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How to Cut Face-Framing Layers | Step-by-Step Guide

If it drives you crazy to watch your layers grow out and you don’t want to pay a hairdresser to touch them up, learning how to cut face framing layers is an invaluable skill. Best of all, it’s easy to learn after a bit of practice.

How to Cut Face-Framing Layers: A Summary

The most important material you need to cut face-framing layers is a pair of high-quality cutting shears. Follow the steps below to learn how to use them.

  1. Get your materials together
  2. Plan out your layers
  3. Dampen your hair
  4. Part and section your hair
  5. Shape a guide
  6. Touch up your face frame
  7. Use the point cutting technique
  8. Tend to the back of your hair

Are you ready to learn how to cut face framing layers? Let’s get started.

How to Cut Face Framing Layers in 8 Steps

Whether you’re unhappy with your hairdresser’s cut job or you always want to do your layers, the steps below will help you become an expert at creating face-framing layers.

1. Get Your Materials Together

The first step in cutting face-framing layers is to gather the materials. You’ll need the following items:

  • Shears
  • Cutting comb
  • Towel
  • Mirror (front and back)
  • Hair clips
  • Spray bottle
  • Blow dryer

Furthermore, you should perform this task in a well-lit place where you have access to a sink—a bathroom is usually your best bet. Notice how we said “shears” instead of scissors. You should never use standard scissors to cut hair.

Otherwise, they’ll cause split ends. They’ll also create an uncomfortable experience because they force the user to tug at the hair. It shouldn’t be challenging to find shears, given that a recent market study revealed that they predict this industry will reach a massive $106.6 million by 2027.

When choosing a cutting comb, you’ll want one that offers both fine and wide teeth. These combs do an excellent job of creating even layers since they tackle tangles.

Be careful not to purchase a cutting comb with a built-in razor, though. Since you’re just starting out on your face-framing layer journey, it’s best to leave those combs to the professionals.

Read Next: How to Use Thinning Shears

2. Plan Out Your Layers

Of all the tidbits you take away from this article, let this be the one that stands out to you the most: Know in advance how you want your layers to turn out, and always underestimate the cut.

For the first portion of that, it’s helpful to take a photo of your hair when it’s damp, combed, and hanging straight down. Then (if you’re giving yourself a haircut), once you find a photo of layers you like, use a photo editing tool to mark the picture where you want to create the layers.

As it turns out, the ability to plan is what allowed humans to rise above other species on the planet and create a complex society. And, yes, that includes being able to plan out your face-framing layers.

You shouldn’t underestimate the layers when sketching. However, it’s always better to undercut your face-framing layers once you start cutting than to go overboard. You can always go back and touch up if you undercut your layers.

You can’t do the same if you get shear happy. That’s also an important point because hair shrinks as it dries. So, what may appear to be a perfect layer length when it’s damp may become too short once it’s dry.

Below are some tips when planning your layers:

  • Never start your layers above your cheekbones
  • People with extremely long hair should begin their layers slightly below the chin
  • For people with medium to short hair who want to accentuate their cheekbones, starting between these bones and their chin is ideal

3. Dampen Your Hair

While some people prefer cutting their layers dry, we recommend dampening your hair to improve the chances of achieving even face-framing layers. You can do this in one of two ways: By toweling your hair partially dry after taking a shower or using a spray bottle. 

Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important not to leave your hair so wet that it’s dripping water. Furthermore, even if you shower, you may need to use a spray bottle to re-dampen your hair as you work.

When re-dampening your hair, it’s important to spray an even application of water from the roots to the tips to ensure an even cut.

4. Part and Section Your Hair

Now, comb your hair with the cutting comb thoroughly and part your hair according to how you usually wear it. If you tend to use multiple parts depending on the day, it’s best to cut your face-framing layers using a middle part.

You’ll then need to use your comb to section the front portion of your hair. To do so, run your cutting comb from your part down your scalp, just behind your ear. 

The idea is to include a small portion of the longest part of your hair for reference when cutting the layers around your face. Use this same technique on both sides of your head. Then, hold the sections of your hair in place with a clip. 

5. Shape a Guide

Creating a guide is crucial for beginners of face-framing layers, as it’ll help ensure you create even layers on either side of your part.  First, gather a 1/4-inch section of hair that’s closest to your part.

You’ll need to do this on either side of your head, forming a single, ½–inch strand of har. Comb through this strand as you pull it tight and pull it slightly out from your face so you can see it better.

Then, figure out how far down your hair you want your shortest layer to start. Straddle your scissors in that very spot on either side of the strand and gently move it downwards.

When cutting all proportions of your layers, it’s vital to keep your shears open and use a gliding motion. Otherwise, opening and closing them will give your hair a choppy appearance.

You should also glide your shears at a slow pace without ever cutting into your hair; the trick is to cut along the edges of your hair. We encourage you to pulse the shears a bit to help with a natural-looking cut. Doing so will also help you avoid frayed ends.

6. Touch Up Your Face Frame

Once you create your guide, release the strand of hair and let it fall back into its natural part. You’ll now have an excellent outline of your face-framing layers on both sides.

Now, take your shears and go back through each side of your part, touching up strands of hair that look out of place. You should still use the gliding method during this time to help even out your hair.

You can also take this opportunity to cut deeper into your face-framing layers by focusing on small subsections on either side. If you choose to do so, ensure that you cut at even points on either side of your part.

7. Use the Point Cutting Technique

With the base of your face-framing layers complete, it’s now time to use the point cutting technique. That way, you can create even more precision in your layers and give you a professional salon look.

Start by gathering a small section of the shortest face-framing layer of your hair on one side of the part. Then, point your shears perpendicularly, directly into the hair. Make tiny cuts into the hair. Doing so will help in the following ways:

  • Reduce bulkiness
  • Soften the lines in your hair
  • Create more visual separation in the layers

When using this technique, it’s helpful to use your cutting comb to hold out your layers at a 45-degree angle in front of your face. That way, you can further check for unevenness. 

Don’t be surprised if you encounter a long strand mixed in with your shorter layers or vice versa. It happens to the best of us, and it’s typically easy to make adjustments to blend mistakes into your face-framing layers.

Once you finish the point cutting technique on one side, move to the other side. Again, work your way from the shortest layer down to the longest layer. Then, check both sides of your hair to ensure your layers appear balanced.

It’s okay—and even preferable—for layers to not be 100% equal on either side. However, you should see a similar trend when comparing them in the mirror.

8. Tend to the Back of Your Hair

Although this article is about learning how to create face-framing layers, the truth is that you’ll likely need to cut some of your back hair to make it all blend. To do so, part your hair in the middle and run a comb through it, pulling some of your back hair forward.

Do you see any staircase-looking spots? If and when you do, use the point cutting technique on your back hair to help it have a smooth transition with your face-framing layers.

After you touch up the back of your hair, use your blow drier and assess your masterpiece again. Just make sure not to turn up your blow dryer heat too high. According to studies, the higher the heat, the larger the chances of damaging the surface of your hair.

At this point, you’re welcome to do any final trims needed on your dry hair. Then, style your hair accordingly, using your favorite hair spray to keep your layers perfectly in place all day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman showing us how to cut face-framing layers with her shears or clippers

The Stock Company/Shutterstock

If you’re still trying to grasp how to cut face-framing layers, we’ll help you out with answers to the questions below:

How can I cut my front hair layers at home?

To cut your front hair layers at home, you’ll need a professional pair of cutting shears. Then, use gliding and point cutting techniques to shape the layers around your face, starting with the shortest layers.

How do you cut face-framing wisps?

To cut face-framing wisps, use the point cutting technique to make small cuts pointing towards the hair. You should use a small amount of hair when doing this.

Where should face-framing layers start?

Face-framing layers should start at or below your cheekbone. If you have long hair, it’s best to begin your layers just below your chin.

What angle should I cut my hair for layers?

The best angle for face-framing layers is usually 135 – 180 degrees. However, holding your hair out at a 45-degree angle helps check for unevenness.

What’s the difference between curtain bangs and face-framing layers?

Curtain bangs and face-framing layers are similar, except that curtain bangs start higher. They typically begin around your eyebrow and cascade down from there. In contrast, face-framing layers usually begin at or below your cheekbone.

So, How Do You Cut Face Framing Layers?

Face-framing layers take planning and practice to master, helped by a pair of high-quality shears. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to cut your own face-framing layers and have them look as good—or better—as when you leave the hair salon.

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