Everywhere you look, choppy, shaggy cuts are dominating beauty trends. But what if you don’t want to hack away at your hair? That’s where ghost layers come in.

Thick-haired girls can go to town with layers, and still emerge with a full head of hair. However, if you have finer hair, things can start to look very flimsy, very quickly, so it makes sense to stay away from heavy layers. On the other hand, one-length strands pretty much guarantee you’ll be left with flat, wilty hair, so, if you want any kind of movement, you’ll need some form of layers.

Ghost layers enable you to create the illusion of long, sleek, barely layered hair while still offering some tactical volume and framing where you need it.

“This is one of my go-to techniques for creating movement and volume without sacrificing the thickness of the hair,” confirms pro hairstylist Hollie Rose Clarke. “For someone like myself who has finer hair, a layered cut can fill you with dread. In truth, I’ve never been a fan of overly visible layers, I think a little goes a long way when it comes to hair. Lots of us at some point will have sat in a stylist’s chair and shown a photo of our dream luscious, layered, thick hairstyle, then left with quite the opposite. But remember, thin hair can look even thinner with layers.”

So what are ghost layers?

“This is a technique where only the very top horseshoe section of the hair is layered or sliced into, to create the perfect tailored-to-you movement,” says Clarke. The ends are left blunt to “give the illusion of even thicker hair and a soft, delicate movement on the surface,” she says. “Picture that effortless, Parisian-chic hair.”

It means going easy with the scissors and opting for longer, lightweight layers woven skillfully through strands. You may want shorter pieces framing your face, but the rest should be able to blend into the lengths. Then, if you want, you can coax them out for extra texture and movement with texturizing sprays and mussy waves. “Regardless of the thickness of your hair, if your hair is feeling stringy toward the ends, it’s probably due to being overlayered,” explains Clarke.

“Ghost layers are a big hit with my clients that have thinner hair and want a soft, seamless blend,” she says. And they’re also popular with celebs like Emily Ratajkowski and Dua Lipa, who’ve called on the technique to give dreamy movement and thickness.

Long and sleek

From a distance Maya’s hair may look all one length, but soft ghost layers help to add dimension.

Soft-curve ghost layers

The soft-curve layers create pretty movement and framing around the face and in the back of the hair, without feeling choppy.

Mussy ghost layers

Charithra’s hair could be styled super straight, but glam waves and a little mussy texture help to create movement.

Caramel ghost layers

Pretty highlights help create the illusion of even more movement in long ghost-layered hair.

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