One of the most common questions when it comes to cutting hair is how to properly use hair shears, also known as hair scissors. Quality hair shears can often come at a steep price, so you’ll want to know how to use them correctly. Knowing how to adequately handle your hair shears is also a sure way to maintain them and keep them in working order for much longer.
The process of learning how to use hair scissors includes knowing which kind of scissors work on hair, how to properly grip the scissors, and which techniques to use.
What Kind of Shears Should You Use to Cut Hair?
There are many types of scissors and shears out there, but shears made specifically for cutting hair are the only type that should be used on your hair. Using the regular pair of scissors sitting in your junk drawer at home tear through your hair and damage the ends.
The blades on hair shears are sharp and finely edged made specifically to cut through hair without tugging, pulling, or damaging your hair in any way. Hair shears also feature ergonomic handles that make them comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
The Anatomy of Hair Shears
Before you learn how to hold your hair shears, you will need to know the basic anatomy of the shears. Obviously, you have the handle with two offset loops, one larger and one smaller, that are connected at the center of the shear by a bolt or screw – this is called the pivot point. The smaller of the loops has a hook that protrudes out from it – this is called the tang. The tang’s primary purpose is to provide stability when you hold the shears properly.
So, now that you’re familiar with the parts that make up hair shears, you’re ready to learn how to grip them properly.
How to Properly Grip Hair Shears
The way in which you grip your hair shears can affect the outcome of your cut, so it’s important to make sure you’re holding them correctly.
There are two different ways to hold hair shears: The Traditional or Western Grip and the European or Eastern Grip.
Traditional or Western Hair Shear Grip
The Traditional or Western Grip is the most commonly used grip in hairstyling. It is the most natural of the grips giving you the stability and control you need, which is why it is the preferred method to teach cosmetology students.
Here are the four steps to achieve the perfect Traditional Grip:
- Using your dominant hand, put your ring finger through the smaller loop of the handle
- Put your thumb through the larger loop
- Rest your pinky finger on the hook (also known as the tang) that extends from the smaller loop
- Your index and middle fingers rest above the handle just below the smaller loop
Eastern or European Hair Shear Grip
The Eastern or European Grip is not as widely taught as the Traditional Grip as it takes more time to get used to; however, with enough practice, you can master the technique. This grip is most useful when you need to perform techniques such as slicing or slithering because it doesn’t put too much pressure on the hand or wrist. Professional stylists also use this grip for point-cutting short hair.
The Eastern Grip requires holding the shears in an opposite position to the Western method. Here are the steps to achieve the perfect Eastern Grip:
- Using your dominant hand, place your index finger through the smaller loop of the handle
- Place your thumb through the larger loop
- Rest your middle and ring fingers on the handle just before the blade
- Keep your hand relaxed and using only your thumb, open and close the shears
Tips on How to Successfully Use Hair Shears
- Choose the right pair of shears for you. Check out our blog post on what to consider when buying hair shears.
- Use only your thumb to open and close the shears when cutting
- Clean your hair shears after every use with warm soapy water. Make sure to dry them thoroughly to avoid rust or other damage.
The Two Most Common Hair Shear Techniques
There are two commonly used techniques when handling hair shears: Over Comb and Point Cutting.
The Over Comb Technique
The Over Comb technique is most commonly used in barbering because it is great for achieving shorter hairstyles. Here’s how you use the Over Comb technique:
- Make sure the client is sitting up straight and position their head at your eye level
- Use a spray bottle to dampen the hair with water
- With your non-dominant hand, use a comb to pull hair out to the desired length
- Holding the hair in the comb, use your hair shears to cut at a parallel angle
- Keep the blades cutting in a swift motion to make sure you cut all strands of hair straight across. Once you’ve cut the first section, you can use it as a guide for all the other sections
- Moving on to the next section, use the comb to lift in some of the hair you already cut to match the length
- Work around the head, lifting sections in a vertical or diagonal angle
Tips for Success with the Over Comb Technique:
- Using longer hair shears will make the Over Comb technique easier and allows you to cut off larger sections of hair at once.
- Use quick and swift motions to avoid hesitation, which can lead to an uneven cut.
- Make sure to fully open and close the blades so that cut is completed with the center of the blades.
- Avoid cutting with the tips of the shears as this can cause the cut to look choppy when you want consistency
The Point Cutting Technique
The Point Cutting technique is primarily used for creating texture in a haircut and not so much from trimming or cutting off excess length. Here’s how to use the Point Cutting technique:
- Use a spray bottle to dampen the hair with water
- Comb the hair as straight as possible
- Beginning at the crown of the head, section off two inches of hair and pinch it between your index and middle fingers
- Angle the hair shears downward and perpendicular to your fingers
- Cut small portions of the hair moving sideways. Make sure not to cut more than 1 inch of hair or the cut will look jagged
- Work your way from the bottom up, beginning at the nape of the neck working towards the sides. Then, you can move up to the crown of the head.
Tips for Success with the Point Cutting Technique:
- It’s important to stay patient while performing the Point Cutting You may be tempted to angle the shears in a way that will cut more hair at the same time but moving at a slow and slightly angled motion is key to achieving a nicely layered cut.
- Keep caution and a steady hand throughout the process to avoid accidentally cutting yourself.
- Use the Point Cutting technique for creating texture only. Do not try to use this technique to remove length.
How to Use Hair Shears at Home
Using hair shears to cut your own hair can be very difficult. Here is the easiest way to use hair shears at home:
- Thoroughly comb your hair to smooth out any tangles
- Section out your hair into four even parts
- Use your index and middle fingers to grab a section of hair, pulling your fingers down to the desired length.
- Holding the scissors in the traditional grip (see above), open the scissors using only your thumb
- Bring the scissors up the section of hair between your fingers and use your thumb to close the blades
Conclusion: How to Use Hair Shears
Properly using hair shears may seem difficult or uncomfortable at first, but with enough practice, you will be able to cut hair without having to think too much about technique. Just remember the finger placement for the traditional grip and always open and close the blades with your thumb only for a smooth and precise cut.
Now that you know how to properly use hair shears, it’s time for an upgrade! Saki Shears provides high-quality hair shears made from the finest of Japanese steel to help you achieve a seamless cut. Our shears are designed for long-lasting use and comfortable handling. Browse our extensive line of products for cosmetology professionals and students!
Want more information and advice on all things hair? Check out our blog to learn more!