Types of Cutting Tools for Personal Grooming and Hair Care
Thinning Shears and How to Use Them
Thinning shears are great for reducing bulk in the hair without losing length. They can be used on both men and women with any hairstyle. They can be used on beards as well.
There are several features to be aware of when choosing your thinning shears.
- Choose a size that is comfortable for your hand. Common sizes are 5-inch to 8-inch.
- Most are made from stainless steel, but there are different grades, so make sure you check the packaging and do some research.
- Another feature is the weight, heft, and ergonomic handles. You'll want your fingers to fit comfortably. Many styles have a finger rest to help balance while you cut.
- The most important consideration is the ratio of thinning—how far apart the "teeth" are. A common ratio is 25–30%, but if you want something specific, be sure to look for it.
I use thinning shears on my bangs as well as the pointed scissors described below. To use these: pick up a chunk of hair and snip these underneath that chunk. Push it out of the way and pick up another chunk and again snip underneath that chunk. If you like a more layered look, snip right through the middle of your chunk.
If your hair is thick enough that you are using thinning shears, then it's also thick enough to hide any mistakes until your next salon visit.
Thinning Blades and How to Use Them
An alternative to thinning shears is a thinning blade, which I also use. These are also found in beauty supply stores.
Mine is somewhat like a double-sided comb, about 8-inches long. Half is the handle and half is the double-sided blade. One side of the blade has even, narrowly spaced teeth. The other side has slightly wider blades and also wider spacing between the blades. Look carefully at the first thumbnail and you will see the black plastic between every other blade to widen the space.
There are several choices out there so take your time and see what features serve you best. Some have a spring for easy cutting, while some are just a single blade. Some come with a storage case while others fold in half to store. Whatever seems like a good idea is the right one for you.
I will use these around my husband's ears and to de-bulk his beard.
I use them on my own hair in two ways.
- Slide the wider teeth on the underside of a chunk of hair to remove bulk (this is called an "undercut").
- Slide the narrow teeth down the outside of a chunk to give more visible layers
These can be dangerous for a child to get a hold of, like a really big razor blade, so be cautious if need be.
Hair Scissors and Pointed Point
These scissors come in a few sizes ranging from 3-inches to 8-inches. (These are shown in the second thumbnail above). They may also be called "barber scissors" or "hairdressing shears." You will want to look for a sturdy but also lightweight pair. They are easily found in beauty supply shops or online. They are usually stainless steel but be aware of the grade. Some steel items snap easily.
The blades are really sharp and really thin to get into tight places, especially around the ears. The finger holes should fit you comfortably. There is often a "tail" or little extension to rest an additional finger on for balance.
My hair grows really fast, it's heavy, and it grows in a "forward" pattern. This means my heavy hair will be all in my face after just a couple of weeks after an all-over salon haircut. I use these to slice through my bangs at an angle, so that hair products have a chance of working to keep me from looking like an Affenpinscher.
Hair Scissors With a Rounded Point
These scissors also come in a few sizes from 3-inches to 8-inches. (Note, I am not speaking of the child-size school safety scissors). They serve much the same purpose as the pointed shears described earlier. (These are also shown in the second thumbnail above).
They have a feature of rounded tips which can make you more comfortable in certain situations. Tasks include cutting a child's' bangs, cutting a mustache. I like to use them to cut the adorable but annoying fur around our Bichon's eyes. I might poke him, but at least I won't draw blood!
Also, if you have a young person in the family that wants to cut their own hair, but may pose a little danger, these shears might be appropriate.
These can be an elegant addition to a dressing table, merely a utility item, or somewhere in-between. As with other grooming scissors, these are available with rounded points for safety around the eye area.
The blades are short and metal. The rest of the body may be metal or colorful plastic. The body can be straight, curved, or in a distinctive shape. Mine are in the shape of a stork—apparently, I was feeling festive that day.
Some have a little comb on one of the blades. This lets you use one hand for trimming instead of using both hands (one to steady your brows with a little comb and the other to handle the scissors) which end up blocking your view to the mirror. Genius.
Some come with a case, some come with a mirror, some don't. Choose whatever makes the most sense for your needs.
Nail Scissors, Nippers, and Clippers
We probably all have these covered, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention this category.
I will say that I often use the smaller fingernail clippers (as opposed to the larger toenail clippers) on my littler toes. Does that make me a rebel?
If you didn't know, there are little bitty baby size nail clippers. I use these for travel. Granted, regular size aren't all that huge. However, I keep a very small plastic case with me on a plane for certain essentials, and the smaller, the better. This case also has little bitty lipsticks from the beauty store, little bitty wispy toothbrushes, and other little things, so every half-inch counts.
How about those nippers? I've heard you are not really supposed to cut your cuticles, but who listens? I use these more when doing a pedicure than a manicure. If you are not familiar, they look like little pliers. They have very small yet chunky blades, rounded handles, and have a metal spring for returning open after they've been squeezed to cut.
Like other products, they come in different colors and vary from regular to surgical steel. They are available online, from beauty stores, and mass retailers. Now that you know about them go out there and win one for the nipper!
What Are You Cut out to Do?
I hope this article will introduce some new products or give you some new ideas about how to use common household cutting tools.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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