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Do layers look good on shoulder length hair?

Layers are a popular haircut technique that can add volume, movement, and shape to shoulder length hair. The key to making layers look good is getting the right layering for your hair type and face shape. When done properly, layers can make shoulder length hair appear fuller, frame your features beautifully, and add bounce and flow to otherwise flat, one-length styles. Let’s take a closer look at how layers can transform shoulder length hair.

The Benefits of Layers for Shoulder Length Hair

There are many advantages to adding layers to shoulder length hair:

  • Volume – Layers remove weight from the bottom and interior of your hair, allowing the remaining hair to get more lift at the roots. This creates fullness and bounce.
  • Movement – Shorter layers around the face and sides move more freely, adding swing, motion, and a windswept look.
  • Shape – Layers can be cut to complement your face shape, styled to add height at the crown or width around the cheekbones.
  • Versatility – Shoulder length layered hair can be worn curly, straight, up, or down. The layers show through for added texture.
  • Lightness – Removing some interior bulk makes hair easier to manage, style, and keep looking fresh day to day.

The key is getting the right layering and length combinations for your hair density, texture, and growth patterns. Customized layers tailored to your hair can make shoulder length styles look fuller, healthier, and more modern.

Which Layering Techniques Work Best?

There are a few common layering techniques that work extremely well for shoulder length hair:

  • Long Layers – Long, face-framing layers that start around the jawline or a few inches below. The longest layers graze the collarbone or extend an inch or two longer than the baseline cut. Long layers remove weight while leaving enough length for ponytails and updos.
  • Short Layers – Layers cut to just at or above the chin. These create more volume around the crown but can look sparse or triangular if overdone. Keep short layers thin and blended.
  • A-Line Layers – Longer layers in the front that graduate down to shorter layers in the back. This creates a weighted look and slight angle that flatters many face shapes.
  • Uniform Layers – Layers cut to one consistent length all throughout the head. This removes bulk while keeping the bottom line blunt.

Work with your stylist to decide which layering pattern flatters your face shape and hair type best. Bring in inspiration photos to show the look you’d like to achieve.

Best Layer Styles for Different Hair Types

Certain layering techniques work better with specific hair textures:

Hair Type Recommended Layers
Fine, thin hair Long layers to give the illusion of fullness.
Thick, heavy hair Short, blended layers to remove bulk.
Stick straight hair Choppy, piece-y layers to encourage movement.
Natural curls or waves Long layers cut to encourage curls to pop.

No matter your hair type, avoid taking layers too short. With shoulder length hair, overly stacked layers can look sparse and triangular. Keep layers long and blended for the most flattering effect.

How to Style Shoulder Length Layered Hair

The styling possibilities are endless with shoulder length layered hair! Here are some chic options:

  • Soft waves – Add volume and bounce with layered curls. Use a 1-1.5 inch curling iron to touch up the layers around the face.
  • Beachy waves – Get that effortless, casual texture with sea salt spray and scrunching layers up as they air dry.
  • Sleek and straight – Show off the movement of long face-framing layers with a blowout and flat iron.
  • Half up styles – Pull back the top layers to put focus on the eye-catching shorter pieces around your face.
  • Faux bob – Tuck longer layers up into a ponytail holder to mimic the look of a blunt bob.
  • Braids – Intertwine small braids along the part line to show off choppy ends.

Add volume at the roots and texture through the ends with mousse, sea salt spray, or texturizing powder. Set your style with a flexible hold hairspray.

Which Face Shapes Do Layers Complement?

Certain layering techniques are more flattering for some face shape than others:

Face Shape Most Flattering Layers
Oval A-line layers or evenly blended layers will complement oval face shapes nicely.
Long Short choppy layers add width. An off-center part helps too.
Round Face-framing layers that are longer in front and shorter in back help create the illusion of an oval shape.
Heart Chin-length layers with volume at the crown and sides offset a narrow jawline.
Square Soft, longer layers add curves. Part slightly off-center.

Work with your stylist to determine which layering techniques will maximize your best features!

Should You Add Bangs?

Shoulder length layered hair can look gorgeous with or without bangs. Here are some things to consider:

  • Full bangs balance out layers nicely, but require frequent trims to maintain.
  • Side-swept bangs are versatile. You can wear them messily swept or neatly pinned back.
  • Curtain bangs seamlessly blend short and long layers for a pretty frame.
  • Going bang-less keeps the focus on beautiful facial features and shouldn’t be overlooked as an option.

If you’re on the fence, start by getting long side-swept bangs cut. They can be worn as full bangs or grown out easily. Make sure your stylist blends the bangs well into your layers!

Maintenance Tips for Layered Looks

Here are some tips for keeping shoulder length layered hair looking fabulous:

  • Get a trim every 6-8 weeks to maintain the integrity of the layers.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo weekly to remove buildup from styling products.
  • Apply a deep conditioning hair mask once a week to keep ends healthy.
  • Use a heat protectant when using hot tools to minimize damage to fragile ends.
  • Learn to trim split ends yourself in between salon visits.
  • Change part locations to prevent layers from becoming overly settled.
  • Use dry shampoo and texture spray to refresh hair between washes.


Shoulder length layered hair can look simply gorgeous when done correctly. The right layering techniques impart movement, fullness, and bounce, while allowing for versatility in styling. Layers framed around the face draw attention to beautiful features. Just be strategic in choosing a cut that flatters your hair texture and face shape. With proper maintenance, shoulder length layered locks will have you looking salon-fresh every day!