How to choose shears for cutting hair

June 08, 2022

Choosing your shears is one of the most important decisions you will make in your career! After all they are basically a hairdresser,and barbers, best friends-always there to help you out. If you choose the right pair of scissors they can help you execute amazing, professional hair cuts. They certainly are a big investment!Here are all the things to consider when finding the right pair of scissors for you.


Hairdressing shears can be a major investment so you will want to make sure they last. Most high quality scissors will be made from Japanese steel or German steel. High quality steel ensures your hair cutting shears will stay sharp and hold their sharpened edge longer. Again, this is important when you choose scissors as they are an investment in your career!

There are different types of Japanese steel- and you can determine the quality by the grading. The softest steel you will come across is 440A. This steel will dull quicker, but is good for a less expensive back up pair, or entry level scissors for student hairdressers. 440C graded steel is stronger and probably the best bang for your buck. It will stand up to a lot of wear and tear, but is reasonably priced. Probably the best steel you will be able to find the VG10. VG10 is a high end japanese steel. It is long lasting, durable and hard. It is a more expensive steel and worth every penny! Then you can get a little fancier and find a Damascus steel scissors range. Damascus steel is made out of many layers of VG10 steel. These layers are folders on themselves to create your shear. They are super sharp, precise and have a cool design in them, but they will hit your bank account harder.

So when considering what type of steel you will use, your first consideration should be your budget. A softer steel will not last you as long, and need to be sharpened sooner, however it will be more budget friendly. If you're the most seasoned hairdresser you will most likely want to spend more money to have a stronger, sharper shear that will last you for many many cuts.


Now that you've decided what quality hair shears are best for you we can determine what size hair scissor is best. Let's be honest, you will probably want more than one scissor, your hair cutting technique will help you determine which length to choose.

Professional hairdressing scissors vary in length - most popular being between 5in and 6in. You can measure the best length for your hand using your palm and middle finger. That being said you may decide to get a few different lengths as they each have their own job.

Most hairdressers find the 5.5in shear to be the best for everyday use. It has enough length that it is easy for blunt cutting, but also not too long, so you have more control. Most barbers will find a longer scissor like a 6.5in or 7in will work best for them. Longer scissors are best for different barbering techniques, like scissors over comb.

Smaller sized scissors also have their place at your station. Shorter shears can be very helpful when point cutting or texturizing hair. If you find yourself specializing in precision cuts and short textured hair, smaller scissors- like 4.5 or 5 in may be your go to. They may not be your go to for straight line cutting but they will be what you grab when detailing your work and giving your cat a precise shape.


You will now have to decide which handle will be the best for you. Sounds so basic, but this may be the most important part. Scissor handles will contribute to how your hand, wrists and elbows feel after a long week of cutting hair.

The classic scissor handle is a completely straight handle. Back in the day this is how all scissors were made. They were meant to be used with your thumb and middle finger. Over time a straight handle can put a lot of strain on your wrist and elbow, causing pain and potentially carpal tunnel syndrome. However if you are more comfortable cutting with your middle finger and thumb, these are the shears for you.

Luckily for us hair cutting scissors have come a long way. We now have a variety of ergonomic handles to choose from. So if you're a busy hairdresser who has begun to feel some pain in your wrists these are the right scissors for you.

Your most common would be the offset handles. An offset handle has the thumb set slightly back to give you a more natural grip. Offset handles help to prevent repetitive stress injuries.

You will also find that you may decide to choose the crane handle. The crane handle has the thumb set below the middle finger and blades horizontal. This design helps to keep the thumb in its most natural and comfortable position. The placement of the thumb hole and blade also brings your elbow down, removing the stress from your shoulder.

The most ergonomically designed scissor handles are the swivel thumb. This design is meant for you to be able to move your thumb around, making cutting on any angle easy and less painful.


Time to choose your blades! There are three main types of blades to choose from. Again, we must consider our cutting style.

Convex blades are the sharpest option you'll find. They are great for advanced cutting techniques and detail work. The convex edge blade has the sharpest edge, however they are not recommended for blunt cutting as it will dull the edge.The sharper convex edge is also more sensitive and can dull quicker so will need more upkeep and sharpening, they are haircutting shears for the experienced hair dresser.

Next is the semi- convex edge blades. These blades are the most versatile and best for every hair cut .They are sharper than a beveled edge and more durable than a convex edge. They will certainly be the ones you reach for the most.

Your other option is the beveled edge. The beveled edge cuts well but is not as sharp as the convex or semi convex blade. They have a thicker edge so are more durable, however their edge is not ideal for texturizing and slide cutting. If you're doing lots of blunt cuts and scissor over comb, this blade may be best for you. It is usually a little more affordable, but quite durable.. they can take a bit of a beating!

And to top it all off .. you can even find a serrated edge blade. Serrated scissors or micro serrated scissors are usually also a beveled edge. These blades are created to help grip the hair as you cut. They are great for those just starting out or the more seasoned hairdresser/ barber who does a lot of scissor over comb work.

When choosing a blade you may also want to consider whether you will be using these shears for cutting wet or dry hair. If you specialize in cutting dry hair you may want a convex edge blade, which can cut the hair wet or dry. And with dry hair you will want to avoid serrated edges as they can be uncomfortable for your client. If you're slice cutting, slide cutting or any other advanced wet or dry hairdressing techniques you will want the sharpest, convex blades.


Texturizing/ Thinning shears

These shears are certainly a must for any hair cutting kit. But which is best for you?

What is the difference between thinning scissors and texturizing scissors ? Well basically - thinning scissors have more teeth, usually around 40 teeth. These teeth are set close together and are used for removing weight and softening edges. Every hairdresser and barber needs one of these!

Texturizing shears have less teeth, anywhere from 5- 25 teeth and they're further apart. These shears will help to add a chunkier texture, removing more hair closer together. These are best for someone who does a lot of short hairstyles with lots of texture.. Barbers too!

Barber Shears

Of course if you're a barber your station may look different from a hairstylist. Besides the abundance of clippers and trimmers, you will most likely find a few pairs of shears. What shears are best for barbers?

Well of course it varies from barber to barber. If you're a barber who does a lot of scissor over comb you will most likely want longer blades. You may also want to consider a serrated edge blade. The serrated edge helps to hold the hair in place while you cut, making scissor over a comb a breeze.

If you're the type of barber who uses mostly clippers but still needs shears for detail work, you may gravitate more towards shorter, semi-convex edge blades. A shorter shear will help you with deep point cutting or slide cutting, to achieve texture in your cuts. You may find that using a 6 inch shear helps you with texturizing but also fine detailing after clipper work. And of course, you will want a pair of thinning scissors. These scissors can really help clean up your fades.

Such a big decision!

There seems to be a lot to consider when purchasing a pair of scissors, and you may feel a bit overwhelmed on how to decide. However, that's what we are here for ! Hopefully some of these tips have helped you think about what kind of hairdresser/ barber you are and what shears will work best for you!

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