DRY CUT VS. WET CUT
When a stylist cuts hair, there are many things he or she has to consider. They mentally take what you ask for and line it up with what they know about your hair. The more familiar your stylist is with the way your hair behaves, the more accurate he or she will be when determining what will work and what won't. You generally think of a visit to the salon for a haircut as including a trip to the shampoo bowl and then the chair for the haircut and blowout. And that's typically true. But there are times when you would get a more accurate or desired result with a dry cut. Different hair types and desired results require different approaches to the hair cut. Here we'll discuss a few differences.
WET HAIR BEHAVES DIFFERENT THAN DRY HAIR
Wet hair doesn't show natural texture. It doesn't swing or bounce or frame your face the way dry hair does. Curls are less frizzy, cowlicks are tame, and thick hair lays thin, smooth, and silky. These are all deceiving qualities that can sabotage a great cut because as soon as you dry it, it changes. The natural texture keeps the hair from moving, the cowlicks pop up and push the hair in opposite directions, and thick hair looks chopped like a toddler cut it.
DRY HAIR HANGS SHORTER THAN WET HAIR
Wet hair is heavy and hangs the way it's combed. This quality is what makes it so helpful for the stylist while he or she cuts your hair. She can section it off and give your haircut the precision it often needs. However, certain parts of the cut, like the front fringe or the top section of a precision bob are best done dry. An entire haircut can be ruined by not allowing for the pop up of dry hair vs. wet hair. It's not a bad idea to do the foundation of the cut wet, then dry it and carve in the details after it's dry.
WET HAIR LOOKS HEALTHIER AND LONGER
If you're nervous about losing too much length, a dry cut eliminates those surprises. When someone comes to me and just wants the damaged ends snipped off, I'll cut them dry because that's the only way to see where the damage is. If they are wanting more volume, but not necessarily less hanging length, I can remove weight where it's too heavy and leave hair that doesn't play a role in the overall volume.
WET HAIR DOESN'T SHOW THE BIG PICTURE
If you come in with clean hair that's blown out and hanging naturally, your stylist may use that as inspiration for your cut. In this way, your haircut is tailored specifically to you. The way it grows, hangs, and the way you style it are all included in where your stylist chooses to place her shears, the angle in which she holds them, and the degree to which she closes them to remove hair. I often describe it as sculpture work. I carve haircuts out of the material you bring to the chair. In this way, it's a catered cut that behaves the same for you that it does for me when I create it.
There are benefits to both dry cutting and wet cutting and it's ultimately up to the stylist to determine the best approach your haircut. I use both in my own practice and my creativity thrives in the freedom to approach your hair the way I deem necessary in that moment.