Blog read­er Chare­se has given me anoth­er rea­son to use my micro­scope, yay! She asks,

‘I’ve heard many peo­ple say that hair shears are supe­ri­or to paper scis­sors and the hair trimmed with any­thing oth­er than hair shears will soon split again. Is this true? Are hair shears so sharp that cut­ting paper or fab­ric with them with ruin them? Final­ly, is there any dif­fer­ence between a cut made with $5 shears vs. say $90 ones?’

The Exper­i­ment
The nat­u­ral thing to do was to exper­i­ment! I used my own shed hair for the process. I snapped it with my hands, cut it with blunt scis­sors, a sharp pair of paper scis­sors and with hair shears (which cost about $25). I then looked at each cut end under the micro­scope.

The Results
First, if you didn’t think snap­ping your hair is bad, well here is the proof! It is ter­ri­ble for your hair, cre­at­ing a fib­ril­lat­ed end that is just ripe for split­ting. Cut­ting hair with blunt scis­sors cre­ates a slight­ly jagged cut and there are signs of dam­age to the cuti­cle where the scis­sor repeat­ed­ly rubbed again­st the fibre before cut­ting (high­light­ed with­in the white cir­cles).

Hair cut with a sharp pair of paper scis­sors and hair cut with shears both pro­duced a nice clean end. I would say though that this was just a sin­gle hair strand and I would sub­jec­tive­ly prefer the hair shears when cut­ting more hair as the blades are slim­mer which would pre­vent hair get­ting caught. Paper scis­sors have thick­er blades so when han­dling a small fist­ful of hair, may not work so well.

The Con­clu­sion
Do you need to pur­chase an expen­sive pair of shears? Per­haps not, unless you are a hair­dresser. They are often more expen­sive because the blades are thin­ner and they may be lighter but stur­dy and there­fore can be used more times before becom­ing blunt. They can also often be pro­fes­sion­al­ly sharp­ened. Cheap­er shears will still do the job, they will just blunt faster (I had a $10 pair that last­ed about 2 years, my $25 pair is going on 4 years, prob­a­bly will be replaced soon).

The bot­tom line is: cut your hair with a sharp pair of scis­sors. It is def­i­nite­ly worth hav­ing hair shears ded­i­cat­ed sole­ly to cut­ting hair — no open­ing box­es or mail with them!

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10 Comments on "Photos of Natural Hair Under the Microscope Show Why Cutting with Shears is Important"

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By far one of the most infor­ma­tive hair­care arti­cles I’ve ever read! Thank you for doing this exper­i­ment.


So what we’re real­ly say­ing here is that sharp paper scis­sors are basi­cal­ly the same, but cheap­er…


Hmmm.. very enlight­en­ing. I’ll work on get­ting mine.

Harlem Loves

Wow look at that detail. Thanks JC. I bought my shears from sally’s beau­ty sup­ply. If you’re in Lon­don they do very good hair shears, I think mine were about £15 or less.


Great article,thanks for shar­ing!


woo! i final­ly lis­tened and bought a pair of £6.59 babyliss scis­sors from Super­drugs around decem­ber last year. it has a guard on it so i don’t acci­den­tal­ly pick it up and start cut­ting every­thing else with it. i hope it makes a dif­fer­ent, might only be using it major­ly 2–4 times a year too, so it should last a long time i hope.


Great arti­cle ! I have a pair of hair­cut­ting shears that use when dust­ing my ends. They work won­der­ful­ly!

Great Arti­cle! You are right, hav­ing a ded­i­cat­ed pair of shears for hair only is impor­tant. Hide them when they are not in use if you do not live alone, to pre­vent any mishaps. For home use, a pair of $25 hair shears will last for years, and if you get a brand that offers free life­time sharp­en­ing, they could be in your fam­i­ly forever! Just check the pack­age label at time of pur­chase to see if the ser­vice is offered. A good pair of paper or fab­ric shears will do in a pinch if they are rel­a­tive­ly new and… Read more »

Thanks for anoth­er infor­ma­tive arti­cle Jc!!!

Ugonna Wosu

from those pics, shears are no bet­ter than sharp scis­sors. I use sharp scis­sors. Noth­ing again­st shears, but its nice to know I don’t have to run to the store to get them and ditch my scis­sors.