Many men waltz into the barber shop, plop down into a seat and get their hair cut -- dry. No shampoo, no conditioning treatment, no head massage. But women would never even consider getting their hair cut dry, right?
Wrong. There are actually women out there getting their hair cut before the shampoo, working with hairstylists who practice the art of dry cutting. So why would you bother getting your hair cut dry... and are you missing out on anything if you shampoo after, not before?
Dry cutting lets hairstylists see the shape of the hair as they cut it, instead of waiting until they blow it dry.
"When you're cutting hair dry, you see the shape as it's forming, so you just get a much more definite look, because you see it in action," said Artuoro. "It takes the guessing game out of wet cuts. Because when you're cutting hair wet, you really don't get to see what the cut is looking like until you dry it."
As Gabriel explained, "It's like working on a sculpture -- you're curving it, you're cutting it and in the end you have the most amazing shape in front of you."
Dry cutting also lets you see what your hair's going to look like in the end.
No more surprises. "It's kind of fun to see it appear as you're cutting," Arturo said. "Because otherwise, clients don't really get to see what's going on until it's blown out."
Dry cutting can be great for thick-haired women who want to remove bulk.
Gabriel told us, "The dry cut is a technique that allows me to eliminate bulk where it's needed and add thickness and body where it needs to be added." All wet hair is sort of flat, but dry hair reveals which areas are extra thick.
For women with curly hair, dry cutting lets hairstylists see how each unique curl falls, so they know how to cut each one.
"With curly hair, the curl range is much higher from wet to dry," explained Ana, meaning the difference between how the curls lay wet versus how they lay dry is so vast. But when hair is wet, Arturo told us, "you're stretching the hair and you're cutting it all to one length. And when the curls find their way in to their own pattern, some curls are curlier than others." The result? An uneven, imprecise cut.
When straight hair is dry, hairstylists can identify any waves or bends in the hair that they can use to create volume.
"If you have thin, fine hair, you’re trying to use any bend for movement, to create an illusion of volume," Ana told us. "So if you cut it wet, you’re not taking advantage of any waves or bends." With it dry, the stylist can cut a shape that accounts for any little kinks or cowlicks, giving you more volume.
Dry cutting also causes less damage to the hair, which allows you to go longer between haircuts.
"The hair is elastic, so when you cut it wet, the ends can fray a little more," said Arturo. "When the hair is dry and you're using dry cutting scissors, you get a much cleaner cut on the ends of the hair, so they don’t split and fray as much."
Hair that's not frayed is healthier hair, which keeps it looking better longer. In addition, Gabriel explained, a well-crafted shape will maintain itself longer. "You really don't need as many haircuts between because the shape holds itself for a while."
Dry cutting doesn't mean you have to skip the luxurious salon hair wash.
Some salons, like Devachan, wait to wash and blow out a client's hair until after the cut. Some, like Arturo Salon, washes the client's hair first, then dries it, then cuts it dry. But either way, you still get that great head massage out of the deal.
But a dry haircut takes much longer... and can be more expensive.
"With the dry cut, you're cutting every piece individually," said Gabriel. "Every hair piece get cuts on its own. So the technique takes much longer -- it actually takes 45 minutes to an hour to cut hair." Price-wise, a Devachan cut starts around $80, an Arturo Salon cut can run you up to $200 and the John Sahag Workshop goes up to $350. Why the hefty price tag? Arturo sums up: "It takes longer, not many people do it and the haircuts last longer."
"We [who do dry cuts] are really like one percent of hairstylists in the world," joked Gabriel. But there are several salons that do dry cutting in New York City, select salons in cities like Miami, Philadelphia and Boston. Thank goodness for Google.
Would you get your hair cut dry?
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