21 July 2024

How To: Square Butterfly Layers

Square Butterfly Layers are feathered layers that flow away from the face creating a square shape.

The Square Butterfly Layers are reminiscent of the feathered layers of the 1970’s updated with the volume of the 1980’s that is inherent in current must-have looks. Precision cutting is crucial for mastering this look and is achieved through fundamental techniques like overdirecting and elevation. 

By consistently overdirecting each section forward as you elevate, a natural short to long flow away from the face is created,” explains Teresa Romero, Creative Director for Sam Villa and Artistic/Education Director for Jose Luis Salon @_teresa_romero.  It’s important to remember the principle that short hair pushes long hair, meaning by controlling the direction of the cut, you can create the desired shape and movement in the style. This attention to detail ensures that the haircut maintains its structure and allows the layers to frame the face beautifully,” she adds.

Square Butterfly Layers complement most hair textures, but for stronger curls or waves, use a boar bristle round brush like the Sam Villa Artist Series Spiral Thermal Brush and the Deluxe Blow Dry Kit to enhance the overall appearance of the layers moving back.

CUT (start with clean, conditioned, damp hair)

  1. Establish a Center Part: Work from a center part and establish the desired length of the fringe, typically around the center of the nose.
  2. Create Face-Framing Sections: Using 90° elevation, take a vertical section from the fringe area down the side of the head and over direct forward to establish the face-framing guideline. Repeat on the opposite side.
  3. Over Direct Sections: Continue taking ½” vertical sections at a 90° angle. Over direct each section forward to the face-framing guideline. Repeat this process on both sides. Work from side to side with similar-sized sections to maintain consistent length and balance.


  1. Apply Styling Product: Apply styling product evenly throughout hair to provide hold and control.
  2. Blow Dry: Use a paddle brush or a Sam Villa Signature Series 9 Row Finishing Brush to blow dry hair away from the face in a wrapping motion to smooth and shape hair.
  1. Switch to a Round Boar Bristle Brush: Once hair is nearly dry, switch to a boar bristle brush. Section by section, brush hair forward and then roll the section away from the face in a sweeping motion. This technique creates the feathered appearance and adds volume and movement to the layers.

Book an in-salon class and/or learn more about where Romero will be teaching here

Credits: Hair/Teresa Romero; Model/Tatum Brooke


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Estetica's official newsletter and receive all the latest news and information from the world of hairdressing - no charge, spam free!