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How To Tell If Your Hair Cutting Scissors Need A Sharpen?

July 04, 2022

Is there some trick to recognising, "How do you know if your hair scissors need sharpening?" Well we don't think there's some sort of magical trick to learn, but there are some clear signs that just maybe, your professional pair of scissors are due a sharpening.

Blunt scissors can cause significant damage to your clients hair like split ends, pulling the hair out of the scalp and frizzing the hair. When a client comes to your salon they want their hair handled with care and you want to do a good job for them too. Sometimes you're only as good as your tools, so if you tools are failing you by being blunt then simply get them sharpened.

Cutting hair should always be a smooth and easy experience with your cutting tools. Depending on how often you use your shears and the type of steel, you should be booking them in with a professional sharpener at least twice a year.

So let's dive deep into finding out, "How we can tell our scissors need sharpening".

The Hairdressing Scissors feel dull

Dull scissors are the first and most obvious sign that your haircutting scissors require sharpening. Cutting hair should be an easy and smooth experience for a hairstylist and every hairdresser can most definitely tell the difference between sharp scissors and dull scissors.

If you have ever had your scissors sharpened before you would understand the pure joy and ease it is to cut with sharp scissors, if you don't have that feeling all the time or sadly don't know that feeling, then book in a professional sharpen!

The only scissors that should feel dull are very cheap and low quality hair cutting scissors. Where scissors made from Japanese or German steel will stay sharper for longer, but in due time they too will need sharpening.

The Hair Scissors are pushing, pulling or grabbing

When your scissors become blunt they can be seen pushing the hair, pulling on the hair or even folding hair, where a sharp pair of scissors will not do this. This is a sure sign that your scissors are due a sharpen.

Another way that your scissors could be doing any of those things is if your tension is not set correctly. If you want to check your tension on you hair scissors then follow this link to our demo on YouTube -CLICK HERE 


My scissors are not closing smoothly

When you close your hair shears slowly you should be able to close them smoothly without any crunching feeling or any sort of jagged closing motion. When you feel any crunching sounds or feel like you're cutting grains of sand, this means you have a couple of nicks in your shears blades.

Nicks can be caused by dropping your scissors mainly, so if you know you have dropped your scissors recently then you should immediately check for any nicks in your scissors. If a nick is left this can pull on your clients hair and continuing cutting with a nick can cause further damage to your scissors.

If this is the case then a professional sharpener should be able to get those nicks out for you.

I'm experiencing more frequent hand fatigue

When your scissors are dull then your hands are working harder to cut your clients hair that results in hand, shoulder, arm, elbow and finger fatigue. Your body and especially your hands are such an important part of your ability to cut. If you're someone that suffers from RSI or Carpal tunnel related injuries then sharpening your scissors as soon as they stop feeling sharp, is the best way to care for your injuries.

You don't want to go down the path of feeling pain or fatigue while cutting, so make sure you keep your hair cutting shears sharp.

Shears are noisy

Are your scissors becoming more noisy then your used to while cutting, this can be caused by a few things. The first thing being your tension is far too loose. When your tension is too loose this can mean that the blades are slipping around too much around the tension ring.

After fixing your tension, consider putting those scissors aside until you can get them sharpened by a professional sharpener. Scissors blades can become very noisy when they are dull where sharp scissors are as silent as the still of night.

The traction on your scissor edge blade will become dull and noisy if you leave it too long in between sharpening. Sometimes a bit of oil and tension re-adjusting can help you but this trick will only work for so long. So if you are not sharpening your scissor blades at least twice a year then this will not maintain your blades sharp edges.

Who can I get to sharpen my shears?

We would always recommend you use a professional sharpening service in your area that specializes in professional hairdressing scissors sharpening. Using any other sharpening services like a knife sharpener for example would not be recommended. Different sharpeners have specific tools for what they are sharpening and a knife sharpener uses harsh tools that could break or damage your hair cutting scissors.

DO NOT EVER attempt to sharpen your own scissors with suggestions like a Sharpening Stone, Aluminum foil or any other suggestions for self sharpening. Firstly if you are not a trained professional then self sharpening can be very dangerous to you and you can cause significant damage to your shears and can even result in breaking them.

Professional hair scissor sharpeners really have tailored skills to be gentle with all types of hard or soft hair cutting shears steel. A professional bladesmith will take the time to take apart your shears properly to clean and sharpen on the correct angle with their correct sharpening tools. If you have color coated shears they can also properly sharpen these for you without removing any color coating. These are all very specialized skills to have as a bladesmith.



Now we have spoken about how to identify if your scissors need a sharpen and how important it is to keep those hair scissors sharp, but let's talk about maintenance. Maintenance is required to care for those blades in order to care for the quality and sharpness of your shears. If your hair scissor blades are not regularly oiled and cleaned then this can cause the pair of scissors to work harder and result in blunting the blades.

Sharpening scissors is such an important part to prolong the life of those shears. If you have invested a good chunk of cash into your scissors then really it only makes sense to look after that investment and to get the most out of your scissors. Whether you use expensive scissor brands or mid-range priced.. no scissors are made to never need to be sharpened.

Blunt scissors can become very frustrating when you cut hair and notice, so as often or as soon as you can get them sharpened regularly throughout a year you should. If you sharpen your hairdressing scissors regularly then you never have to feel that frustration again.


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