Ghost Layers Haircut

Have you ever had a client who came in with fine hair and asked for layers, but not much, not too choppy, and with added volume and movement? Do you hear this and your brain starts wondering what to do? This is where “ghost layers” a.k.a. “invisible layers” can be your go-to technique. The best part: This technique can be done on dry or wet hair, long or short length, and fine or thick hair. 

So, let’s begin—what are ghost layers? Using ghost layers is a technique that focuses on the horseshoe section of hair that is layered or uses a slicing method to create movement. While the illusion of one length is still intact.  The ends are usually left blunt to give the illusion of soft movement, adding a thicker-looking appearance. Since it is not a uniform layered cut (short layers, long layers, 35-degree, 90-degree) you can customize how much or little you want to add into the hair. Ghost layers are fantastic for those who have long hair and do not want to sacrifice length to get the volume they are looking for. It’s also great for those clients who have fine, thin hair and want to add volume with the illusion of thicker hair without taking away the minimal bulk they have. Add in some highlights or baby lights and you have a dimensional new look for your client.   

How to Cut Ghost Layers

Step One:

Separate the sides and crown area from the back of the head.

Step Two:

Clip that out of the way and then start with diagonal sections in the back, holding the diagonal section of hair at a 35-degree angle, lightly—and I mean lightly—start to slice down the hair strand starting at about 3 inches away from the scalp. If they have very long hair, start about 5 inches away from the scalp. You’re essentially taking very little off.  Continue this throughout the back. By doing this you will have varying lengths of layers internally throughout the backside of the head that will start to create light volume and movement without the appearance of a full head of layers.  

Step Three:

Now take the crown area and pull that up to a 90-degree angle, you may need to trim the ends to blend.  If you see any shorter pieces, these are not your guide. Let those fall out.  

Step Four:

Move onto one side of the head. Take one whole side section, leaving out the back section that has been previously cut. Over direct the hair toward the front of the face and trim the ends if needed. Take that section and use the same slice method you did in the back. If the length falls out, leave it. If the ends need to be trimmed, you can trim them, and this will also create soft face framing, if desired. Repeat on the other side.  

You can customize the look by taking up the length or removing bulk for a client with more density to their hair. With practice, you will perfect this method in no time! 

Like articles like this or want to learn more about something else? Let us know!   

For more useful tools to help advance your career and knowledge, join AHP. We have education at your fingertips with our free online schedulingAHP Indie Stylist Magazine, Marketing Toolkits, and more!

Not a member? Join today and get access to all of the benefits we offer to support you and your career as a barber or cosmetologist.  

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...