August 19, 2020 3 min read

Cutting your own hair looks easy enough in videos, but it’s harder to get a good cut than you might think. Most people who try to cut their own hair end up with an uneven cut and they also often damage their hair. The big reason the hair ends up uneven and damaged is that the scissors people use are too dull. Sharp scissors give you a much cleaner cut and you won’t fray the ends of your hair quite so badly. Think of it like cutting fabric. If you use regular, dull scissors to cut fabric, you usually end up with frayed or split edges. You don’t want your hair to end up the same way so use shears that are nice and sharp.

Of course, most people don’t know how to tell if their scissors are sharp enough to cut hair. This article will help you determine if your scissors are sharp enough to cut your hair and why you should use hair shears instead of kitchen scissors.

Signs your scissors aren’t sharp

Before cutting your hair, you should always make sure your tools are in good working order. Sharp scissors are a big part of that, and it’s easy to spot a dull blade once you know what you’re looking for. Below are three common signs of a dull scissor blade.

1. Folding hair

If your hair folds as you try to cut it with the scissors, this usually indicates a dull blade or means that the tension control is too loose on your shears. Try tightening the tension control first, but if that doesn’t work then your shears need to be sharpened. The problem with the hair folding in the blade is that you’ll end up with a very uneven cut and your ends will likely be damaged by the pressure of the blade.

2. Noisy shears

All scissors make noise as they’re cutting, but if you notice your shears being particularly loud this could be a sign of dullness or small nicks. Nicks in your blade are bad during a hair cut because the strands of hair can get caught, and you end up pulling your hair. If your shears are noisy every time they open and close, then consider taking them to a professional sharpener to get them checked out.

3. Difficulty cutting

Any problems getting through the hair is a definite sign of a dull blade. Your shears should be able to slice through strands of hair like butter. If you have to repeatedly saw through your hair with the scissor blades, they aren’t sharp enough to be cutting hair. Either replace your scissors or get them sharpened before using them again.

You can determine if your scissors are sharp enough to cut hair with a simple test. Take a piece of one-ply facial tissue and gently place it in between the blades of your shears. Remove your thumb from the shear handle and use it to gently press down the top of the handle to close the scissors. The blades should cut cleanly through the tissue. If the blade snags at all or if it doesn’t cut all the way through to the tip then your shears need to be sharpened.

The difference between kitchen scissors and shears
A big mistake most people make when trying to cut their own hair is they grab a pair of kitchen scissors from the drawer. The problem with kitchen scissors is that they tend to be pretty dull. Think about it. When was the last time you sharpened your kitchen scissors or even your office scissors? Probably never, right? Well, it’s hard to cut in a straight line when your scissors are dull.

The other problem with kitchen scissors is the blades are simply too big for a precise cut. If you’ve ever seen the scissors a hairdresser uses, you know how thin and pointy they are. Haircutting shears are made for precise cuts and clean lines. Plus, if you only use them to cut hair, they will stay really sharp.


Overall, if you want sharp scissors then stick with haircutting shears. Kitchen scissors will cut your hair, but the final look won’t be nearly as clean or even. If kitchen scissors are all you have, then at the very least make sure the blades are sharp so you can get through the strands of hair without much pulling or fraying. Your hair and head will thank you for using sharp scissors when your adventure into cutting your own hair is over.

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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