How Many Shears Does a Stylist Need?

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Courtesy of Sam Villa

According to Sam Villa, cofounder and chief creative officer of Sam Villa, every stylist should have at least five different pairs of shears in their tools.

"When I first started out, I used one shear for everything, because that's what I was comfortable with," says Villa. "Then, someone told me that I needed a longer shear for something I was doing, and I asked why because I knew I could get the job done with the shears I was using. They then explained the what, how and why behind each shear design, and that's when I understood that I could minimize my effort and maximize the results when using the right shears for the right job."

The five shears every stylist should have, according to Villa: 

  1. Short Blunt Shear for cutting shorter styles and detailing around ears. A 5.5 swivel shear is even better, as it will allow the wrist to stay straight and elbow down when maneuvering angles tight to the head.
  2. Medium Blunt Shear for wet/dry cutting and layering everyday cuts with exceptional control.
  3. Long Blunt Shear for deep point-cutting, slide-cutting, larger sections and longer lengths.
  4. Blending Shear, as the bottom over-polished blade pushes hair into teeth for a scallop instead of a straight cut. It's great for layering! 
  5. Multitextural Shear for extracting weight, blending and creating texture.

"Think of a butcher with their knives…or a painter with their brushes…as artists, we need various tools to create different effects as well," says Villa.

Protecting shears is equally as important as using them properly:

  1. Wipe off excess hair after each use.
  2. Apply shear oil to the inner pivot area, open and close several times, then wipe away excess oil and debris from the pivot area.
  3. Check tension by holding the thumb side of the shear in one hand, lift the finger side with the other until the blades are fully open, then let go. The blades should stay open and not close. If the blade closes partially and there is a spring-leaf spring tension system, tighten the screw one click at a time, until minimum tension to keep them open. If too tight, turn the screw or tension knob counterclockwise, one click at a time. If it is a Click Set Streamline Tension System (a shear with a screw holding the blades together), conduct the same exercise using the screw key that usually comes with the shear. A shear with loose tension will cause hair to bend; a simple adjustment will solve the problem 99 percent of the time.
  4. Store shears closed in a case to reduce the chance of falling and getting a chip on the blades.
  5. Read and save all the information that comes with the shear to understand the warranty and servicing, and register to better track the purchase/maintenance.
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