Haircutting Scissors

A good pair of shears is invaluable.
A good pair of shears is invaluable.

Haircutting scissors are the basic, essential tools that every stylist must have, but they're also worth keeping in your medicine cabinet even if you aren't a professional. Whether you have a minor hair emergency on your hands, fancy a little change of style, or happen to be an expert at cutting your own locks, you can always count on a pair of high quality scissors to help you achieve your best look.

The Importance of High Quality Scissors

Scissors are the hairstylist's artistic tool of choice. With a great pair of scissors, the stylist can create veritable magic by changing styles completely or making minor adjustments. The quality and end result of a haircut depends highly on the quality of the scissors. An especially creative cut may require several different types of scissors, but even the most basic hair cut demands something that provides an accurate, clean cut.

What about haircuts that are unfortunately created by lower quality scissors? The end result usually isn't pretty. Dull blades or inferior quality products can greatly impact the cut and may even damage the hair and cause split ends. Clearly, it's worth it to invest in a durable pair of scissors.

Types of Haircutting Scissors

Not surprisingly, there are many types of haircutting scissors available on the market. They include:

  • Thinning Shears
  • Styling Shears
  • Tempered Shears
  • Left-handed Shears

One glance at these scissors will tell you just how different they are from each other. Each is designed to perform a specific task -- some are used to create subtle effects while others are perfect for basic haircuts.

Barber Shears

Barber shears are the industry standard. They're ideal for haircutting because they produce results cleanly and precisely in one fluid stroke. Hairstylists choose the right shears based on a number of criteria, including the type of style they specialize in and the way they hold the scissors.

The price of scissors runs the gamut from very low to surprisingly high. If you're a beginner or just need a basic pair to see you through a few touchups or minor trim at home, a low-end pair (found at your local drugstore, for example) is a suitable choice. Top quality shears, on the other hand, are not made for everyone. They're especially suited to serious stylists and cosmetologists. Prices vary, but may tip the $500 mark for some scissor styles.

What Type of Shear is Best for You?

You have some choices to make before you select the right pair of scissors. Of course, you'll also want to shop around for the best rates.

Type of Blades

  • Beveled blades feature one serrated edge and are ideal for layer cuts, tapered cuts and the "scissor over the comb" method.
  • Convex blades are razor sharp and promise a clean, smooth, flawless cut. They are ideal for slide cutting.

Type of Handles

  • Opposing grips feature handles of the same length that are symmetrical to the center screw. It is perfect for individuals who cut with the thumb and middle finger.
  • Offset grips feature a short thumb handle and a longer finger handle. This allows natural, fluid movement and is ideal for individuals who cut with the thumb and ring finger.
  • Crane grips feature a long finger handle and an angled thumb. This ensures less strain on the wrist and shoulder and allows a freer, open cut.

Types of Thumb Grips

  • Standard thumb scissors feature a removable and reversible finger resting piece that can be attached to either the left or right. This allows individuals greater versatility (with left and right hand use).
  • Cutaway thumb scissors do not feature the reversible finger resting piece, but does provide exceptional comfort.
  • Anatomic thumb scissors allow for greater radial movement due to its curved design. Thus it provides more freedom of movement for the stylist.
  • Rotating thumb scissors are a new advancement in the haircutting industry. They reduce hand and wrist strain and feature an open hand grip design, which reduces thumb "travel" and creates a more comfortable experience for the stylist.

Length of Blade

Choosing the blade length is really a matter of comfort and preferred styling methods. You will find you probably need to utilize several different types of scissors, but your hand should feel comfortable no matter what size it is.

  • Short blades are useful for detailed touchups, such as cutting around the ears or very close to the skin. This type of blade is recommended for all stylists; chances are it will be used frequently for more intricate cutting. The blade should be no longer than 5.5 inches.
  • Long blades are ideal for cutting thick hair, slide cutting, scissor over comb methods, and bobs, to name a few.

Other Noteworthy Features

The above mentioned traits are the standards for selecting a pair of scissors. Some other features that stylists may choose to focus on include the production material of the shears, the method of production of the shears and the tension system the shears provide.

Where to Purchase

Specialty stores for salon professionals are the first place you should look to get a feel for the different types of scissors available. Visit these online boutiques for wide selections:


Understanding the different types of haircutting scissors available can help you choose the best styling tools for your needs, whether you're interested in just a quick trim or need a more advanced pair of shears for detailed cuts.

Haircutting Scissors