How to Hold Your Shears

Hairdresser holding hair cutting scissors
Photo: Shutterstock
Hairstylists learn one lesson very quickly and very early in their training: If you don't hold your shears properly, you're going to regret it. Hairdressers have to use proper grip techniques for multiple reasons:
One, doing so ensures more accuracy and precision in the cut.
And two, doing so minimizes the strain on the hands and wrists, which can lead to repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now there are two schools of thought when it comes to the way you should grip your shears. Some prefer one way, some another, but I, however, recommend using both for different tasks and cutting techniques. Not only does this make some techniques easier to accomplish, but by varying the motions you carry out, you can further minimize your risk of developing repetitive motion injury.
So, here are the two main variations for gripping the shears, and a little information on the tasks for which they work best:
Anatomy of Shears:
Before we get into the grips, let's make sure we know the basic parts of the shears. Okay, so maybe it's not that hard to identify the parts of the shears; you have two blades that are connected at a central point with a screw or bolt and finger holes on the handle end.
However, haircutting shears also have a small piece that protrudes from the smaller of the finger holes. This piece is called the tang, and its purpose is to add stability to the shears when held properly. Oh, and that bolt in the center that allows the shears to open and close? It’s called the pivot point.
Now onto the grips:
Traditional/Western Scissor Grip
The Western grip is probably the most common method of holding your shears, and is likely the way the majority of us were taught to do so. It’s the similar to the method that is used for holding virtually any type of scissor, with a few crucial exceptions.
How to hold hair cutting scissors - Western grip
In the western grip, the thumb is inserted into the larger of the two finger holes, and the ring finger is inserted into the smaller hole with the tang attached. The middle and index fingers are then laid on the arm of the scissors in front of the finger hole and behind the blades.
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