That moment just before the scissors make contact with your satin strands can trigger tons of questions. Has this stylist   worked with my hair type? How much will he or she cut? Then, you frantically try to remember that epic YouTube video that promised to teach you everything you need to know about your haircut, but you cannot remember the tips! As your mind wanders, eventually you will arrive at this question. Wet or dry cutting, which is more damaging or more appropriate for my needs? Before you sit in the next salon chair, take the time to explore a wide spectrum of answers to this question.

Start with Your Purpose

Knowing why you want your hair cut is the best place to begin. Most people cut their hair for one of these reasons:

  • Change the shape or movement of the hair
  • Remove damaged ends
  • Maintain their current haircut

So where does wet or dry cutting come in? Why do some stylists have one preference over the other? Let’s check in with some highly respected professionals to get a thorough understanding.

Dry Cutting

Cutting hair dry, regardless of the texture, allows the stylist to see the hair as the client styles themselves on a regular basis. Cutting the hair dry allows the stylist and the client to see the hair take shape as it is being cut rather than waiting until after the blowout to see the end result. Most known for their dry curly cuts is the Devachan Salon, the creator of the DevaCut- curly hair cutting technique. Vice President of Education Molly Owen helps us to understand why they cut hair dry:

“There are considerable differences- and enormous benefits- of cutting curly hair dry in its natural state. Individual curl behavior, including shape and spring, is much more visible when hair is dry. Cutting wet hair robs a stylist of this important reality. Cutting dry allows the stylist to create shape while customizing for the individual in the chair and each individual curl on the head!" – Molly Owen, VP of Education for DevaCurl.

Wet Cutting

Wet cutting allows the hair to show its true colors. You know, it is like that moment when you straighten your textured hair and then the rain brings a torrential downpour. The rain gives away your hair’s true nature. With wet hair you can see the varying textures and unique qualities. Stylists choose to cut hair wet for a variety of beneficial reasons. Wet cutting can allow the stylist to see how the hair naturally behaves, and depending on the hair type, wet cutting allows the stylists to have better control of the hair. Toby Vernay, director of education of Pura Vida Salon and Spa, makes the differences clear:

“Both wet cutting and dry cutting techniques have a place and purpose in shaping hair. Both can be and are beneficial. Neither are damaging to the hair if properly executed. Either technique can be used on the same shape, depending on the coarseness and density of the hair. Cutting dry allows the hair to be in its true form, thus allowing the cutter to judge the shape better. Cutting while wet allows the hair to stretch and bend which can distort the shape in the finished style. Of course a well-versed haircutter will know how to avoid this undesirable result and be able to utilize wet cutting to its full potential. One important note is that when texturizing a shape with texturizing shears, wet texturizing takes out more hair, while dry texturizing takes out less. Some hair cutters prefer one or the other, but I believe that to be a matter of style rather than function. I personally prefer a combination of both techniques on each shape that I cut.”

The Wrap Up

The best choice for you has everything to do with the unique hair type of the client as well as the desired outcome of the haircut. Remember to have a detailed consultation with your stylist to communicate your needs and allow them to convey their recommendations. From there the decision is yours!

Have you received a wet or dry cut on your curly hair?