To use Thinning Shears or to use Razor

May 24, 2021

When we hear the word thin or razor we automatically freak out (well at least most of us do) many stylists either love or hate to use any form of thinners whether it be thinning scissors (shears) or a razor. So let’s break down which is better for what types of hair or hair style, and when is best to use them. 

Thinning shears 
Also can be known as thinning scissors or texturizing scissors. Thinning shears are great to use when needing to take bulk out from a haircut/style, blending out a men's haircut/fade or for general thinning out of thick hair. The best way to use your thinning scissors and our best thinning scissors advice is as follows below.

  • Generally best used on dry hair but can also be used on wet. If used on went you need to be extra careful to not over use them as once the hair is then dry the style/cut can be completely lost or even ruined! So best to use with dry hair.
  • Point, Slithering or notching are some of the terms used when using thinning shears
  • Point cutting is as it seems – pointing the shears into the hair and making your cut. Its used to create softer layer and leaving curly hair with a softer textured look

  • Slithering unlike point cutting is where instead of cutting we hold the scissors slightly open to the hair and simply slide away from the length of the hair. Best used on straight, soft waved hair so it's more subtle.

  • Notching is very similar to the point cutting only used on much shorter hair. Typically short pixie cuts or men’s cuts are the right fit for this method to give a very textured messy look. 

  • If your client likes more heavy/blunter ends then you will certainly have more control over how much is cut/taken away.

  • Thinning shears are design for that, so I don't suggest to use thinning scissors on fine or thin hair (unless the client wants you to, but even then I’d be hesitant to do so) so much like the razor only be using it on medium to thick hair without frizz. If the hair has frizz you are likely to only add to the frizz. I’ve never in my time heard someone say how much they love their frizz… trust me friends!

  • Yes, you can over thin with your thinning scissors, once finished combing through each section after you’ve thinned be sure to feel the hair and use your sensory skills to make sure one side isn't thinner than the other. Or that you haven't over thinner (and yes, over thinning is a thing!)


Razors are a very dangerous tool if not used correctly. ( and I don’t just mean by slipping and cutting yourself) I mean one wrong move and there goes a chunk of hair that the client didn’t want to lose. With this being said extreme care is needed to be used when planning to use a razor on a client incase you accidentally cut yourself, (as the blade is very sharp) always look which end you are to pick up as well - just incase you grasp the wrong end and well I think you can guess the rest! Below is a few short dot points on our best advice about razors. 

  • The razor needs to be used on very very wet hair to get the best result without it feeling hacked or any form of pull on the clients hair/scalp. If using it on dry hair make sure the section is thin/fine so not too much hair is taken or pulled from the scalp of the client.

  • A lot of stylists use the razor for curly hair to amplify the curl and volume even the texture of the hair. 

  • Always make sure the blade is extremely sharp (either new or close to) the reason for this is because if it's not sharp enough you wont get the clean cut that you want to achieve. Instead it will pull and leave it uneven and cause great discomfort for the client. 

  • There is more than one razor type - do some research into which is best suited for what hairstyle before you go razoring away. Razor types include but not limited to the cut throat straight edge razor and razors with detachable guards or shields. 

  • Some stylists use the razor with the black handle (Yes we all know which one I’m talking about) the one that looks like the stylist is going to hack away! Which is definitely easy to do because you think you're not getting as much as a straight razor would. Where in actual fact you're getting about the same if not more due to the bulk of the sections you razor in

  • Can the razors cause damage you ask? In some cases, yes they can. Especially if you are using a razor on fine or frizzy hair. It can actually cause the hair shaft cuticles to open up more than what they are meant to therefore causing more frizz. (and that's not what the client wants)

  • Razors are best used on hair that is medium to thick or course and non frizzy hair. You can use a razor on finer hair but as long as the hair has no frizz too it because well I said it above and I’ll say it again, you’ll create more frizz.  

  • So to sum it up really it comes down to what you're most comfortable with using and of course what type of haircut/style you're trying to achieve. With this being said, when is the ‘right time’ or ‘right haircut’ to use either!? Answer: there is no right or wrong answer. The best answer we could give you is to ask your client, do they like messy/ jagged/rough edges when their haircut is complete? If so, I’d choose a razor. Do they want thickness removed from their ends to create a softer/smoother look? If so, I’d suggest to use thinning scissors for this particular job. As the rule of hairdressing goes – Less is more! Start off with a little and if you need to do more you can, because as we all know once its gone – its gone.
    Happy thinning!

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