Shear Education Booklet Online - Blade Length

Section 6: The Ideal Blade Length

Many new haircutters and even some experienced stylists are under the common misconception that the length of their shears should be determined by the size of their hand. In reality this is simply not the case. Instead stylists must consider the variety of different styling techniques they will employ in order to carry out their skilled work. Haircutting shears are still measured in inches with the entire length of the shears calculated from the ‘point end’ all the way to the back of the finger ring.

As mentioned previously, different sized shears are used to perform different styling techniques. For example a short scissor is much better suited for detailed precision cutting. While a longer scissor is preferred for powerful cutting. The standard size most hairdressers use is between 5” and 6”. This falls neatly into the middle ground between the shortest scissor at 4.5” and the longest at 7”.

Ideally, if you can afford it, it is best to have a shorter shear 5” or 5.5”, for precision cutting between your fingers and a longer shear for the techniques listed below.

List of common haircutting techniques which require a longer blade to complete:

Bob-Line Cutting

When cutting a “bob-line” the hair is combed down against the neckline. Here a longer blade will allow the stylist to make fewer cuts to connect the line all the way across. This allows for a ‘cleaner’ bob and will significantly reduce the time this effect will take you to create.

Cutting on the Skin

As with ‘bob line’ cutting, when cutting on the skin longer shears will allow a stylist to cut longer sections and get cleaner looks more easily. It is also worth mentioning that a ‘crane style’ handle (covered in Section 5) also helps when cutting on the skin as it lifts the hand away from the body due to its innovative design. .

Comb Over Skin

Here the comb will pick up a wider section of hair than your fingers. By using a longer blade you will be able to cut the hair cleanly without it falling out of the comb. This benefits the stylist as it requires less effort and most importantly less time.

Slide Cutting

If you attempt a slide cut with a shorter blade, your hand will move through the section you have just cut due to it being in close proximity to the blades. Because of this it is necessary to comb it again to see what you have accomplished. This hassle and time consuming practice can easily be eliminated with longer blades as it will allow you to slide your blades into the hair without having to move the hair with your hand.

Cutting Around the Face

With short scissor blades your hand will no doubt be in your clients face and in some cases can leave the finger rest of some shears dangerously close to the individual’s eye. A longer blade here will allow you to cut your clients hair with your hand a comfortable distance back from their face. The benefits of this are that you can see what you are doing better and the client has a much more comfortable experience.