Choose the Right Shear for You:
How should a shear feel in my hand?
The most important thing that you should look for in a shear after you have established what quality of shear you wish to purchase, is how it FEELS, not just in your hand, but how it feels to your WHOLE BODY. The wrong shear can contribute to CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME, TENDONITIS, BURSITIS, ROTATOR CUFF, and other hand, arm, shoulder, neck and back problems. The right shear can prevent, or even cure, these problems. The factors that will make it a good shear for you are: WEIGHT, LENGTH, BALANCE and HANDLE CONFIGURATION. Weight: if a shear is too light, it may not have the blade power to cut through thick or ethnic hair. If it is too heavy, it will cause hand pain. Length: if a shear is too short, you will work longer on each hair cut. If a shear is too long, you may cut yourself more often and not have precise control of the scissor tips. Balance: a scissor that is not balanced properly will feel as if the blades and tips are very heavy and will lead to hand fatigue. Handle configuration: this is VERY important. Almost ALL stylists should be using an offset or crane-handle scissor. If you have hand, arm, shoulder, or back pain, you should make sure the thumb ring is bent down and you should also try a swivel or double swivel scissor. The swivel thumb scissors can make a huge difference for you.
Why is it so important to find the right scissor for me?
The wrong shear can contribute to CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME, TENDONITIS, BURSITIS, ROTATOR CUFF, and other hand, arm, shoulder, neck and back problems. The right shear can prevent, or even cure, these problems. Also, poor quality shears will cost you more because they need to be sharpened more often.
Why are there lighter and heavier shears?
There are hundreds of different styles on the market and one way in which they differ is weight. Some people like a heavy shear, most stylists prefer a lighter scissor. Be aware of your preference and make sure that the weight of the scissor is comfortable and that you have a feeling of control all the way to the tip of the blade. Also, lighter shears cannot cut thick or ethnic hair as well as thicker, heavier blades.
What is the right length of the scissor for me?
Most scissors range in length from 4.5” to 8”. To choose an all-around cutting tool, you should measure the length of the blade against your middle finger, and the overall length of the scissor against the extended palm of your hand. Most women are more comfortable working with a 5.5” or 6.0" scissor, while most men prefer a 6.0” or 6.5” shear. Longer shears, such as 6.5” to 8” scissors are good for scissor over comb work and longer styles. Ultimately, comfort should be the most important factor.
Caralee of The Scissor Mall shows the traditional way of measuring the correct scissor length for a hair stylist:
What is a true left-handed shear?
On a true left handed shear, the sharp edge of the top blade is on the left-hand side of the blade. The trouble with a left-handed stylist using a right-handed shear is that it puts more stress and tension on her hand to be able to use that shear. If you are left-handed, you should be using a left-handed shear because it will put the least amount of stress on your hand and arm, and the selection of right handed shears you can use is very small.
Caralee of The Scissor Mall explains why it is important for a left-handed stylist to be using a true left-handed shear:
What are thinning/blending shears?
Thinning/blending shears can save time and produce more uniform results when softening “lines” and “corners”, feathering, thinning bulk, or adding volume. Using thinners can help you work faster and give you more uniform results. Thinning shears have between 25 and 50 teeth.
Caralee of Shear Technology explains the benefits of a thinning/blending scissor:
What do thinning/blending shears with teeth on both blades do?
Often thinner/blenders are used to erase cut lines, but they can produce their own lines. Double teeth thinners do NOT leave a cut line in the hair.
Caralee of Shear Technology explains the benefits of a double teeth thinner, like the Mirage Onyx 30th, Charm 30th, S-2 30th, B-30, B-15, or the Orca Lefty 30th or Charm Lefty 30th:
What are texturizing shears?
Texturizing shears generally have between 13 and 16 teeth. The teeth are farther spaced than on a thinner and they tend to be a little thicker. They are used in the place of point cutting for feathering bangs and hair around the face. They also are used for providing texture to the hairstyle and give a slightly spiky look. Using a texturizing shear can help you work more efficiently.
Caralee of Shear Technology disusses what a texturizing shear is:
What are chunking/notching shears, fishback shears, and other specialty texturizers?
Chunking/Notching shears have between 5 & 9 teeth. These shears are used for that really spiky look known as spiked hair or fractured hair. They take out large chunks of hair but in less frequent intervals than a thinner/blender or a texturizing shear. Specialty texturizers, like the Dynasty B-27, can help you achieve styling looks that you cannot duplicate, even by point cutting.
Caralee of Shear Technology explains what chunkers, fishback shears, and specialty texturizers are used for:
What is the correct tension for a thinning, texturizing, or chunking scissor?
The tension of your thinning, texturizing, or chunking scissors should be a little tighter than the tension of your regular shears. Because these shears usually have one blade with teeth and one solid blade, the teeth have less support than a solid blade and can nick against the solid blade if the tension is too loose. This is less of a problem with double teeth thinners.
Caralee of Shear Technology explains why the tension for a thinning, texturizing, or chunking shear should be a little tighter:
Why should a shear feel well balanced in my hand?
A shear should feel well-balanced in your hand. That means that neither the handle nor the blade should feel too heavy when you are cutting with the scissor. You don’t want to feel that you are working to hold the tip of the blade level with the cutting surface, or your hand will become easily fatigued.
What are the different handle configurations: off-set, opposing, and crane-handle?
Handle configuration is probably one of the biggest considerations when choosing a new shear. OPPOSING or STRAIGHT handled shears put the most strain on the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and back. OFFSET and CRANE-HANDLE shears put less strain on the body and are usually a better choice. If you have hand, arm, shoulder, or back problems, you should try to use a swivel-thumb scissor. They can make a very big difference.
What are finger inserts/rings?
Finger inserts/rings are plastic rings you put inside your scissor finger holes to reduce the size of the finger holes. Use finger inserts so that your scissors will fit your fingers and thumb. The holes on a scissor handle should not be sloppy and should not go past your knuckle, especially on your thumb. A poor fit will put more strain on your hand and dull your scissors more quickly. Most scissors do not come with finger inserts and so many stylists do not use them. But, inserts help you cut with more power transference to the blade with less hand effort. If the finger and thumb holes are too big, your hand will automatically exert more tension and pressure when opening and closing the shears so that the scissor will cut all the way to the tips. If the holes fit your finger and thumb more snugly, your hand can relax and still achieve the same cutting results. If your fingers and/or thumb are very slim, you may need to "stack" two sizers inside of each other for best results.