How To Cut Layers

I’ve been cutting my hair like this for over 5 years now. When I was in High School, for the second half of the day, I also went to this trade school (BOCES) for esthetics and nail tech (which I got my license for, unlike esthetics). My teacher for the esthetics class had also been a beauty school teacher, and knew all her stuff. One day she told us that she cut her own hair by pulling it all over her head, and simply cutting straight across. I thought to myself there’s no freakin’ way that doesn’t botch up your hair! So I honestly forgot about it for a loooong time. Then, one day, after I stopped working at the salon where I’d get my trims and cuts, I desperately needed a hair cut. I had cut my hair plenty of times, but it was usually just a straight cut along the bottom. I had layers now (as I NEED them, I have super thick hair), so I immediately thought of my teacher. I mean, she was a beauty school teacher, so she had to know what she was talking about! I told myself I’d just try a tiny bit to see if it messes it up (I can always get it fixed professionally) and I’d do more if it works out. Well, as I held my breath from fear, I did it…and it was the best layered look I’d ever had! I couldn’t believe it! After I showed my sister she said she wanted it, and pretty much everywhere we went people asked where we got our hair cut! Honestly, I’ll never get a professional hair cut ever again after doing it this way.

Start by brushing your hair out. Then, you want to grab it all together (I put it in a pony tail so they don’t move around, but it’s not necessary), and bring it to the top of your head. The lower the ponytail, the longer the layers, and the higher the pony tail, the shorter the layers. NOTE if you’re going to put it super high, you might need to trim the bottom of your hair to match, as it’s usually a lot longer than the top and you don’t want a mullet look!!! I usually go for the center. Finally, after pulling the hair straight up to make sure it’s even, pull it down in front of you and cut straight across! Now, I know this sounds super scary, but remember…my BEAUTY SCHOOL TEACHER told me this! And the compliments I get on my hair tell me it works! Just start like I did…a low ponytail, and a little bit off the edges. πŸ™‚

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68 responses to “How To Cut Layers

  1. I watched a YouTube video on how to cut your hair last year. I actually did this and my hair was almost to my waist. I have been trying to grow it out. Well…I totally botched it up. Totally. Ended up going to our local beauty school to have it fixed. I wanted long layers I told the girl. Well, if you saw the pictures in my email, that is how long it has grown out since November. It was to my shoulders. I was devastated. My fiancee was devastated too because he loves my long hair. I really haven’t had a good cut in years. I may actually never get my hair cut/styled again because nobody does it right. I might go for a trim. Just an inch. In fact, whenever I tell someone an inch, it never is just an inch. It always ends up to be inches. No one does it right. I love my hair. I love hair. I love to do my hair. I cannot do anything with my hair right now except straighten it. I French braided the other day. I had it up for an hour but there are short layers in the back and it just fell out in the back. So sad and depressing and it take so long to grow back because of all the medications I am on and I am sick too. I really think my hair is my beauty and the only thing that is really beautiful about me. :(( One thing for sure is I will never ever cut my own hair again. That was a BIG mistake.

    • Layers are something that you either love or hate. I can’t imagine not having layers! I agree, every time I wanted to get a 1in trim it would end up being 3 or 4….hair stylists love chopping off long hair! I’ve been doing my own hair like this for over 5 years and I’ve loved it.

    • So I just saw this post today and tried it as I desperately needed a haircut. I figured my hair was long enough that if I botched it up, I could pay $10 at a local place to get it fixed. It totally worked for me!! I was SO happy to be able to trim it myself as I just had lots of split ends and i’m always looking for ways to save money. I cut my husband’s hair, my kids hair and now my own! I love it!! Thank you so much for posting how to do this!

  2. Oh, I wish I was that brave to do that. Knowing me, I would just mess it all up and end up with an “A-line” bob or something. HAHA

    • That’s how I felt the first time….it took me sooooo long to actually do it! I just stared at myself in the mirror trying to talk myself into it lol but needless to say I’m soooo glad I did! I love what it does to my hair!

  3. You have BEAUTIFUL hair!!! Looks perfect. You’re so lucky you can skip the expensive haircuts! I can’t believe you do it yourself and it looks that great. I’m going to have to tell my daughter about this.

  4. Aww thank you so much! I have to say, I am lucky….because I’m so lazy and hate spending money on stuff like that I would totally never cut my hair lol

  5. I’m 27 and I’ve been cutting my hair like this since high school! My mom was a hairdresser and cut my hair while growing up. I was 19 before I paid someone to cut my hair and then, I just hated it. It saves time cutting my own hair too. I don’t have to wait for an appointment for a hairdresser that I know will get it cut right. I had to get some help the first few times I did it, now, it’s cake!

  6. Just liked your facebook page! And here I am now, wondering if I’ll try that out!! But I wonder if my hair is long enough…? Anyways, the result on you is stunning!

  7. I love this post and I absolutely love layers! Pretty tired of going to the hairdresser and the explaining of “dont cut my hair too short, let it stay in layers and don’t give me a pointed ponytail”. I’d love to do this to save money (im a student right now and $$$ going out hurts SO much !) but I’m petrified I’ll screw it! :/

    • Generally with layers there will be a point towards the bottom. I have one! I’m not sure what you would do to avoid that, especially with this haircut….so maybe you should stay clear of it lol. I mean I guess you could always cut the longest layer straight across so there’s no point, but that would be a little too nerve wracking to do yourself!

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  9. I do this also, but a variation of it that doesn’t end up with the point in the back. After you wash and condition your hair, towel dry and comb or brush it out. Decide where you want your shortest layer to fall, and put a small barrette in your bangs (in just a tiny piece of hair) where you want that layer to fall. Flip your head over, but without putting your hair in a pony tail first. Comb the hair straight down over your head. Then cut a straight line across your hair, at or below the level of the barrette (so you don’t end up with too-short layers) trying to keep it as even as possible. The result is long even layers, without a point.

    • Oooohh good tip!! I’m just wondering how you don’t end up with a point at the tip! I too just go straight across. I mean I like that, so it’s ok for me, but I’m just wondering how it doesn’t result in the “V”.

      • Actually I do it just like you EXCEPT I pull the ponytail straight up above my head and cut it straight across. This gives my fine hair a straight line in the back. it takes quite awhile to get it perfect, so i just do the best I can up in the the air to get it straight across…and when the hair comes out of the ponytail, while its still wet, i comb straight down on my shoulders and have someone ,hubby, trim the few strays..I finish with cutting a few wisps to frame the face and its done. The thing is that every time you move the angle of the ponytail, or angle of where you do the cut you get a little different result. Because your hair grows in a V shape at the nape of your neck the way you are cutting your hair in the demo merely repeats the way it grows but in reverse. You have to consider a lot of variants…but I’ve only had one bad experience when I put the ponytail way too forward and against my forehead. I ended up with tiny bangs that I didn’t like, and layers that were too far apart.

  10. I did this last night, and WOW! I hate people touching my head/hair, so I hate going to the salon. This worked awesome and now I never have to have another awkward salon visit again!!!

    • That’s how I felt when I finally had the guts to do it! Haha glad you like it!! πŸ™‚

  11. Wow, I’m SO trying this!!! I cut my hair on my own as well, so I was looking for something like this. Thanks for the tip!!!!

  12. Thanks a TON for this tutorial!!! I sent it to my sister also as we both have long hair and love the layering =)

  13. I want to try this but I’m kind of wondering if it would give the same great result for straight hair… =)

      • Hi, I tried it on my straight hair but unfurtonately I have to go to the stylist after this 😦 I have to say I have very thick hair. I only tried it because my hair was far too long anyway πŸ™‚

  14. LOVE this, thank you so much for posting!! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it myself and this worked perfect πŸ™‚

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    • My teacher told me to cut straight across…my sister and I have tried cutting it in a “u” or “v” shape before….honestly, not much of a difference! Either way will give you great layers!

  17. I just tried this and looks good to me. I have long wavy hair, so if it’s off, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Thanks for saving me the $40 on a hair cut, I desperately needed it! ❀

  18. I just cut straight across where my fingers were. It gets that V shape because that’s what layers do! I have probably cut my bangs NICELY 1 out of 20 times so that, I won’t share lol. Bangs are very, very tricky unless you’re just cutting straight across.

  19. There’s a tutorial on Pinterest about bangs I think u may be interested in. It says to brush ur bangs forward and twist them, once u twist it all the way to the bottom hold ur fingers however short u want them and cut and it gives ur bangs a feathered look

    • I’ve seen that!!! I’m soooo nervous to try it though lol I would love to see in person how it comes out before trying it myself. Thanks for the tip!

  20. I have long hair and long layers and was wanting my sister to cut it when she comes home this weekend. This looks simple and a lot of people are saying they’ve tried it and it works great, but it just doesn’t make sense how you can cut it straight across and it will trim both your long layers and your shorter layers. I would be so scared to try this on my hair and don’t think it would work!

      • Even though I had reservations about this, I got my sister to cut it last night anyways! I know that’s almost crazy, but it worked! My layers are actually more defined than if I had gotten my regular hairdresser to cut it! And it was free. Can’t tell you how excited I am!

  21. I, like the others, was skeptical but thought “what do I have to lose?”. I have very very thin almost shoulder blade length hair. This totally worked for me!!! I am so happy to have an easy way to trim my hair now. Took no time at all, and because I leaned over a trash can, there was no clean up either!!!! Thanks so much for the tip!!!!

  22. I am a mother, have a full-time job, and a very small budget. I only get my hair cut once a year and it’s about that time. I saw this and thought “What the heck?!” and gave it a shot. Total regret! Maybe it’s because my hair is THICK but naturally straight and I didn’t think about how hard it would be to cut through and it caused my hairband to slide. Now my left side is shorter than my right 😳 I just did my best to even it out. I’m about to straighten it and pray it looks okay. If I didn’t have the money to get a proper cut in the first place, what makes me think I would have the money to fix it if I screwed up. Urgh!

  23. My hair was dead and figured it could not get much worse if I screwed up the cut. I love long layers with my thick curly hair. Any other style transports my hair into the 80’s. Most stylist can’t get it right. I tried to cut my hair today following the directions on this post. Not only did it work but it came out with more evenly staggered layers than I ever received at a salon. Thank You so much for this post! You just saved me $50 πŸ™‚

  24. I just tried this (thanks insomnia, lol) and it worked wonderfully. I did as you said and did a little to start with and then took the desired amount and added a few whispy pieces on the sides. I have NEVER cut my own hair and when I would cut my daughters bangs it would take me forever to get them even. This was fast, simple and it looks great!

  25. I am interested in trying this… But wondering how a side part plays into the mix? If I brush my hair straight back and put in a pony tail to cut, will it end up lop sided?

    • I usually have to play around with it. Not sure if making the ponytail over the area that you part it would work? I would say if try it but I just cut it the other day!

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