Long Layers vs Short Layers: A Full Hairstyle Guide

Long layers vs short layers

Here it is! The subject where many people can’t get enough off. There are so many people with different views about this that it almost looks like a battle. When these people discuss with each other they almost fly each other in the hair.

What is the subject? Long layers vs short layers.

So as the good friend that I am, I threw the discussion in a Whatsapp group I have with my friends to see what they thought about it. It is safe to say the evening was well spent with more than 100 texts just about this topic! Afterward, I thought that it would be a good idea to settle this argument with a blog post. So I asked my friends if I could write an article about our discussion and they said yes. So, here it is! Everything you need to know about long layers vs short layers. 

Long vs short layers, what is the difference? Many people seem to think that the difference between long and short layers is about the length of the hair, but this is not true. Having long layers means that the distance between the longest ends and the shortest layer of your hair is over 2 to 4 inches. Short layers have less “room” between them and. With short layers, the distance between the longest ends and the shortest layer is about 1 to 2 inches.

What does it mean to have long layers?

Having long layers means that the distance between the longest ends and the shortest layer is more than 2 to 3 inches. Now, this is not possible for everyone because it depends on what kind of hair you have. In general, those with thicker hair can get away with longer layers.

What does it mean to have short layers?

Having short layers means that the distance between the longest ends of your hair and the shortest layer is about 1 to 2 inches. Now just as I mentioned above, this also doesn’t work for everybody. While long layers are often used in thicker hair, are short layers more often used for people with fine hair.

But what does adding layers do?

So, if you have long hair, I suggest that you go for long layers. This will give your hair more texture and movement. Adding texture and movement to your hair is not the only thing that happens when you go for long layers. Long layers also increase the volume of your hair and add texture. It simply keeps your hair from looking plain and falling flat.

And how do they do this in a salon?

They can add layers to your hair in a couple of different ways. The hairstylist can make layers in your hair with a razor or scissors. and this just depends on how you want your hair to fall… Layers cut with a razor give a more “free” look while getting layers with scissors provides you with a more smooth finish. It depends on what the hairstylist wants to use. Everyone has their own technique. Or you can simply state what you want of course.

Some people prefer razor cuts and some prefer scissor cuts. Talk to your hairdresser to find out what works best for you. This way you can both work towards a great hairstyle that suits your face.

Should I get long layers or short layers?

First of all, I want to say that it is not mandatory to have layers. It all depends on what you want with your hair. But don’t do something because someone else says you have to! However, I can imagine that in some circumstances you just want them. If you have plain and thin hair for example. Layers give some texture to the hair and can increase the volume. This way you can give yourself a hairstyle with some personality in it! 

When you first read up about hair layering (and also long layers vs short layers) you might find that people oftentimes say that layers will look best on long hair. Although this is true, doesn’t mean that people with short hair can’t use layers. They can look just as amazing on short hairstyles!

But how do you know which layers you need? If you’re looking for that answer you came to the right place. Below I’ve set up a mini guide for you. This guide gives you more information about which hair type can benefit from which layers and what texture and movement mean for your hair.

Can’t wait anymore? Understandable so here goes!

Straight hair

If you have straight hair, a classic long haircut might be perfect for you. At first, glance that should mean that no layers are not necessary. There is some truth to that but adding layers can remove weight and enhance your hair. But, this is only when you choose the right layering technique. I say it again, only if you choose the right layering technique. Otherwise, the layers can look stacked and obvious.

How do you know which layering style is a good fit for you? Talk it over with your hairstylist! He/she sees your hair, feels your hair, and can tell you exactly what you need.

Fine hair

The right layering technique is so important. If you have fine hair this is, even more, the case. With the wrong type of layering, you can really mess up your hair! If you have the wrong layers your hair becomes weak and the layers can be really hard the handle. Therefore it is advised (but please talk it over with your hairstylist) to make use of an over-direction or internal graduated layering technique. This will take care of and protect the internal layers and the outline so your hair will look amazing. But again, talk it over with your hairstylist because only they can tell you what your hair really needs!


Now, I just want to give you some more information about texture in context with long and short layers. Going for a long layered hairstyle is the perfect fit for boosting your hair’s texture when you have thick to normal hair. 

All of this is based on what they call around layering. This boosts the softness and the texture of your hair. This in turn gives you a fantastic long hairstyle while you have reduced weight and bulk. Because oftentimes people with thick and normal hair, have so much hair that it is better to reduce it a bit so that it keeps it balance and is easily maintained.


Have you ever seen some celebrities walk around with some amazing “bouncy” hair? If so, you probably have seen Jennifer Aniston. She is the embodiment of long layered hairstyles and movement in her hair. By layering the hair you boost the loose movement of the hair and get that wavy hair (or the Jennifer Aniston look) that everyone wants!

Which hairstyle needs long layers and how do you ask for them?

This brings me to some of my personal anxiety that I have to tell you about. Every time I go to the salon I have difficulties explaining myself about what I want with my hair. Not because they are rude or something, far from it, but because I don’t know what to say! Sometimes I bring pictures but this doesn’t seem to always get the best results. That’s why I made I made this section. To help you guys tell you, hairstylist, what you want with your hair! 

Long layers

For the sake of being thorough, I want to explain it to you again. If you ask for long layers, know that this has nothing to do with the length of your hair. 

Long layered means that the space between the ends of your hair and the shortest layer is about 2 to 3 inches.

Now especially for you I went to my hairstylist and talked about the concept of layered hairstyles and how to ask for it. She understood immediately what I meant because she sees struggling people every day! She said to me that if you talk about “Boho vibe”, most professionals know what you want. This “Boho vibe” means having messy, wavy, and natural-looking layers so as soon as you mention it, they know what you’re talking about!

Now, what do you ask for if you want short layers?

Also here I’m going to explain it again just for the sake of being thorough. Having short layers means that the difference between the ends of your hair and the layer is about 1 to 2 inches. This is perfect if you want a haircut that is simple and sexy. 

Now if you don’t know what kind of layers you want, you can just talk to your hairdresser. He or she can help you find out what is best for you and what suits your face. You can talk about the layers in the context of: do you want the layers to be around your face, all-round your hair, some layers in the back of are you specifically looking for soft layers? Go ahead and talk to them!

I know I said I have difficulties with it, but when I talked to my hairdresser she said that even if some people have difficulties explaining themselves, talking is still the best solution. This is because they talk so often about hairstyles with clients that they know most likely know what you mean just from a couple of words! 

If you want to transform your blunt haircut into something more natural-looking, short layers are awesome. Short layers are also really powerful for people that have short hairstyles but want it boosted with some volume and texture.

What about if you want a lot of texture?

If you’re looking for amazing and lots of texture in your hair, you need to ask for a razor cut layering. This type of layering is great for adding a lot of texture to your hair. Using a razor cut can to this better than a scissor cut. Keep that in mind :).

But, and there is a big but: talk to your hairdresser. If he/she does not have the skills to perform such a cut you can better not do it. Talk about them about a razor cut and if that maybe is better for you or let someone else do your hair. You want it done correctly so you want someone who can do it perfectly!

What about a classic layer cut?

This one is simple. You can just ask your hairstylist for a hairstyle that is not too textured. You can add that you want some subtle layers in the back. 

Now if you want to a classic cut (a classic women’s cut) you can ask for layers that are medium face-framed. This will give you exactly what you want!

Final thoughts

Long layers vs short layers are not as bad as you thought, right? Having long layers is not the be all end all kind of thing. It might seem like everyone can only talk about long layers, but short layers can be just as awesome! You just need to know what these different kinds of layers are and what you want to do with your hair. Then you and your hairdresser can decide what is best for your hair. Even though I told you that it can be hard to talk to your hairdresser, I hope you also read that it is still the best way to go.

They talk to people every day about which hairstyle they want to trust that they can understand. Now if you have someone who really doesn’t understand you, and this is not the first time that it happens, it might be time to look for another hairstylist. There are so many hairstylists in the world that it most often also comes down to a vibe you have with your stylist. In my opinion, this goes a long way.

Having someone you trust and makes you feel comfortable while doing your hair amazingly is something to hold on to! So, now that you know the difference between long layers and short layers, don’t be afraid to talk about it and get the look you always wanted!

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