Difference Between Feathered & Layered Hairstyles

Light, pieced-out locks are edgy and perfect for bed-head looks.

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Hairstyles featuring strands of all the same length have been out since the early 1970s. Girls with longer hair, and especially thicker hair, need to add in some layers for dimension as well as ease of styling. But when the stylist asks you to pick between feathered and layered styles, which do you choose? Though they sound similar, they have very distinct differences.

The Process

Feathered hairstyles are very light and flowing because the hair is cut into layers using a razor, rather than scissors, so each layer is uneven, edgy and light in appearance. Layered haircuts, on the other hand, are done with shears. These can still be light looking, however, all the strands in a layer are cut in tandem and so are all the same length.

Classic Feathered

Feathered hair is fringy, edgy and works well with short hairstyles. One star who made a name for the feathered hairstyle was Farrah Fawcett. If you look up celebrity feathered hairstyles, she will most likely be the first to pop up. Feathered styles are almost choppy in appearance and work well for texturizing.

Classic Layered

Layered hairstyles add dimension and add in some volume. They work well for long, medium or short hair and give a more classic appearance. A classic layered haircut is not as complex as a feathered look, and instead of fringed edges, you have neater and more even layers of hair to work with. Layered hairstyles are typically not meant for pieced-out or edgy looks, so if you are looking for a little more drama, you might want to go with the feathered look instead.

Things to Consider

Layered and feathered cuts will have different effects depending on your hair’s length and thickness. If you have thinning hair, a feathered hairstyle can make your hair appear even thinner, since each layer is choppy and light. Thick hair, on the other hand, benefits from the feathered cuts because each layer is thinned out, edged out and more manageable. Thin hair can benefit from a classic layered cut because the hair is cut in a stacked motion to add dimension and volume without thinning out each layer as a razor would.

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