Dry Haircuts vs. Wet Haircuts — Which One Is Right for You?

May 20, 2020
Genesis Rivas
By: Genesis Rivas | Makeup.com by L'Oréal

I’ll be honest, I’m long overdue for a haircut. Since I’ve started social distancing, I’ve been daydreaming about the next time I can sit in my hair stylist's chair and get the much-needed cut and blow-dry my strands desperately deserve. Imagining myself back at the salon reminded me that sometimes my stylist cuts my hair when it's dry and other times when it’s wet after a good and thorough wash. Is there a reason for the switch up? Does a wet versus dry haircut leave you with a different end result? To help me figure it out, I tapped celebrity hairstylist Dominick Pucciarello and African Pride Brand Educator Robin Groover. 

What’s the Difference Between Dry Cutting vs. Wet Cutting?


To put it plainly, dry cutting is when a stylist cuts your hair when it is dry whereas wet cutting is when your hair is cut while it is wet. “Dry cutting is good for precision and strong lines,” says Groover. Cutting the hair when it’s dry is often used to correct and refine shapes. Pucciarello says he likes to finish off a haircut with dry cutting because only then can he truly see how the hair falls and make changes accordingly. “You can see the way the hair will lay naturally and get an accurate sense of shape and length,” he says. Both experts agree, however, that dry cutting hair can be risky because any mistakes made are way more visible and harder to fix. 

According to Groover, wet cutting is good for seamless layering but requires more detail. She explains that cutting wet hair will result in a healthy renewal of the overall shape and style. Keep in mind, though, that there is a possibility of cutting too much hair due to the overstretching that happens to your hair when it’s wet. 

What Should You Consider Before Choosing Between Dry Cutting or Wet Cutting?


It’s important to consider your hair texture and the type of style you are trying to achieve, says Pucciarello. Groover adds that you should also consider the state of your hair and the skill set of the stylist. If you’re someone with curly hair that has lost definition, she says that wet cutting could help revive your curls. “The goal and precision determine the methods and tools used.”

How Do You Know Which Method Works Best for Your Hair Type?


“Personally, I prefer dry cutting on straight hair and for more transformative, corrective cuts,” says Groover. “I prefer wet cutting curly or coily hair in its natural state to define curls.” But ultimately, according to Pucciarello, each method works on all types of hair. “It all really depends on the style and what you're looking for in the end result,” he says. So the most important thing is to consult with your stylist to see what technique is best for you. 

Illustration: Hannah Packer

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