All about salon shears. What every stylist and barber should know.
More expensive doesn't mean better. Purchasing a new set of shears can be a daunting task and also be very confusing understanding the different prices attached to shears.
Quality of Steel:
ATS-314, Nobody is allowed to make a steel and call it ATS314 other than Hitachi. The best.
VG-10, Takefu stainless steel, similar composition to VG-1 but also contains cobalt and vanadium. Good wear resistance and rust resistance.
V-1, Takefu stainless steel. Popular steel in Japanese Hairdressing scissors.
AUS-10, is comparable to 440C with a carbon content close to 1.10%. It is slightly tougher than 440C. Aichi Steel Corporation, Japan. They differ from the AISI 4xx series because they have vanadium added to them. Vanadium improves the wear resistance, toughness, and ease of sharpening
Japanese 440C, 440C is considered a high-end stainless steel. It is very resistant to corrosion and is one of the most common stainless alloys used for making hairdressing scissors.
Chinese 440A, 440A is a relatively a low cost, highly corrosion resistant stainless steel. In China, Ahonest ChangJiang Stainless steel developed 440A
6CR13MoV, It's also wrote as 6Cr14MoV. The Patented name applied by Ahonest Changjiang Stainless steel Co.,Ltd. Similar stainless steel grade 6Cr14 ( 6Cr13 ) / 420D which does not contain molybdenum and vanadium is superior to make razor blades, surgical scalpels etc.
9Cr13MoVCo ( 9Cr13CoMoV ), produced by Ahonest Changjiang stainless steel, described as forged high carbon cobalt stainless steel, uses include hairdressing scissors, hunting knives etc.
Titanium coated shears come in Rainbow Titanium, Rose Gold Titanium, Blue Titanium just to name a few. The titanium coating is for beauty only, its provides no additional value in the performance of the hair cutting shears.
Cast Shears vs: Forged Shears:
The two main processes used in shear manufacturing are cast and forged. In the process of making a cast shear, liquid metal is poured into a mold and then allowed to harden.
Forged shears are made from molten steel that's poured into a die and then hammered to ensure that the scissor is perfectly formed, both inside and out. The handles and blades are made of different grades of steel, one being best for the blade and the other having optimum characteristics for the handle.
However, the "forged" tag alone doesn't guarantee that you are buying a better shear. Both can be made poorly and end up in your drawer, never to be seen again. The solution? Only deal with reputable scissor companies that are established, committed, and deeply involved in the art of making shears.
Types of Blades:
Convex Edge, State of the art, smoother cutting blade. A must for slide cutting. These are harder to make and therefore are more expensive, but worth it. All our shears feature a convex edge!
Beveled Edge, The oldest blade design. Can cut well, but requires more force than the convex blade and can't be used for advanced techniques like "slide-cutting".
Right Hand vs Left Hand Shears: Take a look at the thumb blade as you open and close the shear (the blade that is controlled by your thumb). If the thumb blade is the back-most blade then you are using a true left handed shear. If the thumb blade is the front-most blade then you're using a flipped right handed shear.
The length of a shear is measured in inches from the tip of the shear, to the edge of the finger hole (excluding the finger rest). Cutting Shears are typically about 5.5 inches. The right length should be determined by your cutting technique. A short scissor, for example, is a much better tool for detail work, while a longer scissor requires fewer cuts to connect a line and is excellent for scissor over comb.
Many new haircutters and even some experienced stylists are under the common misconception that the length of their hair cutting shears should be determined by the size of their hand. In reality this is simply not the case. Instead professional hair stylists and barbers must consider the variety of different styling techniques they will employ in order to carry out their skilled work. Haircutting shears are still measured in inches with the entire length of the shears calculated from the ‘point end’ all the way to the back of the finger ring.
As mentioned previously, different sized shears are used to perform different styling techniques. For example a short scissor is much better suited for detailed precision cutting. While a longer scissor is preferred for powerful cutting. The standard size most hairdressers use is between 5” and 6”. This falls neatly into the middle ground between the shortest scissor at 4.5” and the longest at 7”.
Hairdressers and barbers are aware of repetitive stress injuries, mainly carpal tunnel syndrome, that are caused in part by cutting hair. These are extremely painful conditions which can be career-ending.
Not all stylists understand the benefits of using a swivel shear and how this cutting tool can relieve a lot of stress and pain that you experience when cutting hair.
3 Hole Shears: Three hole swivel shears are designed for the stylist that has problems with wrist or thumb fatigue. A healthy alternative to a conventional shear. The 2 finger holes allow for correct alignment of the 2 middle fingers. This helps with any problems related to carpal tunnel.
Thinning shears are scissors that have teeth or notches on one side, while the other side is a smooth blade. Different factors determine whether you texturize hair or thin it out. You can use a variety of techniques for thinning in order to give your hair a well-manicured look.
Thinning shears are meant to remove excess weight from hair and use smaller teeth to achieve this goal. Rather than creating any volume or layering, the 30 to 45 teeth in these shears are designed to blend away scissor marks and soften the look of the cut.
These are shears with slightly wider teeth and slightly wider spaces between the teeth. They will typically have anywhere from 14-22 teeth. The slightly wider teeth cut a more substantial piece of hair than a blending shear. This wider piece of short hair will be more visible compared to the uncut piece of longer hair. The short hair will lay under and support the uncut hair creating visible texture and potentially volume. This type of shear can be used on most clients since the results are subtle but noticeable in terms of an increase in volume and decrease in bluntness.
Double Tooth No Line Texturizers:
Double Thinning Shears are shears with teeth on both sides instead of having one straight blade. If they are well made they can cut without leaving a visible line where they were closed. You can comb out with the blades closed in any direction. With a straight edge on one side, if you comb out when the hair is in contact with the straight edge, the hair can pull or be torn against the straight edge. With teeth on both sides, you can turn the shear in any direction on the way out of the section without concern.
Properly fitting your shears is critical to optimal comfort and performance
Your shears must be fitted to your exact ring finger and thumb diameter for more contact, control and a relaxed grip. For your ring finger, a properly fitted shear belongs between the first and second knuckle far enough back on the ring finger so that your pinky is resting comfortably on the finger rest. Once you have the shear at that location on your ring finger, there should only be a little extra space around your finger in the finger hole. If there's too much space, you'll need additional finger inserts so that your ring finger is centered in the finger hole. For your thumb, a properly fitter shear belongs up to or slightly above the cuticle, but not up to or over the knuckle. Once you have the shear at that location on your thumb, there can be a little extra space around your thumb in the thumb hole. If there is too much space, then you can add additional ring inserts to take up that space so that your cuticle is centered underneath the middle of the thumb ring guard. Continue to add inserts until a proper fit is achieved.