What are Hair Scissors?

Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes referred to as barber shears or hair cutting scissors, hair scissors are specially designed types of scissors that are utilized to trim and style hair. Along with a barber, most hair stylists will utilize these scissors in conjunction with electronic hair clippers in order to create a superior hair style for customers. Usually composed of heavy duty metals, good quality hair scissors remain sharp even after regular use and will last for a number of years.

Hair scissors are usually composed of heavy duty metals.
Hair scissors are usually composed of heavy duty metals.

Steel is one of the materials of choice for the highest quality sets of hair scissors. The tempered steel is sometimes enhanced with the addition of high grade silver in order to maintain the sharp edges of the blades. In the typical hair salon or barber shop, hair professionals are likely to use several different sizes of scissors in order to sculpt the hair to the desired style.

Hair scissors that are a combination of metals may be adequate for people who like to trim hair at home.
Hair scissors that are a combination of metals may be adequate for people who like to trim hair at home.

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While some examples of hair scissors are composed of solid steel, there are haircuting scissors that are somewhat more versatile in design. Some sets are equipped with detachable finger rests, making it possible to change out the rests to accommodate the hand size of the stylist with greater ease. Fixed finger rests are usually offered in standard sizes and will work well for average sized hands.

Long tail hair scissors are helpful when trimming the ends of long straight hair.
Long tail hair scissors are helpful when trimming the ends of long straight hair.

There are several specific types of hair scissors used in salons and barbershops. Each type is designed to aid with some particular task in cutting or styling hair. Hair shears intended for thinning thicker heads of hair make it possible for the stylist to use a simple comb in conjunction with the scissors to thin out the hair as part of the shaping process. Barber scissors with convex blades are helpful with full bodied hair, especially hair with tight curls. Long tail hair scissors are helpful when trimming the ends of long straight hair or creating bangs as part of the styling process.

While hair scissors are generally intended for use by professionals only, anyone can purchase single pairs or entire sets. Just about any retail store that carries professional hair supplies will offer several brands of scissors that varying in overall quality. For people who like to trim hair at home, basic hair scissors that are a combination of metals will likely be more cost effective and sufficient for simple grooming tasks. Scissors made with high quality steel and silver will be somewhat more expensive, but also will last much longer and not require sharpening as frequently.

Hair scissors are used by hair professionals to cut and style hair.
Hair scissors are used by hair professionals to cut and style hair.

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Discussion Comments


My dad used to have a pair of these and we had the routine each week of a nice hair cut which was surprisingly not as painful as you would think, even with the most common working class dad slashing at our hair.


@SZapper - I have a few friends that definitely need to get their hair thinned out a little bit when it's cut. Sadly, my hair is rather thin so I don't feel their pain. But some people really need those scissors!

I think it's interesting there are so many different types of hair scissors. Hair stylists make it look so easy, but it's not! When I was younger I tried to cut my own hair, with disastrous results. In my young brain, I could do what those hair stylists were doing. All I had to do was get some scissors. Obviously, I didn't know what I was doing, nor did I have the right type of scissors.

Although in that case, I don't think even having proper hair scissors would have helped!


I think it's funny that there are scissors specifically for thinning hair out. So many women, myself included, try for more volume all the time! I can't imagine going to the salon and wanting them to make my hair less thick overall.

I've seen hair stylists use razors before, in addition to hair scissors. I remember a few years ago "razor cut layers" were all the rage. In fact, I remember specifically reading a magazine article that said to ask your stylist for razor cut layers. I never did, but I had a stylist use a razor to make layers in my hair once anyway! More recently I usually see hair stylists just using their regular scissors.


I have seen my stylist using different kinds of scissors, but I didn’t know the names of them until know. She often used long tail scissors on my long, straight hair. They looked different than the ones she used for thinning.

I remember her pulling out a special pair of scissors when I requested layers in my hair. She said she would use them to take some of the bulk out of my thick hair. This gave my hair more style and allowed me to make it look almost wavy by using rollers.

I have often wondered if stylists cut curly hair differently. It’s neat that they actually have convex blades for this. I’ve never seen them, but I can imagine that they would produce a different cut.


My sister went to cosmetology school for a few weeks before quitting. She got to keep the supplies that she had paid for, and among these was a pair of hair scissors.

They were sharp steel with a purple plastic covered handle. These scissors were the best pair I had ever used, and when she left them at home when she got married, I used them for everything. I don’t think they ever got dull.

My mother kept her hair short, and she would use these scissors to trim her hair. She would also trim just a half inch off the ends of my long hair to get rid of the split ends with these scissors.

I used them to cut paper, bags of chips and cookies, string, and many other things. These were the official scissors of the household.


I have a pair of regular hair scissors that I use for cutting and a pair of hair thinning scissors. I find myself using the thinning scissors even more than the regular ones.

I like to add texture to my bangs and use these scissors to do that. I also have very thick hair and will thin my hair out between hair cuts.

This isn't something I would recommend most people try to do. I have had some cosmetology training, so do a lot of things on my own. I have also seen a lot of hair disasters from people who have tried to do this and it didn't turn out so well.

A little bang trim every so often is usually not too bad, but anything more than that doesn't work for most people. They end up going to a stylist to get it fixed anyway.


I have a pair of professional hair cutting scissors that I use quite a bit. It seems like I can never make it until my next hair cut without trimming my bangs.

Since I have been doing this for so long, I have gotten pretty good at it, but the right pair of scissors makes all the difference.

Before I bought this professional pair of scissors I thought any pair of sharp scissors would work, but I was wrong. Even if they are sharp, they aren't very good for cutting hair, and would leave it choppy and uneven.

I bought this pair of scissors at Sally's Beauty Supply. Even though you pay more for these than you would a regular pair of scissors, in the long run it is cheaper than paying to get my bangs trimmed every few weeks.


@Mae82 - I suppose kids will be kids. I also save cash by cutting my kids hair and was surprised at the number of options available if you want to buy your own pair of hair scissors for home use.

The pair I got is simple stainless steel and comes to a pretty fine point. I have gotten really good with using the scissors to perfectly trim hair.

One thing I would recommend if you are ever buying your own hair scissors is to make sure that they are the right weight for you. Cutting hair can be surprisingly tiring, and some hair scissors are quite heavy.


My mother used to have a pair of hair scissors because she liked to cut our hair herself to save money. I once made the mistake of using her hair scissors on a school project and she completely flipped out.

Apparently hair scissors have a very sharp blade and have to be sharpened on a regular basis to keep its edge. My mom was in a panic that I was going to get cut and bleed to death on the carpet. Not to mention the fact that I was probably dulling her hair scissors by using them on cardboard. Just to show me how sharp they were she split a hair on the blade. Yikes!

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