How To Choose Hairdressing Scissors & Barber Shears Guide

Ask any barber and hairdresser about their shears. Hairdressing scissors have the best versatility. They can be used to perform many different types of hairstyles and offer many options for creating different effects with one cut.

Scissors come at different sizes, and it can be a challenge to choose the right size for you.

Good scissors are an investment. If you treat them with respect and love, they will last a lifetime. It is crucial to select the right scissors for your needs. They will become an extension of you hand and help you define who you are.

We are not going to let you get lost in the multitude of brands and make choices. Instead, we have created a guide for how to pick the perfect pair and how to keep them safe throughout their lives.

How scissors work and where they are made

All hair cutting scissors made from stainless steel are produced in Japan. Korea, Germany. Taiwan. China. India. Japanese steel is of the highest quality, while Indian and Pakistani steels have lower standards.

It is important you know that stainless-steel is not stainproof. Special care should be taken in order to prevent stains.

Hand-forged scissors make the best cut, unlike cast and stamped. The sharper, hand-forged knives will have a better edge than those made from cast and stamped materials.

All scissors have uniform hollowgrinding (CONCAVE), at the inner edges of their blades.

Cheaper scissors generally have a thicker beveled blade, which can lead to faster deterioration. Today’s scissors come with a convex edges, making it easier for stylists and designers to move with the flow.

What are the best scissors?

Measure the length of the cutting scissors against your middle finger. Then measure the length across your palm. Most scissors are between 4.5”-8”.

Left-handed stylists may use right-handed scissors, putting more tension on the hands. The sharp edge will be on the left-hand end of the blade for left-handed scissors.

Be sure to check that the holes in your scissor hands are not too loose or sloppy. Plastic inserts may be used to reduce size of finger holes.

Today, many brands make “ergonomic” scissors. They are designed to reduce pressure on the hands and arms. There are three basic ergonomic styles: double-swivels (swivels), swivels (off set), and swivels (swivels).

There are many sizes available for scissors. You can cut hair with smaller scissors between 4.5’’ and 5.5’’. The longer (6’’) scissors are better for techniques such as scissorovercomb. It takes a lot longer to complete the scissor/comb technique. 

While this may seem quicker, smaller scissors are also faster and more precise. A barber/hairdresser should always have a variety scissors of different lengths so they can create any type haircut. To achieve the best result and fastest, you should use smaller scissors to create your cut, and larger scissors in order to blend with a scissor and over comb.

It is important that your scissors feel good in your hands. This will minimize hand fatigue and reduce the likelihood of developing RSI. 

Many hairdressers own multiple pairs of scissors, which they can use to perform different types or jobs. You don’t want to spend too much on your first set of scissors if you’re just getting started in hairdressing.

What size scissors are best for me (barber and hairdresser):

Some stylists prefer to use long scissors, while some prefer shorter ones. It all depends on the type or cutting you do. Measurement of the length of a scissor starts at the tip of the blade and ends at the longest fingerhole. It doesn’t include the fingerrest.

To determine the size you prefer, place a pair if scissors on your palm. With the finger hole touching your thumb’s base, the tip should touch your middle finger.

What blade type is best for cutting hair?

There are two types generally of hair-cutting scissors: convex and bevelled. Which type of hair cutting scissor blade you choose will depend upon your career stage, personal preference and financial resources.

Bevelled edge scissors

These bevelled-edge swords are made from a blend of metals. They are light weight and widely used by hairdressers and barbers for all types of haircutting. 

Micro-serrated edge scissors

This design is common in Europe and features micro serrations at one or both ends.

As they prevent hair sliding down the blade, microserrated blades make great learning tools.

They can also be used to do slow detail cuts or on dry hair. However they cannot cut straight because the hair will get stuck on the blade. You can use them for all types of cutting, but the best ones are polished bevelled-edge blades.

Convex blade scissors

Convex Blades are commonly referred to “Japanese Style”, and they are the sharpest type, with an arazorlike edge. All convex-edged razors have a hollow edge on the inside which creates a smooth cutting action. They are great for cutting all types of hair, but especially for slicing. They are best used by more experienced hairdressers.

Which type of scissor handle is best for me?

While each design has its advantages, it is important to choose a design that feels good for you. This will vary depending on the shape and style of your hands. There are three main types for handle design:

  • The opposing handle (classic/traditional): Level or Even handle – The basic design. The handles appear symmetrical but are quite straight.
  • The ergonomic offset handle: The handle with the longer handle is the one that is in front. This allows for a more open grip and allows the elbow and arm of the cutter to be in a lower place, making it easier for cutting.
  • The superior ergonomic crane handle: similar to offset but with a straight top. This allows for a lower elbow placement.

How should I choose a left or right handed hair scissor?

Many stylists are left-handed and start their careers by using right-handed scissors. The reversed blades of left-handed scissors allow for more natural cutting and leave handers are able to reduce their wrist and hand pain by not having to use as much force.

We recommend always using the correct type of scissor for your dominant hands. It may be challenging to make the switch if your hands are already right-handed.

Should I choose scissors with cobalt, 440C, or molybdenum steel?

Many high-end scissors use blades made of steel that has been strengthened by adding other substances. The handles are generally made from softer material.

Cobalt acts as such an additive. Mollybdenum also helps increase the strength of the metal and provides flexibility.

Does is matter what screw type is on the scissor?

The majority of scissors have a flat or standard screw system. This works well for setting the tension. However, a screwdriver is required. 

A adjustable screw is preferable by many because it allows you to manually turn the small screw and adjust the tension accordingly.

By fully opening your scissors, you can test the tension. Next, allow one of the blades to fall free towards fully closed. When tension is correct it should stop smoothly at the tenth of an hour.

How often does my razor need to be sharpened

It depends on how frequently they are used and what type or blade they are. All scissors should be serviced annually, but many people have them checked every 3-6 months.

Sharpening your scissors is a delicate business. Convex blades require special training and specialized equipment. Many sharpeners do not have this equipment and could leave scissors with a very different appearance than their original state.

Which scissors do I need for slicing

Convex blades will be the best and most sharpest for slicing. But, it is also possible to use bevelled edge scissors. Quality is key. It will make slicing and chipping easier.

Do I need thinning scissors?

Yes. Yes, although you may not use them for every cut. They are great for shaping and finalising a haircut.

What is texturising and what are they?

Texturisers are hair thinners that reduce hair thickness while adding texture to the design. There are many brands of hair-thinning products on the marketplace. While a basic product will trim some of your hair, it will not make a dramatic style.

What kind of routine maintenance should I perform?

Barber scissors and hairdressing tools are precision instruments that require frequent cleaning and oiling. Use a good mineral-based, oil-based clipper oil instead.