The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true for many things and hair cutting shears are not an exception. As one might guess, inexpensive or cheap hair shears are made of inexpensive material, namely, steel which is duller and harder to hone, comparing to better grade and more expensive metal. Quality of steel directly affects the sharpness of blades and thus smoothness of the blade action. The action of two blades determines the effort of opening and closing blades, as well as the smoothness of cutting. Qualitative hair shears simply last longer, because high quality stainless steel shears do not rust easily and hold their edge for many hair cuts. There are thousands of stainless steel hair cutting shears available for approximately $40, therefore, not worth paying more.
Another factor which influence the action of scissoring is workmanship – whether scissors are handmade or are made by machines. Most of cheap shears are produced by machines, but expensive shears are handmade by proficients who are responsible for each shears from beginning to the end. Yes, some professional hairdressers can achieve same results with cheap shears as well, but unfortunately poor quality tools accumulate more stress to wrists and hands, causing different conditions.
In general there are two types of hair shears – Japanese and German or, in other words, convex edge or bevel edge shears. Before you make a decision you have to know that convex edge blades are extremely sharp and give quick and smooth cut, sometimes called as “butter cut”, but bevel edge blades are often serrated, giving more firm and crisp cut. It should be mentioned, that beveled edge blade is thicker than convex edge blade, therefore, it does not cut as well as convex edge blade and damages more quickly. Blades usually are chosen, basing on hairdressers taste, comfort, cutting technique and experience. As a whole there are convex, semi convex and beveled shears.
It should be mentioned, that it is very important to obtain shears which can be honed, because if you have bought expensive shears which cannot be honed, but only replaced, this is not smart investment. Expensive and good hair shears should last for up to 400 hair cuts before they need sharpening or replacing, if they are properly and carefully used. Bevel edge stainless steel shears are the best choice for qualitative hair cutting shears, because they last for long time and they are the least expensive to sharpen.
Truly professional barbers have to be equipped with several sizes of shears. Longer shears help to cut off more hair in one cut and increase efficiency and smooth finish. Shorter shears are suitable for hair cutting techniques which require more detailed cuts, providing better control and decreasing the stress on hands. Shorter shears are recommended for those, who already feel the effect of accumulated stress syndrome. To find out the most appropriate size of your basic hair cutting tool, you have to measure the length of the blade against your middle finger, but the overall length of the scissors against the extended palm.
Another difference between hair cutting shears is surface – whether they are shiny-surfaced or satin-finished. In general, shiny-surfaced shears are more resistible against corrosion and scratches.
You probably have heard the term “thinning shears”. Thinning shears are hair thinning shears which have one or two blades with notched teeth and which are used for thinning of hair bulk. Shears which have one regular blade and one toothed blade sometimes are called “blenders”, because they not only thin hair, but also blend cutting boundaries. Hair thinning or blending shears save time, soften cutting lines and corners, thin the bulk or add the volume. Thinning shears come in many styles. The more teeth blade has, the more hair is removed, without leaving cutting marks. The less teeth blade has, the less hair is removed, leaving more cutting marks.
In recent years manufacturers of hair shears have introduced several design elements which improve ergonomics and thus comfort, reducing the risk of occupational diseases, for example, finger rest, finger inserts and asymmetric handles. Unfortunately your hands cannot tell you which of these elements they like, therefore, you have to experiments and pay attention to your hands and their sensations.
Everyone should remember that hair cutting shears do not magically work for their own. No matter how expensive those shears are, they will not cut hair for you and they will not give you a better quality cut – expensiveness of shears is simply a measure of their quality.