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Curly Hair Layers vs. No Layers – What Are the Differences?

Cute African American female with an oval face wearing a medium-length layered haircut in a curly bob style.

To layer or not to layer? That is the question. Natural hair influencers and celebs all over are discovering the monumental appeal of layered curls, which makes everyday curlies consider following suit.

But the truth is that there are many factors to consider when making the decision, including how your curls will look, the upkeep required, and more.

If you need some help deciding whether layers are right for you, you’re in the right place. This article will present an in-depth comparison between curly hair with layers and without layers. 

Curly Hair Layers vs. No Layers

When comparing hairstyles, you’ve got to consider the cost, maintenance, visual appeal, and much more. That’s what we’ll do in this section. You’ll have a good idea of whether layered or non-layered curls are best for you by the end of this section. 

Young black female with layered curly hair wearing green eyeglasses from Warby Parker and a casual plaid shirt.

Overall Appearance

The most obvious difference between layered and non-layered curly hair is how the hair looks. Non-layered curly hair may have a funny appearance in some cases.

It may be too long in the back and short in the front, or vice versa, creating an undesirable look and styling difficulties. This is because curly hair is often made up of various textures, which affect how the hair ultimately lays.

When hair is layered, all of your hair textures can be taken into account to create a more uniform and intentional look.

Note: It is not necessarily bad to let your hair grow out the way it naturally does. But if the neatness of your hair is a concern for you, layers are an attractive option.

African female with thin hair has a curly wolf hair cut on her kinky dry hair.

Curl Length and Definition

Non-layered hair tends to look bulky, dense, and stretched out as it grows. Some people may love this look, so this is not necessarily a negative. But some people have a real problem with it. 

Layered curls don’t clump together as much as non-layered ones, so they are not weighed down by neighboring curls. As a result, you get a light and airy look with your curls in their shrunken state. 


Stiff hair is never attractive, but it’s super common among curly girls. Non-layered curls tend to get intertwined with neighboring strands, creating thick clumps of hair that don’t move around freely.

But when you or your stylist adds strategic layers to curly hair, you’ll realize immediately that the hair moves around more and floats weightlessly in the wind. 

Young black lady with a shoulder length hairstyle - an ideal look for her triangular chin.


Dimension is key when it comes to hair color. When you try balayage highlighting or ombre dye jobs on your curly hair, you may love the result.

But you may not be getting the most out of your hair if it’s not layered. Non-layered hair does not lend itself well to intricate dye jobs. In the absence of layers, the gradient and dimension of your hair color may remain hidden. 

Layered hair showcases hair color to a greater degree, as more of your strands will be on display instead of just the surface hairs (compared to non-layered hair).

Teenage black girl with recently trimmed curls with thinning shears wearing pink lipstick is taking a selfie.


If you’ve got fine curls, you may have struggled with them looking thin from time to time. Non-layered fine curls can be a pain to style since the curls clump together and give way to a stringy, barely-there look. 

With expertly cut layers, a stylist can create the illusion of thicker curls.

It’s difficult to cut fine or thin curls in layers, so we recommend contacting a hair stylist for an appointment if you want to go this route. DIY layers on fine or thin hair are rarely successful. 

Young adult woman with a layered cut with longer layers than a traditional curly bob talking on the phone.

Rumors About Layers on Curly Hair

For a long time, people would say that layers just don’t look right on curly hair. The rumor may stem from some poorly executed haircuts done at home or in a salon.

Often, when a curly cut is done by someone who doesn’t know how to cut curly hair properly, the result may be a triangle-shaped disaster. That’s why it’s important to either do a ton of research on how to cut curly layers correctly or contact a stylist in your area. 

If you don’t have the training or funds to cover a hair appointment, we recommend passing on layers for now. You don’t want to end up with choppy, unattractive layers.

Not to mention the fact that fixing bad layers can be expensive and, at times, ineffective. 

Young black girl with curly long hair that compliments her triangular shape face.

Pros and Cons of Layers on Curly Hair

There are several pros and cons that you should know about when it comes to layered curly hair. Knowing these advantages and disadvantages will make it easy to decide whether layers may be a good idea for your hair. 



  • Layered haircuts can be difficult to achieve at home. 
  • Layers are a long-term commitment. It could take months to a year (or more) for your hair to grow out of the layers. 
  • Maintaining hair that’s been cut into layers can be time-consuming and expensive. 
  • Depending on your hair texture and how your layers were cut, you may need to style your hair layer by layer, which could end up taking a long time. 

Many curly girls who try out layers find that the pros far outweigh the cons, but you’ll have to be the judge. 

Teenage girl with medium-length curly locks wearing a layered haircut on her 4A thick hair strands.

Should You Layer Your Curls?

You know the differences between curly hair layers and no layers. You may have decided whether layers would be a good fit for you by this point. But if you haven’t, we’ve got a lifeline for you. 

You should consider layers if: 

  • You have enough knowledge to do your own layers or enough funds to pay a stylist to do them for you. 
  • You don’t mind the periodic maintenance sessions that layers require. 
  • You’re open to changing up your natural hair care routine to accommodate your layers. 
  • You have fine hair and want it to look more voluminous. 
  • You have extremely thick hair and want to reduce its bulkiness. 
  • You don’t mind committing to the layers on a long-term basis. 
Young black woman wearing a curly shag - a voluminous style perfect for ladies with a 4A hair type.

You should NOT get layers if: 

  • You have not done substantial research to prepare yourself for the cutting process. 
  • You can’t afford a professional haircut. 
  • You don’t have the proper supplies to cut your hair in layers – hair cutting shears, for example. 
  • You feel apprehensive about getting layers. It’s best to wait until you’re 100% ready. 

Get a Consultation

If you’ve decided that you want layers, that’s great. But before you reach for the cutting shears and do it yourself, we recommend going to your local hairstylist to get a consultation.

The stylist will examine your hair texture, face shape, and more. They’ll then tell you which types of layers will best suit your hair length, hair texture, and overall look.

Even if you don’t decide to allow the stylist to do your cut, you’ll get up from the chair with some valuable new knowledge that’ll help you get better results should you decide to DIY your layers. 

Cute African American female with a 4A curl pattern wearing a layered haircut and a casual outfit.

Related Articles

Deciding between layering your hair or leaving it non-layered can be difficult if you don’t have all the necessary information. That’s the issue we sought to remedy with this article.

The ball is in your court now that you know the main differences between layered and non-layered curls. Are you going to take the leap and layer your curls? It’s all up to you.