Choosing the Right Shear for You

How to avoid getting stuck with a shear you hate


By: Irv Hendel, Scissor Specialist & Owner of Top Notch Shears


Does the phrase "Choose wisely" ring a bell? If you are new to the beauty industry or an experienced professional selecting the right shear is quite a challenge

I often hear from hairdressers who bought shears they absolutely hate. Here are some of the things they have said - Let me tell you, a little knowledge goes a long way.

They bought them at an international hair show and havenít taken the time to contact the scissor company. They put them aside while they collect dust in their drawer. Sound familiar.

They threw away the contact information.

They dropped them and suddenly they don't cut well. They are generally rough on their shears.

They bought a shear on sale that was not returnable.

The salon owner suggested the shear because he likes them.

They needed a shear in a hurry and didnít want to spend too much for them.

They are left handed and bought a right handed shear.

They didnít get good advice.

The salesman knew nothing about how the shears worked. Heís just a salesman and not a scissor expert.

Actually, the list goes on and on.

So, let me give you some valuable recommendations from someone who is in the know!

First and foremost make sure the shear is extremely comfortable in your hands. Try to avoid judging the comfort of a shear based on someone elseís opinion. Everyoneís hands are different. What feels good to one person may not work for you. Comfort should be your first consideration.

Consider the size you will need. Also consider an offset shear handle or crane style versus a straight handle. This will take some experience to determine. Let the feel be your guide. Remember, most committed hairdressers own more than one shear.


Try to buy from a scissor expert who actually knows how each scissor works and can help you meet your expectations.

Consider what your goals are.

Are you in it for the long haul?

Do you want a top quality shear that will carry you through several years of your career?

Are you just looking to cut corners (pardon the pun) and buy a shear that will just get you by?

Ask yourself: are you really committed to your profession or just trying to eke out a living for the next few years. This admission will help you better define what your real needs are.

Always buy from a company that will offer you a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The usual time needed? A few days to 1 week. An experienced hairdresser knows if they like a shear with their first haircut. One caveat; damaged or dropped shears are generally not returnable.

Try to buy from a company that will offer you a wide variety of choices and not just one line of shears. Would you buy shoes from a store that only sold one manufacturer?

Ask a lot of questions.

Observe what the most successful people in the industry use. Do you want to follow in their footsteps or get away with as little as possible? Life is about the choices you make.


Hand crafted shears from Japan are generally considered the best quality. Although some companies get away with having their shears stamped "made in Japan" this is sometimes misleading. An experienced hairdresser can usually tell the difference. Itís like driving a Lexus or a Ford. German steel is not considered the same quality. But, many hairdressers prefer them for a whole host of reasons. They are especially popular with Europeans.

High performance shears are ultra smooth when you open and close them. They also cut through the hair like silk.

Cheaply made shears, generally made in countries like Pakistan, china, Taiwan and Korea will not generally hold their edge as well. There are exceptions, however.

Cast iron versus Cobalt versus Titanium versus Forged. In general a forged shear made of cobalt is the best you can buy. These can range from $300.00 to $1000.00. Some shears run in the thousands. But, only a select group of hairdressers buy them. I cannot cover all the variables in the scope of this article. Suffice to say that forged shears are cut from one piece of metal, heated at high temperatures and molded into shape. A cast shear is made by using a liquid that is poured into a mold and then heated up. It is generally not as durable. But, the average hairdresser does not know the difference.

The best advice on any subject is to ask an expert in the field. Look to someone with a reputation for honesty and integrity. Itís helpful to have an experienced hairdresser advise you when buying your first shear. While you may have a great deal of respect for your boss he is generally not a scissor expert and can only speak to the shears he personally likes. You are the final determiner of what feels right in your hands.

Use your creative intuition to help guide you to the ideal shear suited to your hands.

Happy Cutting!

Irv Hendel, Scissor Specialist & Owner of Top Notch Shears



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