Search for anything on how to layer short hair and what do you find?
Right! You’ll find posts full of images of short layered hairstyles but precious little about how to do it yourself.
Q: Is that because it can’t be done at home?
Q: Is that because no one can show you how to do it at home?
Q: Is that because it’s not smart to attempt to DIY layer short hair?
I’m afraid the dearth of info may be because this isn’t exactly a good idea.
Many stylists advise against DIY haircutting anyway – occupational hazard?
But that warning may make all the more sense when layering hair on the shorter side. That’s because many things can go wrong when trying invigorate your short hair style with wanton sexiness by layering it yourself.
Which raises some more obvious questions.
Q: Can you layer short hair yourself at home successfully?
Q: Is it a good idea?
A: Probably not.
Q: Why is that?
A: Because most will not be able to pull it off.
I know that’s not what you want to hear. So we’ll still try to help by including a video tutorial or two or three below.
Cause I also know many are looking for help with this. Maybe because after a bad salon experience they want to take things into their own hands. Can’t say.
But this may not be the best way to do that.
At best cutting your hair at home can be scary. It’s not for everyone. While going for layering short hair might should be labeled “Don’t try this at home”.
For one thing, unlike long hair, which you can divide in the back and pull forward across your shoulder to work on, short hair lacks the length for that.
Which means you’ll likely need help to layer the back. Or be super good a using mirrors to guide the scissors.
In case you’re wondering the rule of thumb is this. If your locks are collar bone length or shorter getting to the back will be challenging. Very challenging.
This may also be why any YouTube videos showing you how to do this are few and far between.
I’d take as another red flag this may not be a DIY project to take on yourself. Regardless here’s what we’ve got for you.
Quick Section Navigation
- What to Know Before Jumping Into DIY Layered Short Hair
- VIDEO: How To Cut Short Hair In Layers With Scissors Yourself?
- VIDEO: How To Cut Layers In The Back Of Your Short Hair
What to Know Before Jumping Into DIY Layered Short Hair
Obviously there are advantages to layered short hair. It feels lighter, can look fuller with more dimension and has more movement all around. All desirable things in a mane.
And not unlike the benefits our in-depth look at layering your own hair laid out.
But before getting too excited about what subtle layering can do to freshen up a hairstyle ask yourself…Can you live with the drawbacks?
Here’s a seldom considered one. You’ll can end up with dead ends or split ends spread throughout your hair not just at the bottom. Ugh!
Then there’s a layering job gone bad. When that happens it means you’re pretty much stuck with the shortest layer if you want to start fresh. Pixie, anyone?
One more? Others complain they can’t just let their hair air dry. Meaning breaking out the blow dryer after every shampoo might be a must do. No one ever fist bumped over news like that.
Then there are the two all too common problems with DIY layering.
The layers are cut too short on top.
Or it’s too over layered at the bottom and ends up looking too scraggly, scrawny and thin.
One more thing. It may be important.
I sure hope you don’t plan on using just any ole scissors you have laying around to do this.
If you need convincing, we wrote a comprehensive guide covering what kind of scissors to use to cut hair. That’s because the tools you use matter.
So you might want to check out that hair cutting shears overview. You won’t be disappointed. Among other things it covers how to hold them … to what size is best … to how to determine if yours need sharpening. Seriously, sharpness counts.
Spoiler Alert: Your best bet is cutting shears that are no longer than 4-5 inches in length. Going too long, even with thick hair, means you can end up cutting too much inadvertently.
Now if you insist on giving DIY layering of short hair the ole college try despite all this here’s …
How To Cut Short Hair In Layers With Scissors Yourself
Now the purpose of layering hair is to get rid of some of the weight and/or to unleash more movement.
When it comes to tutorials on how to layer short hair yourself this video is about the best thing going.
So if you want some ideas for getting that yourself keep watching.
Layering is best done when your hair is dry.
To increase odds of a good outcome when attempting this at home you need the right hair type. Ideally that would be straight hair not curly. Curly is just that much harder to do yourself because of the shrinkage factor.
Okay so first you need to understand where you want the layers to fall. Keeping in mind if you cut too short the cut will look unbalanced not unlike a mullet.
So where do you want to have your layers start?
The key here is it’s not what is cut off it’s what’s left on your head.
Rule of Thumb: Don’t be aggressive. Always take off less. Obvious I know. Just not to everyone. You can always cut off more.
Then did you know there’s a point on your head your layers shouldn’t go below? In other words how low should you be layering.
Another Rule of Thumb? Don’t layer anything that falls below the line from your occipital bone to the recession line which is above the outside edge of your eyebrow.
Don’t know what that is? How about a detour of a video clip that clearly shows you. And makes clear why anything below that you should leave alone.
HINT: Fail to heed this advice and you’ll be left with ends that look too scrawny, too scraggly if not too thin.
Besides with short hair what else do you have besides top layers?
Meanwhile back to the first video.
Okay so the first thing to do is establish your “length guide”.
Now it’s called a “length guide” for a reason. Each time you section hair to cut you want to get some of the guide in with that next section. Then just cut to the guide.
As you’re doing this you basically want to mentally divide your hair into four sections.
- You’re going to layer up the Mohawk section first. Starting in the back and working your way forward.
- Then address the corner or the edge that runs along the Mohawk along each side.
- Then get to the sides.
- Finally there’s the back.
Tip: If you opt for blunt, straight across cutting, you’ll want to cut about a quarter of an inch or so LONGER than where you want to end up. That’s to give you some length to work with for point cutting the ends.
And you’ll probably want to point cut at least a little to soften the ends so they aren’t so stark. Plus they’ll have more dimension.
Now when you get to the front hair you may want that to be longer. If so over direct it. The video shows you how.
Just be careful not to cut too much.
Tip: It’s very easy to cut layers too short which will destroy the entire shape of your hair cut. Which means how short or long you layer has to factor in the overall length of your hair.
Okay so done right there’s no reason the Mohawk section shouldn’t come out absolutely perfect. Just cut each section as you go forward to the length guide.
Next up is the corner or edge of the top. Again include some of the hair from the Mohawk section to be your guide and work your way from the back to the front along the edge of the Mohawk you already cut.
Doing this on the side as your dominant hand it shouldn’t be too hard. But moving on to the other can be more challenging but still doable. You should be able to see what you’re doing in the mirror.
Admittedly the sides in the back can be harder if doing it yourself.
But you want to pull the hair straight out from the head and again trim the least little bit off the length.
Trimming the front by doing point cutting. Hold the hair with index and middle finger and have at it. Just be careful not to cut all the way to your fingers or you’ll cut yourself.
Now for the hardest part…
How To Cut Layers In The Back Of Your Short Hair
Here’s the process in a nutshell:
- Divide your hair front from back at your ear – you might want to use a clip to clip the front hair out of the way
- Section the hair in the back horizontally holding it straight up starting near the crown
- Create your length guide
- Section horizontally right behind that first one
- Cut that to the guide
- Section again and repeat down the back of your head
Do this right and everything should blend in nicely there in the back.
Note he casually mentioned using your mirror. Maybe he kinda glossed over this or maybe it’s just me. It takes practice to use a mirror like this. Yet being able to cut what you see in the mirror makes or breaks layering in the back.
Tip: After any cutting or trimming you’ll want to style your mane as you normally would. That’s the best way to evaluate how things went.
In closing remember the three Ps. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Unless you’ve got a bus to catch, there’s not need to rush. Besides who would cut their hair on deadline?
For those looking for more helpful tips and tricks like these please follow our Hair Tips and Tricks Pinterest board. Check it out. Pin what you want for later. Get alerted to new idea filled posts as they are shared.