Barber Basics: How To Layer Hair

Probably one of the most fundamental skills a barber can develop is how to layer hair correctly. It may seem like a totally basic cutting technique, but a lot of barbers (including experienced ones) do not do this correctly. Luckily, you have the Dark Stag team and their wealth of knowledge covering your back!

When to use layering

The idea of layering is to reduce the weight of the hair, the opposite to graduation. This technique is usually used on shorter to medium length hair, however it is not uncommon to use it to create long layers in a long, “heavy metal” style or to create uniform layers in medium-long hair. With current style though, longer hair is slightly out of the mainstream eye so you see this technique primarily being used in short-medium hair.

This technique can be done all over the sides and back of the head in panels and is even done sometimes on the top lengths of the hair, if the hair is short enough.

We recommend using the DS+, straight or offset, for this cut. It has a razor sharp convex edge, perfect for the crisp clean cuts you want when layering.

Max demonstrating correct layering technique


This technique is performed by placing your closed scissors in to lift your section and then place the comb in and bring out to the desired length and cut. Carry on repeating this technique in 1cm sections.

In the above video we were aiming to take the hair a little bit shorter through the crown and work up to more length on top. With the aim being to leave us and the client with a more length to play around with with the fringe. The idea of it again is to remove weight and not to build it.

This adds a lot more texture to the hair, though leaving a little more hair at the front. Layering also creates texture within the hair shape itself, by utilising the natural movement of the hair growth. To properly utilise this, make sure not to over direct the hair in any particular direction and just follow the hair pattern.

The technique is better used on damp/wet hair, and though you can use it on dry hair, you get a little bit more of a sharper finish if used on wet hair.

When finishing up the cut, make sure to work the opposite way to the way you have been working, checking your guide, and cleaning any errant hairs up.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or techniques you would like to see, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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