Some curly hair advocates, myself included, are fairly adamant about not cutting curly hair when it is wet. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can give you my own philosophy on why I believe curly hair should always be cut dry.
Curly hair is three-dimensional; therefore, it only makes sense to cut it in its natural, three-dimensional state. When curly hair is wet, the curl flattens out and appears much longer than it actually is, making it easy to cut off way too much—and what girl with curls has never had that happen? Also, when curly hair is wet, it is impossible to see each curl as what it truly is: an independent entity that has a unique relationship to the other curls that surround it.
A stylist who understands curly hair knows each curl needs be approached and handled one at a time, so your entire mass of curls will flow with a beautifully fluid motion while allowing each curl to retain its individual and special characteristics.
Unfortunately, I think few stylists nowadays recognize this important principle. Curly hair is so dynamic, however, how can anyone possibly understand how to shape your beautiful, one-of-a-kind curls unless they can see them and work with them in all their natural, individual glory?
When it comes to actual cutting technique, I am a supporter of the curly cutting methodology in which entire curls are removed in an appropriate pattern to remove bulk and create shape depending on the client’s hair texture and wave pattern. I have a fundamental issue with other methodologies that only slice or notch into a curl part of the way to remove bulk rather than take the curl off in its entirety.
I believe when curly hair is cut this way, it looks good initially, but as it grows out, little “twigs” begin to sprout as the two different lengths of the curl begin to separate. The more the curl separates, the more product is required to keep it “glued” together. Additionally, the ends of the hair eventually become thin and appear stringy as subsequent cuts continue to notch into the curls, removing even more bulk and making the curls thinner and stringier as they grow out.
I know this style of cut has its supporters who think this is an appropriate way to cut curly hair, but I am not one of them. I’ve corrected too many haircuts that were done this way on unhappy clients to believe otherwise.
Different hair texture types also respond differently to the kind of cutting they receive. Fine hair needs to have a cut with more weight because it tends to lie flat no matter how short it is. Short cuts can be problematic for coarse hair that is very thick because hair with a coarse texture expands naturally in an east-west direction. Even with a curly dry cut, the methodology remains the same, but the stylist has to take all kinds of other factors, including your hair texture, into consideration.
And it goes without saying that any stylist who uses thinning shears or a razor on your curly locks should be tarred, feathered and run out of town!