Wet Cutting Vs. Dry Cutting: Which One Is Right For Your Hair?

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Wet Cutting Vs. Dry: Which One Is Right For Your Hair?

21 March 2018
photo of stylist cutting dry hair
Jelani Addams Rosa

Jelani Addams Rosa

Associate Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L'Oréal, Jelani brings her knowledge and passion for hair care to Hair.com. Before joining the Hair.com team, she spent time at Celebuzz, Seventeen, and Cosmo for Latinas.

A trip to get a haircut usually goes a little something like this: You get to the salon, sit in the chair, and let your stylist know what look you’re going for. Then, your hair is washed and conditioned before you sit back down to get your haircut. What if your stylist decided to switch things up a bit. Instead of cutting your hair after it’s been washed, your stylist cut your hair as soon as you sat down in your seat?

Dry cutting has become very popular over the last few years, particularly in the curly hair community. But is it better than the wet cutting technique we’ve come to know and love? Pepper Pastor, Kérastase brand ambassador and stylist is breaking down everything you need to know about wet cutting vs. dry cutting.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of cutting wet hair?

Pastor says it’s no secret why stylists have chosen to cut wet hair for so long: It allows stylists to cut the most precise lines. Because wet hair condenses, cutting hair while it is wet is ideal if you’re looking for a cut with sharp lines, like a bob.

On the other hand, cutting layered haircuts is much more difficult to do on wet hair. Pastor explains that when your hair is wet, it can be difficult for stylists to see how layers will look in your mane. This can often lead to unbalanced haircuts. If you’re heading back to the salon to fix a cut that looks a bit wonky, be sure your stylist cuts your hair while it is dry.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of cutting dry hair?

The greatest benefit of cutting hair while it is dry is that you and your stylist can see exactly what your final look is going to look like while they’re cutting. There is no need to wait to dry and style your hair to see if you like the length or movement—you’ll see it as it’s happening.

Since the hair is in its natural state, it is essentially it’s most truthful...You can really see the move went and how the hair actually lays day to day.

Pepper Pastor

While Pastor says anyone can benefit from a dry cut—no matter their hair type or texture—many stylists who specialize in cutting curly hair prefer to cut hair when it is dry. It is nearly impossible to know how each of your curls is going to dry, so cutting dry prevents your stylist from accidentally giving you the dreaded triangle haircut.

The only real disadvantage of dry cutting hair is that it can be difficult to create precise lines. If you’re looking for an A-line or very blunt bob, you’re probably better off getting your cut while your hair is wet.

Can the techniques be combined?

The techniques can not only be combined—they should be! Pastor says cutting hair while it is wet and then again when it is dry (or vice versa) is the best way to ensure a flawless haircut.

“I highly recommend cutting hair both wet and dry every time. I love trimming hair and shaping when they just sit in the chair and the hair is styled or air dried as they wear it every day. After I shampoo and treat it, I cut the hair again wet, then I check everything for balance and further details after their blowout,” Pastor explains. “Clients appreciate it and you truly can customize an ideal haircut.”

Now you know no haircut is complete without a wet and a dry cut.

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