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Layered Vs. Non-Layered Curly Hair: 8 Key Differences

If you have curly hair, you may be grappling with the idea of getting layers. You may like the sleek, simple look of curls that are all one length. On the other hand, you may enjoy the thought of having bouncy curls that dance while you walk. 

There is no correct answer to whether you should get layers or not. When it comes to curly hair with layers vs. no layers, there are pros and cons to each. Read on to learn more about layering curly hair and whether it is the right choice for you.

What Does Layered Curly Hair Look Like?

layered curls
Layered Curly Hair

Before deciding whether to layer your curly hair, it is necessary to understand how layered curly hair looks.

Layered curly hair has more volume than normal hair. No matter your hair length, you will see an immediate difference in your hair volume with layers. 

Ringlets are more prominent in curly hair, so it often appears as if there are more curls. Each curl has more definition now that they are not weighing each other down.

Layered curly hair also prevents a phenomenon called “triangle hair.” Triangle hair occurs when curls stack on top of each other, creating a pyramid-like shape on the rear of the head.

Pros and Cons of Layers on Curly Hair

There are advantages and disadvantages to layering curly hair. Below, find some pros and cons of the hairstyle.

Pros:

  • More volume
  • Prevents “triangle hair”
  • More movement
  • More curl definition
  • New look without sacrificing length

Cons:

  • Harder to maintain
  • Split ends occur on layers of varying lengths, not just the ends
  • Growing out takes a long time
  • Makes updos harder

What Does Non-layered Curly Hair Look Like?

non-layered curly hair

Non-layered curly hair provides a more sleek, flowing look than curly layers. The curls weigh each other down, which means there will be less volume.

The curls with no layers tend to clump together. Without definition, the ringlets are less prominent, and there is less movement. There is not much bounce but plenty of structure for those who prefer a more tame look.

If you do not layer your curly hair, you are prone to wearing the dreaded “triangle hair.” Since the curls weigh each other down, they stack on the back of the head and create a pyramid-like shape.

If you have non-layered curly hair, you can get away with less styling before going out. It requires less maintenance, creating impressive and effortless coils.

Pros and Cons Non-layered Curly Hair

If you seek volume and definition, you may want layered curls. However, there are just as many pros to non-layered curly hair as cons.

Pros: 

  • Less maintenance
  • Easy to trim split ends
  • Ponytails and other updos are feasible
  • Easy to grow out

Cons:

  • Prone to a triangle hair
  • Less bounce/movement
  • Less curl definition
  • Less volume

Key Differences Between Layered and Non-Layered Curly Hair

The curly hair layers vs. no layers come down to eight key factors. Below, find eight elements to consider before deciding whether to get layers in your curly hair.

1. Curl Type

Layered Vs. Non-Layered Curly Hair - Curl Type

There are four types of hair: straight, wavy, curly, and coily, otherwise known as Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4, respectively.

Each type has subsections denoted with an A, B, or C. “A” marks hair with a wide wave pattern, “B” marks a tighter curl, and “C” is the smallest of the three.

People with type 2, 3, or 4 can all consider their hair “curly.”

If you have type 1 hair, layered or non-layered hair can look nice. Waves are not as likely to clump together on non-layered hair. They may require a little more work with layered hair to maintain volume without creating frizz, but styling products are cheap and easy to use.

If you have type 2 or 3 hair, your hair will thank you for layers. It gives it a healthy bounce and allows every ringlet to thrive. Since the curls in types 2 and 3 are tighter, especially for B’s and C’s, they will weigh each other down without layers.

Layers may be the right choice if you have one of these hair types and prefer movement to structure.

2. Length

Your hair length will affect whether or not you layer your curls. Even a curly pixie cut can have layers, but there will not be as many layers as hair down to the middle of your back.

If you have long hair, you can choose short or long layers. Perhaps you want short, face-framing layers leading up to the longest strands.

Or,  maybe you want long, softer layers that do not frame the face but add volume and make hairstyles more interesting.

3. Texture

Layered Curly Hair - Textures

Layering can add some texture to hair, especially if you ask your stylist to texture the tips. Non-layered hair does not add texture to hair, so it is best for a smooth and sleek look.

4. Thickness

Thick, curly hair will thrive with layer cuts. It allows every curl to move freely and bounce rather than clump with its neighbors. However, thinner hair also does well with layers because they will create the illusion of volume.

If you have thick and curly hair, you may struggle without layers. The hair can stack up on the back of your head and create a pyramid shape known as a “triangle hair.”

The curls may have structure but will be lifeless and less breathable. If your hair is thin and curly, you should have a little more bounce in your curls, even if they are all one length.

5. Face Shape

Layered Vs. Non-Layered Curly Hair - Face Shape

Your face shape can help you decide what to do with your hair. Every face shape can get layers, but some faces do better with shorter, face-framing layers, while others should keep the hair around the face as close to the length of the rest of the hair as possible. 

Oval, square, and round faces work best with non-layered hair or subtle, long layers. Meanwhile, layered curls compliment triangle, diamond, and rectangle face shapes.

Look into which hairstyle works best for your face shape, and remember the results may vary for curly hair.

6. Movement

If you prioritize bounce, movement, and lively curls, then go for a layered haircut. It frees up the ringlets and allows them to take on their own life and dance while you walk, creating flattering motion. 

Non-layered haircuts will have little bounce, liveliness, or movement. If you prefer a sleek, tame form, opt for a non-layered cut. 

7. Maintenance

Non-layered hair is less high-maintenance than layered hair.

With layers, you may spend a lot of time with a blowdryer and round brush in your hand to ensure the layers fall in the most flattering way.

You may also need various gels and sprays to tame your unruly curls since they will be free to move around as they please.

8. Daily Hair Styling

Layered Vs. Non-Layered Curly Hair - Daily Hair Styling

Before deciding on a haircut, consider what you do with your hair regularly. Layers may not be the best choice if you live an active lifestyle and constantly throw your hair back in a ponytail.

The varying lengths in a layered haircut can make it tricky to make clean ponytails or braids without pieces of hair falling out.

If you need to pull your hair back with layered curls, try a half-up-half-down hairstyle or headband, or use a ton of hairspray in a ponytail.

How To Decide if You Should Get Layers for Your Curls? 

To decide if you should get layers for your curls, consider your hair type and face shape. For example, you may feel like bouncy and lively curls will fit your face and personality better than long, structured coils.

Ask yourself if you are happy with the way your hair currently looks. Layers are an easy fix if you think the curls look lifeless and lack volume.

However, if you wear your hair in ponytails or braids every day, know that you may not be able to do that after layering.

If you are still unsure whether you should get layers, consult your hair stylist or another beautician.

Final Words

Curly hair is beautiful with or without layers, but both cuts have several key differences worth considering.  Layers are a great way to add movement and style to hair without sacrificing length.

However, layers are not for everyone because they require slightly more maintenance and make curls more unruly than sleek.

Consult a beautician to decide whether you should layer your hair. 

FAQs on Layers and Curly Hair

What layering type is best for curly hair?

“Curly” is an umbrella term for many different types of curls and coils. Each type would do best with a different layer, especially considering face shape plays a big part in layering type. Some people will look best with short, choppy layers, while others only need long, subtle layers for a bit of volume.

Do layers make curly hair unmanageable?

Layers do not make curly hair unmanageable. Layered hair may need a little more attention and styling, but it is by no means impossible to manage. If you have curls, you know they already require some level of maintenance, with or without layers.

Will layers make my curly hair thinner?

Layers will not make curly hair thinner. Cutting hair does not change how much hair is on your head. If anything, it will make your hair look fuller by creating volume and adding definition to every ringlet. 

Who should opt for non-layered curly hair?

People who put their hair up often should not layer their hair unless they know the layers will be long enough to tie back. You should also avoid layering your hair if you cannot commit to a little extra upkeep to style it daily.