Would you love cute layers in your long hair? If nothing else to give your locks an ultra-stylish volume boost?
Or maybe you’re tired of embarrassingly chunky or massively uneven layers? Either of which gives away a layering hack job you suffered at the hands of a cut run amuck. Preferring something with a softer look and feel instead?
Or are you just dissatisfied with layered haircuts you pay through the nose for?
At best they’re just not quite what you wanted at worst they look like you feel after a bad breakup?
Then why not do DIY?
Truth is, while we all might like to think we can turn in our lifetime salon membership card, cutting your own hair isn’t for everyone.
Yeah not everyone can do.
But for sure it ain’t gonna happen if you’re following the wrong online tutorials.
Which is why we scoured Youtube to uncover these gems so you don’t have to.
The first I’ve broken up into three parts. It covers layering the hair in the back into a natural V shape, layering the rest and then specifically how to do face framing layers. (We dug deeper into how to cut those in our article covering cutting face framing layers.)
Now we decided to break the tutorial up into three acts to make it easier to learn.
You can watch them in order. Or jump to the one that most peaks your interest.
Oh and don’t miss the cheat sheets included which break two of the process down into a simple step by step.
That’s followed by another approach entirely. Just in case you’re not exactly in love with the first technique.
Quick Section Navigation
- VIDEO: Act 1: Determine The Length Of Hair In Back
- VIDEO: Act 2: Cut in Your Layers
- VIDEO: Act 3: Frame The Hair Around Your Face
- Tips For How To Layer Your Own Long Hair
- VIDEO: Unicorn Cut Or Layered Hair Hidden In A Ponytail
So grab your laptop, hair cutting scissors and head to bathroom and let the cutting begin.
Layering Long Hair At Home Yourself – In Three Acts
But before picking up the scissors it’s not a bad idea to straighten so your hair is all the same length.
Then decide wet or dry? She cuts her hair wet.
Just realize this means you need to take extra caution not to over cut. Because as you know when wet hair dries it shrinks. In that case it’s smarter to cut less than you feel you need to allow for this.
Remember too that hair grows about half an inch a month give or take. So if you cut off two inches it will take about four months for that to grow back.
Act 1: Layering Long Hair Yourself – Determine The Length Of Hair In Back
Okay so the first act is to establish the length of the bottom third of your long hair that runs down your back.
To do that clip the top two-thirds of your hair up and out of the way. This leaves the bottom third ready for initial cutting.
Don’t worry it’s kinda easy. Plus it’s in the back. So for some no big deal.
First you want to bring this section over your shoulder to the front and split into two sections.
Take one section, run your comb through it bringing it forward angled just a least little bit.
Blunt cut off across at desired length; then point cut.
A Word About Point Cutting: This technique give the ends a bit more texture and helps soften them so they blend better.
This snipped section now becomes the guide for the rest of the lower third.
Go ahead and combine the cut with uncut section. Then pull that hair forward and comb through like before. Don’t forget to angle it ever so slightly.
Next you want to look for your guide.
Go ahead and cut to the guide being careful not to cut the guide itself.
You can see in the video the front bits are shorter and what’s going to fall in the back is longer. Perfect layering.
Repeat on the other side.
Double check both sides are the same length. You can see layers beginning to take shape. The front pieces are shorter and what was in the back is longer.
BONUS: This also results in a natural v shape tapering to the hair as it cascades down your back.
KEY TAKEAWAY: The key to this approach is establishing a “length guide”. That is a section of hair cut first that serves as the length template for all hair yet to be cut.
The use of a guide is actually the underpinning for the entire cut. It makes obvious how much you need to cut next to be consistent.
Just keep in mind cutting less is smart if you are just learning. Start slow and see how you like the results. Adjust how much you cut next time.
Just a reminder that if cutting your hair wet it will shrink as it dries. Leaving you with shorter looking hair than you cut.
Act 2: Cutting Your Own Hair in Layers
Okay time to release the upper two thirds you had clipped up and out of the way before.
Brush out the hair just released and create a center part. Part you hair like this regardless of how you part your when styled.
Next you’ll want do a second part about a half inch off center to the right flipping that hair over to the opposite side of your head. Twist and tie off all remaining hair on the right side for now.
The idea here is to establish the length of the shortest visible layer. Divide that with another part flipping some to the right. This will make more sense when watching the video.
Now do another part left of center about an inch off center.
With the previous part done to the right you’re left a narrow Mohawk section of hair in the middle of your head. This is used as a guide to determine the length of your shortest layer.
Don’t sweat precision. Close counts.
Comb this middle section of hair straight up over your head and clamp with your fingers towards the ends so that your fingers are parallel to the floor.
Then bring the hair down and in front so you can see the ends and cut this straight across to the desired length. Then point cut to soften just a little.
IMPORTANT: The trick here is keeping your fingers more or less parallel to the floor when cutting.
Congrats. You’ve now established your shortest visible layer.
You’ve also established the length guide that will be used throughout the rest of the cut.
Now with your guide established move about half of that middle section just cut to right with the rest of the hair you’ve tied off.
IMPORTANT: The section not moved will serve as the length guide for the left half of your head.
Do another part further to left. As before pull this section over your head and clamp the ends with your fingers that are parallel to the floor. Then bring the hair down to trim it.
This time you’re going to comb through the end of this section looking for the guide. Cut your hair off a little longer than the guide then point cut to it.
Like before do another part about half an inch or so farther down to the left of your head flipping the already cut hair over and to the right.
As before you want to part and section away some of the hair just cut leaving enough to act a guide for the next section.
IMPORTANT: Each time you’re going to combine “guide” hair with the next section of uncut hair.
Comb up with enough tension to keep the strands taut then bring down so you can cut to length to match the guide.
You’ll need to repeat this combining the guide with new hair maybe three or four times on each side.
Here’s the entire process in a nutshell.
As pointed out in the video about now you may be wondering how cutting hair like this creates your layers. As Sadia points out our heads are curved. So the ends will fall at different lengths down the side of your head.
Also this approach doesn’t result in drastic layering. But gives you more of a gentle progression of slightly longer lengths as you go.
Once done with both side all that’s left is framing in the layers around your face.
Act 3: Cutting Face Framing Layers Made Easy
Yeah what if you want to layer the hair framing your face?
Or what if that hair is already layered but you want to clean those layers up and make them stand out or a bit more noticeable? Here’s how in a nutshell.
And with a bit more detail:
- PART: Center part your hair
- PART AGAIN: Divide the hair front to back by parting your hair just from the top down to just in front of you ear. Clip away the part in the back so it doesn’t get in the way.
- DAMPEN: If not cutting your hair dry dampen aga as needed
- COMB THROUGH: Start to comb the hair down at an angle (about 45 degrees) and fan the hair out between your fingers holding it firmly.
- POINT CUT TO LENGTH: The idea is to point cut maybe a quarter inch or so at an angle as you work your way down the hair. The video covers this at around the 8:28 timestamp.
No need to rush this since this is hair that’s going to be clearly visible. In fact it’s quite okay to repeat the process once or twice. You do NOT want to mess this up.
Tip: If you are right handed when cutting the left side you’ll want to cut from the top down. The on right side cut from the bottom up.
Again don’t neglect to compare to see that both side are even and more or less the same length.
Tips On How To Layer Your Own Long Hair
Before moving on I wanted to expand on one or two and add one or two more ideas.
This one bears repeating. It’s highly recommended you work with flat ironed hair. Applying a detangler isn’t a bad idea either if your hair knots up easily.
If you have thick hair this isn’t going to be a 10 minute job and you’re done. Because you’re going to want to work with smaller sections so you can cut it without resorting to a chain saw.
For that reason those with thicker hair should be prepared for aching arms too.
Ask any stylist and they’ll tell you hair cutting shears are controlled using your ring finger and the tip of your thumb. So don’t be shocked if the thumb hole on your hair scissors is not ginormous. That’s on purpose.
You want to cut your hair either totally wet or totally dry. Otherwise the shrinkage that happens when the wet portions dry can leave you with uneven results.
Oh and it’s okay if the results are perfect. BIG CLUE. The results you pay for aren’t either. And you’ll get better as get the hang of it.
Now admittedly that first approach can take more time that you’d like to invest. So here’s a different take on layering. One you may know as the unicorn ponytail method.
It’s three steps. Boom. Done.
Unicorn Cut Or Layered Hair Hidden In A Ponytail
How do your locks feel when you run your fingers through it? Smooth and silky or rough and gritty? Feeling less than velvety could be a sign it’s time to trim away the split ends.
Here’s an alternate way to cut layers into your long hair using a ponytail.
With this method it’s recommended that you wash, blow dry and straighten your tresses before cutting. You want to work with hair as flat and straight as possible.
After that it’s just three steps.
Step 1) Brush your hair back and gather the hair in a high ponytail positioned at the front of your head just above your forehead. Use two hair ties. One near your scalp and one just BELOW where you want to cut.
Step 2) Blunt cut then point cut to texturize the ends.
Step 3) Flip back over your head and brush out. Instant layers.
You may know this as the unicorn method to layering hair.
Not sure what I love most about this. The simplicity or the layered results. Regardless it might be something for you to try STAT!
By the way, do not even think of attempting this without hair cutting shears. Otherwise you’re like just begging for split ends.
Besides who wants hair that looks like a squirrel gnawed through it?
Now if this look at how to cut layers in long hair yourself is the kind of thing you like be sure to follow us on Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did.