Which scissors should you use when cutting your own hair at home? It’s a question on the lips of every DIY hairdresser who has scrutinised their out of control mane in the mirror and decided enough is enough. With new lockdowns, confusing guidance and ever-changing tiers systems making trips to the salon or barbers feel like a thing of the past, many Brits have decided to take matters – and scissors – into their own hands.
Finding a perfect pair of hair shears is half the obstacle to delivering a great haircut, so you need to choose wisely. Using dull kitchen scissors for cutting your split ends or nail scissors to finesse your carefully cultivated quiff is simply not a good idea; you will damage your hair and find the necessary precision wanting, too.
With all of these considerations in mind and with DIY haircuts the goal, here’s the IDEAL scissors to use when cutting your hair at home.
One of the most crucial factors when choosing scissors for home hair cutting is the comfort and convenience of holding the tool in your hand. The design and shape of the handle will determine the usability of the scissors and ultimately, how well your haircut turns out.
In terms of safety, the scissors should fit perfectly in your hand and not slip; that’s how somebody loses an ear. The most popular handle types include:
- Swivel thumb shears have an asymmetric handle with a straight upper part that allows a low positioning of the elbow of the active hand. This leads to greater control of the blades;
- Offset grip shears provide an open position of the hand that helps the hairdresser perform complicated and long haircuts without hand fatigue;
- Opposing grip shears are suitable for cutting with middle finger and thumb, are universal and commonly used for a variety of haircut styles;
- A left-handed grip is made for southpaw barbers to mitigate the inconvenience of using regular scissors originally made for right-handers.
It is worth paying attention to the availability of support for your little finger, as this will allow you to get the job done with reduced effort. Ideally, you would try out several models in person and first hand, in order to choose the most comfortable pair.
Professional scissors are almost always made of steel, with other substances often added to increase their strength and sharpness.
Scissors made of steel and reinforced with cobalt tend to remain sharp for longer and are characterised by high durability; do keep an eye out for the latter metal but be aware that its mining practices have recently come under scrutiny and the ethics of its use are now in question.
Japanese and German steel is the most highly revered origin among professionals, but you should be prepared to pay for it. If you are looking for affordable scissors to cut hair at home, stainless steel will work for you just fine.
PURPOSE AND SIZE
Each type of scissors has a specific purpose in professional hands, and if you’re to take your home haircutting seriously, then you should consider the target function to get the best results.
Straight shears can be used as all-purpose scissors, but their functions will depend on their size. Longer straight shears are perfect for cutting hair when combined with the comb, while a shorter blade allows you to safely cut hair in problematic areas such as around the ears or neck. If you are looking for a pair to have at home, straight shears are the universal choice to cut split ends, trim bangs and more.
Thinning shears also come in different sizes depending on the number of teeth in the blade. They are perfect for men’s haircuts, trimming, blending, texturing, and working with thick hair, providing a more voluminous haircut. Professional stylists usually have both types of scissors in different sizes in their toolkit as it allows them to work on different hair types and cut both wet and dry hair.
For maximum precision, and particularly – though not exclusively – for men, you could also invest in hair clippers, which shave hair at specific, by-the-millimetre gradients.
The most common types of blades are convex and bevelled razor edges. The latter is made of lightweight materials, making the tool convenient and nimble, with your hand less likely to get fatigued during the haircutting process. These scissors are optimal for cutting dry hair and are ideal for beginners who are cutting their own hair at home or in training to become a hairdresser. Often, bevelled scissors are often used in tandem with serrated scissors.
Convex blades, on the other hand, are much sharper, with a smooth cutting action. They are generally heavier and a bit more pricey, and require regular, professional sharpening for a more prolonged longevity. Though they favoured by pro stylists, amateur DIY hairdressers might find them a little tricky to manipulate.
High-quality hair cutting scissors should work very smoothly. At the same time, they should be easily closed and fixed in any position. The friction of the blades against each other should be minimal – the tool must be regularly lubricated and polished to do so. Finally, it is best to use hair cutting shears with an adjusting screw to configure their smoothness to suit the precise style you’re seeking.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Cutting your own hair isn’t easy, but sometimes (and with increasing prevalence recently) necessity dictates it. Whether your reasons are based on financial considerations, your favourite hairdresser being closed, safety concerns or you simply love that DIY mentality, giving yourself a haircut can actually be a richly rewarding experience. If you need more advice on the subject, then check out these top tips for a successful DIY home haircut.
With all that said, we would implore you to keep visiting your local hairdresser, barber or salon in the future; they need your support during this difficult time! And let’s face it, they are highly skilled with those scissors we’ve been discussing.