Taking care of your Scissors
A hairstylist or groomer without a pair of shears is about as useful as a carpenter without a hammer. Your shears are the most important tool in your kit, so it’s important to take extra good care of them.
Check it daily! One common mistake is setting the tension too loose. While it may seem that you’re saving your hand muscles, you’re actually damaging the scissor edge and causing more stress to your hand.
To test the tension, hold your shear by the finger hole and point the blades straight up, now life the thumb blade up so the blades are fully open (no edges overlapping). Now, let go of the thumb blade and let the scissor close. It should not close more than half way. If it does, the tension is too loose. The blades need to ride against each other to cut properly, and when the scissor is too loose, the blades will push and/or fold the hair.
The stylist’s natural reaction is to push with their thumb, which puts undue stress on the hand and on the blades. It will actually cause the blades to dull more quickly, and the damage may require a scissor technician to do more than a normal sharpening/restoration, which can reduce the life expectancy of the scissor.
Now, if the tension is too tight, in which case during the test the blades didn’t close at all, you will be stressing your hand and the ride area of the blades, as any hair or dust could get ground into the metal.
Most cutting problems with otherwise sharp shears are due to tension, so make sure you check it daily!
Not only is built up hair, oil, and dirt unsanitary and unattractive to your client, it can hurt your scissors. Wipe your scissors between cuts with a clean cloth, preferably microfiber. Open the shear as far as you can and really get into the pivot area, the most common site for build-up. When clean, apply a drop of scissor oil to each blade in the pivot area (clipper oil can be used). This will help make sure the scissors operate smoothly for the next cut. Also clean your scissor at the end of the work day.
If you drop them...
If your shears happen to drop and you see a nick in the blade, do not try to close them - this will only nick the other blade too.
- Open scissors all the way
- Spread blades apart so they don't touch
- Close the scissors while the blades are held apart
- Press blades together while operating - this will cut the nick off without nicking the other blade
- Use a backup pair of shears until you can get the nicked pair repaired by Sharpen-This.
Invest in a good padded leather case. Make sure your scissors are clean and dry, and put them in the case. No tossing your scissors in the drawer! Go to my products page for a list of what I have for sale.
Lastly, never use your shears to cut anything other than hair, human or animal. Using them to cut fabric, paper, etc. will dull the edge and may misalign the blades.
Proper care and maintenance will insure you get more good cuts between sharpening and more years of service out of your scissors.