If you want to change up your hair without it being too drastic, turning to layers always strikes the right balance. Face-framing layers, especially, can pay dividends.
As celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons describes them, face-framing layers are shorter pieces of hair that are strategically placed around the front of the face to help bring out your natural features. “[They] are great because they can either accentuate or soften your features, plus they’re super easy to maintain and are cut to look natural when grown out,” Fitzsimons says.
He goes on to say that face-framing layers work on any hair type or length (yes, even short hair), which makes them one of the most versatile styles that you can go for. If you’re unsure about what will work best for you, he always recommends consulting with your stylist. But if you need some inspo to start, we’ve got you, below.
Meet Our Expert
Andrew Fitzsimons is a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Kim Kardashian and Alessandra Ambrosio.
Short Face-Framing Layers
Taylor Swift’s lived-in curls are casually thrown up in a half-up, half-down 'do with face-framing layers left out to define her face. Hairstylist Roz Murray says that leaving the shorter bits out front also allows for more volume when the hair is blown out.
Sleek Face-Framing Layers
Fitzsimons says that one of the best benefits of face-framing layers is how low-maintenance they are. “[They] require minimal upkeep due to the fact that they eventually grow back to blend in with the rest of your hair. If you want them back, all you have to do is take a quick trip to your stylist,” he says. This sleek blowout on Selena Gomez makes for a stunning 'do.
Face-framing layers can elevate a chic updo. Case in point — these piecey tendrils on Shay Mitchell. Fitzsimons says that if you want to keep your layers from growing out, you should schedule regular trims once every six to eight weeks.
Face-Framing Natural Curls
Layers are especially stunning on natural curls. “Face-framing layers can add an effortless effect to natural-textured hair,” says Murray. Our girl Meg looks so chic with her curly bangs showcasing her features.
Face-Framing Beachy Waves
If you want to add some grit and volume, opt for beachy waves for your face-framing layers. Ana de Armas' deep-chocolate layers look effortlessly chic.
Wet, Face-Framing Layers
Take some inspo from Stephanie Hsu and dress up your face-framing layers with the wet hair look. Murray says that the “piecey-ness” is crucial to this look and recommends using a product like the Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil.
Wispy Face-Framing Layers
There’s nothing like styling your face-framing layers in a half-up, half-down look. Jenna Ortega’s wispy bangs echo the rest of her layers quite nicely.
Loose, Face-Framing Bends
Whether you're rocking natural waves or heat tool-powered ones, face-framing layers add a lot to a look. Jennifer Lopez’s sleek, wavy texture pairs beautifully with golden highlights.
Suki Waterhouse’s curtain bangs and face-framing layers give her hair volume and bounce. Plus, the bright blonde highlights add extra dimension and shimmer.
Voluminous Face-Framing Layers
Let your natural curls out and wear them in a voluminous Afro like Kerry Washington. This ‘70s-inspired look has subtle layers throughout to add volume.
Edgy Rocker Vibes
Miley Cyrus texturizes her face-framing layers for a rocker edge. Plus, we’re totally vibing with the two-toned shades.
'90s Layered Updo
Murray is a huge fan of styling your face-framing layers in a '90s-inspired updo, as seen here on Kim Kardashian. “They add a lot of movement to the hairstyle and versatility to styling, especially when wearing the hair up,” she says. “They can be pulled down to add wispiness around the face."
The Modern "Rachel" Layers
Arguably the queen of this look, Jennifer Aniston is the original face-framing layers trendsetter. Here, she wears her signature look in a sleek blowout and with sparkling blonde highlights to brighten her overall shade.
Side-Swept Curly Layers
Face-framing layers aren’t only for long hair; you can rock them just as easily with short hair. Halle Berry’s short curls are layered and fall over one eye for a modern twist on the side bang.
Beachy Face-Framing Waves
Another win for beachy texture, Jessica Biel’s layers are given voluminous bends. We especially love the subtle blonde highlights that contrast nicely against her deep brunette base.
Phoebe Bridgers' soft and wispy layers add some romance to her updo. Wisps of her lavender-gray layers are left out front to frame her face.
To add even more volume to your face-framing layers, give your hair a deep side part. Gigi Hadid goes full blonde bombshell by sweeping her front layers over to one side for an ultra-glam look.
Shaggy, Wet-Look Layers
Part shag and part wet hair, Cara Delevingne’s face-framing layers proves she’s the ultimate cool girl. Plus, you can never go wrong with a silver white bob.
Related: 20 Medium Shag Haircut Ideas to Copy
Subtle, Piece-y Layers
Sienna Miller’s effortless updo is quiet luxury. Face-framing layers pulled out in soft wisps make for a subtly chic look.
Deep Side Part Layers
As demonstrated by Ciara, face-framing layers add even more drama to long, luscious hair.
Layered, Brushed-Out Curls
Beyoncé can do no wrong on the hair front, but her face-framing layers are always a top look in our book. She wears her voluminous curls layered and brushed out to give them more body and movement.
Long, Face-Framing Layers
Simple and understated in the best way possible, Kaia Gerber's layers are curled just at the ends for some bounce. Caramel highlights woven throughout really brighten everything up.
Long, Bouncy Layers
This look on Emily Ratajkowski is giving retro-chic glam. Her curtain bangs are paired with big, voluminous curls for the ultimate going-out style.
Hot Pink Layers
We are living for this hot pink Barbiecore moment alone. But Taraji P. Henson’s curly, layered mane just adds to the majorness.
Glossy, Swept-Up Layers
The wet-hair look is all the more versatile with face-framing layers. Take notes from Ashley Graham and her fresh take on a '90s updo.
Slight Face-Framing Bends
You don’t have to do much to make an impact with face-framing layers. Just look at Meghan Markle, who wears hers long and bent slightly at the ends to stunning effect.
Sleek and Straight Layers
The queen of bombshell hair, Nicole Kidman uses face-framing layers to add oomph to her chest-grazing lengths.
Bangs and face-framing layers are an unstoppable combination. Johnson wears her signature fringe with caramel highlights and long layers for added volume.
Fitzsimons says one of his favorite ways to style a face-framing layer cut is with the classic blowout, as seen here on Angela Bassett. “It adds volume and bounce to the look, and it is so easy to accomplish,” he says. You’ll want to use a volumizing spray like Andrew Fitzsimons Body Volume Blowdry Spray to give hair shape and body.
Blunt and Graphic Layers
Leave it to Natasha Lyonne to really spice things up. Her blunt bangs and graphic layers make for a unique and dynamic spin on this look — and we’re obsessed.
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