We know it can sometimes be confusing trying to explain to a hairstylist what type of haircut you want, especially if you’re not familiar with haircut terminology.
Sometimes your cut turns out differently than you expected, and that’s why it’s essential that you know the difference between a step cut and a layer cut.
Keep reading our step-vs-layer cutting guide to find out the differences, which cut is right for your hair type, and what each cut offers you.
Step cuts have been a popular haircut since the 1980s. A step haircut is a style where you can clearly see steps between each layer of hair. This haircut offers full visibility of every layer you’ve added to your hair, and the hair is cut at different lengths and levels to ensure the layers stand out.
While the layers still blend and layer nicely, there is a clear difference between each separate phase or layer created. The layers are cut in a numbered fashion, so depending on how many steps you have, you can label your haircut as a 2-step or 3-step haircut, etc.
While you can choose how many steps to add to your hair, one of the most popular step haircuts is the two-layer step cut.
A step cut works great for those with thick hair because it will give you the bounce you want in your hair, but it won’t make your hair look thicker than it currently is. This can help reduce your overall hair volume if you need a reduction to make your hairstyle look more glamorous.
A step cut is also a great option for those with wavy hair, so the wave has a definite definition in the layers of the hair. This will give your hair the look of clearly defined waves that flow beautifully down your head.
The graduated cut can also work well for you if you have curly hair. The step cut is going to add different steps into your hair that will help your curls look bouncy and full of life, all while maintaining their curl shape.
If you have straight hair, don’t worry! You can also try a step cut to give your hair more texture and a little bounce to the movement you may already have.
A Cutting layers This is when your hair is cut in such a way that there is no space or gap between the layers that have been created. Unlike the step cut, the layers fit together nicely, and you won’t be able to see where layers start or end, and your hair will look full of volume and bouncy.
Usually, with a layer cut, the stylist cuts the hair at different angles so that the layers merge without a beginning or end. there is Different types of layers That you can choose when you decide to go with a layer cut, such as long layers, round layers and several other options.
These types of layered cuts will give your hair extra texture and volume, making it appear thicker than it actually is.
If you have straight hair, a layer cut will be a good choice for you! The layered cut will give you more volume and bounce in your hair. The way you cut it makes your hair look thicker than it is, giving you the illusion of thick, voluminous hair.
There are some major differences between what the step cut looks like and the layer cut.
Step haircut several steps with spaces of a few centimeters added to the hair. Meanwhile, the layered haircut has layers that blend nicely together without noticeable gaps.
A step cut is going to offer you widely spaced layers that run horizontally across the width of your hair. They will clearly indicate where one layer starts and stops and another ends, offering extra volume to your hair but not making it look thicker.
A layered cut will give you layers that run horizontally across the width of your hair; However, these layers will blend together so you won’t be able to tell where they start and stop, offering more texture and volume to your hair.
The main differences between step cutting and layer cutting
Cutting steps is best for thick hair, wavy hair, or Curly hair.
A layer cut is best for straight hair, fine hair or hair that needs added volume.
Cutting steps will give you a shorter haircut because the layers are spaced out, and the top layer will be the shortest point of your hair.
A layer cut will give you the longest haircut because the layers aren’t spaced shorter, so the hair can stay close to the same length.
A step cut has a large number of prominently spaced layers – usually two or more steps.
To cut a layer there is no noticeable gap between the layers, so the layers look like one.
Step cutting divides the hair into three main parts for cutting: the parting from ear to ear, the central parting and the hair separated in the nape area, which serves as a guide for determining the length of the hair. You will fire each part using the guide to create a step cut.
Cutting a layer divides the hair into two main parts: a middle part and an ear to ear part. The hair will be cut using angles to carefully blend all the layers created for the layer cut.
A step cut is great for people with square, oval and round face shapes.
A layer cut is excellent for all face shapes as you can choose many different layers at an angle to enhance the natural shape of the face.
Step cropping and layer cropping use the same tools. It is up to the hairstylist styling the haircut if they prefer to use one tool over another to achieve the result you are looking to achieve.
Cutting in stages will only allow you to easily style your hair into braids and curls due to the many layers. This haircut is kept average with this type of cut, and a step cut looks great styled with curls.
A layered cut is easy to put into an updo or braid, and haircuts will be kept average with this type of cut. A layered cut looks great styled with loose curls or waves.
Step cutting vs layer cutting – comparison chart
|Thick, wavy, curly hair
|Straight, thin or hair needs volume
|Square, oval, round faces
|All face shapes
|Layers based with gaps
|Layers are well combined
We love both types of cuts because they work really well with all hair types and provide extra volume to your hair while styling it beautifully. Both cuts offer great versatility and can be styled to look glamorous.
Both step cuts and layered cuts are great options depending on your specific hair type and the look you’re hoping to achieve. The great thing is that any cut can be adjusted at any time, and you can try both styles to see which you prefer.