Short Layers on Long Hair: 15 Cuts for Inspiration

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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 15 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.

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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

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).