Thanks in part to Jennifer Aniston, a whole generation of women chopped their hair into flippy layers, never to return to the style again. While the term “layers” may bring to mind flashbacks of a choppy cut that needed heavy styling, the technique has had an overhaul in recent years and is now so much more less work. “Invisible layers” are the secret for adding that whole cool-without-trying thing to your haircut in a totally modern way, no harsh layers in sight.
“The most modern variation of layering is a slight angle around your face, usually starting around your chin and working its way down to the length,” says celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown. If you’ve ever looked at literally any it-girl’s —Suki Waterhouse, Alexa Chung, Chloë Grace Moretz—perfectly tussled shag cut and wondered how she gets all that movement without sacrificing length, invisible layers are to thank. The trick is to keep the layers long and seamless to take out weight, and add texture and volume without looking too obvious. “Blending the layers is very important—they have to be cut properly to look seamless,” says Brown. “Using a technique to remove weight from the ends will make the layers appear very soft and blended.”
According to Joel Warren, founder and creator of The Salon Project, this technique works best for fine hair and anyone who wants that effortless, wavy look nearly every influencer has on Instagram. “Seamless layers are created by blending the ends of the hair and keeping a straight line while doing this,” says Warren. “This way the hair that is cut falls smoothly on top of one another to eliminate choppiness.”
In addition to movement, another benefit of this style is that it instantly defines your face and brings all the attention right to your cheekbones. “How the hair frames and hits your face can completely change your overall face shape,” says Brown. “I love a layer that hits near the cheekbone to accentuate it.” She recommends asking your stylist for slight layering around your face (just past the chin) to open up your face and add movement, as well as very light layering through the interior.
If you’re currently growing out choppy layers, fear not, as you can transition to invisible ones, it’s just going to take some time. Brown says to be patient, and under no circumstances let anyone add more layers. Instead, she suggests wearing your hair up or wavy to hide the layers, and get a trim every three to four months to clean the ends. She also says to only have your stylist cut out weight, not length. In no time you’ll have the face-framing, shaggy layers of your dreams. Consider yourself an honorary it-girl.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
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