What’s the Difference Between High Quality and Low Quality Hairdressing Scissors?
Is it true that you get what you pay for?
Usually, when it comes to hairdressing scissors, you'll get what you pay for. We recommend you treat the purchase of your scissors as an investment in your business and find the best quality scissor you can afford.
When you buy online though, you can get a considerably better scissor than what you would find in a retail store for the same price, due to the level of online competition being much higher. And if you buy from a reputable company, you should be able to buy online with confidence as they should have an easy returns policy. If you don't like what you purchase, you should be able to easily return the scissors for a refund, as your scissors are such a personal preference.
In the world of hairdressing scissors, this is often true, but good quality hairdressing scissors are more than just the price tag. How can you tell the difference between good quality and poor quality hairdressing scissors?
How Long Will They Last?
Good quality hairdressing scissors should last for up to 5-6 years before they need replacing, if you take care of them properly.
Quality hair cutting shears are simply ones that last longer. Stainless steel scissors will last much longer than inferior quality materials, since they do not rust easily and hold their edge for many more haircuts.
What Are They Constructed From?
Even if you choose stainless steel, you should be aware of where the steel has been manufactured. All hairdressing scissors are made with stainless steel that is manufactured in Japan, Korea, Germany, Taiwan, China, India or Pakistan. The steel made in Japan is regarded as the best scissor steel in the world, with Hitatchi being the best. Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese steels are good, but tend to be a little softer and do not hold an edge as well as Japanese steels. German steel is good quality and is very hard steel. Pakistani and Indian steels are the poorest quality and do not sharpen or hold an edge well.
Good quality stainless steels are divided into categories depending on the alloys used in their production. Good steel categories range from 440A to 440C, to the highest grade of Japanese steel: Hitachi’s ATS-314. The ATS-314 steel is the finest, most expensive scissor steel in the world. When purchasing your shears, you will get the best cut from a shear made with Japanese 440C stainless steel. All categories above the 440 grade are considered cobalted steels.
The process of making good scissor steel is the result of an exact recipe in which ore, alloy and elements are combined in a balanced mixture that gives you just the right cutting tool. Carbon is the principal hardener in steel. The more carbon that is added, the harder it gets. A steel that is too hard will not perform well for slide or dry cutting. Molybdenum adds toughness and increases corrosion resistance to chemicals that can cause pitting and dulling. Manganese contributes to the tensile strength of the blade, so that it will retain its edge longer. Chromium protects against corrosion and also adds heat resistance so that the steel will maintain its desired properties during forging and finishing. Vanadium adds toughness and fatigue resistance so that the scissor will maintain its set and balance. Cobalt and titanium are also added to some steels to increase hardness and decrease weight, and adding these alloys will result in the finest scissor steel. Keep in mind, however, that cobalt and titanium are only additives to stainless steel and that no scissor is made of 100% cobalt or titanium or any other alloy.
Why Does The Type of Steel Matter?
Low quality scissors are made from inexpensive steel that will not hone to a fine an edge like a better grade of steel will. This affects the sharpness of the scissor blades and how well they hold an edge, as well as the smoothness of the blade action. You want sharpness so that you won’t bend the hair while cutting and to reduce the fatigue in your hands, arms and shoulders.
Workmanship is another factor that defines the degree of quality. The best scissors are hand-forged as opposed to cast or stamped shears. Stamped shears are the most inexpensive and are not usually hollow-ground. They are not as sharp and have a lot of drag on the blade. Many shears now made in Taiwan or China are cast shears that are digitally finished. The hardening process on cast scissors does not produce a shear that will hold an edge as long as a forged shear, and would be reflected in a lower price. Also, hand-forged shears can have a much sharper edge, depending on the craftsman making the shear, but the digital finishing produces a uniformly consistent mid-range scissor.
What is The Best Edge?
The edge you choose will determine from where your scissors come. Convex edge or bevel edge: Japanese or German? A Japanese style is convex edged and the German style is bevel edged. Convex edges are hollow ground to an extremely sharp edge, giving a very quick and smooth action. Which is best is determined by your taste, comfort, and scissoring technique.
In general, most poor quality scissors have a beveled edge because this edge is thicker than a convex edge and this thickness helps support the sharp edge of the blade. This means that the scissor will never cut as well as a convex shear and the edge will deteriorate more quickly. Most shears are made with a convex edge now and since the quality of a beveled shear must be very high to equal the performance of a convex shear.
Most stylists prefer a convex or clamshell edge.
Usually, when it comes to a hairdressing scissor, you’ll get what you pay for. We recommend you treat the purchase of your scissors as an investment in your business and find the best quality scissor you can afford.