We know that a good trim every once in a while is great for achieving and maintaining healthy hair. Then there are those among us who are itching to get on with that big chop, or switch things up and try a cute bob or a tapered cut. Whichever category you fall into you will need the right tool for the job.
You may know that stainless steel scissors are recommended but if you are like me, then you probably don’t know much else about what to look for in a good pair of hair scissors.
You might be swayed by the cute patterns and trendy looks of some but cute alone won’t cut it… (Yeah pun intended!). Now when you Google hair scissors the prices may scare you a bit but that’s only if you end up looking at brand name professional hair scissors. There’s no need to look at those unless you are a professional stylist.
In fact, here is a fun fact for you: many hair scissors at wildly varying price points are actually made at the same factories. It’s just that branding and a cut for the middle man that ramp up the cost to you the customer. So there’s really no need to break the bank to buy a pair. The key is to get something that will last you a long time, especially if you plan on using them on the regular.
This post has something for everyone; the layman like me who just wants a good pair of scissors to trim once in a blue moon, someone who cuts their hair regularly because it grows like weeds and they want to keep it at a certain length, and the self-made or professional hair stylist.
Let me just add that if you get your cut at a stylist this post will benefit you as well; after all, you need to know if the tool being used on you is good especially if it is being used on 10 other heads per day.
Ok enough of the preamble…So what do you need to know when choosing a pair of hair scissors?
1. All steel is measured by a worldwide rating system called HRC. The HRC measures the hardness of the steel that makes the scissors and indicates the sharpness of the blade.
2. There is a slight difference between scissors and shears. Shears are any scissors longer than 6.5”, while scissors are at or shorter than 6.5”.
3. The best quality scissors are those made from steel that come from Japan or Germany. These are identified by the heating grade of the steel.
The heating grade ranges from 330-440 and comes in three subcategories; A,B and C with C being the best quality. For example, if you find a pair of scissors that are made from steel that was processed at a heating grade of 440C, they will last you a very long time, decades to be precise.
4. Great quality scissors will have a 440 heating grade with V-steel or cobalt mixed into it. These have an HRC rating of 59-61.
5. The greatest quality steel comes from a steel making company in Japan named Hitachi. Hitachi steel makes scissors and shears for high end barbering tools. Hitachi hair scissors will have a hardness and sharpness rating of 62-63.
6. Steel that comes from China, India, Korea and Pakistan are usually softer and chip very easily as they have a heating grade of 330. These have a hardness and sharpness rating of 53-54.
The scissors usually sold at beauty supplies stores that usually go for about $20 are 330 grade and won’t last very long if you intend to use them very often or for more than just trimming off damaged ends.
In fact, if the intent is to use the scissors regularly they will dull rather quickly. If a professional stylist uses a pair of these to cut at least 10 heads of hair a day, they will need to be sharpened every two weeks. After sharpening them 4-6 times they will become useless.
7. It is best to get three holed swivel thumb scissors because they give you more control over the hair which eliminates pains in your wrist Plus they can be used by both left and right-handed people. This is mostly relevant to hair stylists.
8. Titanium coated hair scissors will never rust on you.
9. Longer blades allow you to have a stable, straight and even cut, so if you can, aim for the longer bladed shears over scissors.
10. Shorter blades (4.5″ – 5.5″) are designed to cut close to the skin so if you are maintaining undercuts and intend to keep it short and sweet, a short blade is your friend since you will be cutting near the scalp.
11. The thinning scissors, also called the notching scissors, are for when you want to blend two sections of hair flawlessly, like for a tapered cut.
Remember how I mentioned that hair scissors can be quite expensive? Well you may be surprised to learn that you can get a professional pair for under $20. And I’m talking about Japanese 440C with a 62HRC rating! Just check the links in the description for where to find them.
So now that you have the skinny on choosing a pair of scissors that will give you value for your money, go out there and trim those ends.
Let us know in the comments if you trim your own hair or if you just leave it to the professionals.