Hairdressing Scissors are one of the most important tools of the hair stylist or barber. They play an key role in our skill and profession.
It is imperative that you have the highest quality scissors that you can afford. If they are sub-standard they will let you down badly!
Before you commit to this sizable investment you need to take time to evaluate and understand the manufacturing process and the metal alloy that each brand uses.
Your first port of call should be to a reputable scissor supplier who will take the time to explain and demonstrate the science behind their scissors!
They will also there if you need backup help after purchasing.
The golden rule is: ‘Spend what you can afford on a good pair and have them serviced regularly and professionally.’
If you are prepared to pay a good price for your scissors why would you not look after them?
When deciding on a new pair you need to know whether the scissors are cast or forged. This will of course be reflected in the price!
Cast scissors have an open grain structure, where as drop forged scissors have a finer and more compact structure which will give a stronger and longer lasting edge.
Cast scissors are much cheaper to produce, essentially made in a production line which consists of heated metal being poured into moulds. This is typical of many Chinese and Pakistan scissors which are made this way.
Drop forged scissors take longer to produce and are made of better metal alloys that have a greater and a more consistent tensile strength.
All top quality scissors are drop forged. It is also important to note that all metals are graded and offer different properties. Quality scissors start from an alloy mix known as 440B.
Excellent Edges use this for their entry level scissor range. If looked after and professionally serviced regularly, this range should last 5-10 years.
The next level up uses a alloy mix known as Hitachi 440C, with proper care and maintenance together with regular servicing, scissors made from this quality should last 10 years plus!
Some top quality brands use a blend of molybdenum and cobalt. Cobalt is very rust resistant and in a high percentage mix can give scissors a hard edge perfect for blunt cutting! But beware…Many scissor brands claim to contain Cobalt when in fact they have little or none at all.
Generally there are two types of hairdressing scissor blade, bevelled edge or convex. Most European scissors use this design often with micro serrations on one or both blades.
Micro serrated blades are great when you’re learning to cut hair as they stop the hair sliding down the blade. They cannot be used for slice cutting as the hair will jam on the blade.
Polished bevelled-edge blades are the ones to use for slicing and can also be used for virtually all other cutting techniques.
Japanese Style convex blades are the sharpest type of blade with a razor-like edge. All convex-edged scissors are hollow ground on the inside of the blade which gives a very smooth cutting action.
They can be used for all cutting techniques but are especially good for slicing because of the ultra-sharp edge. They are best suited for more experienced hairdressers.
Convex blades are made from solid stainless steel which means the blades are a little heavier than bevelled-edge ones.
The manufacturing process is similar to that used to make Samurai swords and because it is a long and skilled process, convex-bladed scissors are usually more expensive than bevelled-edge ones.
Some good examples can be found in the Kasho Scissors ranges.
Many scissors have a flat or normal screw system which works well for adjusting the scissor tension, but you need a screwdriver to do it.
For this reason, an adjustable screw is preferred by many people, since it allows you to turn the small screw by hand and either tighten or loosen the tension as required.
You can check the correct scissor tension by fully opening your scissors and then allowing one blade to drop freely towards fully closed. When the tension is correct, it should stop smoothly at the ten-to-the-hour position.
How often do scissors need sharpening?
This depends entirely on how much they are used, what type of cutting you do, how you look after them and what type of blade you are using.
Basically all scissors should be serviced at least once a year although many people have theirs checked every 3-6 months. Be very careful who sharpens your scissors.
Special training and specialist equipment is needed to sharpen convex blades. Many sharpeners have no experience with hair dressing scissors and you can well end up with your scissors being ruined!
Hairdressing and barber scissors are precision tools that need regular cleaning and oiling every day if possible. Don’t use clipper oil to lubricate them but a proper mineral-based scissor oil and also keep them in a leather pouch if possible.
It cannot be stressed enough, you need to have your hairdressing scissors professionally serviced regularly, as sometimes scissors are not correctly set and once this has been corrected, they will cut perfectly!
There has also been a steady rise in the amount of FAKES being sold online. So buyer beware… Just because the price seems cheap there is no guarantee the product is genuine!
Make sure that you buy from a reputable supplier then you will be able to relax and share their expertise and back up service!