Have you ever found yourself sitting in the stylist’s chair at the salon overcome with fear and regret mid-cut because you can’t judge whether you’ll be swooning or sobbing once inches of your hair are snipped off? We’ve all been there, but switching to a dry cut in lieu of the traditional wet technique might save you from the stress of guesswork during your next salon visit.
“When a craftsman cuts your hair [dry], they are not only envisioning the look and style you want, but also taking into consideration that when the guest leaves, she will be able to replicate the look easily, and that the grow out will still stay looking beautiful when she comes for her next visit,” says stylist Johnny Wojtanowicz of Sahag Workshop in New York.
When wet, hair is denser, stretches, and thanks to elasticity, appears longer, making the end result of a cut less predictable. Since soaked strands can look drastically different than when it’s dry—especially if your hair is curly—cutting prior to shampooing allows a stylist to create a more detailed cut that’s realistic to how hair will look and behave in everyday life outside of the salon.
At Sahag, the specific method of dry cutting created by the salon’s late founder and stylist to celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston, is called “tapering.” “Each section of the hair is tapered on the ends, almost individually, which allows a stylist to form a stronger, longer-lasting shape in a guest’s hair. The strands are chiseled piece-by-piece, section-by-section, just on the tips. This gives it an already solid state of shape and a natural softness to your ends,” explains Wojtanowicz. “It leaves your hair feeling more natural, well balanced, and soft.”
Aside from ensuring that you and your stylist are on the same level about the big picture of your style, another reason to rethink a wet cut is that dry chops have a longer life between cuts, so if you can barely squeeze in time for a weekly yoga class, then this method is for you. Wojtanowicz says that cutting hair dry requires less frequent trips to the salon because the style’s shape is cut into the hair, so not only is it softer and easier to style at home, it allows the grow out to maintain the original shape in-between trims.
The best part about this technique is its versatility. Dry cutting is universal, fit for any style you’re looking to achieve, and works with any hair type, whether your texture is straight and fine or frizzy and curly. “The brilliance of the cut is no matter what texture someone has, it can be tamed and shaped to what the guest wants,” says Wojtanowicz.
To prolong a dry cut, Wojtanowicz recommends ensuring your hair has the moisture it needs to maintain a healthy appearance, and its shape. A finishing oil like Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Oil Spray ($31.95; ulta.com), will hydrate strands, protect them against the elements, and lock in essential vitamins.
Since this tailored approach to cutting isn’t the norm at a majority of salons, finding a stylist with the right experience in the method is essential before you forego a wash pre-cut. But if you’re craving a more tailored style that’s unique to you and your hair, a dry cut may be just the change you’re after.