Your scissors are the most important tool of your trade - after all, you can’t cut hair without them! With proper care, your scissors will last for years and as one of the most expensive parts of your kit, you won’t want to be replacing them regularly!
Your hairdressing scissors will lose sharpness gradually and as they do you will notice the need for additional pressure to make a cut.
It’s essential that you keep your scissors sharp, as if they become blunt, they will not cut hair properly and the blades can also become damaged if you try to force them through a section of hair. Your hands are also likely to become sore and tired if you’re using blunt scissors for a long period of time and, in time, you also risk developing carpal tunnel symptoms.
Sharpening your scissors regularly will ensure they last longer and also reduce the risk of injuring your hands.
How do I know when my hairdressing scissors need sharpening?
Typically, your hairdressing scissors are likely to need sharpening after around 1,000 haircuts, although this will vary depending on:
The type and thickness of hair you are cutting
Whether you cut hair wet or dry
Whether you cut clean or unwashed hair
How you clean your scissors
How you store your scissors
An easy way to test how sharp your scissors are is to snip a wet perm paper. If your scissors are sharp enough, you should not feel the scissors cut into the strip.
After around 50 haircuts, you will notice some resistance when you cut the strip, as small sections of your scissor blades have now worn away, causing them to break the strip rather than cut cleanly through it.
If you notice tears on the edge of the cut and considerable resistance as you cut, your blade is breaking the strip, not cutting it.
If your scissors don't cut a wet strip at all, you should have them sharpened as soon as possible as they won’t even be breaking hair off and are likely to cause significant damage to the hair. Ideally, stop using your scissors until they can be sharpened. Continual use of blunt scissors can result in the need for extensive repair work before they are fit to be used again.
Where are the best places to get my hairdressing scissors sharpened?
If you live in London and need to have your hairdressing scissors sharpened, we would recommend:
Dowa International - in house sharpening by Japanese technicians. Costs £18 per pair
My Mobile Sharpening Guy - mobile service, can come to your salon or home. Cost dependant on quote
Scissor Sharpening - an 8 step scissor service. Costs £18.50 per pair
The Scissor Man - choose from three services - Standard, Remedial and Hand Finished. Costs from £15 - £25 per pair.
Caring for your hairdressing scissors
Looking after your hairdressing scissors will ensure they last. Some basic rules for caring for your scissors include:
Clean and oil your hairdressing scissors on a regular basis - every day for around the screw head and between the blades. Use a specialist silicone free oil designed for scissors and clippers
Once you have cleaned your scissors, allow them to dry in a rack. This will ensure that air can circulate and they dry fully before you store them away
Always close your scissors when you’re not using them. This will prevent nicks or damage to the blades and prevent you cutting yourself should you pick up the sharp area of the open blades.
Check the tension of your scissors frequently. If the tension is too tight, the blades will grind against one another. Too loose and they will grind and bend the hair, rather than cut it.
Replace missing or worn parts as soon as possible. Missing bumpers can cause you to cut your fingers and also cause the blades to overlap. Improper alignment can cause serious damage to your hairdressing scissors, as well as sore hands.
Some hair dyes and hair perm chemicals can cause pitting and corrosion of the blades of your scissors. Wipe the blades with a soft cloth to remove any substances to ensure they stay in good condition.
Do not store your scissors in a bag or box. The tips can be damaged and the blades can get nicked. Store your scissors in a specially designed professional hair scissor case, a fabric roll, a wallet or an acrylic stand.