Scissor care

Maintenance of hairdressing scissors

There are 5 things that are extremely important regarding maintenance of scissors.
These 5 points are essential to keep your scissors working in a proper way.

If you do not maintain your scissors they will not keep working for long, and furthermore this can result in permanent damage to both your scissors and your hands.

The 5 points are:

  1. Adjustment of your scissors.
  2. Oiling and cleaning your scissors.
  3. Use of Chamois.
  4. Use of an alcohol based cleaning liquid such as isopropyl alcohol.
  5. Sharpening of your scissors.

Picture No. 1. Better made scissors.

Picture No. 2. Poorly made scissors.

1. Adjustment of your hairdressing scissors

When scissors are used or have been taken apart, they will require re-tensioning.  However, it is very important to keep your scissor adjusted at all times for several reasons.  The blade of a scissor has a slight bow – this is called the set of a scissor.  This means that when the scissor is closed and you hold it up to the light you can see light between the blades.  In order for the blades to reach each other when cutting, there has to be tension in the blades.   If the scissor is too loose and has no tension it will not cut properly – it will simply bend the hairs or the hairs will slide or run on the blades (pushed).  Too loose a tension also allow the blades to move sideways, making the 2 edges scratch each other and touch each other in a wrong angle causing permanent damage to the blades very fast. When this happens hairdressers will –unaware- press vertically with their thumb to make the scissor cut. This will damage the edge of the scissor, making it dull fast. Furthermore this can damage your wrist, elbow, shoulder and neck because of incorrect hand movements.

Therefor it is exstremely important that the scissors is set correct and with the correct tension.  When the scissor is made correct and tension is corrrect, the 2 blades will perform perfectly with each other without any side movements like when the tension is too loose.  Scissors with correct set and tension adjustment can normally stay sharp for years and can get very old.  A scissor with correct set and tension can easily get to be 15-20-25 years old if it is also maintained correct.

What is the correct angle for setting the tension.?   There is not 1 correct answer to that.  It depends on the quality and manufacturing of the scissor.  In high quality scissors, the angle should be more open like in picture no 1 below.  If the set (bow) and the rideline is made perfect, the 2 blades will perform perfect with each other.  This is why the set of the scissor is one of the most important things to make correct on the scissor.  Perfect set (Bow) and Rideline will allow the scissor to be set with a greater tension. (more tight like in pictutre no 1).  This will not feel to hard for the hairdresser to cut with.  On the other hand,- If the set (Bow) is made too big, poorly or wrong, the scissor can not be set with a greater tension.  It will simply feel too hard for the hairdresser to cut with it.  Then the tension must be set more like in picture No. 2.

The correct tension is as follows:  The Tension of the scissor should always be so thight that the 2 blades will perform togheter without any side movement of the blades.  It should always be right bellow the point to where the hairdresser feel that it feels like too much strain on her thumb.  It must not be too loose and it must not be too hard but the tension must be as great (hard) as it is possible without causing pain and damage to the thumb, hand and shoulder.  A too loose scissor will actually also cause damage to both the scissor and the hairdresser.

2. Oiling and cleaning your hairdressing scissors

It is extremely important to keep your scissors oiled at all times.  However a special oil must be used as ordinary oils are normally made from petroleum and is thereby made up of long and short chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and under certain conditions the short-chain molecules evaporate, and the unstable molecules oxidize and break down.  This leaves a very sticky residue which will actually “gum up” the scissors.   Ordinary oils also contain impurities such as sulfur, waxes, and unstable hydrocarbons which are left behind as residue deposits.  This will make your scissors almost impossible to work with.
In contrast, our scissor oil is made using a process that re-arranges the structure so all the molecules are uniform in size, shape, and weight.  Our scissor oil is custom-designed to produce the ultimate lubricant for scissors.
Yamamoto scissor oil is completely odorless and maintains its molecular structure to over 180 degree Celsius with no evaporation or breakdown, and hence no smell or residue. The bottle is made from LDPE and is soft to use.  The high quality stainless steel dispensing needle lets you lubricate your scissors precisely.  The needle utilizes the patented Luer Lock which is used on pharmaceutical supplies and is of highest quality.  It also has a leak-proof tip cover which covers the tip of the needle between uses. 

Please contact us if you would like to buy our special scissor oil.  It is available in 1 Oz. bottles.

The scissor should be cleaned for hairs after each customer and special scissor oil should be given everyday before starting to work if needed.
The oil keep the Pivot area smooth and allow the 2 blades to work smoothly together without damaging each other.  Also the oil will keep the scissor clean from hair and dirt in the Pivot area.  If not oiled on a daily basis, hair and dirt will remain inside the scissor and build up. This will do that the scissor becomes sluggish from not being oiled and the blades will be pushed away from each other so your scissor won’t work in a smooth way.  Again, this will make the hairdresser push vertically with the thumb and the blades will get dull fast.
It only takes 3 seconds to oil your scissors – open scissor completely and add a drop of oil on the inside of the one blade on each side of the screw area.  Do not make a big deal out of it with polishing etc. it is not necessary.  Then also give one small drop of oil at the screw on the back of the scissor so the screw is getting oil also.
If you know how, you can take the scissors apart and clean them completely once a while, but we do not recommend this unless you have learned it. 

We only recommend Yamamoto special scissor oil as this oil will not get hard and sticky when getting old.  Also the viscocity of this oil is perfect.

Give a drop of Yamamoto oil on both sides of the screw.

Motion in picture: Scissor moves towards fingertips.

Motion in picture: Scissor moves towards wrist.

3. Use of Chamois

When buying a scissor, it sometimes comes with a cloth.  However this is not a cleaning cloth or a cloth to polish your scissors.  This is a Chamois.  A Chamois is a cloth used to set up the edge again. You can compare this to a sharpening steel for knives or the leather strop used by barbers to hone their razors.  When a scissor is used the edge will get worn and curvy… not straight.  To make it straight again we use the Chamois.
Wipe the blades with paper towel to remove any hairs.  Then wipe (stroke) the outside and inside of the blades alternately with a Chamois about 30 times on each side, starting with the outside of the blade and last stroke should always be on the inside of the blade.  (These motions should be the same as when the barber is using the leather strop for Razors).  Be careful not to cut into Chamois with the scissor.  This procedure is done best by placing Chamois flat in palm of left hand.  Then with right hand open scissor and wipe blade against Chamois from the back of the blade towards the edge.  This should be done with medium force – press scissor fairly hard against chamois when wiping the blade. NB. be sure that you hold the scissor by the screw and blade area as shown in the pictures. – not just by the handle.  Good scissors are made in 2 pieces – blades and handles, and the metal used for handles are in a different steel.  therefore – if you hold in the handle only, you can accidentaly bend the handles to a wrong possition.

When the scissor is done on both blades, the tension in the blades may have to be re-adjusted again. The Chamoise should be used minimum once every day. 
Do NOT use Chamois for anything else.

4. Use of an alcohol based cleaning liquid

Because there are many bad hair products on the market, containing silicone and other bi-products, it is necessary to clean blades with liquid, based on alcohol.  These bi-products can leave a thin layer of residue on your scissor, and the scissor will not cut even if the scissor is sharp, and ordinary soap cannot remove these products.  A good product to use to remove this residue would be Isopropyl alcohol.  Simply place a small quantity on a paper towel and wipe the blade thoroughly.  This should be done minimum once a week.

5. Sharpening of your scissors

When your scissor needs to be re-sharpened, you should only use the factory that made the scissor or a certified sharpener who is certified by the factory that made your scissor or another factory that makes scissors.   Be very careful about who service your scissors as there are many sharpeners who has not learned to sharpen the proper way.

When to have your scissors re-sharpened:   Many people who are sharpening scissors will tell you for instance every 4 months or 6 months in order to keep them sharp all the time.  This is not true.  you cannot put time on when your scissors need to be re-sharpened.  If you are always keeping your scissors oiled and with correct tension, your scissor can stay sharp for a lot longer time.  It all depends on you and the quality of the scissor.  We have hairdressers who are using our scissors for 1, 2 and even 3 years without re-sharpening.  The correct time of having your scissor sharpened is right before the tension becomes so hard that your thumb gets “strained”.  As explained above you should always keep the right tension in your scissor.  The tension will become looser and looser by time and will therefor need a tighter tension as time goes by.  Therefor – as time goes by and you from time to time is tightening your scissor in order for it to have the right tension, there will come a point in time, when the tension is becoming too hard in order for the scissor to cut.  This is happening because the edge is getting dull.  At that time you should have your scissor sharpened. 

Surely if your scissor has a Nick it must be sharpened right away.