How to Cut Long Layered Hair

Updated February 21, 2017

Cutting hair is an art form, and the basis for any good hairstyle is a good haircut. One of the most popular cuts for people with longer hair is long layers. These layers not only add body to the hair, but also frame the face, creating a softer appearance. Although it may seem intimidating to beginner stylists, cutting long layers is one of the simplest cuts to perform, as long as you take your time.

Wash the hair thoroughly, apply a conditioning product and rinse thoroughly with water.

Comb the hair straight while it is still wet, to remove all tangles.

Gather the top section of the hair together by running your fingers from the ears, all the way around the crown to the back of the head. Divide this upper section of hair into two separate sections. Twist each section and secure individually on top of the head with a hair clip.

Comb the section of hair that remains down. Using the sheers, cut a straight line across the bottom to trim up the edges. Do this by trimming a 1-inch section at a time and using the trimmed section as a guide to cut the next 1-inch section of hair.

Take down one of the upper sections of hair and comb out any tangles. Starting at one side, take a 1-inch section of hair and hold it between the index and middle fingers. Pull the hair slightly away from the back at approximately a 45- to 90-degree angle. The higher you lift your hand, the further up the back the layers will start. Continue cutting the hair in 1-inch sections, raising your hand to the same angle each time.

Take down the final section of hair, comb out any tangles and begin cutting it in 1-inch sections. Use the same angle as used for the previous hair section.

Take pieces of hair from each side of the head and bring them together in the direct centre of the back of the head. The pieces should meet perfectly in the middle. If one side is longer, trim it until it is the correct length.

Dry and style hair as desired.


When deciding how much hair to cut, remember that straight hair shortens as much as 1 inch as it dries. Curly hair shortens by up to 4 inches as it dries, depending on the tightness of the curls. If the upper sections of hair dry before you cut them, use a spray bottle containing water to wet the hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheers
  • Comb
  • Hair clip
  • Spray bottle containing water


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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.