May your scissors always be sharp
Your fingers stay nimble
Your hairbrush at hand
Your feet without bunions and
May you always have a smile on
your face as you help keep everyone’s hair in the style of the day
~ author unknown
Most patrons fail to consider the importance of scissors. They go every couple of months for a trim. Hair falls all around them to tune of the snickering blades. Afterwards, their hair looks fantastic but they’ve taken for granted the job done. Most clients never consider the importance of a hairdresser’s most important tool – the scissors.
Most people have had a bad haircut or two. Those experiences solidify that the artistic merit of a hairdresser is important for a great haircut. As an artist, the quality of their main tool is vital to maintaining their good reputation and maintaining high customer satisfaction.
When it comes to the hair on your head, quality and style define your personality. Maintaining that look through regular cutting and trimming ideally requires a professional both in a hairdresser and in the right kind of professional hairdressing shears.
Hairdressing Scissor Styles and Intended Use
There are two main criteria for scissor choice:
- The cutting style to be performed
- Comfort of the scissors in the stylists hand
Will a stylist have dozens of shears at their disposal? Likely not, but as they often have hair styles they do more than others, they will choose 2 or 3 styles best suited to their needs. Cutting style determines the shape of the scissor. Size of the scissor reflects the precision required for the cut. Smaller scissors lend themselves to a more precise look and shape while longer scissors give better results for over the comb cutting and basic trims. A final criterion for scissor choice are allergies of the stylist. A nickel allergy for example may require a stylist have a coating on the scissors to prevent a reaction.
Shape of the Hairdressing Scissors
The right pair of scissors is comfortable in the stylists hand and reduces hand fatigue. Stylists can work extremely long days so comfort is vital. There are 3 basic scissor shapes:
- Classic: the upper and lower blade are the same shape and the finger rings line up. Because the elbow needs to be high, these scissors are great for deep point cutting.
- Offset: the hand area is angled and they have a shorter thumb handle than finger ring handle resulting in less stress on the thumb tendon. This design reduces the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS). These scissors are suited for vertical and straight line cutting including bobs and one-length cuts.
- Crane: the upper blade is straight while the handle shank is angled down which reduces the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI) and carpel tunnel syndrome because the elbow can work in a lower, more natural position. These scissors are also appropriate for vertical and straight line cutting including bobs and one-length cuts.
The blades of cutting shears may also vary depending on the stylist and the cut. Serrated scissors or microserrated scissors are great for the beginner stylist. The serrated blade grips the hair and ensures a straight cut. Serrated scissors are also used as thinning shears for those patrons with thick hair and for softening the edges of a haircut. Convex edge scissors are the sharpest, smoothest cutting blade. Their design is perfect for slice cutting and chopping.
Caring for Scissors
Artistic merit and superb tools are important to a great haircut. But maintaining those tools is equally as important. Dull scissors are a haircut’s worst nightmare. Without well-sharpened scissors, hair will tear resulting in an uneven cut and an unhappy client. How often should scissors be maintained? That depends:
- On how often they’re used
- What type of cutting is done most often
- How they are looked after
- The type of blade
If you follow a regular maintenance schedule as outlined below, scissors will have a long, serviceable lifetime:
- Clean scissors daily with a damp cloth.
- When using the scissor for permed or coloured hair, wipe the blades with alcohol to remove damaging residue.
- Oil scissors weekly or more often if required.
- Keep them in their case when not being used.
- Get them serviced yearly which includes cleaning, setting, balancing and sharpening.
Most clients think very little about the tools used by their hairdresser. They want a great haircut that makes them look and feel wonderful. They may not think about the tools being used but they will notice a bad haircut.
Clients are a hairdresser’s bread and butter. Having the best hairdressing scissors and maintaining those tools is paramount to developing a great reputation and maintaining high customer satisfaction.