If you want the best haircut possible, you need some good ideas and you need to know what to ask your stylist. A great place to start is the 3 basic haircuts: layered hair, razor cuts and one length cuts. To arm you with the best information possible and to make sure your next haircut's a success, I'm going to explain what these haircuts are, their pros and cons, some styling tips, and I'll also show you some examples.

Layered Hair

Long layer cut

Layered hair is cut different lengths throughout, creating a layered effect. Some people believe layered hairstyles are the perfect haircuts because of the subtle and extreme changes layers make possible.

There are many different kinds of layered haircuts. For example, graduating layer cuts are haircuts with layers that gradually get longer until they are one length. Uniform cuts are haircuts where the layers are cut the same length from the head- creating even and balanced volume all over.

Long layered Curly hair

Layered hair is good because:

  • Layers can be used to reduce bulkiness.
  • Layered hair, because of the different hair lengths making up a style, can accentuate certain color effects.
  • Layers add texture and definition to shorter styles.
  • Layers can increase your hair's volume, eliminating weight and making wavy hair curlier.
  • Layers can save valuable styling time.

Short uniform layer

Layered hair is sometimes not so good because:

  • It can take years to grow layers out.
  • Styles can lose their shape quicker without regular trims.
  • Shorter layers mean less hair to dress up for formal updos.
  • Layers can make already wiry and frizzy hair uncontrollable.

Styling Tips

Since layered hairstyles usually have more body and bounce, a good tip is always to use styling products that:

1. help mold the style into shape (mousse, sculpture lotions); and

2. hold it in place (spray, wax, molding cream).

Always check with your stylist about the kind of product and the level of hold you'll need for your particular hair type and texture.

Razor Cuts

Medium razor cut

A razor cut, quite simply, is a haircut created when the hair is sliced with a cut throat style razor (equipped with a guard). Since the razor slices the hair and doesn't leave a blunt edge, a wispy effect is created.

Razor cuts are good because:

  • Razor cuts are a great way of creating a wispy look.
  • When the hair is sliced half way down the shaft razor cuts are an effective method of thinning the hair.
  • Razor cuts can make fine short hair sit up with added body.

Razor cuts are sometimes not so good because:

  • Razor cuts can make curly hair frizzy (when your hair is shorter it becomes even curlier due to less weight pulling it down).
  • Your hair can be damaged if a razor cut is done on dry hair or with a blunt razor.
  • Hairstyles cut with a razor can lose their shape reasonably quickly.

Short razor cut

Styling Tips

Razor cuts work best with straight hair, especially with a finger style and a little wax. But if there's a slight wave in your hair, a razor cut can make it difficult to blow-dry it smooth, so beware!

One Length Cuts

Medium one length hair

A one length cut is a hairstyle without layers, meaning the hair is cut to a single and consistent length. One of the most famous examples of a one length cut is the bob, which can be cut to shoulder length, chin length and even cut in a "concave" style.

One length cuts are good because:

  • If your hair's straight, a one length cut is neat and tidy.
  • If your hair's a fine texture, a one length cut can make it appear thicker.
  • One length cuts grow out well, which is good news if you can't make it to the salon often.
  • One length cuts are very versatile.

Long one length hair cut

One length cuts are sometimes not so good because:

  • If your hair's a thick texture and wiry a one length cut will leave you with too much hair- which is hard to manage.
  • If your hair's fine and your one length cut gets too long it could look ratty.
  • After a one length cut the top layer will always be the longest and oldest part of your hair- meaning it can dry out and become damaged.

Styling Tips

Short one length hair cut

One length cuts are great because they're pretty much self-styling, but if you want a little more body on shorter hair, try blow-drying with a radial brush.

These tips about the basic haircuts and the kinds of effects you can achieve with them will give you some great ideas for when you visit the salon next. It's always really important to do plenty of research before getting a new hairstyle, and make sure you have a nice long hair consultation too.

Tell us in the comments below: how long (usually) is your consultation before you get your hair done? And, is your stylist a good listener?