August 13, 2020 6 min read

The reputation of a hairdresser or barber depends to some extent on the type, condition and design of the hairdressing scissors which she or he uses. Hence it is important to choose the right scissors and also ensure that they are well maintained.

Like any mechanical device, the scissors will be in perfect condition when new and cut perfectly.

Over a period of time, when the scissors are used for cutting, they gradually lose their sharpness. So they should be sharpened periodically, typically after they have been used for 1000 cuttings.

If the scissor is not sharpened, it will become more difficult to cut using the scissor.

Ideally the scissor should cut the hair, and the hair dresser should not have to apply any pressure on the scissor for cutting. However if the scissor is not sharpened regularly, the user will face resistance while cutting the hair.

They will have to apply more pressure, and instead of cutting the hair, the hair will break when pressure is applied. This will also damage the scissor, affecting the ride line.

Another reason why the scissor may get damaged, is sharpening the scissor the wrong way. Some sharpeners may offer their services at a low cost, yet while sharpening the scissor, the tempered steel and sharp edge at the ride line may be lost.

Every scissor is designed for cutting a certain thickness and type of hair. So the hairdresser should use the scissor only for cutting the right thickness of hair, if a light scissor is used for cutting thicker hair for a longer period of time, the scissor may break.

More pressure will be applied on the scissor to cut thicker hair. This will damage the edges and also the pivot screw which used to hold the scissors together may come apart. Though the scissors are made from stainless steel, they may be affected by extremely corrosive chemicals which are sometimes used for hairdressing, chlorine from swimming pools and other similar chemicals.

Scissor Maintenance

One of the most important aspects of scissor maintenance is sharpening the scissors regularly.

Though many of scissor manufacturers are recommending that the scissors should be sharpened after every thousand cuts, the right frequency depends on a number of factors. The thickness and type of hair the hairdresser is cutting determines the sharpening frequency to a great extent.

If the hairdresser is cutting thick hair regularly, then the scissor has to be sharpened more frequently since the sharpness will be lost more quickly. For thinner hair, less pressure will be required for cutting.

Another factor which has to be considered for sharpening is whether the hair is cut when wet or dry, since wet hair is clumped together.

If the hair is cleaned before cutting it will be easier to cut it compared to dirty hair, which may be coated with dust, dirt or other debris.

For most scissors, the seller will indicate a method to check the sharpness of a scissor.

If the scissor is not sharp enough, the scissor should be sharpened using the right way recommended by the manufacturer.

Scissor sharpening tools are available, or the work can be outsource to professional sharpeners who will ensure that the tempering and edge of the scissor are not damaged

If the scissors are not sharp enough, it is advisable to keep them aside till they can be sharpened. If the scissors are used without sharpening, they can get damaged further and it may be difficult to get them repaired.

For maintaining the barber shears, the shears should be kept properly when not in use. They should not be kept open, since they may accidentally cut items damaging them or even cause injury.

The shears should be stored in a well designed professional scissor case, not in a box or bag which may damage the tips and edges of the scissor.

Cleaning The Scissors

There are many reasons why the scissor should be cleaned regularly. Ideally the scissor should be cleaned after every hair cut.

The condition of the hair and scalp of each client will differ. Some of the clients may have dandruff while others may have lice or other similar health problems . So if the same scissor is used for cutting all the clients hair without proper cleaning, there is possibility that one or more client will get infected.

For greater hygiene and safety reasons, a hairdresser or barber should clean the scissors used thoroughly, so that any contamination is removed

Many people are using chemicals for perming, straightening or coloring their hair, and these chemicals can act on the stainless steel of the scissor blades causing small holes.

Similarly clients who have been swimming in pools will have chlorine in their hair which will again cause holes on the scissor blades if the chemicals remain on the surface for a longer period of time.

The scissors should be washed using soap water to remove all chemicals and hair after it has been used for cutting the hair. So cleaning the hairdresser scissors after every use is very important, if the hairdresser wishes to use the scissors for a longer period of time.

Drying is also an important aspect of cleaning the scissors. The scissors can be wiped using a soft cloth or similar material after they are cleaned with water.

They should be then kept in the air for some time, till all the moisture evaporates. Only after the scissors are completely dry, they should be kept in storage in a box or case. They should not be kept outdoors since dust may accumulate on the scissors.

How To Repair Scissors

Though the scissors appear to be comparatively simple mechanical devices, there are many reasons why a scissor will malfunction.

One of the most common problems in scissors or shears is the tension in the scissor. The pivot screw holds the scissors together. When the scissors are new, the tension is usually right. However as the scissors are being used, the tension will change.

It is advisable to check the tension in the scissors frequently. If the scissors are tight, the blades will grind against each other while cutting. So the user will have to apply more force while cutting, and the blades will also get damaged.

On the other hand, if the scissors are loosely connected to each other, the blades will not be aligned properly, they may fold against each other.

The hair will also not be cut properly and the client skin may get nicks.

Hence it is advisable to check the tension in the shears frequently. The shears should be held using the finger ring in the left hand. The shears should be then opened so that a cross is formed.

After this the ring held in the right hand should be released. If the tension is right, the shear blade will fall only slightly. If the blade falls more, it is too loose, and if it does not move, it is very tight.

The tension in the shears can be adjusted to increase or decrease it depending on the requirement.

This can be done using a tension adjuster, or using the knob for tension adjustment if provided.

It is important to keep the blades of the scissor closed while adjusting the tension, since this will prevent nicks on the blades of the scissors.

For sharpening the blades and other repairs, it is also advisable to use the services of a reputed business, who can offer a warranty on their workmanship and repairs.

If any parts are missing or worn out they should be replaced at the earliest, repairing the scissors. Most of the better quality scissors have rubber bumpers between the finger rings.

If the bumpers for the finger rings are missing or damaged, the fingers of the user may get cuts, and the blades may overlap.

If the blades are not properly aligned, the expensive hairdressing scissors can get damaged.

It may also become difficult to use the scissors, more pressure will have to be applied while using them. This can result in pain in the hands, especially if the shears are being used frequently and affect the quality of the work.

Oiling The Scissors.

Another problem frequently faced by hairdressers is that it may not be easy to open and close the scissors. This is usually resolved by oiling the scissors. If the scissors are used frequently, they should be oiled at least once a day.

For this the lubricant oil used should not contain silicone, and it should be suitable for shears, scissors and similar products. The oil should be applied to the pivot screw of the shears and the inner blades. Air drying of these scissors after oiling is usually recommended.


High quality professional scissors are usually expensive and will last for at least ten years if they are being handled properly following the manufacturers guidelines.

Most hairdressers and barbers have a number of hairdressing scissors based on the thickness and type of hair which they are cutting.

They can maximize the life of these scissors by cleaning and oiling them regularly, ensuring that the tension in the scissors is right.

They should also sharpen the scissors periodically and replace any part which is missing or damaged.

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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