Scissor Tech Blog


How To Choose Hair Cutting Scissors

By Scissor Tech

hair cutting scissors

The perfect haircut often depends on the perfect pair of hair stylist scissors, but finding the perfect pair of shears can be quite tricky. This post shares the perfect tips and information to help you learn how to choose hair cutting scissors.

Trying to cut hair with cheap hairdressing shears is like trying to butter your toast with a garden spade; it is messy, difficult, and nobody walks away happy.

You can never be the great hairdresser you want to be if you use ordinary shears to cut your clients’ hair. Low-quality shears actually make the job of cutting hair much, much harder.. especially when you try to be accurate, detailed, and precise with your cuts.

How To Choose Hair Cutting Scissors For Your Client Cuts?

There’s a lot to consider when you choose professional hair cutting shears. After all, you’ll be using it for your work every day, and it’s an important long-term decision.

In fact, picking your shears is a bit like picking a long-term lover. You might start with how they look on first impressions, but then it’s about how they feel, and how they make you feel.

How do they feel in your hands? How sharp, how comfortable, how strong and how long? Will your friends like them? Do you want to be seen in public with them? Can you imagine holding them forever?

The most important thing to remember is to choose an ergonomic pair.

These will be more comfortable and cut down on the risks arising from repetitive movements.

Size Matters

You need to choose shears that fit your hand.

This helps you limit pain and stress while you use them. When buying hairdressing shears online, it’s vital to read the description carefully and also to understand the differences in the various types of shears.

Is There A “Right” Pair of Hairdressing Shears?


Choosing the right shears depends on function, comfort, and ease of use.

The various types of shears used by professional stylists are:

  • Opposing Handle Shears – The traditional design that is now outdated and will cause wrist pain and problems later in your career
  • Offset Handle Shears – Popular ergonomic shears that give control to the thumb. These are a great start to reducing wrist pain and carpel tunnel related wrist pain in your later career
  • Short Blade Shears – For general cutting and precision cutting
  • Medium Blade shears – 5.5” – 6” what is most commonly used for styling women’s hair
  • Long Blade Shears – Usually used by barbers
  • Crane Handle Shears – Ergonomically designed to drop the elbow for prolonged cutting sessions
  • Swivel Handle Shears – The handles rotate and swivel to reduce wrist pain and the risk of repetitive strain injury
  • Texturizing Thinning Shears – Blades have 30-40 teeth and are designed to thin hair with 40-50% cutaway
  • Wide Tooth Chomping Shears – Blades have 16-20 teeth and are designed to cutaway 15-25% on thick, curly hair

Making the choice

Classic handle shears are chosen by stylists who cut hair using their middle finger and thumb. The problem is though,with prolonged use, they cause wrist pain and stress which can lead to RSI.

These most closely resemble what you see when you think of shears. Use them to give eyebrow trims at a Spock convention, and everybody will look shocked.

A pair of shears with an offset handle is a better choice as these help control movement of the thumb. It also enables a more natural and relaxed hand position , giving you more control over your haircutting methods and also reducing wrist strain and pain

The crane handle helps limit the risk of hand and shoulder injuries that occur with the repeated motions involved with cutting hair. It also keeps your blood flow optimal while you do your job. (Blood flow is important; good shears also reduce the likelihood of blood flow coming from your client!)

Swivel handle shears (aka rotary push shears) are often the most ergonomic and comfortable but are not as commonly used as other types of ergonomic shears. They will limit stress to your hand while cutting and keep your hand, wrist, and arm in a neutral position, rather than angling it as you cut.

The Importance of Ergonomics

When it comes to hairdressing shears, ergonomics essentially means offset handles. With offset shears, the thumb is positioned more naturally to the side, rather than directly above the finger.

Any stylist who spends long periods of time cutting should choose an ergonomic pair of shears. The repetitive movements of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder can lead to at the least, wrist pain, and at the worst, conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and bursitis.

Be warned, getting workplace compensation as a hair stylist for these conditions is incredibly difficult, especially if you are working as an independent hairdresser who rents a chair in a salon.

Repetitive strain injuries can severely impact your ability to work effectively, and in some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome can only be corrected with surgery.

Ergonomic shears are designed to reduce the level of stress on the back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand during the cutting process.

Ergonomic shears usually cost more, but the rewards are much greater and the risks are much lower. Remember, these are an investment, and who better for you to invest in than yourself. If you want to be your best, then it makes sense to invest in the best tools.

How to Maintain Your Shears?

When you have the perfect shears you love, you will want to look after them.

You don’t have to give them a long warm bath with candles and a massage every night, but some regular loving is important.

As your main styling tool, hair shears are a long-term investment and should be cared for properly.

  • Quality shears are supplied with light oil. This should be used regularly to keep your shears in the best condition.
  • Keep them clean. It is good practice to clean and sanitize shears after every customer. Do not allow them to dry with water or cleaning fluid on them.
  • Store them properly, i.e. put them in a clean place.
  • A soft lined case is preferable if they are traveling, otherwise they should be laid out on station mats.
  • Never use them to cut anything but hair. Even innocently allowing your kids to use them to cut paper will dull them.

When to Sharpen Your Shears?

All shears will require sharpening after a time. Dulled shears can be cured the same way as dull people – with a rock!

As your scissors begin to dull, they will start to bend the hair and push the hair off the tips of the blades that will take longer to cut with. Adding a little extra tension can help solve this but eventually they will need to be serviced and sharpened.

Cutting hair with dulled shears requires more effort. It will be less precise, and the edging will not be as crisp.

If your shears are dropped, they will often feel like they are crunching, and this is a clear sign that they then need to be sharpened and serviced, which will bring them back to as good as new.

Premium quality hairdressing shears need to be looked after properly. When it comes to sharpening, you can browse online and find loads of ways to sharpen shears but these methods are not advisable.

Let’s cut to the chase. To sharpen hairdressing shears properly, it needs a precision machine that costs $25,000. (Yes, seriously!) It doesn’t make sense for a salon to own such a machine for use just once or twice a year.

Quality shears are designed for longevity but will need sharpening every six or twelve months depending on use so it makes more economical and financial sense to use a professional sharpening service.

Find a local professional service you can trust. Don’t deal with the cowboys who try to sell you a new set of scissors when yours just need sharpening. Also, avoid those who have the knives out for you! That is, avoid services who sharpen knives as their main business as they may not have the correct equipment.

Essential Hairdressing Tools

Shears are the essential tools of any stylist and salon, and high quality shears are the best investment in your hairdressing business. Choose the best you can afford and look after them well.

Ready to choose your perfect pair of hair cutting scissors?

Are you ready to find the perfect shears you will love to use?

Check out our superior range of the world’s best hair shears.

Next post: Steel Hardness & Why It Matters.


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About Scissor Tech

Scissor Tech has been established since 1998. And we are now expanding our range to sell our products online and overseas. We have been providing a professional, reliable mobile service exclusively to hairdressers & barbers for the past 18 years. This includes sharpening and servicing left handed, thinning and texturing scissors.

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