Why Do Hair Scissors Get Dull? Why Scissors Lose Their Sharpness - Japan Scissors

Why Do Hair Scissors Get Dull? Why Scissors Lose Their Sharpness

Have you ever pondered why your trusty hair scissors eventually lose their cutting edge? It might seem like a straightforward question, but the answer delves into the realm of physics and material science.

The Mechanics of Dullness

The blades of scissors are manufactured from hardened steel. Over time, continuous friction between the blades and the materials being cut causes the fine cutting edge to degrade, making your scissors less sharp.

Damaged hair from blunt hair cutting scissors

Materials like hair can accelerate this process. Despite their soft appearance, hair fibers are incredibly resilient. As such, they can expedite the blunting of even the most top-of-the-range hair scissors.

Hair Fibers and Scissors: A Detailed Look

To fully grasp how hair can make scissors dull, it's crucial to understand the structure of hair fibers. Hair consists of long chains of a protein called keratin. This protein is incredibly robust, making it difficult to cut.

Every time you cut hair with scissors, the blades rub against the hair, forcing the keratin fibers to split. This action, akin to water gradually eroding rock, results in the blades' sharp edges becoming gradually blunter.

Despite this inevitable process, remember that even the dullest scissors can be revived with appropriate sharpening methods.

Estimating Scissors Bluntness in a Salon Setting

The table below provides an estimated timeline of how quickly scissors might lose their edge when used regularly in a salon.

Scissors Use Estimated Time to Dullness
Daily heavy use 6 - 8 months
Daily moderate use 9 - 12 months
Occasional use 18 - 24 months

It's important to note that these are estimates, and actual times can vary based on several factors, including the quality of the scissors, specific cutting techniques, and types of hair being cut.

Steel Materials and Scissors Bluntness

Not all steel materials are created equal when it comes to maintaining sharpness in hair scissors. While premium Japanese steel is renowned for its exceptional durability and ability to retain sharpness, other steel materials may become blunt faster.

Lower-quality steel, such as some stainless steel alloys or inferior blade materials, may have a lower resistance to wear and tear. These materials can lose their sharpness more quickly, requiring more frequent sharpening to maintain optimal cutting performance.

Maintaining Sharp Hair Cutting Scissors: Dos and Don'ts

To keep your hair cutting scissors sharp and in excellent condition, here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:

  • Do: Regularly clean your scissors to remove hair and debris buildup that can affect their cutting performance.
  • Do: Apply a high-quality lubricating oil to the pivot area and the blades' inner surfaces to reduce friction and keep the blades moving smoothly.
  • Do: Store your scissors in a protective case or sheath to prevent damage to the blades when not in use.
  • Don't: Use your hair cutting scissors to cut materials other than hair. Avoid cutting paper, fabric, or wire, as these can cause the blades to become dull or damaged.
  • Don't: Drop or mishandle your scissors, as this can lead to misalignment or nicks in the blades, affecting their sharpness.
  • Don't: Share your scissors with others unless properly sanitized. Foreign substances or hair types different from yours can contribute to faster dulling.

By following these guidelines, you can prolong the lifespan of your hair cutting scissors and maintain their cutting efficiency, ensuring precise and clean cuts every time.


The science behind why hair scissors become dull involves an understanding of materials science, physics, and the biology of hair. While the dulling process is inevitable, it can be managed with proper maintenance and care of your scissors. Regular cleaning, lubrication, and proper storage can significantly extend the life of your scissors, while using them for their intended purpose and regular sharpening can ensure they stay sharp for a longer time. In the end, a pair of well-maintained hair scissors is a stylist's best friend, ensuring consistent and high-quality results with every cut.

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