Ask any barber or hairdresser about their scissors or shears and they will talk about them for ages. Hairdressing scissors are the most versatile tool, which allows you to do many different techniques, and provides numerous options for various effects throughout one single haircut. Scissors come in many sizes with different benefits, and may even become an addiction as you start collecting them. Good scissors are an investment and might serve you a lifetime given that you take very good care of them and literally treat them as members of the family. Choosing scissors that are right for you is essential, as they become an extension of your hand and start reflecting on the type of personality you are.

Not to get lost in the variety of brands and makes we have put together a guide on how to pick your perfect pair of scissors and maintain them throughout their lifecycle.

How scissors are made

All hair cutting scissors are made of stainless steel, which is produced in Japan, Korea, Germany, Taiwan, China, India or Pakistan. However, the Japanese steel is ranked as the best quality, while Pakistani and Indian have lower standards.

It is important to understand that stainless steel is not stain proof and special care should be taken to prevent stains.

The best scissors are hand-forged as opposed to cast and stamped ones. Hand-forged ones will have a much sharper edge, while the inexpensive ones might have a lot of drag on the blade.

All scissors usually have uniform hollow-grinding (CONCAVE) on the inner surface of the blade. In general, cheaper scissors have a thicker beveled edge, which means it will deteriorate quicker. Today most scissors are designed with a convex edge, which makes it easier for stylists to go with the flow.

What are the right scissors for you

When deciding on the right cutting scissors, you should measure the length of the blade against your middle finger and the total length of the scissors against the palm of your hand. Most scissors are from 4.5” to 8”.

When left-handed stylists are cutting with right-handed scissors they tend to put more tension on their hands, therefore it is essential for left handed people to use the right tools. Left-handed scissors will have the sharp edge of the top blade on the left-hand side of the blade.

Always make sure that the holes on scissor handles are not sloppy and loose, as this could put extra pressure on you hand. To reduce the size of the finger holes, you might want to use plastic inserts.

Today many brands design so-called “ergonomic” scissors – the way they are shaped reduces the amount of pressure on hands, arms, therefore minimising pains you might eventually suffer from when standing behind the chair all day long. There are different ergonomic styles – double swivels, swivels, and off set.

Scissors come in a variety of sizes. Smaller size scissors between 4.5″ and 5.5″ create a better more tailored shape when cutting hair. Where longer scissors (6″ and above) are better for techniques like scissor over comb. The reason why some might consider this to be better is because of the time taken to complete the scissor over comb technique. Yes it maybe faster, but smaller size scissors also do the same job, sometimes slower but more accurate and refined. A barber/hairdresser should carry a variety of different length scissors so that they are able to create any haircut with the appropriate tool. To get the best and quickest result, it is recommended to cut the top with smaller scissors to create your shape, and the larger scissors to blend with scissor over comb.

Maintaining your tools

Make sure you clean your scissors with a damp towel or cloth every day before you put them away in the case. Take special care when using scissors for permed or coloured hair by wiping the blades with alcohol. Oiling scissors is required at least once a week. Whenever you are not using your scissors, it’s best to put them away in the case.

It is recommended to get your scissors serviced at last once a year – this will include cleaning, setting and balancing.

Note that scissors may serve you for many good years given that you choose them carefully and maintain them on a regular basis.