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Which Is Better - Japanese or German Steel Scissors?

March 20, 2023

Are you considering purchasing a new pair of hairdressing scissors and can't decide which steel is best? That is probably what brought you to this page. We are so glad you're here! Let us help you decide which steel is better, for you !

Let's first talk steel

When considering which steel you are going to use, you will most likely come across some words/ descriptions you have never heard before. We are here to help break it down for you.

All steel is graded on the Rockwell hardness rating scale. Rockwell hardness refers to how resistant a metal is to any sort of damage or deformation. The higher the number, the harder the steel. This does not mean that a lower rating is less quality steel, it just means it is softer. Which in a hairdresser's life means a softer steel may not hold some edges as well as a super hard steel. Again, this is in no way a negative ! Not all stylists need the sharper edges.

How about blades!

I've just mentioned that different edges may not work with softer steel. So let's talk edges real quick.

Our first blade edge is the convex edge. Convex edge blades are the sharpest edge one can get on their scissors. While this may seem like the best scissor option for you, it is important to take into consideration what you are using your hairdressing scissors for. These blades are best for point cutting, slide cutting and other advanced cutting techniques. It is so sharp you may find that if you're cutting a blunt line the hair slides right off the tip. A convex edge blade will always have a hollow ground line. This helps to reduce friction. Because the sharper convex edge is so precise, and, well, sharp, they may be more sensitive. This means they will dull quicker and are more prone to damage. You will always need to be extra careful with convex blades.

Another blade type is the beveled edge. Bevel edge blades are still very sharp, however they are angled more down, meaning that they do not come to such precise edge. The bevelled edge blade is a more robust edge, which will need less maintenance than a convex, and last longer. 

Then there is the semi convex edge. Simply put, this is not as sharp and precise as the convex edge, but more precise than the bevelled edge. 

Alright now let's get down to what you came here for !

Japanese scissors

Japan is known for all things steel! After all, they invented the samurai sword. They like high quality steel and super sharp edges. So this means they have some high quality scissors! If you're after convex blades, japanese hairdressing scissors are for you. However those sharp convex edge blades come with a large price tag. Such an edge is hard to make and requires the best quality scissor steel to get it just right.

Japanese hair scissors are made with different types of steel. There is 440A which has a Rockwell hardness of 55-58. It is a softer steel but still of standard quality. Then there is the 440c steel, still standard quality. It is harder and an excellent all - rounder steel. 

Next up is your VG10. This Japanese steel is graded between 58-60 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This is higher up on the Rockwell hardness scale, and also on the pricier side. Above the VG10 you will find the Hitachi ATS 314 which is 59-61 on the scale. High quality steel, and high quality price.

German scissors

So while we have said that Japanese scissors are made from some incredibly strong steel, don't close the book on German hairdressing scissors just yet. The Germans have led the way with European stainless steel and have been producing quality scissors for quite some time.

German shears are known for their beveled edge. The beveled edge blade is actually known as the German edge. This means they use a premium steel that is hard enough to hold its edge. A beveled edge can also have serration added to it. This means that one blade has a lot of tiny little marks in it. This helps to hold hair in place as you are cutting. 

There are 3 most commonly used German steel. Stainless chromium steel which is a good quality steel with a Rockwell hardness of 57-59. Next in line is the Molybdenum steel with a 58-59 hardness, a high quality steel. Then there is MC Micro Carbide steel, hardest and highest quality.

German hairdressing scissors are hardworking, good quality scissors. They come with affordable prices and sharp edges.

So... Japanese or German scissors

We hope this article has helped make your decision a little easier. No matter which you choose, Japanese or German, you will be choosing a quality scissor. It's hard to say which is the best - it is more about which pair of scissors works best for you ! We recommend choosing a scissor based on your cutting style and clients and of course, your budget. If you need more help deciding, feel free to reach out to our customer service team.. they know their scissors!

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