Salon Confessions: The Dry Cut

July 20, 2012
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RED BANK —You’ve probably heard of a dry haircut, where a stylist dries the hair and then snips away. Seems simple enough. But when you perform a dry cut the way it’s intended, it’s hardly as simple as it seems.


An innovative cutting technique created by the late and legendary stylist John Sahag, the dry cut is as difficult to perform as walking a tightrope across, say, Niagara Falls. The level of focus, detail and discipline necessary to perfect the cut is extraordinary. “It takes years of practice,” says Mark Schwartz, owner of the Schwartz Salon on Monmouth Street in Red Bank and arguably one of the leading dry cut artists in the country. “You have to want to be more than just a hair cutter, but rather a craftsman.”

Schwartz, who studied under Sahag for 12 years at the prestigious John Sahag Workshop in New York City, says the fundamental difference between a traditional wet cut and a dry cut is “love.”

With a dry cut, every single strand of hair is tended to as opposed to just the ends or a few haphazard layers. The preparation of the hair prior to the cut to the actual cut itself requires the utmost accuracy and concentration. It’s essentially an art form, where the stylist meticulously sculpts and carves the hair into a soft, feminine yet distinctive shape that “moves like you were born with it,” says Schwartz. Every dry cut, he adds, is “one of a kind and created for the individual client.”

Because the cut is so particular, time spent in the salon is much longer—a dry cut takes approximately two hours. The benefits of the cut, however, are worth every minute. As a dry cut grows out, it never loses its shape, which allows for most women to go three to possibly even six months before booking their next appointment. It also costs twice as much as a traditional haircut, but with less frequent trips to the salon, there’s the potential to actually save money.

Mark Schwartz, owner of Schwartz Salon in Red Bank, works to dry cut a client’s hair.

Schwartz’s passion for the dry cut takes him to Manhattan once a week, where he continues to work at the John Sahag Workshop. Additionally, he frequently tours the country to train eager-to-learn stylists, as well as dry cut the hair of women who aren’t lucky enough to live locally. The diehard devotees call the results “magical.”

Recipe: No Bake Icebox Cake

If you’ve seen his work, you’d most likely agree that there’s certainly a magic to the cut. Schwartz’s scissors are, in fact, much like a wand, wielding over the hair, transforming it right before your very eyes.

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