"Invisible Layers" Is the Style Secret You've Been Waiting For

Speakeasy bars, off-the-menu food items, a really good haircut — some of the best things in life are nearly imperceptible to the eye. Unlike the first two, however, you needn't knock three times or have an in with the owner to unlock the best-kept secret of the hair-care world. Just ask your stylist for one thing: "invisible layers" or "ghost layers." A whole new world will unlock.

This dry haircutting technique can be done across all hair types and textures, but the intention remains the same: "The term 'invisible layers' refers to removing weight and adding movement into a haircut while creating a finished look with minimal or no layers at all," Omar Antonio, hairstylist and global top artist for Sebastian Professional, tells POPSUGAR. That means subtly cutting layers within layers of longer hair for an infinitely more discreet — and therefore, natural-looking — effect.

The result? A low-key style that almost looks like you did nothing at all, only with built-in texture that's 10 times easier to maintain (because, hi, dreams do come true). While Antonio says invisible layers come by way of a myriad of techniques and tools, there's some lingo to learn before your next salon appointment to ensure you get the look you want.

From "pen cutting" to "back cutting," we're breaking down a few haircut buzzwords to bring to your stylist, because trust: a haircut this good should not be kept behind closed doors.

"Pen Cutting" Haircut Technique For Ghost Layers

For a look that's more lived-in, Antonio says he often reaches for his feather razor. This is especially true when he applies the "pen cutting" technique — his favorite for achieving invisible, ghost layering in the hair — to deconstruct a blunt cut or give the hair a little more shape.

The key, he said, is to take the feather razor and hold it like a pen to add detail to layers. "Pen cutting puts your autograph on the hair."

"Back Cutting" Haircut Technique For Ghost Layers

Typically done with longer shears, "back cutting" is a layering technique that's almost invisible to the eye but adds loads of movement to the hair. (Antonio says this cut works especially well on clients with long hair and medium density, or if you want to reduce any added weight on wigs.)

First, the stylist will divide the hair into top and bottom sections (the latter of which will be what gets cut). On the bottom section, pull the hair outward with your fingers and — instead of trimming the ends of the hair — cut starting at the root of the head downward toward the tips. Doing this to the bottom section ensures you're removing extra bulk that makes hair look or feel heavy, but without the obvious layers that tend to come with the territory.