How to Use Thinning Scissors: The Ultimate Guide - AMR Hair & Beauty

How to Use Thinning Scissors: The Ultimate Guide

Mar 02, 2022Scott Peers

Let's cut to the chase - the best-known secret to how to use thinning scissors is... don't overdo it!

If you overuse the thinning shears, you may leave your client's hair looking spiky and static. Thinning scissors on long hair can give that frizzy, damaged hair look. But if you approach thinning hair moderately and professionally, the result is juicy texture and unseen creative shapes that deserve a spot in beauty magazines.

It wouldn't be the ultimate guide on how to use thinning scissors if that's all we covered. So here are some more priceless tips about using thinning shears the way professional hairdressers do.

How to Use Thinning Scissors (and Choose the Perfect Pair)

Thinning scissors are also known as thinning shears, blending scissors, or texturising scissors. We offer a wide range of thinning scissors so it could also be helpful to give some tips on how to choose the perfect pair for you.

The idea behind thinning scissors is to remove volume, density, and weight in all the right places. If all goes smoothly, you end up with a flawless, manageable hairstyle.

The proper way to use thinning shears is the following:
  • Find the right fit and size. Make sure the scissors lay well on your hand. Pay attention to whether they are right-handed, left-handed, or can be used with both hands. Get a pair with a detachable finger rest for maximum comfort during recurring movements. The most common sizes for thinning scissors are in the 5.5-7.0 inch range. Scissors with chunkier notches are convenient for especially thick hair. Finishing scissors have the most teeth and are designed to give the most subtle thinning styles.
  • Choose type and tooth number. Texturise or blend? Usually, texturising scissors have both toothed blades, while blending scissors have one toothed blade and one sharp, classical blade. Wide-toothed blades (20 teeth per blade) give more texture, Densely toothed blades are ideal for softening the edges of short hair
  • Use thinning scissors on dry hair. This assumes you are finished (or nearly) with the core haircut and now all that is left to do is to add volume and seamlessness.
  • Work in sections. There are different cutting techniques you can use just with regular haircutting scissors but the rule of thumb is that with thinning scissors you will remove less hair and have more control over the amount of hair you cut off. Working in sections gives you even more control.

Tip: Comb your hair thoroughly before you start thinning to enable an even, clean cut.

A common mistake: when hair is cut with thinning scissors too close to the scalp, the results are generally less than spectacular.

Other Things You Can Do with Thinning Shears

As mentioned, thinning scissors are typically used to remove weight, lighten a hairstyle, thin thick hair, and texturise longer and curly hair. Here are a few extra ways you can put them to use:

1. Add texture to bulky ends

It works best on short to medium-length hair. Grab ½" thick sections. Remove them from the face, and start cutting diagonally leaving one inch in length at the top. Overlap sections as you go all around the hair to thin it out evenly.

2. Long thick hair

Use hair sectioning clips to separate hair into sections, each section about 3 inches wide. Keep the thinning scissors at a downward angle with closed blades and glide down as you comb the hair. If you start higher, you will remove more weight from thick hair. If you are unsure, it is better to start conservatively (lower) and go up if you feel there is a need.

3. Lighten a short hairstyle

Pull the dry hair away from the root and follow the shape you have created with the thinning scissors. Pay attention to texturising shorter hair as any slips are easier to notice and will be hard to rectify if you pull the texturising scissors one too many times through the hair.

4. Curly hair

Consider straightening the hair before diffusing a curly hairstyle to eliminate the possibility of uneven cuts. Use the brick-layering technique (watch video) to texturise curly hair without disturbing the curls.

You can use swivel scissors (e.g. Kiepe Scissors - Blue Fire Series), too, but thinning shears work better on hair with less bulk.

5. Textured bobs and layers

The bulk of the density of blunt bobs and layered hair starts beneath the top layers at the nape, close to the hairline. So, this is where you want to start using your thinners. Take the bottom layer and go up with the sections. Drop down the top section to see the results of the texturising. If you want to remove weight from layers, focus specifically on the weighted chunk - do not go all the way down to the neckline because you will remove the balance you wanted to create in the first place.

6. Trim a fringe with thinning shears

Use a clip to tuck the rest of the hair behind the ears. The best length to cut any fringe is between the eye and the eyebrow. Dry hair to deal with kinks at the roots without having them ruin the fringe cut. Split and grab very small sections to avoid mistakes. Use the thinning scissors to soften the edges; when you approach the section closest to the ears, turn the shears downwards and remove the weight to blend in the fringe with the rest of the hair.

Tip: Comb hair through when using thinning and texturising techniques to remove fallen hair and improve visibility as you go along the hairline.

How to Clean Hair Thinning Scissors

Depending on the notch density, it can be more difficult to clean thinning shears, simply because hair tends to stick in between the teeth.

Use a cleaning cloth to remove dust, hair or debris. Steaming or washing scissors with hot water works well but don't forget to dry your scissors thoroughly to avoid rust from occurring.

Skip alcohol if you can. If you have to use alcohol to disinfect scissors, it is best to take them apart and put them together again as you finish cleaning. Wipe only the blades otherwise. Use a paper towel like Fibrella Cello paper pieces to remove any remaining moisture.

Good quality professional thinning scissors come with special cleaning oil when you buy them. Pour a drop or two on the blades if you store the scissors and don't intend to use them for a long time.

Why You Should Get the Best Hairdressing Scissors You Can

Hairdressing scissors can be your best friend. It doesn't matter if you are fully qualified or just starting out, you will not regret investing in a good pair of scissors.

As much as a great haircut is an outcome of your hand skills, you still need to rely on functional and practical tools. It helps you to get the results your clients want.

Hair scissors are one of a hairdresser's most important tools for achieving an impressive final result. And hairstylists like keeping their belt pouches with their favourite scissors in close sight. Once the day starts, the pouch is not only a helpful set of tools but also an effective accessory that says - This is one badass expert with a great sense of style! 

The search for perfectly cut hair doesn't end with scissors. At least not with a single pair. If you run a salon business, you will need at least three or four per staff member, with thinners and razors!

When getting your salon and hairdressing supplies, how can you tell which are the best hairdressing scissors out there? Let's take a look.

What Material Makes the Best Hairdressing Scissors

Professional hair-cutting scissors and shears cost more than regular scissors for home use. The reason is that they are made out of highly durable materials intended to handle thousands of cuts before they go blunt. The blades, the fulcrum, and the handles are crafted with due care to suit the needs of a professional hairdressing salon. 

It may be hard to imagine, because human hair feels gentle, but it is quite strong. It must be cut with super-sharp scissors to avoid split ends or unequal cutting lines. You can never achieve that with regular domestic scissors. If you have ever tried to use regular kitchen scissors to cut your own hair as a kid, you know the results you can get, and they are far from spectacular!

The best hairdressing scissors must account for all these factors.

Stainless steel is the preferred material for hair scissors and not just any type of stainless steel. The best hairdressing scissors contain specially manufactured stainless steel. Shop our range of professional hairdressing scissors and thinners.

When looking at the material, it is important to check whether the scissors contain some element you may be allergic to, for example, nickel, which is sometimes added to steel scissors. Cobalt-infused hairdressing scissors not only look fab, but they also last longer and can help solve the allergy problem since they have anti-allergic properties. 

Also, pay attention to the included warranty. Quality scissors include a warranty suggesting an approximate duration of use, and gives you some idea of by when they might lose some of their perfect cutting properties.

However, with good maintenance, the best hairdressing scissors can get many years of persistent use.

Not All Pairs Work for Everyone: Shape, Size, and Style

Regardless of the material, there is a great deal of subjectivity in picking up the best pair of hair scissors that will work for you. You need to find a pair that fits your palm well and makes your job easier. Choosing the wrong size can result in hands and fingers getting quickly tired and as a result of that, less amazing haircuts.

Size Matters

Average hairdressing scissors are between 4.5 and 8 inches long. Besides hand size, the length of the scissors matters for the type of haircut you want to do.

Hairdressing scissors with longer blades, above 6 inches, work for the 'cutting over a comb' technique. While shorter, 4.5 to 5.5-inch scissors will enable precise, clean cuts. They are perfect for concave bob hairstyles!

Being left-handed or right-handed is another factor you must consider. Luckily, most professional hairdressing tool manufacturers nowadays consider both right-handed and left-handed stylists. Make sure you check before making a purchase that you are getting the right scissors for your hands.

Hair Cutting Tools: Shapes

There are three basic shapes of hairdressing scissors: classic, offset, and crane.

Classic hair scissors have equally shaped lower and upper blades and rings. Crane and offset scissors are designed with the thumb ring angled downwards. This helps hairdressers to work with finer cuts with ease.

Swivel scissors can alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome, a common nuisance that prevents hairdressers from fully enjoying their work. The best hair scissors are typically not for universal use. Although a beginner hairdresser will often start with just one pair for clean cuts, generally with convex blades.

An iron pair with clam-shaped blades will work wonders as a basic tool to cut lightly and quietly. Barbershops will need extra tools. Professional razor handles and razor blades are just a few of the basics you need to stock to produce a magnificent beard on top of a great haircut.

Expert Hairdressing Scissors & Tools

As your acumen advances, you will need to pick up extra pairs of scissors that will work for specific hair styling techniques such as slice cutting, chipping, fading, and thinning. As you continue to master your techniques, you will know when to grab your thinning scissors and how they can be used for many different styles.

Clippers are typically used for fades and precise haircuts. Trimmers are necessary to smooth out the edges of shorter cuts. For well-defined cuts, you will likely need a razor comb. 

Maintaining Your Scissors

Sharpening must be done regularly to keep scissor blades in pristine condition for cutting. How often your scissors need sharpening depends on how many haircuts you do and the quality of the scissors you use.

With typical salon use, you'll need to sharpen your scissors at least once a year, paying special attention to convex blade scissors. If you are unsure how to properly sharpen the blades, hire a professional to avoid scissors going out of service before they need to. You will need to sharpen less frequently if you adequately clean your scissors after use. 

Cleaning Scissors

Firstly, clean your scissors with an alcohol-based cleaning liquid. That will sanitise the scissors as well as remove built-up residue on the blades.

Next, apply scissor oil.

Finally, keep your scissors in their pouch. This will reduce any chances of mechanical damage created by falling, scratching, or accidental bumps.

Scissors for professional hairstylists also include extra rings for decreased wear-out and tension adjusters that you need to use regularly as part of the maintenance routine.

Final Thoughts

Using thinning scissors and other hairdressing scissors takes time to master but like many hairdressing skills, practice makes perfect.

In time you will get to know the slight differences in cutting techniques required for different hair types and styles.

Regardless of your skill level, you can make things much easier on yourself by investing in the best quality hairdressing scissors you can afford and then maintaining them well.

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