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How To Hold Hairdressing Scissors

by James Adams October 07, 2020 3 min read

How To Hold Hairdressing Scissors | Japan Scissors

The art of hairdressing is careful and intricate – after all, you’re put in charge of grooming and styling someone else’s hair. 

Or you could be cutting your own hair, which has become more common if you mostly stay at home these days. 

Properly handling a pair of styling shears is essential for obtaining an adequate level of precision in trimming hair, mastering scissor-cutting techniques.  

You are reducing the risk of repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can be an annoying hindrance for any budding barber.

In this article, you’ll find out exactly how to hold hairdressing scissors like a salon professional.

How to hold your hair scissors while cutting

Do you want to know how to hold hairdressing scissors properly? Holding salon hair cutting scissors, also known as hairdressing/barbering scissors or even shears, may seem straightforward; however, it's not as simple as it looks.

They are used to using the scissors in the same way they would use a pair of kitchen scissors.

It can be challenging for novices to grasp professional hairdressing scissors because they are different from kitchen scissors.

Professional hairdressers must learn how to use and handle hair cutting scissors to cut hair. When a professional hairdresser, you can hold your shears and cut hair like there's no tomorrow.

How to hold scissors and position your fingers and thumb while cutting hair

Mastering how to hold hairdressing scissors starts with the placement of your hand and fingers on the scissors. 

Styling shears are slightly different from your average scissors, with sharper blades and more delicate finger holes. 

If you look at your styling shears, you can also see a curved protrusion from the smaller finger hole – this is called a tang. The tang provides added stability while you cut. 

The Western grip is the traditional way of holding shears because it’s the one we all regularly use. The finger hole with the tang should be the side at the top. 

You sit your ring finger in the smaller finger hole and your thumb into the larger one, while your pinkie rests on the tang (handle hook). Meanwhile, the index and middle fingers should rest atop the upper handle; usually, the shears have notches in front of the smaller finger hole for them to rest on. 

Your four fingers on top apply pressure to the still blade, balancing it, while your thumb delicately moves the blades.

Using the Western grip keeps your hand stable and reduces injury from straining muscles. 

It might also be valuable to learn the Eastern grip, where you insert your index finger in the smaller hole, the thumb in the other, then rest the middle and ring fingers behind the blade with the pinkie free. 

It’s definitely odd at first but affords a little more precision and opens up techniques like slithering and point-cutting.

Moving your thumb while using hair scissors

A common mistake on how to hold hairdressing scissors is the use of your finger and thumb to open and close the blades. Its be best if you only moved your thumb while cutting hair. 

It’s actually unnecessary – and somewhat risky - to use more than one finger since this rocks your movement and adds strain to the tendons on your hand.

Moving only the thumb reduces how much your hand muscles need to work - thus decreasing the likelihood for carpal tunnel syndrome – and allows you to cut like a hairdressing machine.

Holding your shears and comb together

Holding scissors and a comb together

Once you get the hang of how to hold hairdressing scissors, you might want to learn how to balance a comb and your shears on the same hand. 

This is a great way to trim (pun intended) a few precious seconds from your hairdressing routine. You’ll need to practice twirling the comb so it’ll feel natural when cycling between the comb and shears. 

When using the comb to part or style, tuck the shears into your palm. When it’s time to cut, twirl the comb to its resting position. The comb should rest on your index and ring fingers and keep in place with the middle finger. 

What is the proper way to hold hairdressing scissors?

There are many different ways to hold your scissors properly, but the Western Traditional grip is the most common.

The proper way to hold scissors is better for ergonomic use to avoid stress on your joints or muscles while cutting hair for long periods of time.

James Adams
James Adams

Jun is an experienced writer for hairdressing and barbers. She has a great passion for premium hair scissors, and his favourite brands to cover are Kamisori, Jaguar Scissors and Joewell. She teaches and informs people about scissors, hairdressing and barbering in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada.


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