Does the kind of scissors you use to cut hair at home really matter?
Only if you don’t want all sorts of split ends due to damaging the all-important cuticle.
Only if you don’t mind hair that looks like it was gnawed at by an angry chipmunk.
Only if you don’t mind dull hair with frayed ends from an at home tune up that hacked away at your precious strands.
To make sure that doesn’t happen here’s answers to seven common questions about hair cutting scissors.
When you’re done the wrong shears won’t be the reason for a home hair cut gone bad. Because you’ll have answers to questions like these:
Quick Section Navigation
- Wanna Know the Best Scissors For Cutting Hair?
- How Do I Choose The Best Scissors For Cutting Hair At Home?
- How Are Hair Cutting Scissors Different Again?
- Anatomy of Hair Cutting Shears Diagram
- How To Hold Hair Cutting Shears The Right Way
- What Size Hair Shears Should I Get?
- Yeah But…Can You Use Regular Scissors To Cut Hair?
- How To Tell If Your Hair Cutting Scissors Are Dull
Wanna Know the Best Scissors For Cutting Hair?
I’m purposely not answering this question with a specific brand or type of scissors. Instead I’m suggesting what NOT to use.
Because when too may get the urge to cut their own hair, they run to the kitchen, grab a pair of scissors out of the drawer and have at it.
As we already pointed out that will give you ends that look like they were chewed off by a beaver. Who wants that?
The reason for that is simple. Your normal household scissors aren’t anywhere near sharp enough.
Instead you want to buy super sharp hair cutting scissors.
But there’s a problem. A quick online search for the “best scissors for cutting hair” isn’t exactly helpful.
First the sheer number of results can be overwhelming.
Then there’s the price. The range is vast. From something between $20-$30 all way up to $1000.
Relax. The big dollar options are for those cutting hair all day. Who need more precision than any one cutting hair home is likely to ever need.
To put your mind at ease you can get quite serviceable shears for $50 or less.
If you can forgive some brand name dropping there are options from Tweezerman, Equino, or Cricket that have tons of rave reviews on Amazon.
Most likely any of them will be good enough for your needs.
Okay but …
How Do I Choose The Best Scissors For Cutting Hair At Home?
This question is key. Because until you have a solid pair of hair cutting scissors it’s best to reign in that urge to go all DIY on curtain bangs. Or snipping whatever fringe has caught your eye.
Remember. No matter how great you feel those kitchen shears are they simply aren’t going to cut it.
So knowing that you may be asking which scissors are best for cutting hair at home?
Obviously there’s a lot that could be written about picking at the best home hair cutting scissors for your situation. Here’s three hot topics or things to consider.
We won’t cover each in depth here but how about if we bring up a key think-about for each?
- The types of scissor edges
- The types of scissor handles
- The different materials scissors are made from
To me this all comes down to the blades. They determine how sharp the scissors are, how long they will stay that way and what kind of maintenance and upkeep is required.
What You Need To Know About Hair Cutting Scissor Blades
The edges found on these scissors come down to sharp, sharper, sharpest. The best of them will slice any finger run over it. Now that’s sharp!
Ranked in roughly the order of sharpness
- Semi convex
As you’d expect the price jumps each level down you go.
The two most common options are the first and last.
Stylist prefer convex which are usually Japanese forged steel because they have sharpness superiority. Meaning they hold their sharpness and cut precisely. But they aren’t cheap.
Still it’s likely that even a pair of beveled hair cutters (which typically have micro serrations on one or both of the blades) will be good enough and durable enough for what you need.
Tip: The best way to get your scissors sharpened? It’s usually to send them back to the manufacturer.
Some offer free sharpening but don’t let that sway you. Even the busiest stylist likely doesn’t get his or her shears sharpened but maybe every six months. And they’re cutting hair all day.
So unless you drop yours repeatedly or abuse them in some other way they should hold sufficient sharpness for years. Further on down we discuss how to tell when yours have lost their edge.
What You Need To Know About Hair Cutting Scissor Handles
Here’s there are two options.
Basically with the offset grip the thumb handle is shorter than the ring finger handle. This is ergonomically superior. But only if you plan on opening a side business cutting hair.
Otherwise you want yours to feel comfortable. And be just right. Not too large and not too small.
What You Need To Know About the Materials Hair Cutting Scissors Are Made Of
Relatively inexpensive shears are made of high-quality stainless-steel or surgical steel.
Your better options are made of specialty steels and will be priced at $100 and up. As high as $1000 up.
When you get into the higher quality there are two leaders – those made by the Japanese or Germans.
Unless you want scissors to impress your friends surgical steel should be adequate.
Now if you one of those people who demands to know all there is to know about a topic before you feel comfortable here’s the video clip for you. It covers the ins and outs of selecting scissors according to a barber.
This clip discusses what might go into your decision when it comes to picking the tool that’s right for you.
Remember this is a guy who cuts hair for a living. His audience is those who do too. So that will tilt his recommendations towards salon level options.
Despite that we still felt it was good to hear how a pro looks at his choices in scissors.
Naturally, as you’d expect if you’ve been paying attention, he needs a top rated convex blade.
For your purposes the smart choice would probably be beveled simply because the price is right and they’re good enough.
Then you can decide if the ergonomic benefits of offset handles are important to you or not.
Also I wouldn’t turn my nose up to a shear that’s 5.5 inches just because you can’t do all the pro cutting moves with them.
All that said, felt it was helpful to see what he looks for from his experience. Because it might just help you too!
Just to review…
How Are Hair Cutting Scissors Different Again?
The blades are thinner and usually made of stainless steel or better.
The loops or where you put your fingers are more petite.
Rather than all purpose cutting tools they are designed to do one thing. Cut hair. If you use them to cut other things they won’t be good at their intended purpose.
Tip: Does your scissor have the right amount of tension?
You care because if the tension is getting loose you’ll bend the hair as you close the blade. That can impact the quality of cut.
Here’s a quick look at how to test to see if your scissors have the right tension.
Adjust the tension screw based on the results of your tension test. Remember righty tighty lefty loosey
Your Anatomy of Hair Cutting Shears Diagram
This diagram, complete with the labeled parts of hair cutting shears, might help you see there’s more to them than just being scissors.
Oh and if you’re wondering why do hair cutting scissors have that little hook? That’s called the tang. And it’s where your pinkie goes!
How To Hold Hair Cutting Shears The Right Way
Who knew there was a right way and wrong way to do this?
This quick clip shows how to hold your hair cutting shears for maxium comfort, control and effect.
Basically you’re going to hold the scissors with the “tang” on top. Your pinkie rests on that.
The tip of your thumb goes through the bottom hole. The tip of your ring finger through the top one.
Notice that you’re using just the tips of your thumb and ring finger to run the show. This alone shows what a force multiplier the right tools can be – assuming of course you know how to use them right.
What Size Hair Shears Should I Get?
The size of hair shears is measured by the distance from the tip of the blades to the end of the farthest from the tip finger hole.
Anymore the shortest is going to come in at 4.25 inches.
From there the length then increases by half in increments.
The longest you can get is 6.5 inches. Maybe 7.
Shorter is better for cutting in tight spaces like around the ear. Or cutting short haircuts. Better control. More precise cut.
Longer means you have to open the scissor less often. So like if you’re going a straight across bang if you only have to open and close twice, it’s more apt to be to an even line.
Which is best for you? 5.5 is often cited as the best buy for the home hair cutter. Not too long. Not too short. Just right for most situations.
So if you’re wondering what size hair shears should I get that may well be your best bet.
Yeah But…Can You Use Regular Scissors To Cut Hair?
Thought we covered this already but yeah you can. If you aren’t cutting a lot of hair or can live with uneven strands of sadness.
In that case normal kitchen or craft scissors are fine.
Probably better than calling in Edwards Scissorhands.
And you see Youtubers doing it all the time. Confessing something like “we are going to work with what we got” when it comes to scissors.
Problem is what you’ve got aren’t sharp.
The blades are wide, thick and bulky making any kind of precision cut challenging.
Everyday scissors come with serious grips because you’re going to have to put some serious force behind the cut.
While the delicate loops on hair shears signal hardly any effort is needed to slice through your locks.
They’re controlled with the tips of your thumb and ring fingers after all. That’s because the tool is sharp enough to do the work for you.
What you’ve got around the house whacks off the hair rather than gliding through it like butter with nary a sound.
The result can be a cut that’s uneven and looks more shabby than chic. Definitely not the look most, especially those with bangs, are going for.
But yeah you can use regular scissors if you aren’t too picky about the results.
Finally let’s close with one last useful video that explains…
How To Tell If Your Hair Cutting Scissors Are Dull
This four minute video shows how to use a single ply tissue to find out if your shears need sharpening. Very simple. Also very good to know.
Plus it explains what you must do first to make sure you get an accurate read.
It also shows another way to test if there is enough tension or if your scissors are too loose.
Speaking of dullness …. should you invest in hair cutting scissors do NOT ever use them for anything but cutting hair.
No slicing pizza.
No cutting off an itchy tag terrorizing the back of your neck.
Don’t even use them to snip off a loose thread on your hoodie.
That’s because they are precisely honed with a thin, super sharp edge. Using them to cut anything “harder” than hair puts tiny nicks in the blades eventually dulling them. Okay?
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