Your hairdressing scissors are without question your most important tool. When you consider how many hours a day you’ll be using them, and how quickly your hands can become fatigued, it’s crucial that you choose the right hairdressing scissors. Here are eleven things to consider when choosing your next pair of scissors.
What Work Will You Be Doing?
The hairdressing scissors you choose depends on the style of work you’ll be doing. Will you be keeping up with the latest trends? Will you mostly be barbering? What is the demographic of your clientele? The answers to these questions will help you decide what sort of hairdressing scissors you need to buy.
Your scissors should always feel comfortable in your hand. Scissors that aren’t comfortable can lead to hand fatigue and a risk of developing Repetitive Strain Injury or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The length of a scissor is measured from the very tip of the blade to the end of the longest finger hole, but doesn’t include the finger rest. Whether you choose a short blade or a long blade depends on your personal preference and the type of cutting you’ll be doing. To find your ideal size, place a pair of scissors on the palm of your hand with the finger hold touching the base of your thumb. The tip of the blade should be in the last section of your middle finger.
Barbering shears generally have longer blades because they are used for cutting shears over comb and the blades need to be long enough to be aligned with the side of a barber comb. Regular haircutting scissors are generally used to cut the hair in small increments as it is combed and held with the fingers. Because of this, the blades are generally in more even proportion to the handle-portion of the scissor.
Because a hairdresser typically cuts hair in small increments to assure precision, the scissors he or she uses need only to extend a couple of inches beyond the index finger (at most) when the scissors are wielded.
The finger holes on the handles should be large enough that your fingers should slide in and out easily without resistance. This helps to prevent sore spots and calluses with prolonged use. On the other hand, holes that are too loose mean that you may lose control of the scissors and drop them.
There are two types of blade you can choose from: beveled edge or convex edge.
Beveled-edge blades have a cutting edged honed into the blades of the shears. The sloped blades suddenly form an angle about a millimeter from the edge that is honed on a steeper grade. This steeper angle allows the shears to cut more easily than would be possible with a flat cutting edge.
Convex blades are designed and formed with a shallow arc to the back side of the blades. The blades are milled to a fine point, like a razor edge. This creates a thin cutting edge that cuts very smoothly.
Convex scissors are a smoother cutting blade, but are more expensive and delicate. Sharpening costs are usually higher. Convex blades are made from stainless steel and are heavier than beveled blades, which are lightweight.
Beveled blades are cheaper with lower maintenance costs, but may not give the same smooth cut.
What sort of handle you prefer is largely an issue of comfort and personal preference.
Level or even handle scissors have symmetrical handles.
Offset handle scissors have one handle that is longer than the other, allowing your arm and elbow to be in a lower position when cutting. An offset handle allows better alignment and positioning of the blades during use to reduce the stress on the hands and fingers.
Crane handle scissors are similar to offset handle scissors except that the top handle is straight. It also allows for a lower elbow position.
Right or Left Handed
You should never use scissors designed for the opposite hand. The reverse blades in left-handed scissors make cutting natural and comfortable, reducing hand and wrist pain.
Your scissors are the most important tool of your trade, and timely maintenance is important. All scissors should be sharpened at least once a year. You should always use a specialist sharpener, particularly if you have convex blades.
Should you get special scissors for specialist tasks? It depends on the quality of the scissor you’re buying.
Slicing can be done by a convex or beveled blade, although this action will be much easier if you are using a high-quality scissor.
Thinning should be done by thinning scissors, which have an average of twenty-five teeth on one blade. They allow you to thin hair while blending and maintaining the shape of the haircut.
Texturizing scissors are similar to thinning scissors but will add a finish to the design while cutting.
What sort of screw system is best?
Many scissors have a flat or normal screw system which works well for adjusting the scissor tension, but you need a screwdriver to do it. For this reason, an adjustable screw is preferred by many people, since it allows you to turn the small screw by hand and either tighten or loosen the tension as required.
You can check the correct scissor tension by fully opening your scissors and then allowing one blade to drop freely towards fully closed. When the tension is correct, it should stop smoothly at the ten-to-the-hour position.
Hairdressing and barber scissors need regular cleaning and oiling, every day if possible. Don't use clipper oil to lubricate them but a proper mineral-based scissor oil and keep them in a leather pouch if possible.
Make sure you find out what the warranty is on the scissors you intend to buy. Some brands offer a lifetime warranty while others only offer a few years. Weigh up the possibility of replacing your scissors every few years to paying more now for a pair that will last for longer. We think it’s essential that your new hairdressing scissors are durable, so that you can get many years use out of them.The choice is yours – let Scissor Tech help you make the right one!