Hair cutting scissors, also known as barber scissors, hair cutting shears, or barber shears, are scissors which have been custom-designed for cutting hair. It is critical to use hair cutting scissors for haircuts to ensure an optimal outcome, and to promote hair health. Stylists and barbers typically personally maintain their scissors and other haircutting equipment, rather than relying on a pool of tools which is open to the entire salon, and some people grow extremely attached and protective of their scissors.
The key characteristic of hair cutting scissors is their sharpness and their ability to be regularly sharpened. Scissors for cutting hair need to be razor sharp to ensure that the hair is cleanly cut, rather than being compressed or mangled. Clean cuts keep the ends of the hair neat and tidy, and they reduce the incidence of split ends, which is important for people who want to grow their hair out.
Hair cutting scissors may have blunt ends so that they can be used close to the skull without the risk of damage, or sharp ones, to make it easier to make clean, straight cuts. Some are curved, for specific styles of cuts, while others are straight, and both left and right handed versions are available. Buying scissors engineered for the correct dominant hand is critical, as using the wrong scissors can result in a loss of control, and an uneven or ragged hair cut.
Between uses, hair cutting scissors are usually wiped down and sterilized so that they do not spread germs or disease between customers. The scissors are also sharpened regularly with the use of a whetstone or a professional sharpening service. To protect the blades, barber scissors are usually kept in a lined case, so that the blades cannot become chipped or dulled. This also ensures that people do not accidentally injure themselves on the scissors.
One of the best resources for hair cutting scissors is a supply catalog which caters to hair dressers, or a store which sells salon supplies. Some of these companies will only sell directly to licensed hair dressers, but others are happy to sell their products to the general public. At home, these scissors can be used to touch up and maintain a cut, extending the length of time between appointments, and they can also be used for doing haircuts at home. It can also help to maintain a set of clippers for shorter hair cuts.