Layered haircuts have a bad rap. Thanks to the '90s obsession with layers, the early 2000s were mostly filled with sleek, straight, mono-length hair. Today, however, we're slowly starting to embrace layers once again. But the 2.0 version is more about creating cool-girl texture and a little well-placed volume in hair. You can forget about that less-than-covetable mushroom shape that became so intrinsically linked with '90s celebs. And while we'll always have a special place in our hearts for The Rachel, the modern version is subtler than that: These layers enhance your haircut rather than steal the show.
Anyone old enough to have asked a hairdresser for layers back in the day probably has a strong suspicion of anyone wielding a pair of scissors (I know I do). We hear you. The key is to ask your hairdresser for some longer, invisible layers, emphasis being on the words longer and invisible. And unless your hair is mid-length or shorter, you want the ends of your layers to sit below your jawline or lower to create that enviable texture in your hair without it jumping up to hug your cheeks.
Here's a definitive guide to the celebrities who have nailed the layered haircut 2.0.
After the royal wedding, it's safe to say Priyanka Chopra is our new style crush. The actress and film producer has perfected the no-layers, layered hairstyle, which is ideal for anyone too scared to go full-on Rachel from Friends. Ask for long layers around the front of your face to help balance out the cut.
Selena Gomez's chin-grazing bob is made every bit prettier with the inclusion of a few layers—it's also a great way to give fine hair a bit of width and volume.
We love the way Jourdan Dunn's short hair has been tapered to give it more shape.
Adding subtle layers to curly hair can give ringlets bounce and a little height, as proven by Alanna Arrington.
Jasmine Sanders's soft waves are accentuated by the subtle layers throughout the lengths.
Winnie Harlow's haircut proves the power of layers to lift naturally curly hair.
Rather than Jessica Biel's long hair hanging loose without any shape, her hairdresser has feathered the front of the hair to create some shorter layers around the face. Use a heated brush like the Conair Infiniti Pro Diamond-Brilliance Ceramic Hot Paddle Brush ($30) to create that rounded shape in your layers.
Super-subtle, jaw-length layers and long, center-parted fringe help to add some structure and shape to Jennifer Lopez's mid-length haircut. It keeps that collarbone-grazing style looking modern.
Long layers in hair help to create added volume and texture, whether you're wearing the hair curly like Shay Mitchell or smooth. A little salt spray helps muss up those layers; we love Sachajuan Ocean Mist ($31).
Nervous of having layers cut in? Ask for your layers in the bottom couple of inches of your hair like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. What's great about really long layers like this is that you can wear your hair center-parted and the layers will be invisible, or create a deep center part with volume and you can embrace the effect of shorter layers without committing to the cut.
Jennifer Aniston is the poster girl for layered hair. While The Rachel has long since grown out, Aniston and her hairdresser Chris McMillan are die-hard fans of the volume-boosting and shaping effect of well-placed layers. The key to this look is a smooth blow-dry. Try Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Creme ($28).
Okay, so Khloé Kardashian's hair has been lengthened with extensions, but to help disguise the join, her hairdresser packed the mid-lengths and ends with layers, which add a cool-girl texture to the hair and prevent it from looking fake.
Rachel McAdams's layered hair is as close to the '90s version as you'll likely find, but thanks to her simple strapless dress and pretty makeup, it totally works. In fact, this makes for pretty epic undone wedding hair. The key, yet again, is layers that shape the face rather than cut into it.
Olivia Culpo's long, layered lob has some mega volume in it. Want to fake volume and texture like this at home? Ask your hairdresser for a lob with long layers. At home, style your hair by working some L'Oréal Elnett Volume Mousse (£6) into towel-dried hair before blow-drying it with your head flipped upside down. Finish the style by using your fingers to rake your hair into a side-swept parting.
If you're growing your hair out from a pixie crop like Kate Mara is, you should know this: Layers are your friend. You just need to learn to embrace them rather than fight them. A little choppy texture throughout the ends can prevent a bob from looking too prim.
If your hair is naturally wavy, a few well-placed layers can help give naturally unruly hair some shape. Otherwise they can help add much-needed volume and oomph to fine hair. A little balayage, like Alexa's, can also help to add texture without the need for tons of layers.
Incredibly subtle, yes, but the layers in Sienna Miller's hair help to add some structure to her longer length. A few layers around the shoulder can prevent long hair from looking unloved.