How to Perfect a Dry Cut
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We decided to forego the sink for our latest haircut, and try out dry cutting. We were definitely impressed. Not only were we not at all surprised with how our hair turned out, there seemed to be more control overall. Ramon Garcia, stylist at Johnathan Antin Salon in Beverly Hills and Mod’s Hair DTLA, takes our dry cut to a whole new level—here’s exactly how he gets the perfect dry cut every time.
Always Start with Hair Oil
Ramon’s first step to achieving the perfect dry cut is making sure he’s not working with parched hair—the cut is dry but hair should never be. Especially when cutting curly or coarse hair, it’s best to start out smooth. To do so, he relies on L’Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil, $33.06. Ramon works the product through from roots to ends, making sure to lift up from the root. A thought-out application is crucial to guarantee even distribution. “What ends up happening more often then not, if you scrunch through the ends, hair will still stay frizzy—you want to make sure you smooth it out,” he says of the first step, and really working the hero product through the locks.
Next up, Ramon sections the head into three pieces. Sectioning is key—the most important part of any dry cut is the blow dry. “If the blow dry isn’t perfect, the cut wont be,” Ramon says matter-of-factly. “If there’s a wave, I wont be able to make straight lines and then the cut wont be perfect,” he says. To avoid this, he starts with a horizontal section, intentionally not adding any body in the hair, using a round brush. “When the hair’s nice and straight I can go in and see where it lays heavy. I’m blow drying the hair to the natural fall so no matter how you wear it, it will still fall perfectly,” he explains. The cut mirrors the way your hair grows naturally, leaving you with a shape that’s all your own.
The first thing Ramon does is point cut the perimeter. To ensure he doesn’t cut too much, he picks a spot that he feels is the perfect length. “The first incision I make is going to be my guideline. Instead of cutting a straight across line, I’m going to point cut that line into existence, in order to create a softer baseline,” he explains. When you cut a blunt line the hair doesn’t move as much—regardless of the texture. “By point cutting the perimeter, it ensures that I start out with a great foundation for the hair. If I can create ends that move, then I can go in and see where the bulk of the hair lies and really break that up,” he adds. Again, this is why its so important to blow dry the hair properly—it’s essentially setting up your entire haircut.
“I’m going to comb all your hair back, ensuring that I adjust for the front pieces,” says Ramon. Although he pulls hair back, he is careful not to pull it all the way back—again, this dry cut allows locks to do their own thing. “If I overdirect the hair back, it’s going to create a disconnect, so I’m combing it down to where it would naturally fall—no matter how you decide to wear it,” he emphasizes.
Form is super important in a dry cut. “I’m going to take my first cut and work it one way, to the halfway point and then I’m going to actually switch sides,” Ramon explains of his technique. Generally speaking, he will cut from the outside in—on the right-hand side first—and then in on the left side, cutting from the center. From that center point, he finds the median length, and uses it as his guide.
“Whenever I cut a client’s hair for the first time, they’re always like – you’re cutting my hair free-hand!?” he explains of the initial reaction to getting such an organic cut. Fear not, however, because anyone who sees Ramon is in good hands. “It’s organized chaos—that’s what I’m aiming to achieve—a beautiful, natural effortless look. If I go in too afraid it just will never flow properly,” he says of his shearing skills.
After that, Ramon starts layering. “From the occipital, I will comb the rest of the hair down, and begin my concave layers using that hair,” he says. “A concave layer is essentially a downward slope, right to back,” he explains. The beauty about cutting hair dry, for a stylist, is that they don’t have to be as concerned with holding the hair. “When you cut hair wet, you have to hold it with the same amount of tension no matter where you are. By cutting hair dry, it allows me hold that section wherever I want – as long as the tension is still in my hand, I can cut it wherever is comfortable for me,” he tells us.
“I don’t want my layers to look like layers,” he says of avoiding any Rachel-revamps. “You won’t be able to tell what’s what until the wind hits and you get that model look,” he continues. We all definitely want to avoid blunt lines while maximizing windblown movement, another dry cut benefit. “When you drop your section and you comb it down, you won’t be able to tell where the layer stops and ends. I work around the head doing concave layers throughout,” he describes of the process.
“A lot of people say they don’t want layers because they’re afraid of having choppy layers,” he says. However, no layers equal no movement. “If you want something that moves, it’s impossible to do it without layers. Point cutting and rounding the edges are what you’re going to want to be doing,” says Ramon. “You’ll see the hair starts to invisibly fall – once you start combing it down you cant even tell you have layers.”
Dry Cut Convert
Finally, to make sure the cut is how he wants it, Ramon pulls the hair forward to check it’s balanced. If it’s a little bit longer on one side, now is the time to correct. “By pulling the hair forward, you can go through and break it up even further,” he says. “Once again, I’m cutting the baseline because I don’t want it to be a super-heavy line,” he explains.
At this point, we’re done with the haircut. “It’s as simple as that,” he adds. With the proper blow dry and technique dream hair can be yours, via a dry cut. If you want to take out more bulk from the baseline, which is a trick for those with really thick hair, it’s easy to do with concave layering. “It’s essentially pulling the hair out and breaking up that line, and when it falls, it falls nice and soft—and even—as opposed to falling really heavy. The goal is for you to have hair that feels lighter. It doesn’t feel short, or thin – there’s just more oomph. What it does is allow you to have the best cut possible,” says Ramon. We’re convinced—we never want our hair cut wet again!