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We Tried It: A Dry Haircut

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Courtesy Zoe Ruderman

This week, Senior Style Editor Zoë Ruderman reports on her very first experience with dry cutting, in which her hairstylist blew out her hair before the scissors even came out.

Whenever I’ve gotten a haircut, the process has always followed the same pattern: hair gets washed, hair gets combed through, hair gets cut, hair gets dried. This is how my mom did it when she first starting cutting my hair as a toddler (yes, that’s a photo of one of my first cuts) and this is how every hairstylist has done it since. That is, until I went to N.Y.C.’s Eiji Salon for the first time and following my wash and comb-through, my haircutter Akira Yamane took out the blowdryer before the scissors had even made an appearance.

I was about to remind him that I was there for a cut, not just styling, when Yamane explained that he had been trained to cut dry hair and that he felt it leads to a better end result. In fact, that’s how everyone at Eiji Salon rolls (the owner — Yamane’s father — is a big believer in the technique). He said that because all hair behaves differently when it’s wet versus dry, it can be difficult to predict how strands will take to, say, piecey layers or a certain kind of shape. Plus, since hair is longer when it’s wet (because it’s weighed down), there would be no “Oh my god, I didn’t think you were going to cut it that short!” shock.

That is one of my least favorite kind of shocks so I was totally on board. And really, it made perfect sense. I was sort of surprised that more people don’t do it this way.

Yamane asked how I normally wear my hair, dried it like that, spent a few minutes discussing with me how I wanted it cut, then finally reached for the scissors. He meticulously snipped away at my dead ends, added a few subtle layers and cleaned up the existing ones. I loved being able to see the transformation as it was happening, rather than having to wait until it was dried to view his handiwork.

And perhaps most importantly, he was able to cut with a full knowledge of my mane’s quirks and cowlicks. I was really happy with how it came out and I’ll definitely be going back to Yamane. Perhaps if my mom had tried dry cutting way back when, I wouldn’t have ended up with that one lone curl above my left ear.

Tell us: Have you ever had your hair cut while it’s dry? Do you think you’d try it?