How to Layer Your Own Hair: Step by Steps Guide

Matt Lanter with his crop layered hairstyle.

In a hair-world dominated by women, it may be hard for men to feel comfortable showing a sincere concern about their own style. Concepts that have been associated with female haircuts for decades are now readily available to be used by males too! One of those concepts is essential when it comes to choosing a haircut: layering.

Layering hair is the same idea as layering clothing when hunting or putting multiple coats of paint onto drywall. It can create volume that may not have existed beforehand, lessen the weight of heavy hair, or flatter a face shape when it was thought impossible. Basically, layering hair is building steps into the hair, either going up or going down. The bottom can be longest, gradually going shorter as it steps up, or the top can be longest, gradually going shorter as it goes down, which is also known as a stack.

Learning how to layer hair yourself isn’t as difficult as it may seem. If you have a fine toothcomb, a good pair of scissors, shears, or razors anyone can be a pro! Having a mirror to see the back of your head may help but isn’t totally necessary.

When laying your hair, it’s always best to work on wet hair. This gives an easier cut and less chance for split ends or missed hairs. If the hair is straight it can be towel dried first. If the hair is curly it’s best to cut when thoroughly wet so that it can be as straight as possible when cutting. Use a brush or the fine toothcomb to remove all tangles from the hair.

Start by pull the hair straight through two fingers and cutting the bottom of the hair to the longest length that you wish it to be. If you prefer to have a clean neckline, don’t be afraid to take a razor to your neck and shave to the point you wish the hair to end; this gives a stopping point for shorter hair. Depending on the thickness, or distance apart that you wish the layers to be, grasp the next layer of hair between two fingers and make clean cuts. Be sure to leave some extra length since your hair is wet and will dry a bit shorter. Also, remember that you can always cut more off, but you can’t put it back.

Repeat this process until you reach the top layer. Check the hair to make sure that it blends well. When using a powered set of shears, change your blade length for every half-inch or so that you move up through the hair, this will give a pretty good blended look.

If your hair is longer, layers usually work well with a face frame. This isn’t just for women! Take the front 1” section of hair, grasp between two fingers, and angle your hand outward. Using a razor to take this hair off gives a gradual, natural look. If you have any type of bangs that need to be trimmed with your layering, grasp between your fingers and cut upward into the hair. It may not seem like this will accomplish much, but it gives a wispy, natural lay.

For touch ups on the layers, or a quick, messy layering look, take an inch thick section of hair and twist as tightly as desired, cut at an upward angle and untwist. Just remember, the tighter the twist, the stronger and shorter the layer will be.

Use a blow dryer on your hair when the layering is done if you have one. It will display stray or missed hairs in the average setting this way. Remember that hair does react to being cut. It tends to “freak out” for a few days until it has accustomed to the loss of length. Styling products will enhance your handsome new do. Try to trim or touch up about every six weeks. If you can learn how to layer hair for yourself, helping out buddies with their hair will be a new, enviable talent.

To view different layered hairstyles for men, visit



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