{ "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "BreadcrumbList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine", "name": "Beauty Magazine" } } { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 2, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care", "name": "All Things Healthy Hair" } } { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 3, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types", "name": "All Hair Types" } } ] }

The Difference Between Wet and Dry Haircuts

The long and short of haircutting techniques.
May 12, 2023


There are a lot of factors that go into taking the plunge into a new haircut. Once you’ve found the perfect Pinterest trends inspo board, knowing how to get the look you’ve chosen is a different situation. While a trip to the stylist is the easiest way to get you there, you may opt to skip the salon chair if you think you’ve got the skills. 

If you plan to go the DIY route with your new ‘do, there are a few hair cutting tips you should brush up on before you do. You may have heard of dry cutting as an option versus the wet hair cutting technique most of us have become accustomed to. But you may be wondering which is better for you, and why do hairdressers cut hair wet in the first place? 

Below, we’re sharing everything you need to know about how to choose the right haircutting technique when you cut your hair at home.

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/cut-hair-wet-or-dry" }

What Is a Dry Haircut?

A dry haircut is exactly what it sounds like, when hair is cut while it’s dry (as opposed to wet). You can skip the hair washing process and go straight to cutting or dry your hair completely then move on to the haircut. We recommend the latter so you can ensure that you don’t have any product weighing down your roots or your lengths, affecting the accuracy of your cut.

What Are the Benefits of Cutting Your Hair Dry?

When you cut your hair dry, you can get a really precise cut, especially if you’re cutting bangs, where getting the length just right is crucial. Also, if you want a certain shape for your ‘do, dry cutting may be the best way to go because, again, that precision lets you see exactly where the hair will fall. If your hair has texture, you want to be able to accurately gauge what it will look like once you’re done. We see it done a lot for layers and feathered haircuts or styles that work with levels that don’t need to be accurate.

The downside to cutting hair dry is that some hair will retain its natural movement, so you’ll need to enlist the help of clips and other hair tools to make sure it stays in place as your scissors move across the strands. Dry haircutting is typically not for the lesser-skilled.

What Is a Wet Haircut?

As you probably already guessed, a wet haircut is done when the hair is still wet. Don’t get us wrong, the hair isn’t dripping down your back or anything, but it should be wet enough that you (or your stylist) can cut across it with ease. If you’re going for a straight-across cut like a blunt bob or boxy haircut, it may be best to cut your hair wet, but just keep in mind that this will be more beneficial for some hair types over others (more on that later).
{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/cut-hair-wet-or-dry" }

What Are the Benefits to Cutting Your Hair Wet?

Cutting your hair wet can help you get clean lines without worrying about the natural movement of the hair adding a level of risk. It’s easier to do than dry cutting (which is why it’s the more popular method of hair cutting) because it restricts movement of the hair and allows for straight lines.

The downside to any sort of wet styling, including cutting hair while it’s still wet, is that wet hair is fragile. When you’re manipulating fragile, wet strands, you run the risk of causing unintentional damage. So be gentle, and handle your hair with care.

Editor’s tip: Make sure before you begin any cut, your hair is properly detangled. Enlist the help of the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free 21-in-1 Color Caring Spray, Leave In, which instantly detangles, strengthens, protects and nourishes hair (to name a few of its benefits).

Is It Better to Cut Your Hair Dry?

The actual difference between cutting hair wet or cutting hair dry is about both their technique, and about the cut that they each produce. Your stylist likely knows the best hair cutting technique to achieve your desired ‘do, but being knowledgeable on the matter is never a bad thing — especially if you’re planning to tackle it at home. 

When deciding whether you should cut your hair wet or dry at home, there are three factors to take into consideration: your hair texture, the haircut you want and how you plan to style your hair. As we mentioned previously, wet cutting hair is easier than dry cutting hair and allows for exact lines without clips and clamps to keep the hair in place. If you’re on the DIY haircut voyage for the first time, you may want to stick to cutting your hair while it’s wet. 

Since dry cutting hair does allow you to see how the hair falls in its natural state, you may want to consider that technique if you have curls or any other texture that’s stretched or changed when hair is wet. When you wet cut, your hair will look drastically different once it dries and you could end up with a different style (or length) than you intended.

What Hair Types Should Dry Cut Hair?

If you have hair that’s on the coily end of the spectrum, your stylist would typically give you a dry haircut. This will let them easily work with the natural texture and pattern of your curls, cutting them in a way that defines their shape and enhances them. Similarly, if you’re aiming for an uneven cut, like an asymmetrical bob or a trendy shag, dry cutting will help you more accurately determine how to distribute the length and texture of your mane for a perfectly imperfect ‘do. Follow this rule of thumb when doing it at home.
{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/cut-hair-wet-or-dry" }

What Hair Types Wet Cut Their Hair?

If you have thin or fine hair that’s on the straighter end of the spectrum, a wet haircut is likely ideal, which is why stylists may cut your hair wet when you go to the salon. When you’re cutting your hair at home just keep in mind that when your hair dries, the cut will end up a little shorter than when it was wet. 

The way you plan to style your hair also plays a role in which hair cutting technique will help you reach your hair goals. If you’re a fan of sleek, straight hair, wet cutting will mimic the appearance of your desired style and will be easier to do (even if you have curly hair but plan to straighten it most of the time). So when you’re cutting your own hair, you want to follow this technique to get as close as possible to the look of a haircut done by a professional.

Next: How to Choose the Right Wonder Water Formula for You

Photo Credit: iStock

{ "@context": "https://schema.org/", "@type": "WebPage", "speakable": { "@type": "SpeakableSpecification", "cssSelector": ["speakable-content"] }, "url": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/cut-hair-wet-or-dry" } { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "BreadcrumbList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@id": "/", "name": "Home" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 2, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine", "name": "Beauty Magazine" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 3, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care", "name": "All Things Healthy Hair" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 4, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types", "name": "All Hair Types" } } , { "@type":"ListItem", "position": 5, "item": { "@id": "https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/cut-hair-wet-or-dry", "name": "cut-hair-wet-or-dry" } } ] }