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The Perfect Set

This may be a controversial topic among scissor people and hairdressers alike. What I am presenting to you is a description of the perfect "set" of hairdressing scissors designed to give you the perfect tool for each hair type and cutting technique used today in modern hairdressing. It comes from a deep understanding of the tool and techniques because of my experience of 20 years of designing and manufacturing hairdressing scissors. Contrary to the belief of some hairdressers, there has not been a pair of scissors invented yet that can perform all techniques perfectly, and be comfortable in all applications.

1. High Precision Cutting Scissors Size 5" ~ 6" stainless steel. Cutting feel "soft".

These scissors are used for section cutting in general, slicing, chipping and channeling. High precision edges are finished at 35 degrees (angle, not temperature!) or less which is very sharp and fine, but also very delicate. Use for fine to medium hair texture, do not use thick sections or cut course hair with these scissors. Because of their fine edges, High Precision scissors are usually the two piece welded type, 440C or better. Cast or one piece forged scissors do not last or cut well with this type of edge. Cost from $450 to over $1000.

 2. Chemical cutting/Dry cutting scissors Size 5.5 ~ 6" Cobalt Based alloy. Cutting feel "medium".

These scissors are particulary designed for Dry cutting and cutting with product in the hair. Also used for section cutting in general, heavy slide cutting (as opposed to slicing which is a texturising technique), feathering, heavy chipping and cutting after a colour or perm. The cobalt based alloy scissors cut with a microscopic burr that breaks the hair tension and leads into the cut. Suitable for heavy sections and medium to course hair texture. Designed for heavy slide cutting while dry and semi-dry. Cobalt based alloy scissors do not corrode so are unaffected by chemicals in your salon. Be careful when choosing Cobalt scissors that the blade does not stick to a magnet as true cobalt based alloy is non-magnetic (some stainless steels have 5% Cobalt but are not Cobalt based). Ceramic scissors perform as well for these techniques. Cost between $800 and $1500.

3. Medium Precision Long blade Size 6" and up, stainless steel. Cutting feel - "medium to hard"

These scissors are used for scissor over comb, long hair sections, bulk hair removal before cutting, precision line work such as flat tops and bobs. You may choose a cheaper style of scissors and serrated edges are fine. Some hairdressers prefer high precision edges for their long blade as well but I usually don't recommend it as it is easy to chip your edge cutting scissor over comb. A medium precision edge or a general cutting edge (over 50 degrees) is more sturdy. Cost from $300.

4. Blunt Cutting Scissors Size 5" to 5.5", any alloy.

These scissors are a personal choice for most hairdressers. They can be an old pair especially adapted for the job or a new pair. Medium precision to general cutting edge, serrated edge preferred. These scissors are made with fine tips (usually 2mm) for blunt cutting, cutting close to the skin, around perimeters and first section on the skin. The scissors are made so that the tips do not slip at all (hard set or grip tip) and are ideal for touch up finishing and beard trims. Cost from $350.

5. Quality Razor Shear Size 5.5" to 6", Stainless Steel, 30 to 40 teeth

Most of you know these scissors as "Thinning Scissors", the latest models are called razor shears as the cutting edge is finished much finer and cut softer. Used for thinning thick hair, soft chipping, graduated thinning (slide cutting with a razor shear), blending and finishing scissor over comb. The best types are two piece 440C alloy or better. Cheaper types bend and break teeth which is impossible to fix in a cast or one piece scissors and cannot be re-set if damaged. Cost from $400.

6. Quality Texturising Scissors size 5.5" to 6", Stainless Steel, 10 to 16 Teeth

These scissors are used to create texture and movement in your style. They are fast to use and the texture created is different to "chipping". Again, the best types are two piece 440C or better. Cost from $300

As you can see, the right set of scissors is a serious investment, usually hairdressers build up their set over many years.

Happy Cutting!
Adrian Schlemmer