The characteristics of the internal layers of intense shear are examined in a mixing layer and in a jet, in the range of Reynolds numbers 134<Re λ <275. Conditionally averaged profiles of streamwise velocity conditioned on the identified internal layers present strong velocity jumps, which account for approximately 10% of the characteristic large-scale velocity of the flow. The thickness (δw) of the internal layers from the combined analysis of both the mixing layer and the jet scales with (δw)/λReλ-1/2, which suggests a scaling with the Kolmogorov length scale (η), analogous to recent observations on the turbulent/nonturbulent interface (TNTI). The thickness of the internal shear layers within the mixing layer is found to be between 9η and 11η. The concentration of a passive scalar across the internal layers is also examined, at the Schmidt number Sc=1.4. The scalar concentration does not show any jumps across the internal layers, which is an important difference between the internal layers and the TNTI. This can be explained from the analysis of the internal layers of intense scalar gradient, where the flow topology node/saddle/saddle dominates, associated with strain, whereas the internal layers of intense shear are characterized by a prevalence of focus/stretching. A topological content analogous to that obtained in layers of intense scalar gradient is found in proximity to the TNTI, at the boundary between the viscous superlayer and the turbulent sublayer. These observations evidence that the TNTI and the internal layers of intense scalar gradient are similar in several respects.