Stylists explain the shattered layers haircut - is this texture-boosting chop right for you?

After more movement? Consider the trending shattered layers haircut

Halle Berry pictured with a shattered layers haircut
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

Bored of blunt cuts? Then say hello to the shattered layers haircut. Not exactly new, pro stylists have been using this technique for years to add movement and texture to hair. Yet only recently has it come under the spotlight, thanks to viral TikTok videos. 

Tipped to be one of the biggest 2023 hair trends, “shattered layers are proving to be extremely popular at the moment,” confirms David Dossola, senior stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty. As seen on Jenna Ortega and Miley Cyrus, celebrities are on board too. “We have had an oversaturation of long, heavy layers and the idea of getting your hair cut every six weeks is now in fashion,” adds Zoe Irwin, creative director at John Frieda Salons.

While shattered layers may require regular salon visits, Dossola believes “they offer a more relaxed and casual look.” Intrigued? Below the experts break down everything you need to know about the shattered layers haircut – from what to ask your stylist for to who it suits.  

Shattered layers haircut: what you need to know

What is the shattered layers haircut?

Shattered layers are uneven, textured layers that have a ‘shattered’ appearance. Dossola explains that these layers are usually cut at different lengths and angles to achieve an edgy and undone look. "You can't tell where the layers begin or end," says Ryan Wilkes, hair stylist at Hershesons.“They’re also cut at a steeper angle which leaves the texture more visible,” adds Limoz Logli, co-founder and creative director of Limoz Logli salon.

This cut differs from traditional layers by the level of precision. “Shattered layers purposefully have an uneven and disheveled look,” says Dossola. “Normal layers, on the other hand, blend smoothly.” Another distinguishing factor is that traditional layers, like those used in the oval layer haircut, typically add shape and volume, while ‘anti-volume’ shattered layers remove bulk.

To create shattered layers, Limoz pulls the hair out at an angle before cutting horizontally across the ends. “To avoid thinning out the hair too drastically we keep the shattered layers long,” he says. If you go too short, you’ll end up with a more dramatic mullet style or jellyfish haircut. “Longer shattered layers will create a lived-in textured look without compromising on the future length of the hair.” 

Who do shattered layers suit?

Shattered layers can work well on a variety of hair types and lengths. “I personally think that they work best on medium hairstyles and as a hairstyle for long hair,” says Dossola, “and for those looking to achieve more texture.” If your hair is thick, this technique can also help to remove weight and make hair more manageable. 

Despite being called an anti-volume hair trend, Dossola points out that “shattered layers can also work on thin or fine hair as they can create the illusion of fullness.” This is because the shattered layers give the ends of the hair texture, adding movement and dimension to the overall look. 

“We are now seeing this '90s trend, which is a take on the Rachel haircut,” adds Irwin, “it has volume within the hair and shattered layers around the edge – it’s incredibly flattering and adds volume.” 

How to ask your stylist for shattered layers haircut

Stylist cutting shattered layers into woman's hair

(Image credit: Getty)

As with any haircut, Dossola advises visiting your hair stylist for a consultation before taking the jump. During your consultation, ask your stylist for uneven textured layers or “lots of blended layers,” suggests Irwin. The stylist will then be able to suggest the varying lengths to best suit your face shape. 

“It’s vital to communicate your exact desire during the consultation to avoid any disappointment,” says Dossola who suggests bringing in visual references to help your stylist understand the look that you're after. 

How to style shattered layers at home

To style shattered layers at home, follow Dossola’s top tips below:

  1. Apply a texturizing spray or mousse to dry clean hair to add grip and enhance texture.
  2. Use your best curling iron to create loose waves or curls in the hair. Alternatively, if your hair is naturally wavy or curly, scrunch the hair with your hands while blow-drying to achieve a tousled look. 
  3. Apply some styling wax to your fingertips and run them through the ends of the layers to define and separate them. This will enhance the shattered effect.
  4.  Avoid over-styling the hair as this can smooth out the textured layers. Instead, use your fingers to gently tousle and arrange the layers for a more undone look.
  5. Finish with your best hair styling products, like a light-hold hairspray to set the style while maintaining a natural, flexible hold. 

Our contributing beauty editor recommends...


Hair by Sam McKnight Cool Girl Volume Blow Dry Foam | RRP: $55/£32

To boost volume and hold, Irwin recommends this blow dry foam from Sam KcKnight. Apply two pumps to damp hair before combing through and blow drying. 


BaByliss 9000 Cordless Curling Tong | RRP: $108/£120

Lightweight and travel-friendly, this cordless curling iron is ideal for styling shattered layers on the go. The 25mm barrel creates loose, tousled waves that last. 


OUAI Matte Pomade | RRP: $26/£20

For piecey texture and defined layers, work this pomade through the ends of hair. Note that a little goes a long way. 

A-list shattered layers to inspire

1. Wavy shattered layers haircut

Jenna Ortega with shattered layers on red carpet

(Image credit: Getty)

For an effortless, undone look – take your cue from Jenna Ortega and wave hair using one of the best hair straighteners. Finish with a texturizing spray to separate the ends.  

2. Long shattered layers haircut

Halle Berry with shattered layers on long hair

(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to keep your length, ask your stylist for long shattered layers as seen here on Halle Berry. To get that beachy texture, apply a salt spray or texturizing mousse. 

3. Shaggy bob with shattered layers

Miley Cyrus with shattered layers on red carpet

(Image credit: Getty)

For a more dramatic look, be inspired by Miley Cyrus’s shaggy bob and ask your stylist for lots of blended layers. This is also a great bangs hairstyle for anyone rocking a fringe. 

Emma Stoddart

Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.