Choosing the right pair of shears can be tricky! There are so many things to consider... color, length, blades, handle, etc etc. But have you considered which shear is ergonomically best for you? Here is why ergonomic hair cutting shears are so important!
The exact definition of ergonomics, according to Oxford Language Dictionary, is the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. So basically studies have been done on hairdressing scissors and hairdressers to help us improve our cutting skills and our comfort when cutting hair. Professional hairdressers were reporting repetitive motion injuries, or RMI's. All day long we are opening and closing our hair shears, putting strain on our thumb, wrist and hand. So we needed ergonomic hairdressing shears that would help relieve the pressure put on our joints. These hairdressing scissors were designed to not only alleviate symptoms of repetitive stress injuries but all help us perform better! Hair scissors ergonomics has really changed over the years .. and for the better!
Traditional scissors, or opposing grip shears were made with finger rings directly set above each other. The straight ring handles are meant to be used with your middle finger and thumb. The thumb ring and finger rings are straight in line with each other. This ring configuration would put your thumb quite far back from its natural position. This design is most commonly found in barbering shears or on a pair thinning scissors. However, we now know that cutting hair with a symmetrical handle like this all day could lead to different types of repetitive stress injury. The only real benefit from these shears is that they have better leverage, but that is not really something we need to worry much about!
The most common injury complaint hairdressers have is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, a small passageway through the wrist made up of ligaments, tiny bones and nerves, to the thumb. When your thumb is not in its neutral position and you are repetitively moving it this can cause these ligaments to swell and put pressure on the nerve. This can lead to numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in your hands. If carpal tunnel is not addressed it can also lead to surgery.
There are other types of aches and pains we may experience as hairdressers. The constant motion of lifting our elbow up can lead to shoulder pain. The constant motion of opening and closing our shears can cause pain and swelling in our thumb tendon. All these aches and pains are why ergonomic scissors were designed. These scissors can help extend your hairdressing career and keep you happier and cutting longer.
The most common ergonomic design you will see is the offset thumb ring. The offset ring configurations place the thumb ring in front of the ring finger. This helps to bring the thumb closer to it's neutral position. Most hairdressing shears you will find today will have an offset handle feature.
The next step up in ergonomics is the extended crane handle. Crane handle hairdressing shears bring the thumb ring further out for maximum ergonomic benefit. This offset ring configuration minimizes strain on the thumb and the median nerve. The crane handle and straight blade also force your elbow down to your side. Cutting like this will help prevent repetitive strain injuries to your shoulder. Check out these crane handle shears-Matsui Offset Drop handle.
Last but certainly not least, is our swivel shears. Swivel shears were created to really help us extend our hairdressing careers. Swivel shears have offset thumb rings that, you guessed it, swivel! This rotating swivel thumb is a hairdresser's dream. The thumb ring is built to move in a horizontal position, 360 degrees. This means that you can do an entire haircut without really having to move your full arm into awkward and unsafe positions. Swivel thumbs help to keep your thumb comfortably moving where it needs to be. Swivel scissors are your most ergonomic option for hair cutting scissors, but they do take a little getting used to. You can give our swivel shears a tryhere. We promise after one day of using these hair scissors you will feel the difference.
It is important to take all of this into consideration when investing in your professional haircutting shear. You will be doing many haircuts during your time as a hairdresser, so it is so important that you are comfortable. Having an ergonomically designed shear will help you stay comfy and cutting hair for a very long time!