It used to be perfectly acceptable to use one pair of scissors to perform a full haircut – of course, we understand it’s still perfectly acceptable to do that!
Waaaay back when hairdressing scissors offered one-blade type and left-handers had to learn how to use a right-handed scissor because the factories just didn’t make them, you had to use what was available and it was pretty grim!
There’s a lot more choice now but it’s still ok now to use just one pair. Personally, I use one scissor for the mainstay of my work but I do change over when my 6.5” Master Craft gets a bit too wieldy. I don’t want to scare my client by using a huge scissor on the detail work and sometimes it’s nice to feather the hair ends with the correct scissor.
9 out of 10 times, performing a haircut will require different types of cutting skills throughout the cut. That in turn requires different blade types. A bevel-edge scissor, for example, will be amazing for scissors over a comb but terrible at slicing. For slicing, you’ll need a finer edge. This is called a convex edge. Now.. the common misconception is that a convex is sharper.. In theory that is true, it’s sharpened at a much finer angle than the bevel edge, making it more razor-like but wait for it… convex edges push the hair out of the scissor !!!! Shock! Horror! Don’t worry, everything will become clearer now. Because the bevel edge is sharpened at a much steeper angle, as the scissor closes, it grabs the hair and cuts through it at 90 degrees, not allowing the hair to slip through the blades. When a convex edge scissor makes the same cut, the hair slides through the blades until they reach a 45-degree angle, and then the blades cut the hair. This leaves the hair shaft open at 45 degrees and creates a softer more wispy finish, for more textured cuts.
So we have to think not about what we can get away with, but more about what we can achieve by using a selection of scissors that deliver different finishes.
Everyone has their own opinion on how many scissors you need to perform a simple haircut. There are 3 headings I use to identify what scissors you will need to use.
Cutting scissors can have 3 different edge types but generally, most people go for a longer 6-7” scissor with a median Semi-Convex edge. This provides you with a good all-around edge for most cuts and hair types.
Detailing/Finishing scissors tend to be a bit shorter than your regular cutting scissor. Normally around 4.5”-5.5” long. These types of scissors tend to have a convex edge because for the most part they will be used for slicing, feathering, point cutting and long layers etc. The handle might be slightly different too, allowing for irregular hand positions. This type of scissor makes detailing easier and will benefit you in day-to-day salon life and also save you time (which of course = more money).
Texturing scissors or thinning scissors get a really bad reputation because of their poor use. This is the one area that really lacks training and knowledge. Texturing scissors tend to be used for blending in mistakes, which is ok, but not ideal. What we find is stylists go a little too deep with this scissor and it can damage the whole structure of the cut.
But… used properly this type of scissor is so so good. Personally, I can perform whole cuts using just a texturing scissor, encouraging movement and reducing weight. Texturing scissors should be used carefully to create soft ends, reduce internal weight, and help face framing and point cutting.
So in theory, we’ve learned here that 1 scissor is ok, but having a good solid range of different edges, blade types and lengths can create a set that will satisfy any stylist and in turn help you retain happier clients.
Q x S