Save a fortune on salon bills with our guide to the best hairdressing scissors for taming your locks and cutting the family's hair
Those reliable old kitchen scissors may be remarkable multi-taskers, but if you want to cut hair you need a pair of the best hairdressing scissors. Salon scissors come in a surprising range of shapes, sizes and budgets, but they’re typically lightweight, ergonomic and, most important, very sharp.
Most hairdressing scissors have classic straight blades, but if you have thick or curly hair you may benefit from a pair of ‘thinning’ scissors. Thinning scissors have a comb-like cutting edge on one blade, which softens the slicing action and takes weight out of hair evenly. ‘Offset’ scissors, where the thumb hole lies further forward than the finger hole, create a more natural hand position that many people find more comfortable.
Read on for our handy buying guide to choosing the right scissors for you and your family’s hair, or skip ahead to discover which models are a cut above.
Best hairdressing scissors: At a glance
|Best classic hairdressing scissors
|Jaguar Pre Style Ergo (~£40)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best all-round hairdressing scissors
|GlamTech Salon Services S1 (~£31)
|Check price at Sally Beauty
|Best value hairdressing scissors
|Boots Salon Performance (~£10)
|Check price at Boots
|Best thinning scissors
|ULG Hair Thinning Scissors (~£9.99)
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best hairdressing scissors for you
How much do I need to spend?
The price of hairdressing scissors varies wildly from under £10 to well over £300 for a pair of professional shears from the likes of Toni&Guy. All the scissors in our list below can give you a good or excellent cut, depending on your skill, but you do tend to get what you pay for with scissors. Everyday household scissors are not sharp enough for hair, and will leave the ends looking frayed.
Spend at least £10 for decent blades and easy handling. Then, once you know what type of scissors suit you best (offset or classic, straight or thinning, dinky 4.5in or large 7in or something in between), then it’s worth investing around £50 or more for extra sharpness, smooth adjustable action and years of reliable cutting. Then enjoy counting the cash you save on trips to the salon.
How big should hairdressing scissors be?
Hairdressing scissors are smaller than household shears, measuring from around 4.5in (11.45cm) right up to to 7in (17.8cm) from the tip of the blade to the tip of the handle (including finger rest, if there is one). For most people, around 6in (15.25cm) offers optimal comfort and precision.
If your fingers are on the large side, be aware that all professional-quality scissors have rubber inserts in the thumb and finger holes, which you can remove if they’re too snug. You should also be able to tighten or loosen the screw in the middle until the tension works best.
How can I ensure my scissors last years?
A good pair of hairdressing scissors, cared for well, can keep you in professional-quality hair cuts for 20 years or more. After each use, wipe the blades well with a soft cloth. Put a small drop of oil on the blades, open and close the shears, and then wipe them again. If they need to be cleaned, rub them with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. Have them sharpened if necessary.
If the tension screw needs to be tightened or loosened, use a small screwdriver, without forcing or damaging the screw. For more on this, check out the ‘Adjustment’ section in the Scissor Care guide from SharpandSharper.com.
Most importantly, don’t use the scissors to cut anything other than hair, or their lifespan will shrink faster than your newly-chopped fringe!
READ NEXT: The best hair dryers we’ve tested
The best hairdressing scissors you can buy in 2024
1. GlamTech Salon Services S1 Scissors: Best all-round hairdressing scissors
Price when reviewed: £31 | Check price at Sally Beauty
These wonderfully lightweight GlamTech scissors cost less than most hairdressers will charge for a women’s haircut – and they’ll last an awful lot longer. They’re much more precise, sharp and comfortable than budget scissors (and more than many pricier scissors, too), giving the kind of control that genuinely helps you cut your hair cleanly and with confidence.
The details of these scissors are really high quality. The hand-hewn serrated blades stay sharp for a long time, and the adjustable precision tension (the closeness of the blades) delivers a lovely soft cutting action. The handles are very comfy, thanks to the finger rest and rubber inserts, all of which you can remove if you prefer.
Key specs – Made from: Forged stainless steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Classic; Sizes available: 2 (5.5in/6in); Extras included: None
2. Equinox Hairdressing Scissors: Best offset scissors for comfortable cutting
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon
The offset thumb and finger holes, plus a light 136g weight and finger hook for your pinkie (called a ‘tang’, we’re reliably informed), make these superb-value scissors very comfortable to cut with. They’re not as sharp as high-end Japanese shears, but they also cost about a quarter of the price, and they won’t hurt you as much if you slip. They’re really well balanced for the price, and include quality details such as a stopper to ensure the blades close in the correct position, and an adjustable pivot screw.
Key specs – Made from: Japanese stainless steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Offset; Sizes available: 1 (6.5in); Extras included: None
3. Boots Salon Performance Hair Cutting Scissors: Best value hairdressing scissors
Price when reviewed: £10 | Check price at Boots
Hairdressing scissors from big names like Toni & Guy can be crazily expensive. So, if you’re not sure yet whether DIY cutting is for you, these affordable scissors from Boots are a great place to start. Like many more expensive options, they come with a finger rest to help keep your hands steady, and a special tension tool for easy adjustment of the blades. Just make sure the blades are tight enough, because your hair can get caught between the pivot if not.
Annoyingly, Boots gives no info about the size of the scissors (you can’t even study a photo of the back of the box), but at this price does it really matter?
Key specs – Made from: Stainless steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Classic; Sizes available: 1; Extras included: Tension tool
4. Purplebird Hairdressing Scissors: Best hairdressing scissors for cutting children’s hair
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon
When cutting children’s hair you need the blades to be sharp so that the cutting is precise – but the last thing you want is for anyone to get hurt, especially if they’re fidgeting. So these ingenious scissors have rounded safety points at the tip of the blades, allowing you to cut with confidence. The high-resilience muffler reduces friction and keeps the blades quiet as you cut, so their sound won’t scare your youngster. The blades’ tension is also particularly easy to adjust with just your fingers, using the cool ‘hot wheels’ style screw head and click plate.
Child-friendly features aside, these are excellent hairdressing scissors. They’re made from premium Japanese 440C stainless steel, with an ultra-durable hollow-ground finish and a convex edge for precise cutting. The offset handles and bent down thumb and finger holes can help relax your elbow and wrist. You even get an elegant case and cleaning cloth thrown in free – all for under £20. A great buy.
Key specs – Made from: Japanese stainless steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Offset; Sizes available: 1 (6in); Extras included: Case and cleaning cloth
5. ULG Hair Thinning Scissors: Best thinning scissors for cutting thick hair
Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at Amazon
These thinning scissors can help you tame your thick locks by removing volume in a precise way, and giving a professional cut that you may struggle to achieve with straight scissors. All for under £11. Amazon buyers found them easy and effective to use on teenagers’ unruly locks, with sharp blades and a comfortable offset handle design.
These affordable scissors are unlikely to last a lifetime. However, if you’re not sure whether the offset design or thinning blade is right for you, start with these.
Key specs – Made from: Japanese stainless steel; Blade type: Thinning (30 teeth for 20-25% thinning); Handle type: Offset; Sizes available: 1 (6.5in); Extras included: None
6. Jaguar Pre Style Ergo: Best classic straight hairdressing scissors
Price when reviewed: From £40 | Check price at Amazon
These classic straight scissors from professional salon supplier Jaguar are a brilliant no-nonsense solution to untamed hair. They’re built to last, with razor-sharp micro-serrated steel blades that make a quiet but satisfying slicing sound as you cut your hair, and they’ll last decades if you care for them well.
Like all the best hairdressing scissors, the Pre Style Ergo models are fairly short – from 4.5in to 6.5in – which allows plenty of control and precision, and avoids weighing down your hand.
The details are top-notch. The finger rest prevents your pinkie getting tired, and the rubber muffler between the thumb and finger ring ensures there’s no clanking sound as you cut. Tension is excellent, but easy to tweak using the ‘smart spin’ screw.
Key specs – Made from: Forged special steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Classic; Sizes available: 4 (4.5in/5in/5.5in/6in); Extras included: None
7. GlamTech E1 Scissor & Thinner 5.5 Left Handed Set: Best hairdressing scissors for left-handers
Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Sally Beauty
For the 12% of British people who are left-handed, it’s not good enough to be told to flip your scissors upside down. For precision, ease and comfort, you need a pair of scissors specially designed to be used in your left hand. GlamTech’s left-handed set includes a straight-bladed pair along with thinning scissors, and they come in a lovely sturdy zip-up case with a tension-adjusting tool. Shame there’s no photo – the one in the picture is the standard right-handed set.
Key specs – Made from: Stainless steel; Blade type: Straight and thinning; Handle type: Classic; Sizes available: 1 (5.5in); Extras included: Case and tension tool
8. TONI&GUY Mark 35 Scissors: Best hairdressing scissors for ambitious beginner stylists
Price when reviewed: £70 | Check price at Toni&Guy
Many Toni&Guy scissors cost more than £300: a price stylists are happy to pay for this essential tool of their trade. These are precision-engineered devices, designed to slice hair cleanly and work smoothly for decades.
Toni&Guy Mark 35 Scissors are among the cheapest the company sells. They’re affordable enough to save money versus a salon visit, but high-end enough to provide professional results and last you a lifetime (well past the one-year guarantee, which comes free).
Key specs – Made from: Japanese stainless steel; Blade type: Straight; Handle type: Classic; Sizes available: 2 (5in/5.5in); Extras included: None