Every barber and hairdresser can recognize the value of taking proper care of their hair shears. Made specifically for the practice of cutting hair, shears need regular maintenance and attention to optimize their performance, lifespan, and comfort level.
Read our guide to know the most important aspects of hair shear maintenance, including cleaning, drying, sharpening, oiling, handling, and storage practices. We’ll divulge tips on how to make your shears last so you save money, as well as how these care practices can make them more comfortable to use so you endure less hand and wrist strain throughout your career.
8 Best Practices for Taking Care of Hair Shears
There are several practices you should regularly follow in order to maintain your hair cutting shears.
Cleaning and Disinfection Practices
Hairdressers and barbers need to clean and sanitize their tools on the daily. Cleaning is important to keep your shop practices in good health standards, and it can also save you money by making your shears last longer. New shears are expensive (upwards of $1,000 for high-quality shears), so the longer you can make a pair last the better.
Soap and water are adequate cleaners for rinsing shears before fully drying them. Additionally, sanitization is achievable with a disinfecting solution or basic isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a good choice because it not only helps the drying process but also has oxidation (rust) preventative properties.
To fully dry your shears, you can wipe the blades with a fully dry cloth after using them. One good rule of thumb for cleaning shears is to never air-dry them since it can leave behind water spots, streaks, or other marks that make them appear unclean.
Air drying leaves open the possibility of moisture getting left behind, which can lead to oxidation that ruins your shears.
It's also just a good practice so that water marks don't build up and damage the surface of the shears over time.
A good pair of professional hair shears can be well maintained with regular sharpening and adequate adjustments to the tension.
It's important for shears to be sharp so that you can get clean and precise cuts on the first try. Rather than doing this yourself, it's recommended to get a professional shear sharpening company to do this for you.
It's duly important for the blades to have the right tension so that you can easily operate them. Shears with too loose tension will not work well because you do want some amount of tension for shears to cut hair.
If shears are too loose, they could stretch or pull on hair without cutting it, which can be painful for the customer and extra work for your hands.
On the other hand, shears that are too stiff could be difficult to operate, thus causing pain for you, the hairdresser.
One way you can take proper care of your hair shears is to be mindful about the way you handle them. Pay attention to the way you lay them down, pick them up, and the surfaces you set them against. You'll also want to be careful about not dropping them frequently.
Dropping hair shears and nicking or bumping them on hard surfaces can lead to unnecessary damage over time. For example, when they fall or hit a surface too hard, the blades could fall out of alignment and mess up the tension.
Additionally, frequent damage can affect the blades' overall sharpness and effectiveness. Further, more damage to the shears makes them more vulnerable to being unclean or rusting in the future.
In the same way that you must clean shears every day, you should also oil them every day. Daily oiling is essential to the smooth operation of your shears, as well as the prevention of corrosion.
In addition to preventing stiffness of the shears, oiling helps to remove excess dirt, hairs, or substances caught on the shears that are hard to get when rinsing. You can easily oil your shears by putting a few drops of oil on a soft cloth and rubbing it gently against the open blades.
One of the biggest benefits of daily oiling is that this care and attention to your shears can make a huge difference in their lifespan. Just be careful not to over-oil your shears, as this could make them too slippery to handle.
Nearly as important as cleaning and sharpening your shears is the way you store them. Careful storage practices can keep your shears dry and safe from the elements, dirt, and damage when you aren't using them.
You should choose a high-quality protective case to store your shears in when you aren't using them. A proper storage case is also good for transportation purposes to protect the shears from damage if you need to take them from place to place.
Some elements of good protective cases include a soft and gentle lining, absorbent material (to wick moisture away from the shears), and a snug compartment solely for the scissors to sit in.
Only Use Hair Shears on Hair
This tip should be obvious to all professional hairdressers and barbers. You should never use your hair shears to cut anything besides hair. Even if it seems convenient to use your shears to cut paper, plastic, or something that you have nearby, just don't do it.
There is a huge difference between hair scissors and regular scissors. Using your hair shears on anything besides hair can significantly dull the blades and mess up their alignment, which can make them uncomfortable to operate. Further, the more you have to sharpen and readjust your blades, the sooner you have to replace them.
So, make sure to use them only for their designated purpose to make them last the longest, save you the most money, and work most comfortably in your hands.
Most hairdressers and barbers share the common goal of having a long-lasting and successful career. The tools you use in your practice have a big impact on achieving that goal.
This is why it's essential to take proper care of your hair shears, including regular cleaning, sharpening, oiling, and drying, as well as adequate storage and careful handling. Make sure you do everything you can to extend the life of your shears so that you can optimize your comfort and control when it comes to cutting your clients' hair.