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How to Use Hair Thinning Scissors?

by Jun Oh June 10, 2021 10 min read

How to Use Hair Thinning Scissors? | Japan Scissors

Thinning scissors are an extremely useful tool for men and women's hairstyles. In this article, I won't talk too much about the joys of thinning scissors, but more how to use them at home, at school or at the salon and barbershop.

There three main things to consider when using thinning scissors:

  1. the type of hair your are thinning
  2. the type of thinning scissor you are using
  3. how to hold and actually use the thinning scissor

We cover how to hold, how to use thinning scissors at home and how to use thinning scissors on men and women. Without wasting anymore time, let's get started!

Browse the best thinning and texturizing hair scissors here!

Step 1: What type of hair are you thinning?

Thinning hair at home

The purpose of thinning scissors is to remove sections of hair, and this helps to:

  • blend your hair between different sections (long and shorter areas)
  • removing excess weight from thicker sections of hair
  • softening hairlines

You start with hair cutting scissors, then at the end, you use the thinning scissors to help improve and perfect the final hairstyle.

If you are cutting thicker and strong hair, then you definitely need to use thinning scissors to free up the extra weight. However, if you the hair is thinner, then you might only need to use thinning scissors to blend sections of hair together.

Read more about our complete Hair Thinning Scissor Guide!

Step 2: What type of thinning scissors are you using?

hair thinning scissors on a yellow background

There are different types of thinning scissors that you can use, and each style is defined by how many teeth they have.

The three main types of thinning scissors include:

  • 20 to 30 teeth thinners: texturizing and blending
  • 6 to 12 & 30 to 40 teeth thinners: thinners that remove heavy weight
  • 14 to 20 teeth thinners: blending and finishing

The texturizing and blending thinners and blending and finishing thinners have more teeth, usually with minimal space between and v-shaped edges, and are perfect for giving hair a lighter look and blending areas together.

For situations when you have dense clusters or thick hair, the chomper thinners are great at removing chunks of hair to allow for a lighter feel and look.

The most common type of thinning scissors will have over 24 teeth and are great at blending sections of hair together for men and women.

Read more about the Different Types Of Hairdressing Scissors Here!

Step 3: How to hold and use thinning scissors

How to hold thinning scissors

Now we can jump right into the specifics of how to use and hold hair thinning scissors. We will keep this short and sweet, so you can get started!

Read more about How Do Hairdressers Hold Their Scissors?

Step 3.1: How to hold thinning scissors

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

The steps to hold your hair thinning scissors is:

  1. Place your ring finger inside the smaller hole
  2. Place your thumb in the in the larger hole
  3. Your pinky finger resting on the handle's hook
  4. Your middle finger and index finger resting on the handle
  5. Then you your thumb to open and close the thinning scissor blades

The proper and best way to hold you scissors is a simple one. This method is called the Traditional Western Grip, and it is the same way that most hairdressers will hold their scissors

When holding your hair thinning scissors, make sure the blade with the teeth are always facing upwards,

Step 3.2: How to use thinning scissors

Hairdresser thinning client's hair

Using hair thinning scissors is easy as opening and closing the blades. You can grab a section of hair between your index and middle finger, then thin the hair under your fingers. Alternatively, you can you a comb, and thin the hair coming out through the top of the comb's teeth.

Thinning scissors are used at the end of the haircut, as they allow you to blend, texturise and remove any excess hair.

The most common way to use hair thinning scissors is to blend two sections of hair that have different lengths together. Alternatively, if you notice there are dense areas of thick hair, you can use the thinning scissors to give a light feel and look.

How to use thinning scissors to blend 

  1. At the end of your haircut, dry your hair and hold your thinning scissors with your dominant hand.
  2. Either use you index and middle finger or a comb to hair located between the two sections you wish to blend.
  3. Open the thinning scissor blades and in one smooth motion close it with the hair in between.
  4. Repeat this process at the middle point where the two different sections of hair meet. 

How to use thinning scissors to remove thick hair and texturise

  1. Either at the end of the haircut or at the beginning, make sure the hair is combed straight downwards. There should be no knots or tangled sections of hair.
  2. Locate the section of hair you wish to thin and you can either use your index and middle finger to grab hair or use a comb.
  3. Hold the thinning scissors in your dominant hand and open the blades. Position the scissors one or two inches above your fingers or comb, so you are thinning slightly away from the section you have grabbed.
  4. In one smooth gliding motion, move the open blades to the hair and close. The gliding motion is similar to how you would brush or comb your hair.
  5. Repeat across the whole section of thick hair you are looking to thin. 

Step 3.3: How to use thinning scissors at home

Using thinning scissors at home can be a great idea if you are looking to maintain your hair, or give someone else a haircut. 

If you are a beginner, then we recommend thinning less than you want, as removing too much hair makes it difficult to repair any damage.

The simplest and easiest way to thin hair at home is by blending two sections together at the end of your haircut. This can be difficult to thin your own hair, so try using a mirror or asking someone at home to help.

Read more about The Best Scissors For Cutting Hair At Home!

Step 3.4: How to use thinning scissors on women's hair

Dannah Rey, a hair stylist YouTuber, provides a great video tutorial on how to use thinning scissors to remove weight on longer hair.

 

Step 3.5: How to use thinning scissors on men's hair

Pose, a hairdressing YouTuber, provides a great simple explanation on how to use thinning shorter hair.

 

Conclusion: How do I use hair thinning scissors?

Thinning shears are very versatile and come many different teeth setups, and you can cut anywhere between 40 - 70% of the hair of a client with just one to two cuts. Thinning scissors can add a more natural blend to any given haircut or add a level of texture to improve overall tastefulness of your masterpiece.

Browse the best Cutting & Thinning hair scissor sets!

 

jagaur thinning scissors

We Had a Chat With The Experts

We talked with June, a salon owner in Melbourne, about the best texturising thinning scissors for hairdressers:

"I found that it was always harder to find smooth cutting thinners than it was cutting scissors," she said after a bit of thought. "After learning more about the quality difference, I looked at Jaguar, Juntetsu and Yasaka as the best options available because of the Prism teeth and higher-quality steel. You can buy a $150 pair of cutting scissors and be happy with them, but you'll want to buy a $200+ pair of thinning if you want the smoothest cuts."

How Many Teeth Do I Need & Why?

If you've been on our site for a while, you would have seen thinning scissors with all variations of teeth numbers. As a general rule of thumb, 25 and above are for texturising and blending, whereas, 15 and below are chunk removers!

When handling thick hair, fewer teeth with wider gaps make your job a whole lot easier.Chunkremovers are best for curly hair, which ordinary scissors struggle with, as the name suggests these shears can take big chunks of hair out at once (~40 - 80%). However, one important caveat, Chunk scissors can be difficult to use and if misused, can leave holes in the cut.

Now that we are done with the nitty-gritty about thinning shears. How can we use them?

3 Steps to Use Hair Thinning Scissors 

Step 1. Brush/Comb Through The Hair

While this is not rocket science, it is essential to brush/comb the hair till it's untangled and smooth. Additionally, it's better to use thinning scissors on dry hair as wet hair tends to stick together, thus reducing the consistency of how much you remove each cut. If the hair that you are working on is curly by nature, try straightening before attempting to use the texturising shears.

Step 2. Hair Between The Teeth & Blade

With your shears in hand, separate the blade and place a small portion of hair between the teeth and the cutting blade. Make sure that your shears are roughly three inches above the surface of the scalp and your fingers! Never use the shears on the roots or tips of a clients hairs.

Step 3. 45-Degree Angle And Small Little Snips

Once the hair is idling between your thinning shears, hold your scissor blades to the nose at a 45-degree angle, and make small little Snips to remove some of the extra bulk. Make sure to comb the excess hair with each cut, allowing you to monitor your progress and to ensure not too much is removed.

 


 

FAQ - Common Questions About How To Use Hair Thinning Scissors

Take a look below at a couple of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding thinning scissors. So whatever questions you have to ask don’t hesitate to contact us, because we will have an answer for you.

What Kind of Thinning Shears Should I Buy?

Some individuals are strictly of the opinion that using quality steel in thinning and texturizing is more essential than using a cutting scissor.

Although you may not use a thinner or texturizing shear as much as your cutting shears, but all it takes to make the scissors useless is one broken tooth.

A steel thinner scissors of excellent quality is unlikely to pull or catch the hair as they pass through the hair.

Should thinning shears be used on wet or dry hair?

In general, it is better to use them on dry hair, but it is still ok to use them on wet hair.

If they are being used on wet hair, you need to be very careful so you don’t over use them.

Because immediately the hair gets dried the style may have been completely ruined, and so it is bets to use them on dry hair.

Are thinning shears bad for your hair?

In the hand of an experienced hairdresser, thinning shears are very far from being bad.

You only start to experience issues when the shears aren’t used properly or the hair isn’t suited for thinning shears.

For instance, certain curly hair requires the use of standard cutting shears to make layers when thinning.

Is it ok to use thinning shears?

Thinning shears improve a lot of haircut styles. They can take out unnecessary bulk in order to add volume and fade heavy cutting lines.

Thinning shears are used on both genders, all that matters is the type of hair and the style that the individual (male or female) wants.

What happens to your hair when you use thinning scissors?

Because of the teeth on thinning scissors, some hair strands get cut while others remain in full length.

Thinning shears give room for hairdressers to remove some of the bulk from the hair without the loss of any length.

What cutting terms do you use with thinning shears?

  • Slithering, point, notching or are a few terms that are associated to the use of thinning shears. Point cutting is when you point the shears into the hair to make your cut. It is used to form soft layers and give the curly hair a softer and textured look.
  • Slithering, dissimilar to point cutting is a method in which the scissors is held slightly open to the hair and then slide away from the hair’s length. It is best used on straight and soft waved hair.
  • Notching is more like point cutting, the only difference is that it is used on short hair. The best type of cuts that are suited for this method are either pixie cuts or men’s cuts. It gives the hair a much textured look.

How can I use thinning shears to thin out hair?

In order to improve volume the hair is cut into sections and the weight of the hair is removed.

On no occasion should you start thinning your hair from the crown/halo area, rather start further down your head where the hair is in a vertical position, if not you will see the cut hair sticking up.

Do it slowly and then examine your progress by combing out any loose hair to ascertain how much is being removed. It is possible to make many cuts but impossible to go the other way.

Does hair thinning result in the regrowth of thicker hair?

Some people have this conviction that thinning the hair is a way make it thicker.

But the process of thickening is when the hair is growing between haircuts and the extra weight makes it look thicker. So, thinning doesn’t make the hair thicker or increase the volume of the hair, the hair grows back same.

How often can I use thinning shears?

This is dependent on the type of hair. There are hair types that you should never use thinning shears, like very thin hair.

Using thinning shears on very thin hair can make the problem worse which can further result in different lengths in hairlines.

Even some curly and frizzy hair should avoid thinning shears and settle with standard cutting shears because with thinning shears it makes it difficult to manage.

On the other hand, hair that is very thick can have thinning shear used at every haircut to take out some of the unnecessary weight and increase the volume.

What differentiate thinning shears from texturizing shears?

An amateur hairdresser would easily mix up thinning shears and texturizing shears because of their scary little teeth.

Although thinner and texturizers remove hair, but they have unique jobs. It is important that you know the difference between both so you know which scissors to use to enable you give the client the best result.

Thinning shears have around 28 to 40 teeth and is meant for the removal of excess weight from hair as well as blend the demarcation lines left by the cutting scissors.

They do not make visible texture or volume to the hair. They are most used to soften and remove bluntness from the haircut.

Texturizing shears have a smaller number but wider teeth with more space between each of them which is why they take out a greater section of hair and produce volume and texture through layers.

There two categories of texturizing shears, the aggressive one and the subtle one. The aggressive texturizing shears can have as little as five teeth so that they remove a significant notch of hair.

Thinners and texturizing shears are used to create unique looks than can be dramatic.

In the end it all depends on what you prefer of feel most comfortable using and also the type of haircut or style you are trying to create.

Always remember the rule of hairdressing that says “less is more”. Begin with a little and if need be you can do more.

This article was researched and referenced from the best sources:

Jun Oh
Jun Oh

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.


3 Responses

Rock and Roll Grandpa
Rock and Roll Grandpa

September 01, 2021

I know some people who like to cut hair at home but I didn’t know it was useful for them to use hair-thinning scissors. I thought it would be beyond an everyday Joe’s skillsets. Thanks for posting this video. I think some people who watch the video can add hair-thinning scissors to a pair of hair-cutting scissors.

Grace M
Grace M

August 10, 2021

It is funny because I never learned about these kinds of scissors when I was in beauty school 30 years ago. I am not sure if it was down to my location or they just weren’t as popular then. I recently got my hair cut and styled by a young man who was making use of these and 2 other types. He did a fantastic job as well! I have been researching them since as I want to learn how to use them myself. Thank you so much for the information!

Billie Rowlandson
Billie Rowlandson

July 17, 2021

I hope that cosmetology schools teach potential hairdressers how to use hair thinning scissors. If you’re sitting in the chair and you see someone fumbling with the scissors, it’s time to run. LOL.

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