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How to hold hairdressing scissors like a professional

March 31, 2022

While holding a pair of hairdressing scissors may seem like an easy task for most, there's still that percentage of people that it can feel and be very foreign to. For a professional hairdresser it is of course super easy because they've been holding hair cutting scissors correctly for a very long time. However when the novice hair cutter comes along it's certainly too easy to pick up the hair cutting scissors like a standard pair of kitchen scissors. In saying that sometimes some of the best professional hairdressers of the world may not even hold them correctly; they may find a more comfortable way to hold them for themselves or they were simply never taught!

Which is where we come in, we're here to show you exactly how to hold your hairdressing scissors correctly and like a true pro!

How to hold hairdressing scissors

To hold hairdressing scissors is really an easy task and should not be over-thought at all! It's like if you were to pick up kitchen scissors - you don't overthink that do you? Of course not! So, rather than beating around the bush, let's get straight to the point.

Your hair cutting scissors will come with the blades and the handles. (duh!) The handles will have two finger holes - one on each side. First you'll start with placing your thumb into the bottom/bigger finger hole. And before you ask - no, it doesn't matter what hand you're using, whether it's left or right the thumb finger hole will always be at the bottom. Next you will insert your ring finger into the second hole which will be above the thumb hole, and yes this is generally a smaller finger hole. Easy so far right!?

So, we've gotten this far (woohoo) next you will simply place your index finger, middle finger and pinky on top of the handle which will allow your whole hand to grip the scissors and open and close them as necessary. Most shears these days will come with slight grooves within the handle for the placement of all four fingers on top - aside from your ring finger having their very own finger holes which as we said above is a smaller hole. A why is it smaller? Well if it's not half obvious, it's because generally speaking your ring fingers are smaller than your thumbs so therefore you'll need a smaller finger hole to keep your ring fingers in place and not slip out anywhere. The same goes for your thumb only with it being bigger.

By now you should be holding your shears the proper way with just enough grip and it should feel natural so that when you apply pressure to cut or open and close your shear it will feel secure enough to start to cut hair. If you don't feel secure within them, it might just be due to the fact that you're not used to holding scissors that way - and that's totally fine and understandable! If that's the case, we recommend going over the steps again and again until it feels more natural and you feel they are being held properly.

Hairdressers and barbers really are artists when it comes to technique. Not only in the hair cuts and colours they create but also the way they hold and are handling hair cutting scissors. When you have the correct grip down packed, you can then start to practise twirling and spinning your scissors and do some super cool tricks to 'show off' your skills. But please be careful when doing so, we don't want any accidents to happen!

Why it's important to hold hairdressing scissors correctly

Whether you choose to believe us or not, improper handling/holding of hairdressing scissors can cause some serious underlying health issues which may not appear straight away but it certainly will happen, and sometimes much sooner than you think! So what health issues are we talking about? The most common issues are carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive motion injuries or as we like to call it RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the carpal tunnel area that is narrow passage that's surrounded by ligaments and bones in the palm of your hand which has some/many nerves running through, so when one of those nerves is pinched in that area it can then cause numbness, weakness in the hand/wrist and arm and of course a tingling sensation - yep, super uncomfortable!

Repetitive motion injuries (RSI) on the other hand is in the name itself! The more repetitive work your hand or hands do, it's more likely you will get this injury far quicker than Carpal tunnel syndrome. RSI is due to the repetitive motion in your everyday work of over use which can cause pain in muscles, tendons and nerves. And guess what!? Hairdressers and barbers aren't the only ones that get it - a lot of people that work in an office on their computer get it too from typing all day long! How do you prevent it? Well the best way is to rest your hands when you can and if you're having a flare up try icing it to reduce any inflammation, and yes, the same can go for carpal tunnel!

Sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI are in fact preventable from doing such things as holding your shears correctly and not forcing them on a horrible awkward angle that could increase the risk. However if you have been in the hair game for a long time, then depending on the individual you may just get it because of shear dumb luck and over use. As we know hairdressers and barbers are so underpaid for not only the work we do but also because of what we put our bodies through day in, day out, no one talks about that do they... but we will leave that for another day! Happy holding everyone!




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