You might be married to your long, years-old hairstyle without even realizing it. (I was a long-hair-only girl too, once.) Maybe you see your friends—and favorite celebs—getting gorgeous, piecey bobs, but you always convince yourself you wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Been there.
Well, you officially have no more excuses: These 50 short, layered styles work for everyone—no matter your hair type, face shape, and beyond. It’s because layers are the ultimate versatile cutting technique—they beef up a style for those with thin hair, add body to straight pieces, and even up the depth and volume for natural curls.
“Layers are great for adding softness and movement, while showcasing texture,” says Adrianne Johnston, Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “They can eliminate bulk for thick hair, create fullness for thin hair, and can add an edge or balance, depending on your desired look.”
Below, find 50 short, layered haircuts that’ll finally inspire you to make the chop this time once and for all.
Model Alanna Arrington 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.
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.
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.
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 cooler.
Remember what we said about layers creating volume? This is a perfect example of braided layers and how they can pump up your look for ultimate fullness, depending on your texture.
The ’60s-inspired shag is without a doubt one of the coolest hairstyles right now (and always, IMHO). 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.
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.
This naturally curly shag is made even more gorgeous by the variation in color. There’s dimension, movement, and it makes us want to curl our hair and chop it off immediately.
For a chin-length style, layers are particularly helpful. They add an interesting, natural-looking vibe to a cut that might be more difficult to style than long hair.
All the Dimension
Lucy Hale (Hollywood’s resident hair chameleon) has gone bronde and layered—and we’re obsessed.
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.
Add some flair to a layered shag with edgy bangs—we love the quirky and chic moon-shaped ones here, but be aware of the maintenance involved. “Some shorter shag cuts can be high-maintenance, bringing you to the salon every 4–6 weeks,” says Johnston. “But the right shag gives you more flexibility, maybe 6–10 weeks.” Johnston confirms, however, that if you care for your hair in-between salon visits, you’ll be in great shape either way.
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 talk about the cut? The dramatic bangs make the short style totally sultry and sexy.
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 piecey, layered style like this one. (Just look at all that dimension.) Use a product like R+Co. Trophy Shine Texture Spray ($33) to achieve the look.
Gorgeous makeup and cute bangs aside, we’re obsessed with the barely-there layers on top here that add extra volume.
A good layered cut can change the entire shape of your hair. Note how this look is complemented by an adorable face-framing fringe.
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 ($44).
Leave it to Ashley Benson to show us how a layered side-parted lob is done, with dramatically sideswept, wispy pieces of varying lengths.
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.
Barbara Palvin can do no wrong—but we especially love these soft, touchable waves with volume-maximizing layers throughout.
Soft, Blunt Ends
Easily 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 ones. (Inspired to make the chop yet?)
If you’re into the blowout look, luxe layers will definitely help you achieve max volume and drama. (How gorgeous is this color, too?)
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.
Keep it wider/more voluminous near the face to draw attention to your best features. Try Bumble and bumble Curl Defining Cream ($16) to replicate the look.
Going for a shoulder-length chop? Ask for layered, wispy ends—the blonde hue takes the look to the next level.
Loose & Luscious
Keep your ringlets bouncy and fresh (and give them some extra height) with a layered ‘do like Jasmine Sanders’ style.
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 (and cute hair accessories!) 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.)
The strawberry hue is the star here—and yes, we fully support experimenting with color when you make the chop—but we also appreciate the flawless styling execution. The wispy bangs and face-framing pieces are on-point.
The best layers blend in and aren’t immediately noticeable. (We call it the no-layers layers look.) We love how subtly they’re done here on this sleek, chin-grazing bob.
Proof that you can’t go wrong with tousled, touchable beach waves at any length — shoulder and above.
This blunt look is hyper-modern and stylish – so keep your makeup pared back to really complement the look. And keep in mind that layers are not the idea here. Instead, you want incredibly blunt ends with super-straight strands.
Classic Beach Waves
You can’t go wrong with beach waves (ever). But we have to admit there’s something totally endearing about a middle-parted shoulder-length version (with sun-kissed ends, for a real surfer-girl touch).
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.”
Face-framing layers that just barely graze the jawline are a great way to add dimension to a shorter style. Keep the look in place with Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray ($27).
Tousled & Textured
A textured bob is perfect for those with naturally thick hair. The layers here add structure and volume that makes it manageable.
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. (Find our best tips for thin hair here.)
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
Leave it to Kaia Gerber to inspire us to cut all of our hair off. If you have naturally fine hair, a sleek, piecey bob with a few well-placed layers like this is the perfect way to spice things up and add some oomph.
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.
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.
Like we said, the key to a good shag is lots of layers. The tapered ends, bangs and extra volume on top gives it a gorgeous hair shape. (And don’t even get us started on that ravishing color.)
No, you’re not the only one getting Disney princess vibes here! A chic layered bob combined with straight-across bangs is forever a cool-girl (or pop star) look in our hearts.
This is another look that utilized an undercut in the back to remove bulk (and you’d never be able to tell). For blunt little bobs like this, texturizing products are everything.
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.
How do I know how short to go?
Work with a hairstylist to determine the length that’s right for you. And remember—you can always start at shoulder-length and work your way up, getting more comfortable and going shorter with each visit to the salon.
How often do I need to get trims for my short hair?
If it’s super-short (i.e. a pixie or above), try visiting the salon for a trim every four weeks. Longer, and you can go every 8-12 weeks.
How often should I wash my short hair?
If you have a good dry shampoo, you can wash your hair 2-3 times per week.