What You should think about before buying your hairdressing scissors

Hairdressing Scissors

The number of professional hair stylists and barbers are increasing year on year, and advice on hairdressing scissors is becoming more and more important and sought after. In our view one of the most important pieces of equipment for a hairdresser/barber  are the scissors they have to use. The many different types of scissors in today's market is mind boggling. So with all this choice and all scissor companies claiming to have the best, it's no surprise to us that even professionals get a bit confused when it comes to choosing what's best suited to their needs. How  does one know which pair to go for? Well at Bladesmaster we not only sell and service hairdressing scissors but we also advise our customers on which hairdressing scissors are best suited to them,based on several different factors. We have extensive experience in this gained from having been in the industry in various capacities for a great number of years. Below we have listed the criterion which we think will greatly improve your  chances of buying the right hairdressing scissors.

Firstly think Blades. What are they are made of???

 

The most important factor when deciding on which hairdressing scissors to pick  and when trying to figure out how your hairdressing scissors will perform, is the material they are made of. Scissor manufacturing techniques have improved greatly over the years and  means that they can now be produced in much harder material than was ever possible in years gone by. Here is a list of the five most common materials used in professional hairdressing scissors.

 

1) Cobalt and Nickel Alloys

This kind of scissor steel  is  very hard but  also very brittle. Lower range scissors like  those found in student kits are made in the main (but not always) of these. Although hard and sturdy, cobalt alloys chip and nick easily . Scissors made using this usually have a relatively short life span and can no longer be adjusted after a few sharpenings not to mention the fact that they also tend to lose their (hardness) after just a few sharpenings too. Despite all this, scissors made from the above materials are quite suitable for the novice hairdresser as they are usually competitively priced and make great starter scissors. Our verdict: Cheap & Cheerful but cost effective.

 

 2)  420 & 440c Stainless Steel

420 & 440c Stainless steel and in particular 440C is like an effective  compromise between Cobalt alloy hairdressing scissors and high end professional scissors but have a medium price range. The stainless steel used to make the scissors goes through tempering to make it as tough and durable as is possible. The tempering also gives the scissors  a better level of resistance to knocks therefore extending  their life. 

Our verdict: in the main are a very good standard of hairdressing scissors and (because of the value for money) by far the best selling..

 

3) Molybdenum Alloy

This type of  steel is usually found only  in top of the range scissors and thanks to the unique way this material is processed, scissors become strong and durable. Properly hardened it can be as hard as Cobalt alloys, but will maintain its durability, making it more resistant to chips and nicks. Obviously it goes without saying that hairdressing scissors made of this material are going to cost accordingly.

Our Verdict: Great scissors .

4) Molybdenum/Cobalt Alloy mix

For the absolute professional and with  prices to match. Scissors made from this hybrid material will see the hardness of Cobalt combined with the toughness of Molybdenum hence producing  hairdressing scissors with high strength and maximum durability.

Our verdict: Fantastic scissors,  Extreme Cost.

 

Types of Scissors Blades

 Once you have your eye on the scissors made  from the material that you think is right for you, the next stage is to see what type of blades the scissors have been made with, there are two types you can choose from usually:

 1) Bevelled Edged Blades

Bevelled edged scissors are usually found in the cheaper scissor ranges, because bevelled edges are limited when it comes  to performing  advance cutting techniques such as slide cutting etc. Scissors made with bevelled edges can cut well but require more force than convex blades as they cannot achieve as  high a level of blade sharpness. These scissors are more suitable to the novice or hairdressing student, but will still make very good scissors even for the experienced hairdresser, and are very popular amongst Barbers. They are  less prone to chips and nicks caused by knocks or by dropping them. Bevelled edges are generally found on German made scissors.

2) Convex Edge Blades

These edges are the sharpest you can buy and are found on nearly all professional hairdressing scissors. They boast a smoother cutting action and allow you to perform all advanced hair cutting techniques including slide cutting. Hairdressing Scissors like these are perfect for the experienced or professional hairdresser. Almost all Japanese scissors have the convex edge, the cut is superb, on the downside they are prone to chips and nicks and if dropped can cost for them to be reset and rebalanced as well as taking out any chips or nicks and of course having to be re- sharpened.

Scissors Tempering and Shaping

Another thing that is critically important when deciding which hairdressing scissors will suit you is how they are shaped and forged. This is important when choosing scissors as these processes have a direct impact on the scissors edge and strength. There are three types of shaping and forging:

 1) Scissors Casting

This is the most common and cheapest way to produce scissors. Liquid metal is poured directly into a mould. When properly hardened, the scissors made during this process will be durable but will not hold their edge as long as the other types of shaping and tempering.

2) Drop Forging

 

A weighted mould is dropped onto a hot bar of steel. The alloy is then pounded into the desired shape which makes the metal more dense. This density  then ensures the  scissors hold their edge for longer and they become more durable.

3) Cryogenic Tempering

The ultimate method of scissor shaping and tempering. Here the temperature of the steel is reduced to -300 degrees f. This pulls the molecules into a tightly compacted form. After this the steel is then slowly returned to room temperature, whilst this is happening the steel molecules relax and separate into an evenly spaced, uniformed structure which increases in strength and durability.

4)Ergonomics

The last (but also very important) aspect to consider (apart from the look, colour and style) before buying your scissors is the ergonomics in other words how comfortable they are in fitting your hand and therefore to work with; i.e. lightness, shape, size etc. This is important(as is regular sharpening) because of the dangers of R.S.I.(repetitive strain injury) or Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Although most high end scissors are designed with that in mind. The scissors should be both light and comfortable in order to minimise the long term consequences of every day use. Having said that, one should always consult a suitably qualified professional for advice on their individual needs as far as RSI or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are concerned and not rely on the advice given by hairdressing scissors salespersons or websites. If you have any queries regarding any of the information above or would like further advice, then feel free to leave us a message on the forum page.

 Regards

Bladesmaster