How often should you sharpen your shears?

August 11, 2021

This is probably one of the most important articles a hairdresser or barber could read in their career. While it can be easy to ‘forget’ to sharpen your shears, we advise you try your hardest not to forget. Have you ever been cutting away on a client's hair and thought something isn’t right and you can’t pinpoint what it is? It’s more than likely because your shears have gone dull and are no longer as sharp as what they used to be. Depending how often you are using your shears will obviously have an affect on how often you should get your shears sharpened, this being said however, it can also be a pretty straight to the point answer.

You came here to be educated and that is what you will be after reading this article.  How often you sharpen your shears should also be in line with how to take care of your shears, this includes, oiling, tension adjustment and of course cleaning your shears. If you don't keep up with any of this  general maintenance please don't expect your shears to last as long as they should. So the age old question we should really be asking here is how should you maintain your shears? Keep reading to find out.

How often should you maintain your shears?

This shouldn’t really be a question in this day in age but unfortunately - it is! Not a lot of places educate on how or when to maintain shears to extend the life of them. Whether it’s a salon, a shear sharpener or simply at the beginningor through your hairdressing training. It. Needs. To. Be. Taught. More. Often. Why it's not, is beyond us! We spend so much money on our tools alone with the hope that they will last a long time or even better nearly your whole hairdressing career.

So how often should we maintain our shears? For us that’s an easy question however, it can be cut into different categories of maintenance. Maintenance includes the following Cleaning, Oiling, tensioning and of course sharpening. But how often should you do each?

  • General cleaning including wiping down you shears of excess hair and putting them back into your scissor case - every time you use them
  • Oiling your shears - at minimum, once a week or once every day after use (of course pending on how often you use your scissors on a daily basis)
  • Tension - much like the oiling at least once a week to make sure they are at the perfect tension all the time OR anytime you feel the tension has come loose.
  • Sharpen - (this is a huge one) every 6 - 12 months at minimum. Again, pending how often you are using your shears but believe it or not the more you maintain and keep your scissors sharp actually extends the life of the blades therefor keeping the longevity of your shears. 

If you follow our recommendations you should expect your shears to last you years on end. If I’m honest, my first pair of shears are still going strong years later with the proper care taken to them! Now that you know how often you should maintain your shears - please tell all your hairdressing and barbering friends if they want the most out of their shears, to do the same.


How long do professional shears last?

This question is very appropriate given what we just spoke about. A professional hair cutting shear should last you years on end. Of course some factors come into play with the life length of your shears like for example how often you use your shears? Do you have more than one pair you use so all the work isn't on the one shear? Are you at the start of your hair career? Are you at the end? Regardless of what question is being asked it all boils down to the type of quality shear you bought. 

If you bought a cheap, low quality pair of scissors then expect them to need to be sharpened more often than not, rather than up to 2 times a year on average you should expect to be sharpening them 3, 4 even up to 5 times a year. Why? Because the cheaper the steel the quicker it's worn and easily turned dull/blunt no matter how often you’re using your shear. 

However, If you are to properly invest in a high quality more expensive shear you can then expect the life of your shears to last you years! Why? It’s because of yes, you guessed it, the quality of steel used! While you may think some scissors are way out of your budget and you choose to buy cheaper ones to get you by, you end up spending the same amount of money in the long run. The cheaper the shear, the quicker the ware, whereas the more expensive the shear the longer it will last as the high quality steel keeps its sharpness for a longer amount of time and therefore only needs to be sharpened once or maybe twice a year. Ta Da! There are reasons behind everything, people!



How often should you check the tension of the scissors?

While it’s all well and good to keep your scissors on the sharp side, you also need to keep the tension of your shears in tact. Having too loose or too tight tension on your shears can cause them to dull quicker and make them work harder than they should. You invest enough into your shears so why not invest some time into them. Unfortunately tension of all shears whether they’re expensive or cheap, high quality or low quality, all tension needs to be checked regularly. It's all due to plain old wear and tear, not saying that it's a bad thing, because nothing ever stays new (unless you don't use it of course) but it's from the simple open and closing motion used when your shears are in use, so it just becomes a part of shear maintenance. 

So how often should you be checking the tensions of your scissors? Easy, After every working day, it takes literally 1 minute (even less) to check the tension of your scissors. If that’s too hard or too often for how much you use your shears then at least be doing it once a week. Plus, checking and readjusting your tension is simple! Watch this video below for a super easy step by step lesson on how to check and readjust your tension 

How to tension your scissors

Bottom line

Look we get it as well, some accidents can happen like you've dropped your scissor  and the tips of the blades either have a slight bend to the metal or a little nick on the edge of the blade, each manufacturer will have their own warranty against those kinds of things but as long as you have followed the process of maintaining your scissor and keeping it serviced ready to go then you should be able to completely repair it from a professional scissor sharpener (as long as the drop wasn't too bad). 

The bottom line is simple, sharpen your shears at minimum 2 times a year (Once every 6 months) and for the love of hair maintain your shears to get the most out of their life. You as a professional teach your clients to maintain their hair every 6 - 12 weeks, so it's our job to now tell you to maintain your shears. Think of it as a car, you would drive a car that hasn't been serviced in years so why would you use a pair of shears that have not been maintained? You wouldn't! So off you go, go oil up your shears, check the tension and get cutting. 

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