A Cut Above

For a long time, it’s been standard to wash hair prior to cutting it wet, but the tide is turning, and increasingly stylists are choosing to cut hair dry, including Gustav Fouche, he explains why.

We all know the drill at the hairdresser – after a quick consultation in the chair to find out what we’re after, we’re led to the backwash section for a thorough shampoo and condition in preparation for the cut. Some stylists might choose to give the hair a quick blitz with the drier before adding in layers and finishing off the cut, but most of the work will be done while the hair is wet. Where dry cuts have been offered, traditionally it has been in the interests of speed, not quality of cut.

It goes without saying that you wouldn’t expect to try on a ball gown soaking wet, so why would we think it’s normal to have our hair cut and styled for us wet, lying straighter and heavier than it will be once dry? The wet cut is popular because it condenses the hair, allowing stylists to cut precise lines. Brilliant for creating specifi c styles like a sharp bob, but not so great if you want to embrace the natural texture of your hair and enhance your face shape; freshly washed hair behaves differently, cutting it dry allows the stylist to assess its natural shape and observe how it sits.

South African hairdresser Gustav Fouche is one of only a handful of the Capital’s top stylists using this technique. “The 3D Dry Cut is a game changer. By cutting hair in its natural state we can see and feel how your hair falls, which is essential for the blending and layering that makes a cut truly bespoke to the individual client,” he tells me. “With a lighter, fresher feel, your hair moves more freely, and looks more effortless, no matter the style you’re wearing. When you can feel this fabulous every day, why settle for anything less?”

From his eponymous Notting Hill salon, he and his team of highly trained stylists offer a revolutionary signature 3D Dry Cut, skilfully tailoring tresses to suit the natural character and curvature of each individual’s face shape. “This method allows us to work with your hair as it naturally falls,” he explains. “Not only is this technique superior when it comes to the blending and layering of the hair, but it is more effective in creating a personalised style.”

“Dry cutting allows for the style to be personalised to your own unique features and hair type. Sculpted dry, you can see the shape evolving as the cut progresses,” he tells me. “When a cut is structurally well balanced, it is easy to manage and should fall back into place naturally. And best of all, because it is precisely refi ned, the cut should last for much longer.”

Gustav Fouche

I’m keen to see what the dry cut can offer me, and Gustav is only too happy to demonstrate. He explains that sometimes he will wash and roughly blow dry the hair first, allowing him to assess it. In my case, he feels this isn’t necessary as it is already clear how my hair falls and moves around my face. We chat about what I want from my hairstyle, and how much time I have to dedicate to styling, and he sets to work.

It is fascinating watching the new style take shape. With a wet cut, the results are only obvious after blow drying, but this way, it is much easier to see how things are going to turn out. It removes the uncertainty that often goes with a haircut.

And I don’t miss out on any of the usual luxury salon experience   – cut finished, I’m treated to the traditional wash, complete with heavenly head massage. The team here use GF Fabulosity, Gustav’s own range of products. Silicone-, sulphate-, paraben- and cruelty-free, vegan and produced sustainably right here in the UK, the five shampoos and conditioners, plus Hair & Scalp Recovery Elixir, have been designed to be mixed and matched to achieve the perfect protein and moisture balance whatever your hair type. They smell utterly divine and I can’t resist investing in a shampoo and conditioner to take home.

One sleek blow dry later and I leave the salon with perfectly tossable hair that I can’t resist peeping at in every shop window I pass. Better than that, alongside my new GF Fabulosity washing regime, my hair could not be easier to style back at home. Whether I let it dry naturally, or give it a quick blast with the dryer, it looks perfect every day. It goes without saying that I’m a convert to the dry cut.

A cut and finish with Gustav costs from £220. Gustav Fouche, 82 Westbourne Grove, W2 (020 7229 1818; gustavfouche.com)