Q: What size scissors are best for a beginner? The longer ones look like they might be a bit more of a handful to manage then
those cute little 4.5" ones. What is a good all round useful shears length? Thanks.
A: The size of the scissors used by a beginning stylist for learning to cut the hair is actually determined more by the size of his or
her hands. The scissors must fit comfortably in the hand or the stylist will be awkward when cutting. If the scissors are too small for
the hand, the range of motion of the fingers will be stilted, but if they are too large, then the scissors may not open sufficiently to give a smooth cutting motion.
Most of the students who started when I did used 4.5” to 5.5” scissors. Because I have large
hands, my instructor advised me to find larger scissors and they made a world of difference. I use 6.5” scissors with replaceable
cutting blades, so that I don’t need to send the scissors away to be sharpened. (The manufacturer makes replaceable-blade scissors
in a full range of sizes.) Among the members of my starting class, the average scissor length was 5.5”.
Be aware that when you start shopping for scissors you will find you can easily spend several
hundred dollars on one pair of scissors. You’ll find differing opinions on which brand of scissor is best, with many people quoting
“You get what you pay for.” This is true, but in my opinion, doesn’t justify paying $600 for a simple pair of haircutting scissors.
As a beginner working on manikins, you can easily get away with paying $15 to $20 for a pair of basic scissors with which to learn your technique.
Once you’ve learned your technique and are ready to begin working with human clients, you will
want to invest in a better pair of scissors. The key is to have scissors whose blades can be kept sharp. You can use the method I did
and opt for scissors with replaceable blades. I was able to purchase my scissors and two sets of replacement blades for under $100
(U.S. currency), or, you can opt for standard bladed scissors, in which case you will want to purchase two pair of scissors so that
you can have a pair to work with while you send one pair to be sharpened. For reasonable price range expectation, you should expect
to pay between $75 and $150 (U.S. currency) for a good pair of scissors. While this isn’t exactly cheap, it is far preferable to the
$700 and $800 price tags of some “elite line” scissors that are marketed.
The important thing is to have clean, sharp blades on your shears. If the blades are sharp, then
the hair will be cut with no resistance. If the blades of the scissors you are using don’t simply glide through the hair when cutting
it, then they aren’t sharp enough. They should be sharpened or replaced.