Shear Knowledge Guide: What You Need to Know Before Buying Hair Shears

Shear Knowledge Guide: What You Need to Know Before Buying Hair Shears

When choosing hair styling shears, professionals and boutique establishments must strike a balance between usefulness, quality, longevity and price. While choosing a $10 pair of scissors is unlikely to meet most of these criteria, spending upwards of $1000 on a pair of shears is often not a great solution either.

The perfect hair cutting shears for the professional stylist often has to straddle multiple objectives without being overly pricey. This is why there is a new generation of scissors that are affordable within reason, yet durable and usable.

For practical and aesthetic use, KIZEN Shears have recently garnered rave reviews from users. Let’s see why.

What Makes a Good Hair Cutting Shear?

Type of Material

The steel used for manufactured hair cutter blades usually come from a few recognized sources. The best blades are made using steel sourced from Japan.

Japanese steel is well known as the standard bearer among scissor making material. There are many hair cutting scissors that are advertised ambiguously as having been manufactured using “Japanese steel or stainless steel” – to try to fool the buyer, when in reality they are made using cheap materials.

High end Japanese steel includes ATS-314, VG-10 or 440C. These grades of Japanese steel retain their sharpness and durability over an extended period of time, given how the steel is mixed with carbon and other metals.


Typical lengths for the shears are between 5 to 6.5”. Occasionally, taller stylists with longer arms and bigger hands may choose to opt for 7” blades, but they are not quite as common.

The blade cutting length varies between a short and long shear. The short shear has a length of 1.5 to 2 inches, which helps in navigating around tough spaces like the neck and ears. The long shear, which usually extends to a 2.5” blade, can be used on thicker and longer clumps of hair.

Type of Shear

Barber or straight shears are used to cut through hair and reduce length – this is the basic type of shears used in barber shops. Thinning shears, on the other hand, have narrow teeth and are used to reduce volume on thicker hair. Blending shears have wider teeth and are usually used with a blunt blade to remove a small amount of hair and maintain layers or textures on a head of hair.

Type of Blade

Serrated or corrugated edges are fine for basic clipping scissors, but other types are usually required for more advanced cutting. Beveled edges are better, but even they are not suitable for many situations – the blades are sharper but require a fair amount of effort which may lead to thumb and finger fatigue with extended work.

The best types of blades, suitable for advanced styling techniques, are sharp convex blades whose sharper angles allow for closer cuts and better shaping.

Type of Handle

The crane handle features a curved grip, which is one of the most ergonomic grips you can find. However, the most popular type of handle is the offset handle – a short thumb handle sitting atop a straight body design that allows the stylist to hold the ring finger and thumb more open while working.

The opposing grip or straight handle, which used to be a traditional design, is not popular any longer given how tiring it is on the hands and shoulders.

Thumb Ring Design and Insert

Traditional scissors had flat thumb handles, which get increasingly tiresome for righty stylists. However, lefties tend to like them.

A better option is to use cut-away or bent thumb designs which allow the thumb to rest more comfortably at a natural angle, but the absolute best design is a swivel thumb ring that moves naturally with the thumb and prevents stress and fatigue.

Some stylists, who have smaller or thinner hands, may require what are known as thumb gaskets or finger inserts that can be added or removed based on who is using the scissors.

Scissor Tension

Most scissors have either a screw or spring system, which can be adjusted to requirements. While the ball bearing shears have a much smoother cutting motion and do not need replacements or adjustments, they usually cost a much higher amount of money. You will need to decide whether or not to pay the premium based on what you would like out of your cutters.

Value EQUALS the Price You’re Willing to Pay!

This is a basic law of economics. Whatever the sexy features of an individual product, ultimately you as the consumer rule. You have a set of criteria, the foremost among which should be to equate the value of a product you buy with the utility you receive from it – which in turn should equal the price you are willing to pay.

In the case of a pair of hair cutters, every person and the situation they are working in are probably different, but it boils down to a simple question: Are you you are going to treat hair styling as a work of art, occasionally indulged in?

If your shears are used infrequently, you can choose the best quality materials without substantial concern that something may wear out frequently and need to be replaced.

If, on the other hand, you are working at a boutique establishment servicing dozens of clients a day, hundreds a week etc. (you get the idea), you need hair cutting shears that are superior quality – but you have to be practical and assume that your usage will drive wear and tear. So, what you need are not cheap trash, nor works of art.

You are looking for robust shears made from good material that suit your cutting style and requirements, and ALSO your BUDGET.

This is where KIZEN Shears come in.

Why do We Strongly Recommend KIZEN Shears?

There are a number of well-known brands of hair cutting shears out in the market. Each of the established brands have their strong points. However, many of them have price points that may or may not be commensurate with the value received by a higher volume hair cutting operation.

KIZEN Shears combine the key attributes mentioned above, but combines reasonable prices, with shear sets ranging from $139.97 to $169.95. Individual cutting and thinning shears are available a la carte, with prices ranging from $109.97 to $129.95.

Final Thoughts

KIZEN Shears are a perfect blend of value and affordability, as can be spotted by the positive user reviews on the company’s website. While some may prefer to buy higher priced tools, they do not always represent good value for high volume use. KIZEN Shears are ideal in that regard – built from some of the best quality materials available with a Japanese design, with ergonomic features available for use, yet not with prices through the roof.