How to hold hairdressing scissors

November 11, 2020

So, you want to know how to hold hairdressing scissors correctly? Holding salon hair cutting scissors also known as hairdressing/barbering scissors or even shears may seem straightforward, however, it's not as simple as it seems. To the untrained or the average person they normally handle the scissors as they would with a pair of plain old kitchen scissors. Unfortunately, kitchen scissors and professional hairdressing scissors are completely different so it can be a little tricky for newbies to get the correct hold of professional hairdressing scissors. For professional hairdressers to be able to cut hair they first need to learn the importance of using and handling hair cutting scissors before cutting hair on anyone. Know what hairstylist should know about hair shears. Once you the professional hairdresser have the art of how to hold your shears then, by all means, cut hair like there is no tomorrow!

Professional hairdressing scissors placed in a semi-circular array on bright pink background.

How do you hold hair cutting scissors?

To hold the hair cutting scissors correctly can be quite simple as long as before anything the correct size has been chosen for the hand, fingers and thumb. If the finger holes for your thumb and ring finger on the shears are too big you won't be able to grip the scissors when cutting hair and can cause you to drop the scissors and potentially damage them. If they are too small, well enough said really as you won't be able to put the correct fingers and thumb in the holes, with that being said either way won’t be comfortable for your hands and can increase the chances of developing early injuries and will lessen the quality of work produced. This is why it's crucial to get the correct and best fitting pair of shears.

If however, it’s a tiny bit too big, no need to change the shears completely simply put in inserts for the finger holes that either came with the scissors or you can purchase separately to help make the comfort and quality of using the scissor better for your hand. Once you have the sizing of the shears down pack you can then finally move onto holding your scissor correctly and comfortably. Personally, the best way I find to hold my professional hair cutting shear is that firstly you need to be familiar with the scissors before you can begin to hold them in your hand.

Now is a good time to focus on other parts of the shear, for example on the shear as it's clearly visible there are two blades that are connected at a central point which is called the pivot point. Below the pivot point is then the finger holes and the tang (the part where you rest your pinky finger once all fingers are inserted in the correct positions which make cutting hair more comfortable).

Once familiar it's now best to see if you can then put your thumb into the larger of the two-finger holes on the shear and then also insert your ring finger into the smaller hole with the tang on the end. It may seem a little uncomfortable at the start but in time you will get used to it and the motion won't feel as new or awkward to move.

The remaining fingers (middle and index finger) are then laid/rested on the back arm of the scissors which is in front of the ring finger hole and behind the blades. Once all fingers and thumb are in it should be comfortable enough to start cutting hair.

How to hold hair shears instructions

If it’s not then you may need to rethink your scissor option, or it may come down to the finger inserts for where you put your thumb and finger in. There are such things as the wrong size shear for an individual but are always easy to fix early. One other reason for it to not be comfortable for you to hold straight away is that you may need a scissor that doesn't require you to have to bend your wrist, fingers or hands in an awkward way and leave your feeling sore when you come home from a long day at the salon. This all comes down to personal preference. I personally prefer an offset shear because it allows my fingers to fit in the holes properly and my remaining fingers to rest gently in the grooves made for them. Also with it being offset, it means I don't have to bend my wrist as much when cutting hair. Therefore it gives me free motion to move and helps reduce any chance of RSI (repetitive strain injury) or new injuries that may form from incorrect use or angle of the wrist.

How do you hold hairdressing scissors and comb?

Now that you know how to hold your shear, the tricky part for some can be to hold your shear and comb in the one hand. It's not tricky at all, if fact much like holding your shear pairing your comb with it is a matter of transferring from one hand to the other. As you comb the hair ready to cut with your scissors in your cutting hand, make a slight fist action whilst holding the comb in front of the blade and the blade facing the top of your hand, using mainly your index finger for best control. Then as you see the hair is straight and combed down, it's now time to transfer your comb to your other hand while your scissors are now being used to make a cut of the hair and ready for the next section of hair to be combed. When you’re transferring your comb from one hand to the next always make sure and keep in mind that the blade of the scissors is closed and facing either to the top or away from you so don't accidentallycut yourself. We all know just how sharp the blade of a scissor is, we only want a haircut not fingers!

Hairdresser cutting someone's hair.

Why do hair cutting scissors have a hook?

This is simple, comfort, comfort and comfort!! As I've said in nearly every paragraph so far comfort is everything in hairdressing. If you’re not comfortable then you won't be practicing safe hairdressing and risk early injury in your career. To be comfortable it is important to know how to use every tool in the hairdressing industry properly. Especially your scissors - they are the main act of the show, and how can it be a show without the main act? The hook however is for the comfort and security of your pinky finger so it's not whipping around anywhere near the blade of the scissors or getting caught in the hair or comb. Resting your pinky finger on top of the hook is surprisingly more natural than it seems as long as you let it rest naturally then it shouldn't give you any dramas, if it does you will notice it early before you over-commit yourself. There are different styles to choose from so don't feel too restricted.

Matsui Ergonomic scissors in black.

How are hairdressing scissors measured?

Hairdressing scissors are measured in many different ways, but the most common is the length of the blade. The length of the blade determines what type of haircut you're going to do or the use of your comb with the scissor, for example 'scissor over comb' method. There are 3 common lengths of scissors - 5.5 inches, 6 inch and 7inches all used for different hair cuts such as creating a seamless long layered haircut or simply whatever the hairdresser prefers to cut with. This all may seem overwhelming and almost too hard to figure out the right size or how to hold your scissors correctly but a true hairdresser should have no dramas in figuring it out early enough in their career.

Three pairs of Matsui professional hairdresser scissors in gold and black.

I know for myself when I got my first pair I loved playing with them at home so I could feel I had the hang of it early and before any other juniors. Although, I couldn't do much with them at home but I sure did feel I had an image of the type of hairdresser I wanted to be and that was confident and comfortable with having the right products and tools on hand for my career. If you enjoyed reading this guide and want our recommendation on the best hair shears brands, explore our scissor brands page.

  • Bottom icon
    Lifetime Warranty
  • Bottom icon
    Free Shipping
  • Bottom icon
    Easy Returns
  • Bottom icon
    Perfect Fit Guaranteed
  • Bottom icon
    #1 in Customer Service
  • Bottom icon
    Used by Professionals Worldwide