Having long hair that’s layered correctly is honestly one of the best feelings in the world. Great layering can leave you feeling so sexy—hair that flows with incredible movement. Done correctly, the cut should look even better three to five weeks after your salon visit. For those unfortunate enough not to have had good experience with long layers, it can be frustrating to articulate exactly what you want in a style and cut.
As hairstylists, we have the advantage of knowing the verbiage to adequately describe the layering process, but even then it takes more than adjectives and verbs to achieve a successful layering effect.
The interesting thing is that if you ask two stylists to do long layers on the same person, you might be surprised at the different approaches they take and the outcomes that result. In other words, consider it a blessing to find a hairstylist who can achieve the feat with panache, because someone else might very well leave your hair looking as if you made love to a weed whacker!
When having your hair layered, it is crucially important to know two things: what to ask for and how to recognize when your hairstylist is off to a “hairy start.”
I cut my models hair dry with a razor rather than wet. The reason was because of her hair texture, cutting it wet would have been to aggressive and would have removed too much bulk.
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when having your hair layered. Remember that no one knows your hair better than you do, so be mindful of your instincts while recognizing that the hairstylist has the upper hand. Together, great layers are totally possible.
1) During the consultation, share the aspects of your hair that have been most challenging for you in the past and why. This allows the hairstylist to be conscious of areas that he or she should pay particular attention to in their approach.
2) Share whether you air- or blow-dry your hair. This is valuable information and can affect the initial approach in any cut and style.
3) Ask the stylist if he or she will be cutting your hair dry or wet. This too can greatly influence how it will be cut.
4) Depending on your hair’s thickness and texture, have the stylist determine if a scissor or razor should be used.
Here are signs to be aware of. Some relate to mistakes I’ve made in the past, which I’ve learned from as I’ve grown professionally.
1) Cutting either wet or dry on hair that is coarse or fine, the stylist should concentrate on thin sections at a time, for an even, precise flow.
2) If your hairstylist cuts your hair and then hands you to an assistant to blow-dry and then return to dry-cut, beware. I know how I cut each section of hair, so I’m the one who can optimally blow-dry each section. A great assistant may know how to do a beautiful blow-dry generally, but he or she wasn’t the one cutting. This is a recipe for disaster.
3) If you want your hair cut with a certain tool, your hairstylist should be capable of doing the initial cut with a scissor or razor. They should also be able to provide either a wet or dry cut, depending on your personal preference.
I believe layering is an expression of you—the style should reflect your personality! Don't leave the salon feeling like you have someone else’s cut and style. Ask all the necessary questions to ensure that you get exactly what you desire.