As editors, we’re excited to keep you updated on all the latest and greatest innovations in the beauty space. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear from you. You Asked is a series where we explore the questions our lovely readers (yes, you!) have sent our way. Whether it’s from the comments section, the search bar, or social media, we’re diving deep into the things you really want to know. From questions about hair tools and dry shampoo to makeup trends and skincare products, we hear you—and we’re here to help.
Throughout my whole life, the haircutting process has been the same: I go in, lie back for a nice shampoo and head massage, and watch as the stylist cuts (or very, very lightly trims) my wet, curly blond locks. But I’ve recently heard a lot about dry cuts and how the technique yields better styles. I wondered, Have I been cutting my hair wrong all along? And then, when I looked at a recent reader survey from the site, I realized you too have been wondering the same thing.
To get some answers, I read about why I should never get my hair cut wet again and spoke with Lona Vigi, a stylist who recently styled my hair to perfection (she also is responsible for Selena Gomez’s enviable waves and Drew Barrymore’s bedhead texture). Who better to educate me on hair than the woman my favorite celebrities trust with theirs?
Keep reading to find out whether or not you should be getting dry haircuts.
“Dry haircuts are great for curly hair,” Vigi asserts. “Straight hair can be cut wet and it won’t change as much once it’s dry, but curly or wavy hair definitely does.” It’s true—my hair is big, frizzy, and super textured when I air-dry it. But when it’s wet, it looks slick and straight. So next time you hop out of the shower, take a look in the mirror. If your hair looks similar at that moment to when it dries, you’re good with a wet cut. But if it looks drastically different, consider asking your stylist to dry it before going in for the chop.
Vigi continues, “Cutting dry allows you to see how the cut is going to end up looking, so it takes the guesswork out of the entire thing.” Which is also easier for you. There’s nothing scarier than sitting in that salon chair wondering what your head is going to look like when you leave. If your hair is dry the entire time, you can stay more involved in the final look.
“Dry cutting is good for clients with cowlicks, kinks, and waves because it allows you to work with them in the natural way they will fall and lie on the head. Wet hair is also more fragile and is prone to breakage,” says Vigi. Since my hair is both curly and prone to breakage, a dry cut is definitely right for me (and for you, if those are also your concerns).
So how do you make sure your stylist is doing it right?
“Use a bit of Nexxus Infinite Nourishing Oil ($19) on the dry hair to protect the hair while combing through and make it easier to manage,” Vigi suggests. “I also recommend using a leave-in conditioning hair treatment to protect, nourish, and add shine.” I’m partial to Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($69), or Nutiva’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($30) by the gallon.
That being said, there are major benefits to a wet cut—you just have to make sure your hair won't suffer. Halli Bivona of the John Barrett Salon says: “A wet cut allows your stylist to create a more involved shape. A stylist can get much more technical with wet hair, as the angles and layers are easier to see and manipulate. Even though dry cuts allow for customization, it’s very difficult to completely reshape.” Even so, Bivona adds, “only about 40% of your cut should be wet, and the other 60% happens after your hair is dry. That way, your stylist can customize the shape to your specific hair texture and thickness.”
Looking for more beauty hacks? Here’s a different messy-bun tutorial for every day of the week.