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Haircutting is a serious business; that’s why you need to get the right tools for the job. It can be confusing for beginners because the market is saturated with tons of haircutting scissors. Also, it can be tricky to identify which type of scissor you’ll need for a specific haircut. To save you from the hassle, I’ve discussed here different types of scissors for cutting hair together with is functions and my top picks. See which one you need for your styling or even for your DIY haircut at home.
Haircutting shears are the most basic and common cutting tools you can see at any barbershop or salon. It’s a straightforward pair of cutting shears used to remove length for further styling. It can also be used to cut other things around the salon. And for DIY stylists, a pair of haircutting shears are the first tool to get. Hairstylists looking for a pair of haircutting shears will also find this type useful.
Depending on the style that you like, this can have a handle of shears or scissors. It’s designed to fit perfectly on the hands of the user with a noticeable tang to serve as a pinky finger rest.
One thing that sets haircutting shears apart from other haircutting tools is how it slices the hair. Unlike other shears or scissors, this one can be used without folding or bending the hair. It’s extremely sharp and will cut hair like butter. These shears come handy for blunt and straight cuts with no layering or texturizing needed.
However, a lot of manufacturers have been creating their versions of haircutting scissors. This is why haircutting shears often overlap with other types I’ll discuss below.
Another widely used haircutting tool is the texturizing shears. These have a design similar to scissors, but one blade has teeth that grab the hair. It can have 7 to 16 teeth and considered a special type of shears. This is used for thinning bulky hair without necessarily removing length.
However, beginners or those that haven’t used texturizing shears before should proceed with caution. This is a very useful tool, but it can cause a haircut disaster if not used right. It will remove the texture of your hair and make your hair thinner than what you intended to do. Those with wispy hair should steer clear of this haircutting tool. But in the hands of an experienced stylist or barber, texturizing shears are workhorses.
Remember that texturizing shears aren’t appropriate in removing length and it’s not an all-around tool. You should only use this when you need to reduce the weight of a cut or to balance the haircut.
Most of the time, texturizing shears also have an adjustable knob so you can set it on the tightness that you feel comfortable with.
Swivel shears, on the other hand, are used to reduce the tension on the hands and wrist of the user. It’s suitable for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Unlike other scissors with finger holes located side by side, the swivel shears have a rotating thumb hole attached to the blade. Most of the time, the thumb is shorter and angled for convenient and more natural movements.
This design prevents the thumb from being trapped on the thumb hole. It also accommodates natural hand movement, which is important busy days at the salon.
Most swivel shears have removable thumb rings to suit the user’s preference. You can also find one with tangs on each finger hole where the pinky finger will rest.
Swivel scissors can also be haircutting, thinning, or texturizing shears. Take note that the design of the finger holes defines swivel scissors.
If you don’t want to experience a lot of strain while cutting, this is the right tool to purchase. It’s suitable for hairstylists and DIY users alike.
Thinning scissors are often interchanged with texturizing shears, despite being a different tool. Unlike texturizing scissors with widely gapped teeth, thinning shears have denser teeth. This is used to remove bulk while blending with the demarcation lines made by a pair of scissors.
Like texturizing shears, thinning shears are used to remove weight and thickness on the hair. But the difference is that thinning shears will help soften lines and blend sections. Also, thinning scissors can have as much as 25 or so teeth on one of its blades.
Basically, thinning shears will only cut half of the grabbed hair. This makes thinning much easier and faster than doing it manually with a pair of haircutting shears.
Remember that thinning shears can be a pretty tricky tool. You should avoid this if you don’t have experience using one or if you have wispy hair. As much as possible, you should leave thinning scissors to professionals.
The good thing about thinning shears is you can find it in a swivel style. That means that the thumb area is detached and floating for less hand strain. There’s also an adjustable screw to change the tension of the two blades as you wish.
Long-bladed Barber Scissors
Long-bladed shears are basic cutting tools, but with longer blades. This is used to cut more hair in one go, which is useful for salons and barbers alike. These scissors are usually 6 to 7.5 inches long and widely used for over the comb techniques. It’s also ideal for blunt-cutting techniques because it snips in one go.
While you can see this at salons, it’s more popular among barbers. Still, stylists with large hands will thrive with these scissors, given the right technique. The good thing about long-bladed shears is it allows users to cut a straight line to prevent crooked finishes associated with shorter blades.
However, the downside of long-blade scissors is its weight. It can be cumbersome to use and not advisable for those with hand pain and strain injury. Also, it can be difficult to control for those with small hands.
Most long-bladed cutting shears have a straightforward design. Usually, there’s a tang for the pinky finger.
Short-bladed Cutting Scissors
The opposite of long-bladed shears, short-bladed ones are used for typical haircutting methods that don’t need a lot of styling. It’s one of the most common haircutting scissors, and you can find one for a very cheap cost.
Users with small hands will thrive with short-bladed haircutting shears. It’s also lighter and easier to control, even for long haircutting sessions. This will reduce hand fatigue, although it will require more snips than a long-bladed type.
Short-bladed hair scissors are often available in 4” to 5.5” sizes. It’s suitable for detailing and slicing, making it indispensable among hairstylists. Barbers also use these scissors often in trimming nose, mustache, and beard hair.
If you’re a beginner who’s trying to cut hair at home, short-bladed scissors are a good start. Short-bladed cutting scissors are suitable as an all-around cutting tool, even at home.
Last but not the least, there are the left-handed scissors. These are designed with different handle configurations than traditional, right-handed ones. The handles are contoured to suit the left hand for easier and more convenient cutting.
While some right-handed hair scissors are rated to be ambidextrous, it’s not as comfortable as truly left-handed pairs.
Feature-wise, most left-handed scissors can have the same blade material, design, and length. And if you’re cutting your hair at home or someone else at the salon, you should invest in this type of hair scissors for the best results. It will also be beneficial for your hand.
Tips when buying hair cutting scissors/shears
Aside from knowing the different types of scissors for cutting hair, you should also know how to choose the right pair. When buying one, I recommend considering the following tips:
✔️Check the material. Haircutting scissors are usually made of stainless steel to last long. You’ll usually find scissors made of German and Japanese steel. Both are stainless steel but differs in the production process. Both are durable and widely preferred by hairstylists and barbers.
✔️Size matters, a lot. When it comes to hair scissors, you must choose the size that suits your cutting needs. For those with large hands, long blades are ideal, not to mention that it also cuts a lot of hair in one go. But if you find it too cumbersome, a short or medium-length blade will do.
✔️Check the handle. One of the most important parts of haircutting scissors is its handle. It will dictate who easy it is to use. Those with hand pain will thrive with a swivel type. But if you’re short in cash, a typical shears handle will suffice. You can also look for one with moving rings to reduce friction and pressure on your skin.
✔️Adjustable screw. Most high-end and high-quality haircutting scissors have adjustable screws that let you adjust the tension of the blades. This will let you cut with ease to prevent hand strain, especially if you’re working as a full-time stylist.
✔️Warranty. Haircutting scissors aren’t always cheap so you should look for a decent warranty to cover your purchase. Excellent warranty terms are also proof of the quality of the haircutting scissors.
✔️Get the right style. Haircutting shears come in different styles for various cutting methods. While it’s great to have an entire set at your disposal, you should consider what you need most if you’re shopping on a budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use normal scissors to cut my hair?
A: If you’re referring to paper scissors, then no. While it can still cut and remove length, papers scissors often damage the tips and leave rough edges. Worse, it will not cut well, which will force you to keep snipping the hair, resulting in an ugly finish. If you’re fond of cutting your own hair, you might as well get a pair of haircutting shears.
Q: Is it better to cut my hair wet or dry?
A: You should cut your hair when damp so every strand can be combed in place. This is the reason why some hairstylists will spritz water into your hair before cutting it away. Other stylists also use a proper dry cutting technique to ensure that the cut will be symmetrical and according to your liking.
Q: Is it a bad idea to cut your own hair?
A: Cutting your own hair has its pains and gains. A DIY haircut is cheaper, but it may not always produce salon-quality results. Still, with enough practice, you can master a haircut at home. Just make sure that you have the right tool for the task. Choose a pair of shears with razor-sharp edges and features that suit your needs.
Q: How much you should I spend on haircutting scissors?
A: You can always find cheap hair scissors in the market, but it may not produce the results that you like. If you’re a professional hairstylist, I recommend investing in a pair that’s made to last. The initial investment is higher, but it will pay for itself over time. By investing top money, you’ll get to save more in the long run because you’re less likely to purchase a replacement.
Q: Can blunt scissors damage hair?
A: Yes, blunt scissors can damage your hair. It will tear the hair fibers, which will cause split ends. This is the reason why hairstylists invest in razor-sharp scissors. Besides, dull and blunt scissors will make haircutting such a chore, and you won’t get an excellent result.
Knowing the different types of scissors for cutting hair will let you pick the right one for your haircutting job. Remember that investing in a trusty pair is much better than cutting corners with cheap options. High-quality hair scissors will help you save more money in the long run.