You might be married to your long, years-old hairstyle without even realizing it. (I was a long-hair-only girl too, once.) Maybe you see your friends—and favorite celebs—getting gorgeous, piecey bobs, but you always convince yourself you wouldn't be able to pull it off. Been there.
Well, you officially have no more excuses: These 50 short, layered styles work for everyone—no matter your hair type, face shape, and beyond. It's because layers are the ultimate versatile cutting technique—they beef up a style for those with thin hair, add body to straight pieces, and even up the depth and volume for natural curls.
"Layers are great for adding softness and movement, while showcasing texture," says Adrianne Johnson, Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. "They can eliminate bulk for thick hair, create fullness for thin hair, and can add an edge or balance, depending on your desired look."
Below, find 50 short, layered haircuts that'll finally inspire you to make the chop this time once and for all.
Though layers can typically help add heft and texture to thin hairstyles, they're just as gorgeous on tightly coiled curls. These ones add shape to the style (and tons of versatility). "Curly hair can vary throughout the head, so observe the consistency of the curls to determine what layering is best," Johnson says.
The '60s-inspired shag is without a doubt one of the coolest hairstyles right now (and always, IMHO). The only way to get it? Lots of layers. "You need enough hair and density to pull off a layered shag," says Johnson. "The more movement and piecey parts, the better, without looking stringy."
Add Some Bangs
Take a cue from Natalia Dyer and add some bangs to your vintage-inspired shag haircut for extra sex-kitten oomph. But be honest with yourself, says Johnson. "If you like to pull your hair up or back, this might not be for you," she says. "But if you like having your hair down and tousled and experimenting with products, this could be your next signature look."
Add some flair to a layered shag with edgy bangs—we love the quirky and chic moon-shaped ones here, but be aware of the maintenance involved. "Some shorter shag cuts can be high-maintenance, bringing you to the salon every 4–6 weeks," says Johnson. "But the right shag gives you more flexibility, maybe 6–10 weeks." Johnson confirms, however, that if you care for your hair in-between salon visits, you'll be in great shape either way.
If you have naturally curly hair but your curl pattern is a bit looser, layers add even more volume and a stunning lift. "Having thick or curly hair requires shaping and sometimes that's with the assistance of layers," says Johnson. "If you have curly hair, this can give strands a chance to bounce around and have some variation."
Play with color while your playing with length, too—the honey-hued highlights combined with the smudged dark roots create major texture, volume, and dimension. (And a good sea salt spray should help you achieve a similar texture.)
If your natural hair is kinky and textured, embrace the vibe with a short, layered haircut you can style easily every time. Just remember to use hydrating masks masks to keep that texture on-point. "Keeping the hair hydrated is always a must for textured hair," Johnson says.
There's nothing more gorgeous than locs at any length, and this side-parted, sister-locks bob is pure perfection. The shoulder-length chop maximizes the bouncy fullness of the style, too.
It's no secret we're obsessed with both bobs and shag haircuts—and when you combine 'em (and add some bangs)? Yes, please. But remember to do your research if you're getting a major chop like this. "Be aware that shorter bangs require maintenance and attention, and they're on your face everyday," says Johnson. "You want them to frame your face and showcase your features."
If you're rocking your natural texture on a day-to-day basis, choppy layers like this (and cute hair accessories!) should make styling a breeze.
Pop of Color
This pastel root fade is major—but we can't take our eyes off the sultry volume achieved here by adding layers. "Removing hair to create layers creates less density, so finding the appropriate balance for your hair type is important," Johnson says. "Sometimes it's more about styling to create fullness." (And you can rock the extra-full look even after you leave the salon chair by picking a great hairspray.)
An undercut is when a stylist either cuts or shaves the sides or back of your hair, and it can be worn either exposed or unexposed (and the look is totally wearable, depending on the approach). "Typically the hair on the sides and bottom are shorter in contrast to the hair on top," says Johnson. "By doing this, the hair on top can collapse a bit and looks more relaxed and casual in the best, effortless way."
Rough Around the Edges
When you have naturally thin or fine hair and want to pump it up a little bit, you usually have to get creative. We're obsessed with the piecey bits that give it a rough-around-the-edges, "built-in-movement" vibe. (Find our best tips for thin hair here.)
Short, layered haircuts work for straight hair too—just ask for lots of piecey layers to help pump up the texture and give you some volume. (Bonus points: Layers are your friend when you're trying to grow out your hair, so if you're not fully committed to a tapered pixie cut, you can easily transition it into a bob from here.)
This is another look that utilized an undercut in the back to remove bulk (and you'd never be able to tell). For blunt little bobs like this, texturizing products are everything.