yourself, says Johnston. "If you like to pull your hair up or back, this might not be for you," she says. "But if you like having your hair down and tousled and experimenting with products, this could be your next signature look."

Volume in the Front

For a shorter curly crop, layers in the front add face-framing volume around your face—and add a touch of lightness to the back.

Amazing Fullness

For super-full styles, layers are crucial. If your length isn't quite enough to make this look happen, replicate it with an awe-inspiring layered crochet wig.

Curly Bangs

This naturally curly shag is made even more stunning by the variation in color. There's dimension and movement, making it gorgeously effortless and sun-kissed.


For a chin-length style, layers are particularly helpful. "Subtle layers create movement and texture in straight hair, offering a chic and effortless look," Ford shares.

All the Dimension

Lucy Hale proves bronde highlights and wavy layers make the perfect low-maintenance hairstyle. "A textured bob with layers gives wavy hair a beachy, tousled appearance, perfect for a relaxed yet stylish vibe," says Ford. To master the perfectly tousled waves, he suggests Sachajuan's Ocean Mist.

Slightly Off-Centered

Depending on your hair texture, a wispy bob can be the most low-maintenance cut you can get. Look at the layered gorgeousness here, with the hair parted just slightly off-center. For a damp look like this, run a dime-sized dollop of Oribe Curl-Shaping Mousse ($39) through hair while it's wet and then style.

Baby Bangs

Add some flair to a layered shag with edgy bangs—we love the quirky and chic baby bangs here, but be aware of the maintenance involved. "Some shorter shag cuts can be high-maintenance, bringing you to the salon every four to six weeks," says Johnston. "But the right shag gives you more flexibility, maybe six to ten weeks." Johnston confirms, however, that if you care for your hair in-between salon visits, you'll be in great shape either way.

Loosened Up

If you have naturally curly hair but your curl pattern is a bit looser, layers add even more volume and a stunning lift. "Having thick or curly hair requires shaping and sometimes that's with the assistance of layers," says Johnston. "If you have curly hair, this can give strands a chance to bounce around and have some variation."

Dramatic Side Bangs

Of course, the brunette hair color is stunning, but can we discuss the cut? The dramatic bangs make the short pixie sultry and sexy. "A long pixie with side-swept bangs adds dimension to straight hair and provides versatility in styling," Ford says.

Shoulder-Length Coils

Chopping ultra-curly hair into a short, shoulder-length 'do is always a good idea. You can remove any excess that's weighing down your hair which will result in major volume. Or add a head scarf for daytime, to protect the look.

Piecey With Balayage

Take your balayage or highlights up a notch and give your color the spotlight by getting a piece-y, layered style like this one. Use a product like R+Co. Trophy Shine Texture Spray to achieve the look.

Up-Top Volume

Gorgeous makeup and cute bangs aside, we're obsessed with the barely-there layers on top that add extra volume to Zendaya's retro-inspired look.

Extra Fringe

A good layered cut can change the entire shape of your hair. Note how an adorable face-framing fringe complements this look. "Soft fringe complements curly hair by enhancing its natural texture while framing the face elegantly," according to Ford.

Smudged Roots

Play with color while your playing with length, too—the honey-hued highlights combined with the smudged dark roots create major texture, volume, and dimension. And a good sea salt spray should help you achieve a similar texture. We love Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray.

Side Flip

Ashley Benson shows us how a layered side-parted lob is done, with dramatically side swept, wispy pieces of varying lengths. If you have fine hair, "a layered bob with shorter layers at the crown and longer layers towards the ends gives the illusion of thickness and adds texture," says Ford.

Textured Curls

If your natural hair is kinky and textured, embrace the vibe with a short, layered haircut you can style easily every time. Just remember to use hydrating masks masks to keep that texture on-point. "Keeping the hair hydrated is always a must for textured hair," Johnston says.

Soft Choppy Waves

We love these soft, touchable waves with volume-maximizing layers throughout. "Opt for choppy layers to reduce bulk and add texture to thick hair," suggests Ford. "This style provides a light, airy feel while maintaining volume."

Soft, Blunt Ends

The best part about a haircut is how healthy and soft your hair feels afterward. We love ends that look perpetually soft and touchable like these.

Blown-Out Bob

Luxe layers will help you achieve max volume and drama if you're into the blowout look. Notice the body they give to J.Lo's fine, short hair?

Sister-Locs Bob

There's nothing more gorgeous than locs at any length, and this side-parted, sister-locks bob is pure perfection. The shoulder-length chop maximizes the bouncy fullness of the style, too.

Voluminous Curls

Keep it wider and more voluminous near the face to draw attention to your best features. Try Bumble and Bumble Curl Defining Cream to replicate the look.

Wispy Ends

Going for a shoulder-length chop? Ask for layered, wispy ends to give your style shape and texture.

Loose and Luscious

Keep your ringlets bouncy and fresh (and give them some extra height) with a layered 'do like Jasmine Sanders's style.

Shaggy Bob with Bangs

It's no secret we're obsessed with both bobs and shag haircuts—and when you combine 'em (and add some bangs)? Yes, please. But remember to do your research if you're getting a major chop like this. "Be aware that shorter bangs require maintenance and attention, and they're on your face everyday," says Johnston. "You want them to frame your face and showcase your features."

Textured and Choppy

If you're rocking your natural texture on a day-to-day basis, choppy layers like this should make styling a breeze.

Pop of Color

This pastel root fade is major—but we can't take our eyes off the sultry volume achieved here by adding layers. "Removing hair to create layers creates less density, so finding the appropriate balance for your hair type is important," Johnston says. "Sometimes it's more about styling to create fullness." (And you can rock the extra-full look even after you leave the salon chair by picking a great hairspray).

Wispy Bangs

Thinking of getting bangs? Start slow and wispy. The wispy bangs and face-framing pieces add movement and texture to January Jones' wavy bob, and they're much easier to maintain and grow out than blunt bangs.

Super-Subtle Layers

The best layers blend in and aren't immediately noticeable. We love how subtly they're done here on this side-swept, angled lob.

Touchable Tresses

Proof that you can't go wrong with tousled, touchable beach waves at any length — shoulder and above.

Blunt Bob

This blunt look is hyper-modern and stylish. Those with thick hair should ask for subtle internal layers to remove some weight.

Classic Beach Waves

You can't go wrong with beach waves. But we have to admit there's something totally endearing about this middle-parted, shoulder-length version with sun-kissed ends.

Soft Undercut

An undercut is when a stylist either cuts or shaves the sides or back of your hair, and it can be worn either exposed or unexposed (and the look is totally wearable, depending on the approach). "Typically the hair on the sides and bottom are shorter in contrast to the hair on top," says Johnston. "By doing this, the hair on top can collapse a bit and looks more relaxed and casual in the best, effortless way."

Jaw-Grazing Layers

Face-framing layers that barely graze the jawline are a great way to add dimension to a shorter style. Keep the look in place with Living Proof's Style Lab Flex Hairspray.

Tousled & Textured

A textured bob is perfect for those with naturally thick hair. The layers add structure and volume that gives some extra oomph. If you don't have naturally thick hair, Ford recommends faking volume with Sachajuan's Root Lift.

Rough Around the Edges

When you have naturally thin or fine hair and want to pump it up a little bit, you usually have to get creative. We're obsessed with the piecey bits that give it a rough-around-the-edges, "built-in-movement" vibe.

Straight-Hair Bob

Short, layered haircuts work for straight hair, too—just ask for lots of piecey layers to help pump up the texture and give you some volume. (Bonus points: Layers are your friend when you're trying to grow out your hair, so if you're not fully committed to a tapered pixie cut, you can easily transition it into a bob from here).

Short & Sleek

If you have naturally fine hair, a sleek, piece-y bob with a few well-placed layers like this is the perfect way to spice things up and add some oomph.

Tousled Bangs

Maya Hawke's wavy bob is made all the chicer paired with wispy bangs and face-framing pieces—an instantly chic cut you can copy if you're more into towel-drying than blow-drying, and have a similar relaxed hair texture.

Piecey Perfection

Olivia Culpo demonstrates how piecey layers can look with this sleek bouncy 'do. To replicate the style, blow-out the hair and use a medium-barrelled curling iron to create loose waves.

Vintage Vibes

As we said, the key to a good shag is many layers. The tapered ends, bangs, and extra volume on top give it a gorgeous hair shape. 

Blunt Bangs

In our opinion, a chic layered bob combined with straight-across bangs is forever a cool look.

Slicked-Back Bob

This look utilized an undercut in the back to remove bulk. For blunt little bobs like this, texturizing products are everything.

Bouncy Volume

These bouncy curls look gorgeous from any angle. We particularly love how the volume is concentrated in the center of the hair, to draw attention toward the face.

Cropped Pixie

A cropped pixie is a great way to blend layers and maintain a chic look. Style with a pomade or paste and build product for structure. Ford notes, "an asymmetrical pixie cut with longer layers on one side and shorter layers on the other can help balance the volume of thick hair while creating a modern look." 

Shaggy Mullet

The shullet is here to stay. A cross between a shag and a mullet, this style relies heavily on layers, making it a solid choice for those looking for a light and wispy cut.

Piecey Shaggy Bob

A piece-y shaggy bob is effortless and looks even better when air-dried. Here, Selena Gomez adds bangs to the look for more style and movement.

Wet Look

Layers don't have to be blown out to be seen. Style your hair wet and let pieces fall naturally, a la Jourdan Dunn's bixie cut.

Layered Lob

Jennifer Aniston is the queen of the long-layered cut. Here, she shows off her long, layered perfection in a lengthy lob.