If a hair stylist is an artist -- and most of them see themselves that way -- then salon scissors are his or her paintbrushes. It is with those specialized tools that the stylist puts the fine points on a haircut that makes each one distinct. They provide the means for making a personal statement, either for the stylist, the customer, or both.
Indeed, ads for salon scissors often sound more as though they were pitched to engineers than hair stylists, touching on the amount of cobalt added to the steel, the degree of tension control and the ergonomic advantages. Prices can range from less than $100 US Dollars (USD) to over $1,000 USD, with a spirited competition currently underway between Japanese-made scissors and all others. As with all tools of a trade, the differences can be subjective, with stylists gravitating toward the scissors that fit their own style.
Salon scissors is a generic term for a wide variety of hair-cutting implements. Some are used in the initial cut, others have serrated blades for thinning, still others are ideal for "texturizing." There are even left-handed and right-handed salon scissors, made to work in concert with the dominant hand and thumb.
With the "wrong" hand, it is difficult for the stylist to see what is being cut, since the cutting edge is behind the top blade. This often forces users to place their hand (and head) at an awkward angle, a repetitive and unnatural motion that can make for a long day and create some long-range physical problems. Today's salon scissors are shaped in such a way that they fit more naturally into the dominant hand.
Salon scissors are made of light steel -- the cobalt adds durability -- because they have to be nimble in their pursuit of style. In the case of many stylists, the right tool is a matter of selective "feel," and if the scissors aren't properly sharpened and lubricated, the "feel" for the customer will be one of pain. There is no surer way of guaranteeing that a first-time customer won't be back.
Oiling scissors and adjusting the pivot screw are key elements of maintenance. For the average hair stylist, it might not be essential to buy the latest trendy Hikari® or Musashi® scissors, but it is important to find a pair that allows ease of movement and a comfortable fit for the hand. Achieving these goals is worth shopping around a little, and a sound investment in the long run.