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Dry vs Wet Haircut

As an organic haircare specialist and professional hairdresser in New England for over 10 years, I'm often asked by my clients whether it's better to cut hair wet or dry. There's no simple answer, as the right technique depends on your specific hair type and desired finished look. In this post, I'll walk you through the key factors to consider when deciding between a dry vs wet haircut.


What is a Wet Haircut?


A wet haircut is done while your hair is soaked with water. Historically, this has been the standard technique as it allows for the most precision. With hair weighted down, stylists can achieve perfect straight lines and seamless edges.


Wet haircutting is ideal for:
  • Razoring and layering to remove bulk

  • Blunt bobs or other cuts requiring sharp lines

  • Most hair types, besides very fine or curly

However, wet cuts do have some downsides:
  • Increased potential for damage to fragile processed or thin hair

  • Difficult to visualize how curls will spring up when dry


What is a Dry Haircut?


A dry cut is done when your hair is dry, bereft of heavy moisture. This can be done before it is shampooed, after is it washed and blow dried, or both.


Benefits of dry cutting include:
  • Seeing how hair falls naturally and where refinements are needed

  • Great for cutting very curly or textured hair types

  • Preview styling results before you leave the salon


The main disadvantage is that it's harder to achieve perfect sharp lines on dry hair that moves and frizzes.

Should You Cut Curly Hair Wet or Dry?


For curly and coily hair types, a dry cut is usually best. When hair is wet, it's nearly impossible to see how the curls and coils will set and fall when dry. Cutting curly hair dry allows you to shape the hair based on its natural curl pattern. The results will be much more consistent with how your hair looks day-to-day.


Some additional tips for cutting curly hair:
  • Use curl enhancers and diffuse dry before cutting

  • Cut in sections according to curl pattern

  • Point cut ends to keep curl definition

Should You Cut Straight Hair Wet or Dry?


For straight, smooth hair, a wet cut usually achieves the best results. When hair is saturated, it hangs evenly for the most precision. This allows for perfect straight lines and one-length trims like a classic blunt bob. Blow drying smooth hair before a cut can actually cause it to frizz and become uneven.


Recommendations for cutting straight hair:
  • Shampoo and condition hair before cutting

  • Comb through wet hair thoroughly before cutting

  • Use sharp shears and cut in long fluid strokes


Can You Combine Wet & Dry Cutting?


Absolutely! I often recommend clients start with a wet cut to establish the overall shape and length. We then fine tune and add finishing touches when hair is dry. This allows you to get the benefits of both techniques. The wet cut shapes, while the dry cut refines.


Some key pointers if combining wet and dry cutting:
  • Towel dry thoroughly between the wet and dry stages

  • Pay attention to any unevenness when hair is dry

  • Use texturizing techniques like point cutting when dry

Consult Your Stylist to Determine the Best Cutting Method


While I've outlined some general recommendations here, the ultimate expert on determining whether to cut your hair wet or dry is your stylist. They'll take your hair type, desired look, and lifestyle into account. I suggest having an in-depth consultation beforehand to decide if a wet, dry, or combo cut will achieve your hair goals.


At Salon Dior, we pride ourselves in taking the time to listen and offer honest professional advice tailored to your unique needs. Schedule a haircut consultation so we can determine the ideal cutting approach for your hair. I look forward to helping you achieve your dream locks!


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