Celebrity hairstylists have the most demanding clients. Anything less than perfection, is not tolerated. In this high stress salon environment, something as innocent as a dull set of hair shears, tugging on their client’s hair during a cut, is enough to trigger a tantrum, resulting in a major loss for the stylist.
As a professional hairdresser, especially one who works with celebrities, your ability to provide beautiful results is dependent on using the highest quality hair shears. Cheap scissors will tug and pull the hair, while a premium set, with razor sharp cutting blades will effortlessly cut the hair. There are many benefits to using the best tools including reduced fatigue, less frequent sharpening and increased comfort.
There are hundreds of great barber shears and salon scissors to choose from designed by companies such as Mizutani, Hanzo, Saki Shears, Sam Villa, Kamisori, Kinsaro, Fagaci and Equinox. We have looked at the most popular, highest reviewed models and consulted with top celebrity stylists in the United States, to recommend the 10 best hair scissors for professionals.
#1 Saki Shears Kamakura Hair Scissors
New York based barber Shane Adamas only uses scissors crafted from Damascus Steel. He loves the Saki Kamakura model from Saki Shears, which uses 250 layers of Damascus steel, resulting in a one-of-a-kind scissors that are “works of art”. The Saki Shears Kamakura is one of the hardest salon scissors available and achieves an incredible HRC rating of 62-63. If you’re going to spend $500 or more on a set of shears, you should expect something that is both technically perfect as well as beautiful. Like most of the shears on the list, the Kamakura features a convex blade, offset handle, permanent thumb rest and a removable bumper. Tension adjustment on this model requires a basic key, which is included. Perhaps due to the high-price point on the Saki Kamakura, it is only available in 6 inches. They also offer a matching 6″ thinning shears, for those that are looking for a complete set.
#2 Nic JN Shears
One of the cheapest shears from Nic JN Shears, the JN model can be found for around $350. Nic is a trusted brand that uses Japanese steel in their construction. The JN is sold in a variety of sizes including 5.0″, 5.5″ and 6.0″. Tracy Sorel, a hairstylist from California, has used Nic salon scissors for years and says, “they last longer than other shears I’ve purchased, which means more time cutting hair and less time waiting to get them back from my local sharpener”.
#3 Matsui Apprentice Kit
Matsui has been around for a long time and have built up a large following of professional stylists around the world. Their apprentice kit offers a really good value for the money. The apprentice kit includes two cutting scissors (5.5″ and 6.0″), a 6.0″ thinning shears as well as a razor, carrying case, scissor oil, cleaning cloth, finger inserts and a tension adjuster. Although the retail price on the Matsui Apprentice Kit is around $499.00, they often have it on sale at a discount as much as 40%. Trent Andrews, a barber for 15 years, recommends the Apprentice Kit for cosmetology students who are just getting started in their career, “It gives you everything you need to get started as a barber”.
#4 Muzutani Black Smith Scissors
Muzutani has a long history stretching back nearly 100 years. They are 100% handmade by a team of craftsman in Japan. Muzutani prides themselves on making the best shears in the world. Their three principals of design are hair, blade and hand which ensures a clean, perfect cut regardless of their use on wet or dry hair.
The Muzutani Black Smith hair scissors with G-Shift wobble prevention is sold in multiple sizes to ensure the perfect fit. Current sizes include 5.5″, 6.0″, 6.5″ and 7.0 cutting shears. The Black Smith model is designed with a Thrust Bearing for ultra-smooth operation and the cobalt steel material ensures that the razor-sharp blades will stand up to daily use in the shop.
Charles Grey, a master barber in Seattle has exclusively used Muzutani shears for the past 20 years. “I have Muzutani shears in my collection that I bought my first year as a barber. Try getting 20 years of use out of any other shear. I challenge you!”.
#5 Auro M1 – Offset Scissors
Another highly recommended shear, the Auro M1 is an excellent value. Auro uses a cobalt alloy construction in their M1 to achieve a super-premium cutting blade. This model has an offset handle with a removable finger rest. “Auro is a lesser-known shear maker, however, they should definitely be considered if you are looking at other high-end shears. They offer a great value” says Amy Mason of the salon in Los Angeles.
The M1 comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 5″ to 6.5″. Be sure you get the right size for your hand to ensure comfort.
#6 Hikari Scissors, “Phoenix Cosmos”
If you really want to splurge, Hikari Scissors should be at the top of your list. At $1700, they are probably not within the budget of most hairdressers, however, consider adding them to your dream list. All Hikari scissors are made with super premium steel blends and are handmade by craftsman in Japan. The “Phoenix Cosmos” model is available in sizes ranging from small (5.0″) to large (6.8″). If you really want a Hikari, but can’t afford one, they offer installment plans to help make your dream a reality.
#7 Hanzo Shears Tenshi HH22
Hanzo is probably the best-known company selling super-premium shears in the United Kingdom market. They sponsor top stylists around the country and hold great education events. Most of their shears are available to purchase over 10 monthly installment payments, to help make them more affordable. Hanzo has a few models in the $500 range, but some models exceed $1000.
The Hanzo Tenshi is one of the newer models, which features Japanese handles. They have a very slight offset and straight necks. Like all Hanzo shears, they are designed using premium steel, in this case a blend of 440C and VG10.
#8 Ninja Rose Gold Shears
Let’s be honest, most of us can’t afford a set of hair shears priced anywhere near $1000, so let’s consider a few more affordable options to be included in our “best shears” list. The Ninja Rose Gold Shears are razor-sharp, durable and come in a variety of fun colors. “I’m a full-time stylist and value a premium set of scissors, however, I can’t afford a $500 set of shears”, says longtime stylist Barbera Fisher. “I like the quality and affordability of Ninja Shears, and they come in really awesome colors like gold and pink”.
Ninja Shears can be found at a variety of online retailers for around $225.
#9 Saki Katana Black Hair Scissors Set
The Saki Katana is a legacy model from Saki Shears. “The Katana line is legendary around here”, says veteran barber Bob Landers. “I have four colleagues, who cut with them”.
For this review, we found the Katana line to be a great balance of quality, design, and value. Not everyone wants to cut with a basic pair of stainless-steel shears, many stylists prefer a premium set coated with titanium to offer a bit of style and color. The Katana is coated with a long lasting, titanium gloss black finish. The Saki Shears Katana set includes a cutting scissors, thinning shears and a hair razor. We found them available on Amazon and the Saki Shears website for around $280 for the complete set.
#10 Budget Kashi Japanese Cobalt Cutting Shears
The Kashi is the cheapest set of shears to make the list. They are crafted from cobalt stainless steel and offer a Japanese style design. They are lightweight and can be used to cut wet or dry hair. If you’re looking for a “best of” set of shears on a budget, the Kashi is worth taking a closer look at.
US based barber, Kevin Murphy said, “I’ve never spent more than $100 on a set of shears. The Kashi does the job. They’re sharp and long-lasting”.