Can you tell if your scissors are sharp?

On many occasions visiting salons, I have encountered hairdressers using scissors which were in poor condition and a long way removed from the pristine sharpness of their new state. Perhaps a case of familiarity breeding contempt, or a previous bad experience with sharpening, I often wonder why scissors are allowed to deteriorate so badly. Blunt scissors push the hair, and don’t cut cleanly, making cutting harder for the stylist. Although many hairdressers will know automatically when the edge of their scissors have reached a dullness sufficient to warrant attention, it may be beneficial to look at some simple tests of sharpness that can be performed easily.
When I have completed a sharpening, the first test I perform on the reassembled scissor is cutting a damp Kleenex tissue. This test can be tried on a scissor at any stage to ascertain the level of sharpness. Check the scissor tension is accurate first using the gravity closing technique illustrated in a previous article (essential scissor care), then get a Kleenex tissue and separate it into single tissue ‘plys’. Dangle a single ply in your hand and wet it thoroughly using a mist of water from a spray bottle. Using the scissors, close the blades carefully upwards on the single ply of tissue and pull straight downwards. The scissor should cut cleanly and not pull the tissue, particularly at the tips. If it does, your scissor needs sharpening.
In the salon, a common test for sharpness is cutting an off cut of hair. A more accurate guide is to try cutting a freely hanging piece of thread. Providing scissor tension is correct, the scissor should easily cut through the hanging thread without pushing or folding it in all locations along the blade.
Using these two simple tests will give the hairdresser an accurate picture of the sharpness of their scissors. If the scissors need attention, simply contact Scissorfix to have them restored to their perfect state!