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Last updated: August 07, 2017

Scissor Sisters – Finding the Perfect Set

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Take away your shears and you are out of business. But it’s not simple enough to pick up a trusty pair that has been kicking around the salon since before you were born. Nothing can wreck your career faster than repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel, which is why it’s essential you select the shears that are right for you—think of them as your best friend or sister.


“The right shear should fit like a glove,” says Marc Milman, owner and founder of Washi Scissor Co., which has been making scissors for 30 years. “In other words, they should feel very comfortable in a stylist’s hand, and smaller hands may need to have their shears fitted with extra inserts.” Marc adds, “Cut-away, bent or anatomic style thumb rings will provide greater comfort because they accommodate a more natural position for your thumb.”


On average, each stylist will perform more than 15,000 haircuts during their career, with an average of 100 shear strikes per haircut—that is more than 1,500,000 opening and closing of the shears. To save your tired fingers, Anne Maza from Olivia Garden, which has been hand-making shears for 45 years through an extensive 60-step process, has come up with her top three tips for selecting the right pair:


  • Although recommendations are crucial, do not purchase shears without holding them first. The correct pair must be the perfect weight and have the most suitable handle design.
  • Ask what type of steel the shears are made from, and get a feel for the different types. Most are made from stainless steel, which comes in different qualities dependent on the amount of carbon vs. chromium. Carbon gives the steel toughness, while chromium provides a natural resistance to stain and rusting. 440 and 420 are the most popular.
  • Ensure the length is suitable for your hand size and for the type of hair you are cutting. For example, for men’s haircuts, you will need longer scissors for faster cutting and to cut straight planes more easily. Shorter shears are better for cutting hair around the face and ears.


After finding a fit that is comfortable, consider the blade type. While the beveled edge blade has been in existence for years and is very common with its straight edge that drops off at a steep angle a millimeter before the end, it requires a lot of force. According to Marc, a lot of the shears on the market today feature a convex edge, which he says, “creates a smoother and more precise cutting experience.” Anne agrees, adding: “The newer convex blade is more expensive to manufacture but has a thin cutting edge that makes the blades cut very smoothly for a more effortless cut.”


So now that you’ve got your scissors, how long should they last you? Investing in a decent pair is money well spent it seems. “If you take good care of your shears, depending on the quality, they should last you up to 10 years,” says Marc. Yet if they are to go the distance, it’s essential that your shears are sharpened at least once a year by a professional.


For Your Consideration: Washi Ax Ultimate


  • The brand’s number one selling shear
  • Made in Japan from authentic Japanese Hitachi ATS-314 Steel
  • The ultimate cutting tool, with an edge so sharp it almost melts away the hair
  • Perfect for slide-cutting wet or dry
  • Features a comfortable handle design and Washi’s new Anti-Push Edge technology
  • Back screw tension adjuster
  • Free oil and chamois cloth


“For 14 years, I have been in love with my Washi shears because of the outstanding clean lines I can create. In my 40 years of experience, no other shear can hold an edge longer than my Washi shears.”
David Bullock
Master Stylist, Strands Hair Design
Palm Beach Gardens, FL


For Your Consideration: Olivia Garden SilkCut Shears 


  • Hand honed, powerful, razor sharp, convex blade
  • Ultra sharp blade edges
  • Reinforced steel alloy for extra strength
  • Adjustable leaf spring tension with dial markings for extra precision
  • Ergonomic handle design with optimal finger rest positions
  • Comfort offset handle with special thumb curvature to keep hand relaxed in a natural, open position
  • Comfort silencer


“As a salon manager at Paul Jean Salon, we started using SilkCut shears after Paul Jean bought a set for his travel kit. Being amazed by the quality of the shears, Paul Jean introduced them to me and our stylists. We have since bought a set of each for our stylists as well as for any graduating apprentices. The ability to mail in or trade in at local distributor stores leads to a harmonious lending of tools within the team—it’s the Netflix of shears!”
Stylist & Salon Manager, Paul Jean Salon
West Hollywood, CA