Use of thinning shears for haircuts

By thinning shears, I mean these.

My hair is pretty short [important fact WRT to my question] so I get it cut every six weeks or so. I’ve had good haircuts and bad, sometimes from the same hairdresser and sometimes in short succession.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, a hairdresser said to me, “don’t ever let anyone use thinning shears on your hair.” The hairdresser I’m going to now does use them, and I quoted that former hairdresser to her and asked her what she thought, and she said, “Well, yeah, if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

But thinning shears seem to me like a quick and dirty way of removing bulk (I’m talking about a short haircut here, similar to this) because you don’t have anything better in your box of skills. My assessment as a non-professional haircutter but an experienced user of haircutting *services *is that a skilled use of scissors or the razor eliminates the need for thinning shears. Thinning shears, applied within a clump of bulky hair, seem to me like hacking away with no control.

Anyhoo…any opinions from hairdressers/customers on the use of this tool?

I use thinning shears on my bangs and they’re great.

I’ve had stylists use them on me, and it seems to come out looking nice. Of course, the one thing any hair professional is guaranteed to say to me is “Wow, you have a LOT of hair!” So my hair can take a lot of thinning. My current stylist definitely shapes it carefully using regular shears, taking out some bulk where it looks heavy and isn’t hanging nicely, but sometimes that’s in addition to using the thinning shears.

Oh, and I wear my hair at least chin length. Perhaps longer cuts are more forgiving, but a short cut with thinning shears will look crappy?

I have hair 2 - 3" long on top and the stylist asks if she can use thinning shears on my hair about every third time I go in. I always agreed to it and have never been unhappy with the results but I have never been quite clear on what they are supposed to do either.

I have extremely thick hair and it needs thinning at least every other cut. My cutter varies the process, sometimes doing very careful razor work and sometimes using thinning shears.

I’d guess that it’s partly a matter of time - shears being quicker - and partly that my hair is thick and tough enough to stand being thinned so brutally. I could see someone with normal to fine hair not getting as good a result, or a good grow-out, from being thinned with shears.

I also have stylists wanting to use thinning shears on me. My hair is very fine, but there is a lot of it. I have shag cut shoulder length hair that needs thinning in order to maintain the choppy look. I also bought a pair of thinning shears for trimming my own bangs, and they were one of the best investments I’ve made. Yeah, the salon will do free trims between cuts, but it’s still a trip and a wait, and I can do it myself in 5 minutes. They do take some practice, and results can look funny if you’re not careful, less is usually more with those things.

So, I think they can be appropriate. If you have thin hair, I can see why a stylist might warn you about their use. Since they remove bulk, they shouldn’t be used on people without much bulk to lose.

I have a pair that I use for trimming bangs and some texturizing as needed. My hair is straight as hell and shows any blunt cut very clearly - that’s good if you have a blunt cut, but I have a short, layered cut with choppy ends, so blunt ends just look like a huge glaring mistake. My stylist (god, did I really just use that word?) does an awesome job on my hair, but there are always a few little goofy spots that don’t show up until the day after a cut, so I fix the blunts with thinning shears.

I have to ask for thinning shear work as my hairstylists look down on them. But my hair is very thick and I refuse to have it layered, so thinning shears get rid of the bulk for me.

My hairdresser is very skilled and thins my hair with scissors, and in his opinion those special thinning shears won’t produce a good result.

I wear my hair short. The lower sides and back, and the top are thinner by nature. Whereas the upper corners are thicker (think “monks halo”). Using thinning shears on the upper corners evens everything out.

I cut my own hair as well as my son’s and also trim my wife’s and daughter’s bangs between hair cuts. I use thinning shears at times, especially with my son because he has straight hair and he’s three so the hair cut needs to be finished ASAP. It’s probably people like me who your old hairdresser was warning you about. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the more important question, though, is how do you like your haircut? It sounds like the may be a certain amount of prejudice against them by some people, but a skilled hairdresser is going to use their tools much more effectively.

I very much appreciate the comments on my question.

Could some hairdressers check in, too? Some of the stuff I’ve read elsewhere on the web seems to say that thinning shears in the hands of an experienced stylist (Orderfire, what else would you call him/her?) are an effective tool, but shouldn’t be used as a shortcut (ba-dum-BUM!) when you’re just starting out.

Yes - same here! Granted I go to Supercuts, but the women there use thinning shears on me either on their own or when I ask them to.

My mom is a professional hairdresser as well as a teacher in a beauty school. I’m not a professional but was voluntarily apprenticed to her for many years. :slight_smile:
She uses thinning shears for the reasons discussed upthread: to remove bulk so that blunt cuts aren’t too boxy, to soften the edges of bangs or shags/layers, and to blend layers for fine hair. If used poorly, they can make weird sticky-up places (I think that’s the technical term), especially in bangs or the crown. But used properly, they’re a great tool for keeping the edges of your cut softer, or for blending layers to avoid having lines.
A razor doesn’t do the same job of removing the bulk without adding layers. You can accomplish the same work as thinning shears with very careful, very precise, tiny little scissor snips, but that can be a little dicey and tiresome. Shears are more consistent.

I use them and the key is do a little at a time. Bad thinning results from putting two much hair in the shears at once. I do this: I put what I THINK should go in the shears. Then I reduce the amount of hair by at least half or more. Then I cut it. If need be repeat. It’s better to do a lot of small thinning.

This produces the best results.

I get the thinning shears about every third haircut as I have more hair than Farrah Fawcett in her prime. It’s something I enjoy saying when I’m around my bald brother in law.

I use thinning shears to remove my split ends. https://scissortech.co.nz/

My hair guy calls it weedwacking because my hair is crazy thick, especially in the back. I can’t imagine him not thinning it out.

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