Short Layers on Long Hair: 30 Cuts for Inspiration

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Short layers on long hair is all about creating texture and breathing new life into otherwise lifeless, weighed-down tresses.

If you’re bored with your long hair and considering going for the big chop, hold on! Check out our 30 hairstyles with short layers on long hair that will totally transform your look.  

You don’t need to take drastic measures to make a huge difference.


1. Short Layers on Long Hair

Long hair can sometimes look a bit heavy and lifeless. Short Layers add movement, volume, and dimension to those long luscious locks.

Credit: Instagram/ houstonhairlife

2. The Shag

The shag is THE quintessential short choppy layered cut on long hair. A shag haircut is characterized by lots of layers and texture, with more volume around the crown and thinning out around the edges and throughout the ends.

Credit: Instagram/ salsalhair

3. Razored Shag

The razoring technique is often used to thin out the ends. Just beware if you have frizzy hair, ask your stylist to use the scissors instead. Razoring frizzy hair will just make it more frizzy.

A good shag cut should carve out the weight in the right places. It should give fine hair more volume, making thick hair more manageable, and curly hair softer.

Credit: Instagram/ jimk_hair

4. Curly Shag

Speaking of curly hair… a shag will work with curly hair, too!

Short layers throughout lighten the load, making curls more defined and adding more volume.

Credit: Instagram/ salsalhair

5. Retro Shag With Short Choppy Bangs

The shag is not only good for cutting out excess bulk of thick hair, it will also give wavy hair a TON of volume. Short choppy layers of different lengths capitalize on wavy hair to create the fullness that made the 80s the decade of big hair.

Credit: Instagram/ ernestomeneses

6. Short Feathered Layers On Long Hair

Like the shag, this cut has lots of layers. But it is a much softer, smoother, and more flowing version.

Lightly feathered layers not only add movement but are great for getting rid of excess bulk in really thick hair, making it lighter.

Lightly feathered layers not only add movement but are great for getting rid of excess bulk in really thick hair, making it lighter.

Credit: Instagram/ suzandro_

7. Short Layers With Hybrid Curtain Bangs

The flipped-out curtain bangs with wispy bangs underneath are kind of a thing at the moment. They give you the face-framing benefits of curtain bangs, plus the added benefit of forehead coverage.

If you’ve ever felt that center-parted bangs didn’t suit you, not to worry, because you can still rock your short layered long hairstyle with a middle part with these hybrid bangs.

Credit: Instagram/ brianaguilarhair

8. Short Layers For Long Fine Hair

For long fine hair, adding lots of short layers will not only liven up your style giving it so much more life, but it will add more volume and make it look a lot fuller.

Lots of layers on long hair also make for great updos with all sorts of styling variations.

Credit: Instagram/ houstonhairlife

9. Pixie Mullet

Like a longer version of a pixie cut with a little extra “party in the back”, this cut uses lots of short choppy layers to create a fashion-forward style.

Credit: Instagram/ katiepdxhair

10. The Modern Mullet

Far from the trailer park mullet of the 70s & 80s that most people want to avoid, this tailored, purposeful cut with short layers and bold design give this mullet a sophisticated, modern vibe.

Credit: Instagram/ ernestomeneses

11. Long Hair With Short Layered Wolf Cut

The wolf cut is the mullet’s cousin, but with more volume, layers, density, and texture, thanks to cascading short layers.

Credit: Instagram/ toniandguyau

12. Short Layers On Long Hair With A Cowlick

If you are dealing with a cowlick, you’ll know that it makes it hard to pick a style that can work with it.

Rather than fighting nature, embrace it!

Go toward longer, center-parted curtain bangs and short layers throughout.

Credit: Instagram/  matildadjerf

13. Short Retro Face Framing Layers

Hairstyles from decades past cycle around again.

The key to successfully reviving a retro style without looking dated is to keep the aspects of what made the style popular, but update it to be contemporary and relevant.

Here, 70s-inspired short, flippy, face-framing layers are paired with a modern color palette. The pairing makes this do a super cool nod to a decade gone by without looking like it’s stuck there.

Credit: Instagram/  bleachedandblown

14. Face Framing Layers On Long Hair

For those with longer, oval face shapes, cheekbone-length face-framing layers create the appearance of fuller cheeks. Longer chin-length layers around the face will slim down rounder face shapes.

Credit: Instagram/

15. Wavy Hair with Layers and Contrasting Highlights

The only thing that gives long, lifeless, straight hair more dimension than short layers is adding well-placed contrasting highlights to those layers.

Whether you’re adding blonde to brown or red to blonde or silver to black, contrasting highlights will take your hair to the next level.

Credit: Instagram/ stylistkaitrose

16. Short Layers For Long, Fine Hair

Short layers give long, fine, flat hair new life and more volume. 

Shorter layers at the top concentrate volume at the crown. This works to take a previously drab, lifeless style that drags the face down to an uplifting and more balanced look.

Credit: Instagram/ cest_tiffany

17. Hybrid Layers On Long Hair

This cut takes the best of aspects of the pixie mullet, wolf cut and the shag, and brings them all together in one hairstyle. Perfect for all hair types, this long style with lots of short layers and center-parted curtain bangs uses a little bit of everything to create its own unique style.

Credit: Instagram/ joeltorresstyle

18. Short Tousled Layers On Long Hair

This cut works best on just below shoulder length hair for thicker hair and just above shoulder length for finer, thinner hair. For a style that says – I look amazing without even trying – short, tousled layers on long hair should be your go-to do. It’s was ‘the’ style of 2023 and shows no signs of slowing down in popularity in 2024. 

Credit: Instagram/ hairbyelvisp

19. It’s Not Just About Layers – It’s About The RIGHT Layers

Already have layers and they’re not doing anything for you? It’s not the layers that are the problem, it’s the hairstyle! 

The right stylist can create a layered hairstyle that works with your face shape and hair texture that’s perfect for you. If you are not sure what style will look best on you, book a consultation with a stylist to discuss your options.

Credit: Instagram/manemisfit

20. Long Pixie Mullet

Much like the pixie mullet above, this is just a longer version. Because this hairstyle has so many short layers, a really long pixie mullet will work best on thicker hair. 

Credit: Instagram/ davidwbullen

21. Butterfly Layers On Long Hair

The butterfly cut features shorter face-framing layers that cascade outwards, like butterfly wings, with longer layers through the length of the hair.

While the cut can be tailored to any hair type, it’ll be a lot more work to style if your hair doesn’t already have a bit of a wave to it.

Credit: Instagram/ ahappyjustin

22. Short Front Layers For Long Thick Hair

Perfect for livening up thick, bulky hair that’s weighing you down. 

Getting lots of choppy layers focused at the front edge of your hair and adding bangs will show off your thick, luscious hair, and perfectly frame your face, while looking weightless. 

Credit: Instagram/ salsalhair

23. Not Quite A Pixie Mullet

Unlike the pixie mullet, there is not as much of a defining edge between the front and the back. There is definitely a lot more hair left at the sides with layers that more seamlessly blend into the back. 

So, if you never really hopped on the mullet resurgence bandwagon, but you’re looking for a hairstyle with the ease of short hair, while still keeping some length, this might be the one for you.

Credit: Instagram/ lilvikinghair

24. Full On Feathered

This is the style that Farah Fawcette made famous in the 70s and defined an era. 

This retro style is making a comeback and you can recreate it. You are going to need layers, a blow dryer, a round brush, and of course, lots of hair spray! 

To achieve the look, blow out your hair using your round brush – brushing down, then curling the ends outward. Set the look with a misting of hairspray to help your blowout keep its full, fluffy shape.

Credit: Instagram/ jayne_edosalon

25. Loads of Layers With Balayage

The only thing that makes thick, long hair with lots of layers throughout even more stunning, is a fantastic balayage. Particularly if you have thick hair, layers are important! 

Not having layers tends to have hair looking weighed down and bottom heavy. You want to make sure tht your hairstyle is not dragging the focus away from you to your heavy ends. 

Credit: Instagram/ derekcashstyles

26. Shag With Short Bangs

The great thing about a shag is that it’s really low maintenance. Because it consists of choppy layers, it will grow looking more natural with less time spent at the salon for touch ups. 

For even less time spent, ensure your bangs are short enough that you’re not going to have to make another appointment in 10 days to get a bang trim because you can’t see!

Credit: Instagram/ tyler_the_hairstylist

27. Choppy Punk Layers On Long Hair

Though at first glance it may seem that this hairstyle is a little haphazardly cut. But the more you look at it, the more you’ll realize this cut was carefully engineered to look that way. 

It takes a talented hairstylist to be able to cut lots of layers, make them asymmetrical, but still have all of the focus in the right places. That’s also over and above the very cool addition of a splash of colour that puts the cherry on top of this hairstyle we’re just a little obsessed with. 

Credit: Instagram/ lilvikinghair

28. Super Fine Hair With Layers And Waves

If you have really fine hair and want a look that’s not long, straight and flat – what’s a girl to do?

 Particularly if your hair is also really straight, cutting layers into straight, fine hair can thin it out even more, rather than add the volume you’re trying to achieve. 

Fret not because a wide barrelled curling iron will be your new best friend! Adding waves to flat, fine hair with layers will take your hair from flat to fabulous. 

Credit: Instagram/ nataliarok

29. Short Front Layers On Long Hair

Adding graduated layers at the front edge of your long hair will work to frame your face, instead of drag it down. 

Credit: Instagram/ derekcashstyles

30. When in Doubt – Layers!

We get attached to our hair that took sooo long to grow to the point where we often avoid cutting it for fear of ‘ruining everything.’ 

But if your long locks are not doing you any favours to begin with, there is no reason not to cut them! 

Layers give you the benefit of creating a whole new look without sacrificing the length. Once you add layers, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner! 

Credit: Instagram/ nunzio_nyc1

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).