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Hair Scissor Steel & Materials Guide

by James Adams June 23, 2021 12 min read

Hair Scissor Steel & Materials Guide | Japan Scissors USA

Let me ask you this question: "What is the best scissor-steel and how can you be sure you're getting your money's value?"

Although it may seem like a straightforward question, it is actually one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new pair or barber shears.

What steel is used to make my scissors? What is the difference in high-quality and low-quality scissors?

The types of scissor-steel will affect:

  • How sharp your knife is
  • It is so easy to sharpen!
  • Corrosion and rust resistance
  • How fragile and brittle is the blade
  • What lightness the scissors are
  • How long will your scissors last?

It's easy to see why you would spend $300 on a pair of scissors and not $99. It is important to have tools that are durable and reliable if you cut hair every day.

Understanding Scissor Steel and the Different Quality Types

With so many models and brands using different names and types of steel, it can be difficult to determine which pair is the best deal. What are the different types of steel that are used in hairdressing and barber shavers?

The Rockwell Hardness Rating (HRC/HR) is used to determine the quality of scissor steel.

What is the Rockwell HRC rating?

The different hairdressing shears made from Japanese steel

It measures the strength and hardness of your scissors. The better the quality of your scissors, the harder they are.

Stainless steel can be found in all types of steel. The Rockwell Hardness Scale ( HRC) can be used to determine the grade of stainless steel.

This is an example of what you can expect from Australian low-quality and high-quality hairdressing scissors.

Hardness

Qualitative Level

Estimated price

50-55HRC

Weaker blades and lower quality

$50-199

55-57HRC

Blade for hair cutting at entry level

$99-299

57-59HRC

Blade for mid-level hair cutting. Sharper, more durable and resistant to rust.

$149-400

58-60HRC

High quality, mid-to high quality blade. It is tough, durable and easy to sharpen.

$249-800

60-62HRC

High quality cutting knife. Premium scissors are most commonly equipped with this cutting blade. It is tough, durable, and easy to sharpen.

$299-1000

61-63HRC

High quality cutting blade. Only found in the finest scissors

$700-1500

 

The harder the material is, the higher the HRC, and the sharper the blade the better it is at resisting corrosion and rust.

When choosing between high-quality and low-quality scissors, the HRC is not the only factor. The manufacturing quality and standards of your scissors also affect how sharp and efficient they will be.

Let's begin by reviewing the most common names for scissor-steel so that you can better understand your new scissors.

Hairdressing scissors can be distinguished by the type of metal (stainless) and their overall craftsmanship.

A difference in the quality of hair scissors made from cheap metal or expensive metal could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We will discuss the best metal to use for hair cutting shears, and the quality of the most commonly used steel for scissors.

The Best Hair Cutting Scissors

Professional Japanese steel haircutting shears on a salon counter

All scissors can be made of stainless steel. However, the best steel to use for hairdressing is from Japan.

Japanese steel is used to make scissors. It has sharper edges and requires less sharpening.

These are the most sought-after Japanese steels for cutting.440C, VG10(VG-10), VG1(VG-1) and Cobalt ATS314/ATS-314.

Blades made of better metal are better

Japanese scissors have sharp, convex edges that require premium steel. This ensures a razor-sharp edge for longer.

All blades will be sharpened by this, but Japanese shears made of premium steel are most likely to use Convex blades.

Premium hardened steel will require less frequent sharpening.

Better metal, better ergonomics

Higher quality steel is surprisingly light. The lighter steel reduces pressure on your wrist, elbow, elbow, and shoulder when you are cutting.

Higher quality metal means longer life span for scissors

The Japanese steel is of higher quality, so the scissors are more resistant to rust and corrosion.

Japanese steel shears can last from five to ten years to twenty years. If well maintained, they may even last longer.

Where does the best scissor steel come from?

Japanese and German flags representing the best steel for hair shears

All scissors are made of stainless steel. However, the best quality and most desirable scissor materials are made in:

  1. Japanese Steel: The Best Quality in the World
  2. German Steel: The Best Quality Steel from Europe
  3. Korean Steel: The Second Best Steel from Asia
  4. Taiwanese Steel High Quality Steel
  5. Chinese Steel Great Quality Steel

India, Pakistan, and Vietnam are the three countries that produce the worst steel. These scissors from Pakistan and India have blunt edges that can only be sharpened once or twice before breaking.

Summary: The Top 10 Most People Steel Types For Hairdressing Shears

There are so many metals to choose from, so how can we decide which one is best for professional hairdressing or barber Shears?

These are our top 10 hairdressing scissors:

 Steel Rank Name Description
#1 Best Steel ATS-314 (ATS314) Pure Japanese steel with high levels of Cobalt and Titanium.
#2 VG-10 The best scissors and knives are made from high quality Japanese steel.
#3 V-10 (V10) High levels of Vanadium and Titanium that give extra strength to cutting knives.
#4 V-1 (V1) These entry-level Vanadium and Titanium steel shears are designed for cutting sharp blades.
#5 S-3 (S3) High Cobalt Steel for razor-sharp cutting edges
#6 S-1 (S1) Cobalt steel entry-level for hardened cutting shears
#7 440C Premium hair scissors made of hardened Japanese steel are very popular.
#8 440A Most basic blades are made of standard stainless steel.
#9 420 You can use cheap stainless steel on even the simplest of scissors and knives.
#10 410 This is the most commonly used steel, but it's not recommended for professional scissors.


Titanium and Vanadium increase the toughness and hardness of your scissors. They also make your scissors lighter, making it easier to use.

Cobalt steel can be used to make your knives lighter and more durable. Cobalt steel makes your shears sharper and lasts longer. This means you don't need to sharpen them as often.

The Top 10 Steels To Choose For Your Hairdressing Scissors

A closeup of the best steel used to make professional scissors

The best steel has been ranked based on its quality, value, and ability to compete in the market. While there is always better cutting steel, we recognize that everyone has a budget.

Here is the best hair steel, based on the opinions of professional hairdressers around the globe!

1. V-1 (V1) 64HRC

The V1 Steel is the best as it is the most high-quality steel used in hairdressing and barber cutting. V1 steel is an upgrade to VG10 steel and provides sharper blades, increased toughness, and crack resistance.

Hair scissors made from V1 steel can be expected to be of premium quality, and therefore will come at a higher price.

2. ATS-314 (ATS314)

The ATS-314 steel is made by Japan's Hitachi Metals company. It is a premium quality steel that is used to make barber shears and hairdressing scissors. Many scissor brands speak of using ATS-314 or ATS314, but very few actually use the official Japanese metal from Hitachi.

The ATS-314 stainless steel produces a premium scissor knife with superior hardness. This steel ensures that the blade remains sharper for longer and can hold a sharp convex or clam-shaped edge.

3. VG-10 (VG10): 60HRC

VG10 (VG-10), also known as V Gold 10 steel, is a unique design from Takefu Special Steel Japan. It is used in the finest quality hairdressing scissors. It is made from the finest stainless steel and is resistant to corrosion, abrasion, and one of the strongest metals used in hair scissors.

Your VG10 scissors will have a superior edge, bevelled or convex.

VG10 is superiority-sharp, light, and is used in high quality scissor production. However, it is not restricted to Japan, as Japanese metal companies export globally.

4. 10CR - 10Cr13MoV

The 10CR is a premium-grade scissors that can be used professionally and can be upgraded from 8Cr13MoV or 440C steel.

The 10CR steel is similar to Hitachi/Takefu VG10 and provides superior sharpness for hairdressing scissors.

This scissor-metal ticks all the boxes in terms of toughness, blade sharpness retention, corrosion resistance, wear resistance, price, and wear resistance.

A premium overall steel for professional hairdressing or barber scissors, that doesn't cost more than $1000 per pair.

5. 440C: 58-60HRC

The premium steel 440C can be found in many brands such as Yasaka. It's a great all-rounder because of its hardness, resistance, and practical use in forging hair cutting scissor knives.

You won't have to spend thousands of dollars on Japan 440C blades. These blades are ideal for professional hairdressing or barber cutting.

6. 8CR - 8Cr13MoV

The 8CR, also known as 8Cr13MoV or 8Cr14MoV is a steel that's confident and can be used to make high-quality hairdressing scissors. Similar to Hitachi's steel 440C, which transforms any pair of scissors into professional tools.

It has a great blade edge retention, keeping your hair scissors more sharp for longer. Durability is assured by wear and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for all-rounder scissors that will please any barber or hairdresser.

6. 7CR - 7Cr17MoV

The tougher and more robust brother to the 4CR steel, 7CR (also known as 7Cr17MoV) offers good blade edge retention, corrosion and wear resistance and is easy to sharpen.

Are these good enough to use for barber or hairdressing? These are great for home and professional hairdressing.

7. 420: 56-58HRC

The 420 scissor-steel is slightly more soft than the Japanese 440C but still performs well for mid-range hair scissors from Japan. They will still be able to perform well for professionals, despite being cheaper.

8. Stainless Alloy Steel: 55 - 58HRC

All steel used for the manufacture of hairdressing scissors uses stainless steel. Stainless steel is not a nameplate and does not give you any information about the quality of the shear or scissor product that you are buying.

Research across multiple brands in Australia has shown that stainless steel products typically have a 55-58 HRC. You can cut hair with stainless steel scissors, but they are usually on the lower end ($99-200).

9. S-3 (S3) - 62HRC

This rare and special steel is made from Yasuki Silver in Japan. The S3 is a superior cutting blade hardness and can be found mostly in chef and kitchen knives. However, it can also be found in some hairdressing scissors and barber shears made in Japan.

What are the benefits of S3 steel? Professional-grade hair scissors with high-performing features such as superior hardness and resistance to corrosion.

10. 10.

The 410 stainless steel is a basic chromium chromium steel that has superior wear, corrosion and resistance to damage. These are common in Japanese mid-range hairdressing scissors.

11. 53-56 HRC for Chromium Steel

Chromium Steel is available in different categories and is generally used in scissors made in Germany or Europe. Famous brands such as Jaguar use Chromium Steel when creating their entry-level hairstyling tools.

These are great for budget-minded scissors. The sharpness is superior to bevel edge blades.

12. 4.Cr14MoV 56-58HRC

Due to its similar characteristics, the 4Cr14MoV is often found in hairdressing tools. It is found in mid-range hairdressing tools.

They are well-suited for use in the middle range of hairdressing scissors, and they are quite common in brands other than Japan.

13. 3Cr13: 52-55%HRC

3Cr13, a basic stainless steel from China, has similar properties to the popular 420J2 (4 AUS). This basic steel is used in basic hair cutting tools and is not recommended for use with thinning shears.

14. 4.Cr13: 55-57HRC

4Cr13 (also known as 40Cr13) is a standard stainless-steel that is tougher than 3Cr13. Scissor makers can create sharper convex or bevel edge blades because of the higher strength.

You can feel confident with a pair 4Cr13-cutting scissors. These scissors will cut like any mid-range barber or hairdresser scissors. The 55HRC+ hardness makes them durable enough to last without breaking the bank.

What is the difference between low-quality steel and high-quality steel?

The difference between low quality and high quality scissors

All scissors can be made of stainless steel. However, the best steel to use for hairdressing is from Japan.

Japanese steel is used to make scissors. It has sharper edges and requires less sharpening.

The most common Japanese steels for scissors are 440C (VG10), VG1(VG-1) and Cobalt (ATS314 (ATS-314).

Better steel means better blades

Japanese scissors have sharp, convex edges that require premium steel. This ensures a razor-sharp edge for longer.

All blades will be sharpened by this, but Japanese shears made of premium steel are most likely to use Convex blades.

Premium hardened steel will require less frequent sharpening.

Better steel, better ergonomics

Higher quality steel is surprisingly light. The lighter steel reduces pressure on your wrist, elbow, elbow, and shoulder when you are cutting.

Higher quality metal means longer life span for scissors

The Japanese steel is of higher quality, so the scissors are more resistant to rust and corrosion.

Japanese steel shears can last from five to ten years to twenty years. If well maintained, they may even last longer.

You can read more about high quality and low quality scissor-steel here.

Where does the best scissor steel come from?

Japan, Germany, and China are the best places to find scissor blade steel. Japan is home to the highest quality steel and is responsible for the worldwide popularity of Japanese hairdressing scissors.

Germany is a producer of high-quality chromium steel, which has allowed successful scissor brands such as Jaguar Solingen to be able to seduce the entire world with their quality hair cutting tools.

China can produce high-quality steel in large quantities and, contrary to popular belief, they can compete with Japan or Germany in terms of quality. China also offers the highest quality steel at an affordable price.

Learn more about the best hair-cutting metal here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scissor steel

We have collected a list of frequently asked questions about steel and the metals used in making barber shears and hairdressing scissors.

  • Question: Which scissor-steel should I purchase?
    Answer: Many people call and email us asking which scissor-steel is best. It all depends on their budget. While V1, VG10, or ATS314 are the best options, they could cost you up to $1000 per pair. You can choose pairs with a hardness of 58HRC or higher to get the best value.

  • Question: Should I purchase Titanium steel scissors
    Answer: Titanium steel - The name scissors can be misleading because they may contain a colour coating or a small component in the making of the steel. You can find the right hair-cutting tool for you by focusing on the HRC. This is the measurement of the hardness of scissor-steel.

  • Question: Which steel is the most affordable?
    Answer: The best Japanese steel for budget is 440C steel. A high-quality, stainless-steel scissor would also be affordable with 56HRC.

  • Question: How do you choose the right hairdressing scissors for you?
    Answer: The steel is what makes a pair of scissors different. It affects its price and quality. While the higher quality steel is more expensive, it will make your scissors sharper and last longer. It's also more durable.

  • Question: How can I avoid low-quality or fake steel from China and Pakistan?
    Answer: We believe Pakistan has the lowest quality scissor-steel and recommend that you avoid these scissors. Chinese steel is just as rich in premium types as it is in low-quality types. Avoid Amazon, eBay, and Wish and focus on trusted websites that offer exchange and warranty. You can then try your new scissors out to assess the quality.

We have collected a list of frequently asked questions about steel and the metals used in making barber shears and hairdressing scissors.

 Question Answer
What is the most popular hairdressing tool steel? The 440C stainless steel is the most commonly used metal for making hair scissors.
What hairdressing scissors are best for professionals? The 440C Japanese Steel is the recommended metal for hair scissors.
Which metal is the best for apprentice or student hairdressers? The 440A is the perfect choice for entry-level hairstylists.
Are there 100% pure titanium scissors? You can't use 100% titanium for scissors. However, you can find shears made with 2% to 10% of Titanium.
What is stainless steel? All blades are made from stainless steel. There are many types of stainless steel, with the harder versions being more expensive.
Which metal is best for hair shears? ATS-314 and VG-10 premium scissor-steel from Japan.
Is Damascus made of scissor-steel? Damascus Steel has not been produced in over 300 years. Damascus Steel used to make hair shears is only a design.
Are titanium scissors better? To increase the strength and toughness of the blade, titanium is added to scissor-steel. Premium shear is the only place where you will find titanium. Titanium scissor knives are lighter, more sharp and have a higher quality.
What is 6cr stainless? The 6CR is also known as " 6CR13MoV"steel and is used to make basic cutting tools. It contains a 0.66 carbon additive component.
What is 9cr stainless Steel? The 9CR, also known as 9Cr13MoVCo or 9Cr18MoV, is a high-quality Chinese steel that's used for hairdressing.
What are titanium coated scissors? The titanium coating on hairdressing scissors does not enhance the performance of the shear. It is only for styling purposes.
Are powder steel scissors worth it? Powder steel is a premium metal that has been forged using a unique process. Powder steel shears have lightweight blades that are sharp and resistant to corrosion and rust. With their sharp edges and lightweight design, the Powder Scissor Steel is comparable with Japanese Hitachi.

 

It is a fact that no scissor is sharp forever and no steel is 100% rust-, physical fall- and corrosion-resistant forever.
These scissors are reliable enough to last for many years, even if you reach the 440C or VG1/10, Cobalt, and ATS-314 levels.
This article was reference from the best sources:

 

    James Adams
    James Adams

    James is an experienced hairdressing and barbering enthusiast. He has experience in the Japanese and North American scissor market and strives to bring information on haircutting shears in one place. Writing for Japan Scissors USA, he focuses on Japanese hairdressing scissor brands, models, and the manufacturing process, so you can make the best choice in scissors the first time round.


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