Get the scoop on this technique in time for your next appointment.
If you've encountered shattered layers on your FYP lately, you're not alone. But while some TikTok trends have less merit than others, this haircut has long been the secret go-to for stylists when looking to revive hair with layers.
In fact, stylists have been using it for years. "This has always been how I cut hair; it gives the most movement and versatility to any haircut," says celebrity stylist and Dyson global ambassador Matthew Collins. "However, with the texture being so obvious with a well-made video of the process, it has now gone viral on TikTok." The upside of it going viral? Now, you can choose from a million and one videos to show your stylist exactly what you want — effectively eliminating any miscommunication, he says.
It's also growing in popularity "because of the blend of edgy and conservative that the final look gives," says Justin Toves-Vincilione, stylist and Authentic Beauty Concept advocate, who adds that it's incredibly versatile, makes thicker hair types more manageable, and feels different without sacrificing length. Plus, he says, "this style can be worn sleek and straight, but also doubles as beachy and lived-in when styled with a curling iron."
With that, here's what you need to know about this newly viral — yet time-tested — haircut.
What Are Shattered Layers?
Shattered layers are texturized pieces that are blended so that you can't tell where the layers begin and end. Collins explains that a hairdresser will deeply point cut hair, meaning they're snipping into the ends with scissors, making it look like a drawing of a Christmas tree. (It may not sound cute, but trust us: It is).
"A lot of layers are very delicately texturized, and by 'shattering' them, you get a more pronounced texture," he says. "They're also cut on a steeper angle, which leaves the texture more visible — but still will blend nicely if left straight."
To get shattered layers, stylists will often also use techniques such as slide cutting and concave layering using some sort of feathered razor or texturizing scissors, says Toves-Vincilione. This differs from traditional layers in that it does not intend to add body to your hair. It's actually meant to do the opposite. "While traditional layers are a design technique used to build up shape and volume, shattered layers are meant to minimize bulk and prevent the illusion of added shape and volume," he explains.
Who Do Shattered Layers Work Best For?
While anyone can opt for shattered layers, Collins says it is most beneficial for those with with high-density hair because of the amount of hair that is removed. "The hair will feel less dense on the ends, move more beautifully, and be easier to manage," he says.
Plus, "shattered layers minimize bulk near the ends and mid-strands," Toves-Vincilione says. "This will allow the finished styles to remain sleek and contained and can deflate any unwanted volume that may take place during the air-drying process."
How Do You Ask Your Stylist For These Layers?
Ask your stylist for a layered cut with a significant amount of weight removed at the ends. "Tell them that you like the idea of having lots of blended layers that can easily be styled into multiple hairstyles, especially straight," says Toves-Vincilione. "Let them know that you want to see minimal weight lines when your hair is styled straight, but still want the layers to be visible."
You can also let your stylist know that you're looking for something similar to ghost or invisible layers to describe this look. Heads up: You can't do shattered layers without the use of the proper scissor or texturizing shears, says Collins.
So, for the best possible outcome, it's best to come in with a visual. "I would suggest that you look up a video and show them exactly what you want," he says. "Most language is similar across hairstylists, but it's better to show them exactly what you want so you are for sure on the same page."
How to Style Shattered Layers
For defined shattered layers, Collins recommends using a texture paste enhance your hair's natural texture. He pairs it with the Dyson Corrale to either straighten or give hair a slight wave to play up some movement.
If you're looking for something sleeker, Toves-Vincilione recommends styling creams, serums, or oils to boost smoothness and shine. For instance, Authentic Beauty Concept Nourishing Hair Oil will not only smooth flyaways, but it will also nourish strands. If you're looking to air-dry, consider Verb Ghost Air Dry Whip, which controls frizz without feeling crunchy.
Whether you're looking to remove weight from your hair or seeking more movement, shattered layers might just be the right haircut to go for. Turns out, TikTok — and pro stylists — are right.
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