The Theory Behind The Dry Haircut

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'Straight hair doesn’t lie,” says hairstylist Jon Reyman, the owner of the Spoke & Weal salon in Soho and now the only place I'll go to get my hair done. Now, this isn't some statement saying that one hair texture is better than another—it's all about the cut. And it's the reason why Jon, and all of the stylists at his salon, cuts hair after it's been blown out bone-straight.

We started talking about this straight haircut theory after I came in with what I thought were sloping layers but really were abrupt plateaus that didn't look so good. He explained: “Even for curly-haired people, if it looks good straighter, it will look good curlier. But if it looks good curly, it might not look good straight or wavy. I cut hair dry—so I blow dry it smooth, taking texture out of the equation. It’s all about length and density. Texture is always managed by tools and technique—how you style it, how you blow dry it, how many products you put in it. Length and density is my job. A lot of hairdressers hide behind the texture. They’ll give you a haircut, then they’ll blow dry it out and hide the bad haircut they did. It’s not that they do it on purpose; it’s just what they do. So when you go home, you can’t recreate it,”

When I left, my layers were all smooth and no edge, like I wanted. As such, I'm now a convert to the method—some other things about the technique that are worth noting:

  1. There's no reason to cut hair wet beyond it being what we've always done.

  2. Having your hair cut dry will get you more one-on-one time with your hairstylist to talk texture, since they're working with your hair in its dry state, rather than when it's wet and slippery.

  3. It's faster! (Or maybe Jon's just really fast).

  4. You'll get more tactical styling advice. Your hairstylist can be really up front about what they're doing to make your hair look good since there's no abrupt transformation moment in which hair goes from wet to dry. Everything's pretty transparent when you're getting a dry cut.

  5. Dry cutting hasn't really caught on yet—find one of the salons that offers it, or ask your hairstylist if they're open to it and take it from there. Tell them you're after an honest haircut.

—Claire Knebl

Photos via the author.

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