Is a Dry or Wet Cut Better for Curly Hair? Here's What Experts Say
If you have curly, wavy, or coily hair, getting a haircut can feel like a bit of a gamble. For starters, it can be hard to find inspiration photos online that match your curl type and desired style. Next, it's a whole other battle to find a hairstylist who specializes in curly hair and understands how to work with your texture. Then, once you finally get the cut, the final result can be a bit unpredictable—or, even if it looks amazing day-of, you may not know how to recreate the look at home. However, the process doesn't have to be difficult. There's one haircut method that tons of curly-haired people swear by for getting the best haircuts of their lives: a dry haircut.
A dry haircut is exactly what it sounds like: a haircut that's done on dry hair. Dry haircuts are also sometimes referred to as a curly cut or a Deva cut, which was popularized by the DevaChan Salon in New York City. On curly, wavy, or coily hair, a dry cut usually involves cutting the hair curl by curl to make each individual S-wave, spiral, or coil look its best.
However, a dry cut might not be the right choice for everyone. Here, two professional hairstylists break down how to tell if a dry cut or wet cut is best for you and explain how to make the most of your haircut.
What are the benefits of cutting hair dry versus wet?
One primary advantage of cutting hair while dry is that you'll know exactly how the final result looks right away, instead of having to wait for your hair to dry to see how the cut turned out or how much your length shrunk. Julissa Prado, curl expert and founder and CEO of Rizos Curls, also explains that because the dry cut gives individual attention to each curl, it accounts for a variety of curl textures across your head, which isn't as easy to do or see when the hair is wet. For example, if one section of your head has more curl while another is more straight, a stylist doing a dry cut can consider these different textures and give certain sections more volume or shape, depending on what's needed.
Since a dry cut is more about making each curl look its best, however, Prado explains that it isn't always the best choice for someone who has damaged hair. A wet cut will allow a hairstylist to identify and get rid of all the split ends to restore hair health, while a dry cut is often more focused on the overall shape. So, if you're interested in trying out a dry cut but you have a lot of damage, you may want to start by getting a wet cut first, then opt for a dry cut once your curls are healthier.
How can you choose the best method for you?
Prado explains that the choice between a dry cut and a wet cut should mostly depend on your individual hairstyling goals. For example, if you straighten or heat-style your hair often, a dry cut may not be the right choice for you. This is because a dry cut is designed to maximize the look of natural curls, and with the curl-by-curl cutting method, the cut may look uneven when straightened out. However, if you mostly wear your hair natural, the dry cut can ensure that each of your curls is given special treatment so that your natural textures come through in the best possible way.
Celebrity hairstylist David Cotteblanche also explains that doing a dry cut can result in an "over-texturized look," so if you aren't looking for the extra volume and definition, you may want to go with a wet cut instead.
How can you get the most out of a dry haircut?
If you're heading into a salon, make sure to look for a hairstylist who specializes in cutting curly hair; this will ensure that your curls are in good hands. However, if you're trying out an at-home haircut instead (to which Cotteblanche says, "Don't do it!"), Prado recommends doing a Zoom-guided haircut with a stylist so they can guide you every step of the way.
Whether you're leaving the cut to a professional or taking on the DIY project, though, Prado suggests finishing the cut by having your hair styled as you most often wear it. "Sometimes people get haircuts and then they choose to have their hair blown out straight, but they're never going to wear their hair like that again," Prado explains. "They should wear it the way that they typically do to ensure that the stylist can make necessary tweaks at the end."
To help with hair manageability while cutting hair when wet or dry, Cotteblanche also recommends using a few drops of the Fekkai CBD Calming Supreme Oil. This will help give hair shine and moisture so that curls looks their best, no matter what haircut method you choose.