Shear sharpening experts, maintain that adequate cleaning increases the probability of maximizing the serviceable life (i.e. sharpness) of all scissors by 99%. Unfortunately, only 2% of hair stylists and barbers apply the necessary care to extend their scissor’s life and sharpness longer. Stylists that understand and care for their tools will get the most out of their scissors. For this reason we offer the following care instructions:

  • To avoid dropping your scissors:
    • Place a scissor rack on your styling station and/or wear a scissor holster. These products will aid in organizing your tools and help develop good habits to maintain your scissors secure while switching tools.
    • Keep a towel over your styling station to gently set down your tools; close your scissors before setting them down.
    • Use the factory packaging while not using scissors.
  • Use the scissors to only cut human hair. Cutting threads, paper, cotton or other materials, even infrequently, will dull-out your scissors much faster than expected.
    • Unless absolutely a client preference, try to do more wet haircuts over dry cuts as dry hair dulls shears faster, especially if they use chemicals to style their hair. Another tip is to encourage your clients to agree to washing their hair prior to their cut; unclean hair puts an undue strain on your shears and dulls shears quickly.
    • After every cut, clean and dry your scissors with a soft cotton cloth. Open the scissors, clean the pivot point on both sides and extend the cloth to the tip of each blade (be careful not to cut yourself). This practice will help significantly extend the life of the scissor sharpness, avoid corrosion, and prevent damage that comes from chemicals applied to hair during cutting.
    • Keep scissors lubricated with professional scissor oil. Apply one drop of oil on each side of the pivot point and extend it over each blade (being careful not to cut yourself). Open and close the scissors several times so that the oil begins to draw out hair and chemicals that have accumulated in the pivot. Finally, clean the scissors all-around with a soft cotton cloth. Do this at least once a day, preferably at the end of each day.
    • Every scissor will require sharpening at some point in time. The life of the sharpness is primarily dependent on the use and care given, and the raw material used to make the scissor.
      • Factors that cause shears to dull faster
        • Dry and damaged haircutting
        • Hair styling chemicals (avoid cutting hair after you apply gel, moose or other chemicals or at minimum, clean them soon after)
        • A lack of proper and consistent cleaning
        • Leaving the shear without cleaning (humidity will dull and damage shears)
        • Nicks due to falls
        • Consistent use
      • The Industry-wide recommendation is to sharpen scissors every 6 months, however, this may be extended or decreased with the care applied, the consistency of use, and the quality of the steel.
      • Keeping in mind that scissors will need sharpening, helps stylists plan accordingly:
        • It is important to have at minimum two scissors in your favorite style on hand. On occasion stylists will need to ship-out their scissors to get sharpened or one may fall and need repair, until then, a back up scissor of the same quality becomes essential.
        • Ideally, having diverse styles of scissors and rotating them in accordance to cutting techniques will help with optimizing hand, wrist and body ergonomics, extending the sharp-life of each scissor, and enhancing stylists cutting skills with varied practice.
        • Thinner shears will typically have a longer sharp-life as they are not used as consistently as other shears and they are primarily used for finishing cuts.
      • Scissors will need to be replaced when they can no longer resist sharpening. This can take years and highly depends on both the raw material used to make the scissor and the skill of the sharpener hired. To find the best sharpener, seek out the following:
        • Colleague recommendations
        • Get other customer references, testimonials, and/or online reviews
        • Test their work with one of your least favorite, least expensive shears
      • Unwittingly, 90% of stylists use scissors that have become dull. Stylists may have excellent technique, but a poor tool can impact customer perception and return business. As such, a well maintained, sharpened shear is an easy way to maintain and at best increase stylist and consumer confidence. Since most stylists do not realize that the simple fix may be sharpening, and not a factory defect or poor quality tool or brand, it is important to know what to look for when a shear needs sharpening:
        • If shears are pulling or bending your client’s hair it may well need sharpening, unless the shear’s screw tension (torque) is inappropriately adjusted (more will be discussed on this topic later)
        • If small nicks start to appear (maybe due to a fall or use-mishap); keep in mind that deep nicks may not be able to be filed out.
      • When shopping for a scissor, keep in mind that a shear made in Japanese Stainless Steel, 440C will maintain its sharpness twice as long as one that is made in the lower grade Japanese Stainless Steel, 420 (also known as J/2 Stainless Steel).
    • Your scissors become accustomed to your “hand”, your excellent care, your style of use, the tension you apply…as such, it is best not to share or lend your shears to other stylists as this may affect your shears’ sharpness and overall life.
    • Adequately adjusting your scissors is essential to its care and function. Perform a tension test daily. Adjust the screw gently and in minute increments, or not at all if it is within the described ranges, it is cutting with ease, and feels comfortable to your hand.
    Scissor Adjusting Instructions
    ShearStore Scissor Adjusting Instructions
    • As the stylists becomes accustomed to a scissor or a thinner, he/she can decide which scissor they prefer at a particular tension-preference. Typically if a scissor is to be used in rapid motions it should be adjusted on the looser-tension end, closer to the 10º (e.g. when decreasing volume with thinners or point cutting); if a scissor is to be used for precise or detailed cutting, greater tension is preferred, closer to the 30º (e.g. when layering or slicing).
    • Scissors with hand-adjustable screws, have an additional tension plate to help maintain scissor sharpness, among other uses:
      • This plate is delicate and provides ease when adjusting the scissor-tension.
      • It is important to adjust the screw delicately and slowly, one “click” at a time.
      • Habitually adjusting the screw harshly and quickly will wear the plate and cause the dulling of the scissor blades much more rapidly.
      • If the plate wears due to inadequate use, contact us and we’ll send out a replacement, for a shipping and handling fee (please note that this can be avoided with gentle adjusting practices).
        • The replacement plate is more firm than the original and will resist further wear.
        • It may take time to get used to the new plate and you may have to use pliers to gently adjust the screw.
    Now that you have received care instructions for your shears, let us know, what you found most valuable or give us new tips that have extended your scissor’s sharp-life. Also, let us know which of these care instructions you feel that you would most likely implement right away and which ones you will never consider. Check back with us to let us know how these care-hacks have helped you!