Is a Dry Cut Really Better for Your Hair?

Celebrity stylist Rodney Cutler gives it to us straight.

woman, hair cut
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever swooned over a haircut at the salon only to find that it was disastrously unwearable for everyday life? If so, you might have been saved by a dry cut—yes, as opposed to that of the traditional wet variety.

Full disclosure, I'm a dry cut devotee. I have long, frizz-prone curly hair, which makes me a perfect candidate for a bespoke approach as my hair looks completely different when wet: much longer/flatter and less kinky. 

"The weight of water will absolutely change the density and even visual length of your hair," explains Redken celebrity stylist Rodney Cutler. "Dry cutting takes the guesswork out of how your individual curl pattern will look in its everyday life."

But make no mistake, there are payoffs for curly and pin-straight hair a like. If you're the nervous type when it comes to getting a cut, dry cutting is another way to ensure that you and your stylist are on the same page about your expectations—especially when it comes to the ever-sensitive matter of length.

Another reason to rethink a wet cut? Color-wise, when your hair is wet, it's harder to see where your highlights, (natural or otherwise) appear in your hair, so your balayage could be for naught. 

Put simply: The "big picture" is missing when it's wet, and it might be time for a more tailored approach.

"It can helps get stylists out of their comfort zone and laser-focus on the direct results of each guest," says Cutler. "There's also a visual dialogue between stylist and client since everyone is watching the process happens in its natural, organic state taking the unknown variability of how a cut will look once it's finally blown dry."

All things considered, it's important to remember that you can't go to just any hair dresser for a dry cut. It's a non-traditional technique, which means it might take some asking around to find a stylist with the right experience. 

And if you feel just peachy about your regular wet cut, this by no means a call to action to ditch the classic technique. Rather some fruit for thought for those in the market for a *customized* experience at the salon. 

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.