Bad haircuts are one of life’s major beauty disappointments. Once you see the result in the salon’s mirror, you feel defeated, to say the least, and you wonder just how the stylist thought this was even a good idea.

Layer cuts can be trendy and fun, unfortunately, are extremely easy to mess up. On one hand, you could get something with extra volume that flatteringly frames your face. On the other hand, a truly dreadful layer cut has missing ends or blunt edges, looks mangled, ends up with a “helmet” effect, has too much space between layers, or looks extremely 1990s. Whether you hacked off your hair without a plan or had a terrible salon experience, you’ll need to know how to fix a bad layered haircut.

How Do You Fix Bad Layers? 

Fortunately, there are available remedies to consider if you have a bad layered haircut. Depending on your specific layering problem, there will be different fixes. But don’t fret — we’ve compiled a list of strategies to make your hair look great and stylish.

bad layered haircut before and after fixed 2

Consider Any of these Methods:

1. Let Your Hair Grow Out (for Layers That Are Too Short)

2. Razor the Layers (for Layers That Are Too Thick)

3. Add a Layer (for Choppy Layers)

4. Re-Do the Haircut (for Uneven Layers)

5. Chop to One Length (To Remove Layers)

6. Add volume

7. Straighten it

Each method solves a specific layering problem. Before doing anything, be sure you understand what you want to fix about your layers. Don’t worry! We’ll explain how and when to use each method.

How to Fix a Bad Layered Haircut

Remember that fixing bad layers is a delicate process. You should know when to seek out a professional stylist and when you can work on your hair at home.

The process of cleaning up your layers is relatively simple. Some of these steps will be very doable for the frequent DIYer. However, for excessively uneven or choppy layers, you may want to have someone else work on them.

It can be hard to gauge length, shape, and thickness. The other thing you need to think about is your end goal. What do you want your hair to look like after you’ve fixed it?

You should have a vision in mind whether you’re working on yourself or need to explain your plans to a stylist. Some tools you should have on hand are hair shears, a clean new razor, and a comb.


  1. Let Your Hair Grow Out

We’re going to start with the easiest yet the slowest fix for bad layers: letting them grow out. You need to let your hair grow if your layers are too short. It’s the easiest because you don’t need to spend any time or money fixing your hair.

Contrarily, it’s typically the least favorite approach since hair growth has a long waiting time. How do you know when your hair needs to be left untouched? Let your layers grow out when they’re too short for the other methods here.

You can also do this when you no longer want layers in your hair. Layers will eventually grow out, just like bangs. You might be wondering how to figure out if your layers are too short to do anything but wait.

This is partly based on how comfortable you are with incredibly short hair. If your topmost layer is just past your ears, you would have to cut your hair to your ears to remove all of the layers. You could do this, but not everyone enjoys such a short haircut.

You should also let your layers grow out if you’re still hoping to have the original layered haircut you wanted. You won’t be able to re-shape, re-cut, or add to your layers without enough hair left on your head.

Once your layers have grown, you can let a stylist rework them. If you want to attempt to speed the process along, you can try hair growth treatments like hair oils or collagen.

Speaking of growing it out, you’ll have to wait in the meantime, but can style it to obscure the poorly cut layers. Depending upon your hair’s length and texture, consider:

1. Disguising the layers with waves

bad layered haircut with and without waves

2. Parting it to the side

3. Giving it more texture, such as with a texturizing cream, mousse, or sea salt spray

  1. Razor Your Layers

Razoring hair is a typical method to fix uneven hair thickness. Razoring is useful for both reducing thickness and adding a nice feathery texture to hair. Are your too-thick layers causing your hair to balloon around your head?

Try to smooth out this shape by razoring the individual layers. Reducing the thickness will also make the layers less noticeable overall.

If you do it right, they’ll appear to blend for a more even look. If you’ve never used a razor on your hair, you should have a professional do it. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to take off too much or make your hair uneven.

Here are the basics of razor cutting your hair at home:

Grab a comb and a straight-edge razor: These are the primary tools (you could use a safety razor, but stylists don’t recommend it).

Clean, untangle, and section your hair: Hair should be in a top, middle, and bottom layer. Section it more if you want a more feathery look.

Start at the bottom and separate a chunk of hair: Starting with about ½” thick sections is good.

Hold the razor at a 45-degree angle: Gently move it from the middle to the ends of your chunk of hair. Do this until you like what you see.

Brush the hair you just handled before moving on: This will remove accumulated razored hair and let you see how it looks.

Repeat: Continue this technique for the rest of your hair.

Razor-cut hair can come out in so many different ways. If you take out too much, you can overly thin your hair and end up with stringy uneven layers. You should go to a stylist if you have doubts about how to razor your hair.

Tip: Never start the razor at the root. Start it 2-3 inches from the root, or you’ll likely cut it and pull out the whole section. No one wants bald spots.

  1. Add a Layer

If you originally cut your layers, perhaps you went a little too chop-happy and created a too-short layer up at your ears and someplace by your chin. This creates a gap in your hair.

When the space between layers becomes too pronounced, it looks like your hair is coming apart. You can fix this by adding a layer or layers between the gaps. You can have this done by a professional stylist, or you can try to do it yourself.

If you want to add a layer to even out vastly mismatched layers, here’s what you need to do:

Prepare the area: wash and detangle your hair

Section your hair: Note where the layers end so you can choose where to add a new one.

Find the longest layer: Take a section of hair from the longer layer. With a comb, separate this piece of hair from the bottom layer.

Fill in the gap: The new section you make should be in the gap you’re trying to fill. The area is between the bottom and upper layers.

Create the new layer: Cut this section to about ¾ inch above the longest layer. This will create a new layer.

Depending on your current cut and desired style, you can always go shorter or longer with the layer. You can also add more layers as necessary. Take your time and work carefully.

You don’t want to make even choppier layers because you rushed through the process. It’s always easier to cut hair than wait for it to regrow. Cut a little bit at a time. If you want shorter layers, you can always cut more hair.

Tip: Make sure you can see the back of your head during the process. Using two mirrors will help considerably.

  1. Re-Do the Haircut

If you’re unhappy with the shape of your hair, or the layers are intensely uneven, it may be time for a re-do. This doesn’t mean getting a new hairstyle (unless you want to). All you need to do is cut along the same layers until they are evenly re-shaped into the look you want. A trim, to improve the cut, should make the layers closer, balance them out, and blend them more. This helps get rid of the unintentionally piece-y effect.

For example, if you have very long layers, they may not be dramatic enough. Instead of razors or adding new layers, trim the existing layers until they even out or make the style you want.

If you didn’t cut your hair and don’t know how then go back to your stylist. Tell them what you’re looking for. Go with a picture in hand, so there aren’t any more mistakes.

If you want to try to work out the layers yourself, then make sure you have a good, sharp pair of scissors ready. What you’re going to do next is simple.  Or, as your hair grows out and you’re wanting more of an even length, have a stylist trim only the bottom layers. Over time, this evens everything out.

1. Follow the original layers and trim them.

2. Separate your current layers and tie them into sections.

3. Trim the ends.

4. If you’re trying to even them out, trim them until they are closer together.

5. Don’t go too close, or you’ll have fluffy hair.

6. If you’re trying to re-shape your hair, cut it according to your desired shape. If you want more dramatic layers, they should be very different lengths.

7. If you want shorter hair, start with the longest layers and cut the shortest ones to go with those–or don’t cut them at all. Do what works for the style you’re interested in.

  1. Chop to One Length

Like waiting for your hair to grow, this step is pretty self-explanatory. However, it’s much faster than waiting for your hair to grow. It’s a little drastic, but it will get the job done.

If you’re okay with the length of the topmost layer in your hair and no longer want layers, you can get rid of it all. Simply gather all of the hair below the top layer and cut it off.

If you don’t have dramatic or multiple layers in your hair, you can cut the second to the bottom layer. This is the less dramatic option, but the remaining top layers may still be noticeable. This will work best if you have long layered hair.

You can probably do this yourself if you know how to cut your hair. But if you’re going to cut to the shortest layer, a professional is recommended. If you mess up a very short haircut, there will not be much hair left to style.

  1. Add Volume

Bigger can be better, especially if the cut you got ended up looking flat. If the ends are closer together, add mousse to improve its overall volume, which can temporarily camouflage the layers.

  1. Straighten It

Layering can, as mentioned above, look extremely ‘90s. Think of The Rachel cut from Friendsas the paradigm example. But, much of this effect, in fact, comes from curling in the end. So, to reduce the dated look, straighten everything, so that it seems intentionally piece-y.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to learn more about fixing layered haircuts? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding how to fix a bad layered haircut.

What should I do while waiting for layers to grow out?

You can continue to get your hair trimmed but not cut while your layers are growing. Make sure that you only trim the very ends of the layers, or you’ll end up waiting a long time on that re-growth.

Do layers damage hair?

Sometimes layers can draw attention to your hair’s imperfections, but layers don’t create damage. For example, very short layers can make frizziness or flyways more noticeable.

What are invisible layers?

Invisible layering involves making layers that you don’t see. A stylist will taper the ends of your hair in a way that looks natural. The hair pieces fall on each other, so there’s no separating line.

Should you iron layers?

You can iron layers, but you shouldn’t if you don’t want the individual layers to be noticeable. Stick straight hair will show off the lines at the end of a layer. More textured hair blends layering better since it can fall anywhere.

Can you layer curly hair?

You can easily layer curly hair, and the results can be wonderful. The main difference is that curls should be cut dry while straight-to-wavy hair should be cut wet.

So, How Do You Fix a Bad Layered Haircut?

Depending on your hair type and desired fashion, there are many remedies regarding how to fix a bad layered haircut. Most of these techniques can be accomplished in your home. Figure out how you want your hair to look and pick what works best for you.