Layered haircuts have a bad rap. Thanks to the '90s obsession with them, the noughties was a palette cleanser of 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. Don't get us wrong—we'll always have a special place in our hearts for The Rachel, but the modern version is subtler than that.
Below, we're rounding out 60 celebrities who have nailed layered hair. And for some pro styling tips, we called on celebrity hairstylist Joseph Maine.
Meet the Expert
Scroll on to get inspired before hitting the salon for your next layered haircut, from long layers to short.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
We have to give it to Priyanka Chopra Jonas for perfecting the no layers-layered hairstyle, which is ideal for anyone too scared to go for that full-on Rachel-from-Friends look. Ask your stylist for long layers around the front of your face to help balance out the cut.
According to Maine, a long blunt cut like Nicole Beharie's can be good for curly hair types that are looking for lots of control, or for those who live in a humid environment (as the added weight helps manage the curls). "The deep side part helps add shape to an overall simple haircut," he adds.
We love a good wave set that's as effortless as it is rich in texture, and Melanie Fiona's 'do checks all the boxes. Use a 1.5-inch curling iron to wrap one-inch sections of hair around, making sure to wrap from root to tip.
Adding subtle layers to curly hair can give ringlets bounce and a little height, as proven by Alanna Arrington. To ensure your curls have maximum definition (and look ultra-glossy), drop a quarter-sized amount of Cake Beauty The Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream ($9) into your palm for a smooth look.
If heavy layers are your thing, you have something in common with Oprah Winfrey. "This cut is great for people with very thick hair who want a short style, and is best styled with flips, movement, and lots of volume," says Maine. "Short bob lengths can extenuate round or large faces, but with this sort of volume it can offset the shape and make the face appear smaller."
To achieve wispy bangs, use hot rollers or velcro rollers. Let hair sit for 10 minutes before removing gently and shaking it out.
Winnie Harlow's haircut proves the power of layers and their ability to lift naturally curly hair. A little bit of a curl-enhancing gel can go a long way—try the Naturalicious Dramatic Definition Gel ($33) for texture without the weight.
Rather than Jessica Biel's long hair hanging loose and looking shapeless, she's feathered the front of the hair to create some shorter layers around the face. And we can't forget about her honeyed highlights that add so much warmth.
Is there any look Shay Mitchell can't pull off? We'll wait. Here she rocked the red carpet with a platinum long bob that hits just above the shoulder and has subtle, long layers sprinkled throughout.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige rocks a piecey fringe, which works to eliminate the weight a denser hair type would cause. "This heavily layered cut with a swoopy bang is best suited for small faces and an angular bone structure," says Maine. "To style, I recommend using a curling iron like the GHD Curve Creative Curling Wand ($159) with a clamp to create little bends on the ends."
Zendaya's long layers are the perfect length to complement her glossy straight locks. Paired with a middle part and full brows, her overall look is a match made in beauty heaven.
Amp up your shoulder-grazing lob with barely-there curtain bangs and subtle piecey highlights à la Kerry Washington. To get her shiny tresses, work in a few spritzes of the It's a 10 Miracle Shine Hair Spray ($21).
If you want to reap the voluminous benefits of layers without committing to a chop-heavy cut, ask for layers in the bottom few inches of your hair like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. You can wear it in a deep side part to embrace the effect of shorter layers, but if you're wanting to switch it up you can flip it back to center and just like that, the layers are invisible.
If the thought of putting scissors to your curls freaks you out, take a cue from Alicia Keys. Layers add volume, definition, and texture—plus, the look of curly bangs is never not on-trend.
Jennifer Aniston is the poster girl for layered hair. While "The Rachel" style 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 starts with a smooth blow-dry done with a round brush. Try Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream ($38) pre-styling to ensure volume.
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 masks the look of extensions.
Jennifer Lawrence keeps her feathered layers interesting by maintaining a classic mid-length and a face-framing front. Maine says that most textures and densities can pull off a cut like this, but be wary of deep side parts as they can make the layers look unbalanced. "To achieve this style, I’d recommend spraying Color Wow's Dream Coat Supernatural Spray ($28) all throughout wet hair and drying with the Trademark Beauty Easy Blo One-Step Dryer and Volumizer ($49) to both dry and smooth your hair all at once," he says.
If there's one thing Rachel McAdams knows how to nail (besides a pretty epic rain kiss), it's a chic hair hairstyle. Go for layers that shape the face—rather than cut into it—along with a subtle auburn shade to mimic her look.
Olivia Culpo's long, layered lob doesn't come without some mega volume. To fake volume and texture like this, ask your hairdresser for a lob with long layers. Then, work in some of the L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Volume Inject Mousse ($4) into towel-dried hair before blow-drying it with your head flipped upside down.
If you're growing your hair out from a pixie crop like Kate Mara is, you should know this: Layers are your friend. A little choppy texture throughout the ends can prevent a bob from looking too prim.
Hailey Bieber's look is all about texture. "A look like this can require special ways of cutting and removing weight to prevent the hair from becoming triangular, so really dense or curly hair types should see someone who specializes in their texture if they want to achieve this style," notes Maine.
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 Chung's, can also help to add texture without the need for tons of layers.
We're all about low-maintenance 'dos, and this one fits the bill. "This looks works well for most hair types, textures, and face shapes," says Maine. "To achieve this style, I would recommend making flat iron waves by rocking your hands back and forth as if you’re using a doorknob as you slide your way down the hair. The looser the better, so only do a couple of rocks back and forth as you make your way down."
We never thought there'd be a day where we'd actually have major hair envy for a combover style, but alas, here we are. Rihanna's flip-over works thanks to her imperfect curls and extra-long layers.
Taylor Swift's shaggy layered lob is très rock chic. To give it that piecey, airy texture, work some dry shampoo through your hair with your fingertips.
If you're looking for a way to achieve a vintage glam look without going full-throttle, take a page from Beyoncé's book. Her S-waves are complemented by her dimensional layers and can be achieved by using a one-inch curling wand and a good ear tuck.
Gabrielle Union's elegant bob is what hair dreams are made of. To replicate, ask for choppy layers—for dimension and texture—and slick one side of the hair down with a mattifying pomade.
If choppy layers aren't your thing, they're about to be thanks to Julianne Hough's edgy bob. To replicate at home, use a flat iron to create undone curls all around your head. Then, to maintain that messy look, spritz on a texture-enhancing hairspray like Redken's Windblown 05 Dry Texturizing Hairspray ($20).
Jada Pinkett Smith
We're getting lots of hair-spiration over Jada Pinkett Smith's perfectly imperfect bedhead. To DIY these tousled waves, warm up some of John Masters Organics Hair Paste ($19) into your fingers before running through the bottom half of your layers.
A mid-length blunt with added texture is a winning combination. "This style is created by cutting a blunt line into the length and then slicing out some pieces throughout to give it movement," says Maine. "It's a great option for those that have thin to medium density, as it makes your hair appear more full since the layering is minimal and the density is kept around the perimeter."
Zoe Saldana is giving us some head-turning princess vibes with her effortlessly put-together low ponytail. Get the look by curling random pieces of your ponytail and leaving a few face-framing layers out on display.
Jennifer Hudson's eye-skimming pixie proves that you can have layers even if you're donning ultra-short strands. To accentuate the varying lengths, work in a hair pomade (we're fans of the Malin & Goetz Hair Pomade, $24) a little bit at a time.
You can't go wrong with a blonde pixie cut, especially if you're oval-faced like Kristen Stewart. Layers are a must with a cut like this—they add much-needed texture especially if your hair is on the finer side.
Logan Browning's curls hit perfectly at shoulder length, and the addition of subtle layers keep it from looking too heavy on the bottom. Try Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($14) to create definition and tame flyaways.
The key to short bobs? Lots of volume. Jazmyn Simon nails her asymmetrical bob by chopping in layers that thin out at the bottom. To lift the hair, apply a volume-enhancing mousse and let it air-dry.
Bobs suit all face shapes, but they look especially flattering on oval face shapes. If you have a square or heart-shaped face, go for a lob.
One thing Vivica Fox taught us with this look? Don't be bashful with going dark at the roots. We're loving her perfectly-curled shoulder-length 'do, which looks like the work of a blow-dryer and a large round brush—try the four and a quarter-inch Ceramic + Ion Thermal Hairbrush ($30) from Olivia Garden.
We're all about Sandra Bullock's rockstar vibes—her long layers don't have any excess weight, which lends itself to this beautiful shaggy style. "This is a style nearly any face shape can pull off but its best for medium to thick densities," says Maine. "In order to get this full look, I’d recommend alternating directions wrapping around a wand and slightly pulling each strand to loosen the wave."
We're swooning over Alessandra Ambrosio's undone long layers. To get her supermodel waves, loosely wrap large sections around a 1.5-inch barrel and shake out afterward—no precision needed.
Whoever said wavy hair can't be glossy was clearly mistaken. Just take one glance at Ashley Graham, who stuns with subtle layers, a chestnut hair color, and ultra-shiny locks. Get her look by washing hair with a buildup-removing clarifying shampoo like the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo ($5) and wrapping hair around the barrel of a curling iron or wand.
Meghan Markle's long layers prove that sometimes the simpler the cut, the better. "This can best be achieved by twisting a round brush and using a blow-dryer, or by wrapping hair around a large iron," says Maine.
Get maximum texture for your long layers by alternating the direction you wrap your hair around the wand. Finish off by working a shine-boosting serum through the ends and laying down baby hairs with a styling paste.
A shoulder-grazing cut with a dirty blonde hue and a swoopy fringe is all you need to replicate Kate Hudson's feathery layers. Protect your color with Paul Mitchell's Color Protect Locking Spray ($15), which adds shine and nourishment all while sealing in your color.
Tia Mowry's straight and sleek layers get a playful twist with the addition of a side braid. Use a humidity-resistant spray like Sexy Hair's Big Sexy Hair Weather Proof Humidity Resistant Spray ($10) to keep strands looking shiny no matter the weather.
Olivia Palermo's flowing layers gets points in the plus column for being versatile. Maine says to style by wrapping each section of hair away from the face with a large wand or curling iron.
Tika Sumpter's face-framing bob looks ultra-chic on those who want to show off their great bone structure or extenuate their jawline. The fringe helps to offer a bit of width to the overall look.
Spruce up your blunt bob with jagged ends like Angela Bassett. "This works well for most hair types but is ideal for angular face shapes with nice bone structure or small features," notes Maine. "The style is best created with a flat iron—not for making the hair perfectly straight, but for putting slight beds and kinks in the hair."