By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care
You’ve seen the stylist in your neighborhood salon approach a head of wet dripping hair, with scissors in hand, and start to work his or her magic. But have you ever wondered whether trimming the hair while wet is the healthiest thing to do?
For straighter hair types, wet cutting may not be very problematic. Straighter hair is not very vulnerable to “shrinkage” and porosity issues, all characteristics that are found exaggerated on wet, textured hair. So, for those of us who are chemically relaxed, color treated, or have curl patterns that aren’t exactly uniform– dry trimming is actually the best method of hair trimming . Why?
1.) Imagine cutting a wet piece of paper, and then cutting a dry piece of paper in the same way. You’ll easily see that the cut on the wet paper is not a clean one. Your hair is really no different. Wet trimming can actually damage the (new) ends you create with the trim, leaving them more vulnerable to splitting later on. The damage is even more likely if your scissors are the cheaper variety (less than $10–15), non-hair specific shears, or good hair shears that need to be sharpened.
2.) Hair appears much longer when wet. So, a dry cut or trim will give you a better feeling of the actual, final length result. If you trim wet hair, you’ll appear one length while wet and then once the hair has fully dried, you’ll see that your hair is typically much shorter than you would have expected due to shrinkage.
3.) Differences with porosity and texture throughout your hair make dry cutting the better, more precise option. With porous or textured hair, some areas of the strand may lengthen more than others when exposed to water. More porous areas will lengthen the most, while less porous areas will resist that extra lengthening. Also, tighter coiled areas may not “release their curls” fully, as looser curled or coiled areas would. So, if you use your wet hair as a guide, you may end up with uneven hair in some places.
As a final note, if you are chemically relaxed and are some weeks post relaxer, you must take into consideration the differing growth rates in different areas on your head. Some areas, generally the crown, will experience faster or more noticeable growth than other areas like the nape. It is always advisable to relax or straighten your hair first, then attempt your dry hair trim.
Ladies, do you trim your hair wet or dry?
Audrey Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, health scientist and author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (available on Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com).