Best Hair Cutting Shears: Our Top 10 Picks

Your tools reflect your work ethic. A quality product tells your customers and your family you care about their haircut.

And it feels good using a great set of shears, too. They cut better and stay sharp longer than an inferior product. Overtime, that saves you money.

But when you’re hunting for a new pair of hair styling shears, you need to ask yourself some questions. For example, do you need a bevel edge or convex edge? What about the length of the blade? Will 5 inches suffice, or do you need 6.5 inches?

That’s why I compiled this guide. It’s not just a list of the best professional hair shears I’ve used this year. It’s filled with other great tips and information so you can make an informed decision.

The average price of salon shears ranges from $20 to $500 dollars. Buying a product that’s not right for you the first time means you’ll buy something again.

Save your money and time – check out my guide below.

Best Hair Cutting Shears Comparison Table

Equinox Cutting ShearsCutting & ThinningOffset6.5" Check Price
Cricket Roc-It Dog 575Cutting Offset5.75" Check Price
Rough Stache ScissorsCutting Offset6.5" Check Price
Kovira Hair Scissors Set Cutting & ThinningClassic6.5" Check Price
Suvorna Japanese Scissors Cutting Classic5.5" Check Price
Mosher Salon ScissorsCutting & ThinningOffset6" Check Price
Shear Guru Cutting SetCutting & ThinningOffset6.5" Check Price
Shark Fin Cutting ShearCutting Crane5.5" Check Price
Mosher Diamond SeriesCutting Offset6" Check Price
Ruvanti Cutting ScissorsCutting & ThinningOffset6.5" Check Price

The Top 10 Professional Hair Shear Reviews

1. Equinox Professional Razor Edge Series

Equinox Professional Razor Edge Series

This set of 6.5 inch cutting and thinning shears is perfect for a beginner or student. It’s also a good backup for a professional stylist.

Equinox casts the high-quality stainless-steel blades with Japan steel. Then they oil them pre-shipment, so they’re ready to go from the moment you open the package. Just wash them lightly under warm water to remove the excess oil.

Equinox designed a finger rest in the offset, ergonomic handle of both the cutting shears and thinning shears for added comfort. The thinning shears are fine toothed, a great all-around tool for texturing various types of hairstyles.

Each item weighs 4.8oz, light enough for any aspiring stylist.

Both products also come with a stopper attached to the thumb ring which allows for excellent control and a smooth cutting experience.

The cutting shears’ beveled edge cuts effortlessly. And the blade sharpens easily and inexpensively, saving you money. A beveled edge also protects from accidental nicks, preventing accidents at home or in the shop.

Lastly, the gold painted tensioning and adjustment screw adds convenience to this well rounded, bargain package.

Get Equinox Shears at Amazon

What I Liked About the Shears

To call this combo package popular is an understatement. With over 4,000 reviews online, 80% of which are 5 stars, I can’t deny the overwhelming popularity of these shears. Having tested them for myself, I can see why.

First, the cutting shears. They’re light, nimble, and fit nicely in my hand. They’re beveled cutters, so they’re noisier than some products. But I don’t expect high end convex blades at this price. Either way, they cut well.

I enjoyed testing these shears. The cutting shears have no problem with thick or thin hair types, wet or dry. The 6.5 inch blades don’t betray my movements as some brands have.

I like the gold-painted adjustment screw on the thinning shears and the cutting shears. Rare are the cheaper shears that have decent adjustment screws. They don’t loosen after a day of cutting and provide a wide range of tensions.

My Problem with the Shears

Although a great all-around combo set, the cutting shears are a little long for precision cutting. The 6.5 inch blade will work great for beginners and for things like comb-over-skin technique.

2. Cricket Roc-It Dog 575 Shear 5.75”

Cricket Roc-It Dog 575 Shear

These 5.75 inch shears are a great all around option for stylists looking for an everyday item. They fit directly in the middle of the 4-7 inch blade length spectrum.

The convex edge will stay sharp longer, cut quicker and quieter than a beveled edged blade. The 575 shears would be perfect for precision stylists who like quick movements and slide cutting.

The Roc-It Dog 575 comes equipped with a leaf system adjustment tensioner screw. Leaf systems spread the tension out across the blades for an even wear. It also has the Roc-It Dog logo painted on it with a red backing, a nice touch.

The ergonomic offset handle eases hand and arm strain so you can go to work the next day pain-free. The removable finger rest is a notable addition, too. Depending on your cutting style, you can leave it on for comfort or remove it for fast sweeping fades.

The precision cast technique reportedly keeps a strong blade that requires less sharpening. But I couldn’t confirm where Cricket manufactured their shears before the time of this review.

Get Cricket Roc it Shear at Amazon

What I Liked About the Shears

I’m a fan of the mid 5 inch blades, especially if you’re on a budget and want a decent shear. Dropping the extra money for two blades (a 4 inch and a 6.5 inch) can seem daunting to a barber fresh out of school.

A mid 5 inch blade means you can use it all day for nearly everything. The offset handle relaxes my grip. I foresee no problems holding this shear from 9 am to 5pm.

Most of your money is going to the premium convex blade. You need one of these blades for precise, quick cutting. Beveled blades are too slow and too noisy for the work.

And the 575 convex design brought a smile to my face. The cutting power rests nicely in the middle of the blade. The tip didn’t push much hair. I didn’t need to over-cut to make up for the blade, a fantastic sign.

Plus, the overall red-on-steel look is sharp, just like this shear.

My Problem with the Shears

The rubber adjustment screw looks cool but isn’t as durable as one made of metal. The removable finger rest is also rubber, and I can see it wearing out over time.

3. Rough Stache Professional Hair Shears 6.5 inch

Rough Stache Professional Hair Shears

This beveled shear from Rough Stache measures 6.5 inch and would be great for an at-home stylist or student looking to get their feet wet.

Rough Stace casts their high-quality stainless-steel blade in Japan. Then they add a rust-proof coating for extra protection.

Because of its beveled edge, the shear will stay sharp long after you buy it. Not only are the blades sharp, but they’re light, too. A light shear reduces the tension in your wrists so you can work pain-free.

The adjustment screw requires a tool included with the product. A screw adjustment system keeps the blades inline longer than your average knob system. If you lose the adjustment tool that’s okay, a coin will work in a pinch.

Rough Stache designed this shear with an offset handle for extra comfort. The larger than average finger holes were a design choice, too, giving men and women with large fingers an option.

Also includes a premium gift box with felt lining. You can use the box for storing the shears or when traveling to keep them protected for unwanted nicks and scuffs.

Get Rough Stache Shear at Amazon

What I Liked about the Shears

I think this shear is perfect for budget stylists and students. A shear with a beveled blade costs less to sharpen and will stay sharp longer.

The Rough Stache shears worked great on damp hair. They make more noise than some products on my list, but that doesn’t affect its cutting ability.

The offset handle is easy on my fingers and didn’t cause any tension in my wrists or arms. The added finger rest is solid and comfortable.

A 6.5 inch blade rests on the longer end of the spectrum. And combined with the beveled edge, don’t expect to do much precision cutting with this product.

But what it does, it does well. If you like to bulk cut, or need a comb-over-hair shear, check this one out.

My Problem with the Shears

You’ll need a few plastic rings to stop your finger and thumb from sliding too deep into the handle. And I prefer a dial adjustment screw over the one installed because it requires a tool.

4. Kovira 6.5 inch Scissors

Kovira 6.5 inch Scissors

Kovira products are known for their mix of affordability and quality. This three-piece kit outshines many other packages on this list because you get three items for the price of two.

Included are a pair of 6.5 inch cutting shears, a thinning shear, and a thinning razor. Kovira casts them all with premium 440c Japanese steel. The hardness score factor of 440c can reach upwards of 55. At this price point that’s a bargain.

The cutting shears have a beveled edge which will stay sharp longer than their convex counterparts.

The teeth count on the thinning shears is 40+, meaning they’re perfect for texture work and hiding your cut lines after shaping a style.

Kovira includes a thinning razor with the package which you use for a similar purpose as the thinning shears. It’s made of the same stainless steel.

The classic style comfort handle ships with rubber inserts for smaller fingers. They’re removable along with the finger rest for added customization.

Kovira ships the shears with a free travel case. The stitched-in loops hold your shears secure, and the soft lining avoids any nicks when you’re on the road.

What I Liked About the Shears

I like this package from Kovira. It’s popular online with at-home stylists and do-it-yourselves. I think the package includes enough to sell just about any student, too.

There’s just enough customization to fit most needs. Things like rubberized grips and removable finger rests are rarely found in kits like this. So, this one is a steal.

At this price range, Japanese stainless steel at 440c is unheard of. Combined with the cutting shear’s beveled edge, I expect these could last you years.

The leaf system adjustment requires a coin or tool to set on both the cutters and the thinning shears. Not a big deal, especially considering how much you’re paying.

The thinning shears have the same easy movement as the cutters, and the 6.5 inch thinning blade doesn’t push or catch hair.

My Problem with the Shears

While I’m glad Kovira included a thinning razor, you can’t swap out the razor once it dulls. The cutters have a classic handle instead of the preferable off-set handles.

5. Instecho Suvorna 5.5 inch Stainless Steel Japanese Barber Scissors

Instecho Suvorna 5.5 inch Stainless Steel Japanese Barber Scissors

A great all-around tool, these stainless-steel shears advertise precision cutting at an affordable price.

The classic style handle includes a removable finger rest, rubber bumper, and large sized finger holes. Don’t worry, if your fingers are smaller, the package ships with rubber grip inserts.

The titanium coated adjustment screw has a backing plate to spread the tension across the blades, maintaining your desired tension longer.

These cutting shears come with convex blades, drop forged from a single piece of Japanese steel. Suvorna’s forging techniques raise the steel’s hardness level to an above average 55.

Suvorna’s package also includes a soft-lined carrying case with holsters for the shears so you can bring them with you on the road without worrying about damaging them.

The manufacturer has a 60-day refund policy if you decide they don’t suit your needs. And a lifetime warranty for the blade and moving parts.

Overall, a great cutting shear for home barbering and students looking to practice their precision styling at an affordable price.

What I Liked About the Shears

The first thing I noticed about these shears was the edge.

The smooth finish on the convex edge told me these shears would be sharp – and they are. The most important part of a precision cutter is the edge. Without it, all your flashy moves will just hurt your customer and cause you grief.

I like the included finger rest and rubber inserts. I know no one with fingers big enough to fit the holes without the inserts. With them installed, my grip was perfect.

The classic handle limits these shears for home use or as a sharp backup for a professional.

The adjustment knob interested me, too. It clicks as you tighten it. I’m not sure exactly how the backing plate works, but it seems to do the job well.

My Problem with the Shears

Great all-around cutters with sharp convex blades, but the classic grip will cramp up the hands of anyone serving ten customers a day, six days a week.

6. Mosher Salon Tools Diamond Series

Mosher Salon Tools Diamond Series

A great combo for both professionals and students, this pair of cutting and thinning shears stands out as a unique find. At 6 inches, these cutting shears are on the larger end of precision shears.

Mosher combines high end Japanese steel materials of 440c for their blades, which usually rates at 55 to 6 on the hardness scale. That’s well above average.

Another benefit of durable convex steel is that it stays sharp longer and cuts without pushing hair out of the blades. Keep that in mind when it’s time to decide on what to buy.

The offset handle includes a bumper and finger rest on both shears. Mosher designed the leaf adjustment with a knob. Adjustment knobs like this one save you time. They’re easy to calibrate on the fly if you lose tension mid-way in your day.

Another awesome feature? The free carrying case. It’s well made, with leather holster and straps to secure your shears. The inside contains soft touch materials, so your investment won’t get damaged on your way to house calls.

What I Liked About the Shears

I think this is a great set. It’s the whole package. You get two well made, durable shears for a low price. This set fits the needs of both a student and a professional.

The 6 inch cutting blade borders too large for some precision cutting. I can see these cutters used for comb-over-hand work in a barber salon, or at-home cuts of children and the family dog.

The carrying case surprised me, too. It’s clean, stitched leather insides exceed the “free” label Mosher added to the product. Even a stylist could use the case if they travel to a convention or to a relative’s house, it’s that nice.

Buy this and a pair of 5 inch precision shears and you’ll have everything you need to work in a professional salon.

My Problem with the Shears

A 6 inch blade is too long for most precision work, but other than that, these are a great deal with little to complain about.

7. Shear Guru Professional Barber Scissor

Shear Guru Professional Barber Scissor

Shear Guru is a Serbian company with a passion for Japanese steel. They manufacture all their products with the stuff, believing it makes for a better product. And they’re right.

Their stainless-steel shears stay sharp five times longer than lesser products because they’re forged with a beveled edge, limiting wear on the blade.

The included Culton adjustment knob can be set to varying degrees so you can pinpoint exactly where you want your blades to meet and cut. This gives expert barbers the precision they need and students an affordable option for practice.

Shear Guru designed their handles with ergonomics in mind. The offset hand ensures your hand won’t tire from a day’s worth of cutting.

The included thinning shear is also made of Japanese steel. With 35 double-tipped teeth, hair textured with these shears will hide cut lines without multiple passes.

Shear Guru includes a free carrying case with your purchase, too. This faux-leather case secures your shears on the road or for easy storage after work, so you don’t have to worry about troublesome nicks and chips.

What I Liked About the Shears

I’ve heard a lot of praise concerning Shear Guru’s products recently. Stylists herald them as a backup option when their main tools go in for sharpening.

I can see why. They’re a worthy purchase at this price. The 6.5 inch blade is great for bulk cutting. In a pinch they’re sharp enough for precision work, too.

The beveled edge’s sharpness surprised me. I rarely see products this sharp at such a low price. And the Japanese steel tells me they’ll stay sharp.

I like the large adjustment knob, too. It’s big and easy to use.

These are good everyday shears. They’re balanced well, and one of the better deals on my list for such a low price. I recommend them for the barber requiring a second pair of blades or an at-home stylist looking to try something new and sharp.

My Problem with the Shears

At 6.5 inch, they’re on the bigger end of the shear spectrum. If you do a lot of precise cuts, you may need smaller shears. Otherwise, these are an easy recommendation.

8. Shark Fin Professional Cutting Shear

Shark Fin Professional Cutting Shear

Shark Fin is American to the bone. Out of Iowa, they are leaders in the industry and well known for their unique and flashy shears. And the Black Titanium Cutting Shears prove they’re more than just style. They’re a great product.

Shark Fin makes these 5.5 inch shears with rare Hitachi 440C Japanese steel. Stainless steel of this quality will not dull easily. And the titanium coating adds another layer of protections. Expect to see your local blade sharpener less often, or ever.

The convex edge cuts quickly and without a sound. Combine this with Shark Fin’s patented approach to the crane handle, and you see why they boast their customers have no arm strain, no shoulder aches.

Another Shark Fin patent? The Finger Fitting System. The shear ships with a series of fitting rings. It doesn’t matter how big or small your fingers are. You will find a perfect fit with this shear.

The travel case isn’t just a cloth pouch tacked onto the sale. It follows their design principles, too. Shaped like a shark fin, it’s leather, with quality touch materials to protect your prized possession.

Other extras include a cleaning cloth and a tube of shear oil.

What I Liked About the Shears

Straight away, I liked the look of these shears. They’re black and sleek, and the convex edge tells me right away they’ll cut hair like butter. And they do.

They’re near the top, if not the top, of my list for sharpness. And with a hardness factor nearing 60, these shears will stay sharp longer than any other product on this list.

Shark Fin’s shears are the only crane handle on the list, too. Professional stylists have tested crane handles and found them to be more ergonomic than the more well-known offset handles.

The 5.5 inch blade places the shears at the end of precision shears length. But they cut so well I’d still use them for detailed work any day over a less sharp 5 inch or 4.5 inch shears.

My Problem with the Shears

Can liking a shear too much be a negative? If not, then all I can think of is the price. It’s not cheap. But the money you’ll save on sharpening the blades will balance out the initial investment.

9. Mosher Salon Tools High End Japanese Steel 6” Shears

Mosher Salon Tools High End Japanese Steel 6” Shears

Mosher Salon’s 20 years in the industry has taught them the value of Japanese steel, craftsmanship, and sharp blades. Teachers in the barber industry know Mosher shears and often recommend them.

Mosher’s hollow ground, 6 inch cutting shears blend Japanese quality steel with American styling. Like the other Mosher product on my list, these use 440C stainless steel.

They’re hand crafted from one bar of metal with a hardness rating in the mid 50s. The convex blade requires less sharpening, and cuts smoother than the cheaper bevel competition. An affordable convex shear is rare.

Some consumers, like barbers or do-it-yourself stylists, don’t need a thinning shear. So, this package includes just the cutting shear.

The Diamond Series includes a rubber lined, gemmed adjustment knob for easy tuning during your day. The offset handle provides good ergonomics and the rubber stopper relieves needless clacking from the handle rings.

A leather travel case ships with your cutting shear. It’s the same case as in their set I mentioned earlier in the guide. So, you’ll have a second holster for another pair of cutting shears or texture shears.

What I Liked About the Shears

I think the Mosher 6 inch cutting shear stands out as a versatile tool. The convex blade is sharp and quick enough for precision cutting. Although larger than the recommended 5 inches for quick cutting, it makes up for with balanced Japanese steel.

Working with the Mosher cutting shears I can’t help but think this is a great option for a student on a budget.

A barber student needs a convex blade. At least one of their shears must have Japanese Steel because they’re rough with their tools. They haven’t learned to use them properly.

This 6 inch cutting shear feels durable and maintains a sharp edge, which is vital for students not yet able to pay for bi-monthly sharpening.

Also, I like the diamond fitted into the adjustment knob. It’s a little flashy for my taste, but it works to the advantage of this shear.

My Problem with the Shears

The only real downside to the Mosher shears is that their cast, not forged. But if you take care of them, they’ll last you years thanks to the quality steel and convex blade.

10. Ruvanti 6.5” Razor Edge Cutting and Thinning Shear Set

Ruvanti 6.5” Razor Edge Cutting and Thinning Shear Set

Ruvanti is another well-known shear manufacturer that targets the savvy barber and budget-conscious student.

This set features a cutting shear and a thinning shear. Ruvanti casts Japanese 420 steel mixed with cobalt alloys. Their steel rates in the low to mid 50s on the hardness scale.

Without a great edge the hardness scale means nothing. That’s why Ruvanti prefers convex blades over the louder, duller beveled cousins. They argue their convex blades will stay sharp 5x longer than the competition.

The cutting shears weigh exactly 4.2 oz and perform well regardless of a person’s finger size. Their ergonomic offset handle includes a finger rest on both the ring hole and the thumb hole. A rare feature on shears in this price range.

Another rarity? The rubber finger liners for customers with small hands. And the gold-plated adjustment screw adds class to the set.

The shears also come with a travel case lined in flashy red felt. It’s strong enough to withstand travel in your carry on or tool case.

What I Liked About the Shears

Compared to similar options in this price range, Ruvanti’s shears match their bargain price with above average quality.

The Japanese steel feels solid and lightweight in my hand. The scissoring action is quiet, and the gold-plated adjustment knob tightens more than enough for even the most anal barber.

I like the convex blade. It’s sharp and should stay sharp long after purchase. With a 6.5 inch blade you’re looking at the larger end of shears. An at-home barber would be happy with these shears, where longer often means better.

The thinning shears have a balanced proportion of teeth-to-blade. They’ll blend well and you won’t waste time going over the same spots.

Lastly, the included travel case stands out. Your purchase will remain safe zipped up in this well-made leather pouch.

My Problem with the Shears

The cutting shears are too long for lots of precision work. And while the thumb rest is a nice touch, I don’t find it useful.

Style, Handle, and Edge: The Professional Shear Categories

Each pair of barber shears has a purpose. Some are meant to cut a lot of hair without cramping up your hands. Others have the singular purpose of texturing hair. Although they may all look similar, various components combine to achieve these different uses.

The more complex the haircut, the more tools you need for the job. All professional shears combine three distinct categories: style, handle, and edge.

  • Style

Cutting Shears 

Cutting Shears

Aside from your clipper, you’ll be using cutting shears more than any other tool. If you spend money on anything you own, it’s best spent on cutting shears. They are your workhorse. Students and professionals alike need at least one reliable cutting shear in their arsenal.

You use cutting shears to shape your customer’s style before going into other tools like a thinning shear or clipper. They need to be comfortable and reliable.

I recommend that students purchase a cheaper pair at first. You can easily damage premium shears. Learn to take care of a budget pair before moving on to the expensive items. Any shear that’s good for beginners I mention in the top 10 reviews, so check there.

Thinning or Texturizing Shears

Thinning or Texturizing Shears

After you’ve finished your primary cuts, you use thinning shears to blend it all together. Freshly cut hair without texture looks choppy and unfinished.

Owning these shears is not as crucial for a barber. Although some men with long hair may require texture work. All women’s hairstylists should have a few different thinning shears.

The amount of hair cut or blended relates to how many teeth are on the thinning shear. The more teeth on a thinning shear, the less hair it removes. 30-40 teeth on the blade would be your top pick for most texture work. A thinning shear with 8 teeth would cut the most hair.

  • Handles


The classic handle is the oldest form of shears. Nearly all conventional, stationary, or culinary scissors use the classic handle. They are the least ergonomic of the three handle categories. Barbers and hairstylists avoid classic shears if they’ll be using them for hours at a time.

Classic handles force your elbow into a near 90-degree angle with your body. Some techniques are fine for a classic handle, but you’re better off with an offset or crane handle shear. Working all day with a classic handle will eventually lead to arm and wrist problems, like carpal tunnel.


Although you can get away with a classic handle in a pinch, you need to consider an offset handle if you plan to do a lot of cutting.

Most professional quality shears include offset handles. They’re a good middle ground purchase between the less expensive classic and the pricier crane handles. Anyone in barber school or cutting three to five clients a day should have a handle like this.

Offset handles direct your arm to a comfortable 70 to 60 degrees. The lower your elbow the less stress you’re putting on your neck, shoulders, and back.


Crane handles exaggerate the offset style for maximum comfort. If you cut hair from 9am to 5pm cutting, consider a crane handle. The difference between an offset and crane handle may be tricky at first. The stem attaches above the thumb handle.

A crane handle directs you elbow downwards, at a very comfortable 30 to 40 degrees. Your back and arms rest low enough to reduce the most physical strain.

  • Edge

Beveled Edge

Beveled edge blades are the most common on the market. They’re more durable, easier to sharpen, and stay sharp longer than convex blade.

Because they’re cheaper than convex blades, I recommend them for beginners and at-home stylists. The durable edge is safer to work with and less prove no nicks from clumsy hands or improper maintenance.

They have a few downsides, too. A beveled edge is noisier and slower than convex. They also push more hair away from the blade.

Convex Edge 

All premium shears have a convex edge. They’re also more expensive. Many convex shears have self-adjusting tension knobs for easy setting.

Convex shears are manufactured with a deeper cutting angle, at least 45 to 50 degrees. The angle is so smooth that there’s no obvious edge to a convex blade. Also, the inside edge of a convex shear is honed, meaning it’s been forged to guide the shear blades together.

Convex shears require different equipment to sharpen and costs more than beveled edged shears. Your professional blade sharpener must take convex shears apart to service them.

What to Know Before Choosing Your Shears

  • Forged or Cast?

It’s impossible to tell how a company constructs their blades by eye alone. If a brand doesn’t state outright that their shears are forged, then assume they’re cast.

Typically, cast blades cost less, so you’ll see a lot more of them. Cast blades degrade and chip faster than forged, because of the immense pressure placed on the metal when its created.

If your budget can handle it, I recommend forged shears. The money you’ll save in sharpening costs will balance out the initial purchase investment.

  • Blade Length

What you do should determine your shear blade length, not how big your hands are. Blade length has nothing to do with the various sizes of barber and hairstylist hands. Instead, the hairstyles and cutting you do determine your blade length.

Also, blade length includes the handle. It’s not just the length of the blade. Shorter blades are great for detailed cutting and comb-over-hair work. You need longer shears for cutting around a customer’s face, slide cutting, and bob cuts. You should have at least two pairs of shears, one 5 inch and one 6.5 inch.

  • Clientele

Do you mostly cut men’s hair, style women’s hair, or a mix of both? The shears you buy depends on your clientele and how many you service per day. You need to invest into your business to gain from it. If you’re already at the point of cutting multiple heads of hair a day, then spend the money on a better pair of scissors.

I advise students to pay closer attention to the customers they want to work with. Men, for example, like to see their barbers do comber-over-hair work. So, a longer 6.5 inch blade would suit them. If you like to add a lot of style and sweeping cuts to your female clients, you need a shorter, 4-5 inch precision shear.

  • Steel Type

Know why shear manufacturers seem agog over Japanese and German steel? Shears made in these two countries are more durable than other places (like US, Mexico, or China).

The heating methods in Japan and Germany exceed those of other countries. Their shears are more durable and less prone to early wear. It’ll cost you more in the beginning, but you won’t have to sharpen them more than twice a year.

  • Finger-Hole Size

With thumb and ring finger holes, size matters. Your ring finger hole shouldn’t go passed your second knuckle. And your thumb shouldn’t pass beyond the nail. If your finger or thumb easily move through the rings, it means the shear holes are too big.

Cutting a few heads of hair a week won’t matter too much with holes too large for your fingers. But if you perform three, five, ten hair cuts a day you’ll feel it. Most Carpal Tunnel results from over-sized finger holes. You end up making a claw motion with your hands and that is bad for your arms.

  • Handle Type

You’ll want at least an offset handle on your shears. Regardless if you’re doing precision cutting or bulk work, your arm and shoulder will thank you. Most of my recommendations have offset handles, so you’ll be fine. Rare is the professional shear that sticks with a classic handle. It doesn’t so much matter for thinning shears as you don’t use them as often. But if you do a lot of texture work, then consider an offset handle for them, too.

Top Industry Tips to Maintain Your Shears

I can boil down most of your shear maintenance can to a well-known barber truism: The less you sharpen your shears, the longer they last.

All preventative maintenance orbits this truism. Sharpening your shears wears away the surface. The more you sharpen them, the less blade you must work with.

Every pair of shears will need sharpening. It’s just a matter of how often. And you can do a lot to prevent needless sharpening.

  • How to Check if Your Blades are Loose

The easiest way to tell if your shears are loose is a test a professional barber taught me. Hold the shears in front of you, level to the floor, and lift the ring finger. If the blade falls with no resistance, then you need to tighten your shears. You want the blade to stop about halfway down. Too tight and they don’t move at all. Too loose and they swing like a monkey on a tree.

  • How to Check if Your Blades Need Sharpening

Run your thumbnail (not the flesh of your thumb) against the outside and inside edge of your shears. If you feel any nicks, or your nail catches on the blade, then it’s time to get your blade sharpened.

  • Store Your Shears Properly

Never place your shears down on your counter or in your bag with the blades open. Leaving the blades open exposes the edge of your shears and causes wear. You’ll get nicks and chips in your blades much faster. Set them on a soft surface, like a towel. When traveling, place them in a case, or wrap them in soft fabric.

  • Dry Your Shears

Get in the habit of drying your shears completely at the end of your day. Even expensive, forged Japanese stainless steel will rust if water sits on the blade every day.

  • Oil Your Shears

You must oil your shears nightly to keep the pivot clean and free of debris and to maintain your blade’s edge. Read the information that comes with your shear for its specific instructions.

A Short History of Hair Shears

Shears have always been a specialty item. Every trade has their own style of shear. Tailors, calligraphers, surgeons, and priests: there are as many types of shears as there are skills that need them.

We use the terms shears and scissors interchangeably but there is a difference. The general rule of thumb goes like this: any tool under 5 inches are scissors, and any tool over 5 inches are shears. For uniformity, I’ve stuck with the word “shears” throughout the guide.

We don’t know which civilization invented the shears first, but we know they came from the Bronze Age. Ancient cultures like the Egyptians and Mesopotamians invented the spring shear. To make them, they welded two knives onto the ends of a curved metal ring. Spring shears look sort of like a C. Pinching them together creates the scissor action.

Before the Bronze Age, hair was probably cut with a knife or a sharpened stone. But spring shears weren’t just for hair cutting. Leatherworkers and tailors profited from their time saving, too.

Spring shears dominated until the invention of the pivoted shears in ancient Rome, around 750 BC. Although pivoting shears have been around since before the modern era, no patents existed until the 1700s with companies like William Whitely and Sons.

I believe no trade took to pivoted shears as the barber did. A pivoted shear allows a barber to hone where the blade cuts best. And they could maintain that precision with a twist of their adjustment screw.

Although we have varying types of pivot joints and blades, the technology remains the same. The shears you’re looking to purchase today are nearly identical to the ones forged over 400 years ago.

Your Shears, Your Way

Like a swordsman and his blade, your shears symbolize your trade. Don’t choose a tool solely based on Amazon reviews or price. Take the time to understand what you need from your shears.

Before you buy, remember that everyone requires something different from their shears. Even an at-home stylist has something to gain from a more expensive pair of convex shears. And a barber may want a bargain cutting and thinning combo as a backup when his main shears are in the shop for repair.

Pick something you’re proud to own and I promise that your next haircut will reflect your wise purchase. You’ll be confident. And you there’s no such thing as talent without confidence.

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