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Why does the steel hardness matter in hair scissors

May 26, 2022

Firstly, to understand why scissor Steel Hardness matters in Hair cutting scissors, we think it's important to know what scissor Steel Hardness actually means. We are sure you have heard the term Steel hardness before or if you have not then you may have just stumbled across a very interesting read for sure.

When understanding scissor steel hardness it's also important to understand what the different stainless steel types there are and what's classified as good quality or cheap. Also understanding what type of scissor steel, whether it will be Japanese steel or German stainless steel, are reflected in a particular type of stainless steel.

Lucky enough most scissor steel grades are of excellent quality to use, where only a few low steel grades are not as great and cheap, But a Mid range scissor steel hardness is still considered high quality steel.

Today we will not only go over scissor Steel Hardness (although we will mainly focus on it) but we will give you some background information on steel too.

What is Steel Hardness

Steel hardness or Rockwell Hardness means the quality of steel in your hairdressing shear, which can also help determine the cost of the shear. Higher steel hardness means the steel is better quality, better edge retention, stronger and more durable. Where a lower steel hardness means the steel is soft, prone to breaking easier when dropped or just lower quality and cheaper steel.

Lower Steel Hardness like the 420 grade is most commonly used in low grade Pakistan made hair shears.

Starting from 440c steel grade or higher is an expensive Japanese grade of steel and the most commonly used grade of Japanese steel.

Rockwell hardness scale from Highest to Lowest

  • 61-63HRC- Hardest
  • 60-62HRC
  • 58-60HRC
  • 57-59HRC
  • 55-57HRC

50-55HRC- Softest

What's important with Steel Hard or Soft steel?

When a shear is manufactured they are actually made up of a wide range of steels and not only one stainless steel, this is because every type of material plays its own role in creating a superstar shear.

For example, Carbon is a great material to create strength in the shear and with the finished product it will have .95 and 1.2% of the content made up in your shear.

Having a high steel hardness is great in most circumstances because it means that shear will last through its lifetime warranty, but a harder stainless steel is not ideal for a slide cutting shear as that steel needs to be softer for the hair to glide through those blades.

Molybdenum is a type of material added into hair shears mainly for their corrosion resistance protection, that this material can give to the overall shear. This is important because if you think about how many chemicals your hairdressing scissors could be exposed to a day, then your hair cutting scissors would start to wear and dull over time.

Molybdenum also has some hardness qualities too, meaning it helps to strengthen your hairdressing scissors further.

Along with Manganese that also provides strength but more importantly, helps the sharp edge of the blade stay sharper for longer.

Chromium is a type of material that's added in to provide a heat resistance through the forging process of the hairdressing shear. Another extra fun fact about chromium is it helps the shear have better corrosion resistance.

Vanadium is used mainly to help keep your shears more set and balanced but also provide strength.

Titanium stainless steel and Cobalt increase the hardness of you scissors and reduce the weight of finished hair shears. So if you are looking for a lightweight shear then these are your materials.

So you may find that not all these materials will be forged into one shear but all different materials can make up a hair shears Rockwell Hardness scale, as no hairdressing shear will be made up of only one type of material. If it were made up of one type of material this would make your shear incredibly cheap.

Highest to Lowest Steel Grades

  • ATS-314- Higher quality stainless steel for hairdressing scissors
  • VG-10
  • V3
  • V1
  • S3
  • S1
  • 440C
  • 4440B
  • 440A
  • 420- Lowest quality scissor steel

German steel vs. Japanese steel

Japanese Stainless steel is known for being the best scissor steel quality in the world, not only the best scissor steel for Hairdressing scissors but the best high quality steel for Chefs knives too. Our Favorite manufactures for Japanese steel would be theAichiand Hitachifactories in Japan.

Japanese steel is the oldest high quality steel in the world for hair cutting scissors. You know what they say "If something is not broken, then don't fix it", That is a perfect analogy for Japanese steel because it was the first steel and still the best steel quality in the world.

Well known brands who use Japanese steels are.. Joewell, Matsui, Yasaka and Sozu to name a few. Which are all brands you will see sold on our website.

German Steel is a close second to Japanese Steel and is known for its strong robust traits of steel. German steel is a type of style that is forged better by machine making their hair shears, This is because the steel types require the steel to be made this way.

Germans are known for their world leading car manufacturing, so it makes sense that their stainless steel scissors are also held in high regard.

Brands that use German steel in their scissors are.. Jaguar, Gluck, Henbor, Tondeo.

Well there you have it! I'm sure you learnt a lot today in regards to quality Steel Hardness Scales, Also different types of materials and just general background knowledge on steel. If you purchase any type of Japanese stainless steel scissors or German style scissors then that is always a safe bet that you will be getting some great quality hair shears no matter the price tag.

If you're that type of person that just needs to understand why some scissors steels are more expensive than others then by visually seeing the quality Steel chart or Rockwell Hardness chart, would have given you a better idea why prices may vary and what would make one shears better than another.

Buying a new pair of Hairdressing scissors should never be a daunting experience so if you do ever need help or a point in the right direction, then please feel free to reach out to one of our friendly customer service representatives.

Happy shopping ! 

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