How To Use Thinning Shears

Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Janie Wilson

how to use thinning shearsMany people, inclusing some hair stylists have doubts about how to use thinning shears for hair styling. We all should keep in mind that thinning shears are a very important tool of a hairdresser or a hair stylist. It is important to learn how to use thinning shears. Although they are not used on every client like regular scissors. In fact,  they are a great tool for getting the right look on some clients. Yes, in the right hands, thinning scissors can work wonders with the crowning glory of a man.

How to use thinning shears

Thinning shears are designed to enhance the shape created by cutting scissors. The hairdresser ends up using thinning scissors to soften the cut, not to change the shape or texture of the hair. They can be used to remove unwanted volume or to soften a short or layered cut.

If you get too close to the scalp with thinning shears, you can end up with short hair sticking out instead of lying flat. It is important that thinning shears only cut the mid-length and ends of the hair. Thinning scissors are not always necessary at the end of every haircut or style. They are only necessary when thinning hair or removing unwanted volume.

Excessive use can cause a change in the structure of the hair, making it thinner towards the ends. Your hair can appear weak, thin and brittle if thinning shears are not used properly.

Tips for thinning hair with thinning shears

Separate hair into sections. Long hair may require clips to control the sections of hair. The barber or hairdresser works on one section of hair at a time and clamp it or uses a comb to hold it in place.

The thinning shear can be held horizontally or with the tip of the shear pointed toward the ceiling or floor.

Medium-length thinning haircut

The hair is cut at mid-level, never near the crown. Hair that frames the face is also usually avoided.

The same section may be cut several times depending on the length of the hair. The hair is combed with a fine-toothed comb to remove loose hair and see if the desired look has been achieved. If necessary, it can be cut again to remove more hair.

If you don’t want to remove as much hair as the teeth of the scissors dictate, you can use the blunt blade and tail comb to move the scissors in and out of the section of hair while holding it. Closing the scissors will cut less hair.

How to lighten thick hair

One of the main benefits of using thinners is reducing the volume of thick hair. Learning how to use thinning scissors on thick hair requires a little more experience. When a client has too much hair, the cut lacks the volume and movement that so many clients seek. Thinning the hair often makes it easier to maintain by reducing drying and styling time. Some hairdressers prefer long layers of hair, while others prefer scissors for fine hair.

It is best to thin hair when it is dry so you can see the effect of your cuts immediately. Comb fine hair after cutting it and decide if you have reduced the volume enough to get the look you want.

You can use a mixture of angles when holding the scissors to achieve a more natural look. You may work in sections at the back of the head until you are satisfied with the amount of hair removed.

Regardless of the thickness of the hair, do not use the thinning shears on the top of the hair, known as the crown or halo, as you may not have enough hair falling on the top of the cut to get the style you want.

FAQs about the use of thinning shears

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we generally find online about thinning shears. If you need an answer to your question, we will be happy to answer that as well.

Which thinning shears should I buy?

Some would say it’s even more important to use a quality steel scissor for thinning and texturing rather than a pair of shears for cutting. Even if you don’t use them as often as thinning or texturing shears, all it takes is one broken tooth to render the shears useless.

Good quality steel thinning scissors are less likely to snag and pull on the hair when you run them through.

Should thinning scissors be used on dry or wet hair?

In general, it is best to use them on dry hair, but they can also be used on wet hair. If you use the scissors on wet hair, you must be very careful not to overuse them. Once the hair has dried, the hairstyle/cut may be lost or even ruined. Therefore, it is best to use them when the hair is dry.

Are thinning scissors bad?

Thinning scissors are not bad in the hands of an experienced hairdresser. Problems arise when the scissors are misused or when the hair is not suitable for thinning scissors. For example, some curly hair can be best “thinned” with regular thinning scissors to create layers. You should learn about the dangers of using thinning scissors on thick or curly hair.

Is it safe to use thinning scissors?

Thinning shears improve many styles of haircuts. They can remove unwanted volume to add volume and erase thick cut lines. Thinning scissors are used for both men and women, depending on the type of hair and style desired.

What do hair thinning scissors do?

The teeth of thinning scissors cause some strands of hair to be cut, while others remain throughout the length of the hair. Thinning scissors allow the hairdresser to remove some of the volume or weight from the hair without compromising on length.

What are the cutting terms used with thinning scissors?

Slithering, sliding or notching are some of the terms related to the use of thinning scissors. To snip means to point the scissors at the hair and make the cut. It is used to create smoother layers and to give curly hair a softer, more textured look.

Slipping, unlike point cutting, does not involve cutting with the scissors, but holding them slightly open against the hair and simply pulling them away from the length of the hair. It is best used on straight and slightly wavy hair for a more subtle look.

Notching is very similar to the point cut, except that it is used on much shorter hair. In general, short pixie or character cuts are the right choice for this method in order to achieve a very textured and messy look.

How to thin hair with thinning shears?

The hair is cut into sections where the weight of the hair is removed to improve volume. Be careful not to start cutting the hair at the crown area, but lower on the head where the hair is vertical, otherwise the cut hair will stick out. Start slowly and check your progress by combing the stray hair to monitor the amount of hair removed. You can always do more trimming, but not the other way around.

Does thinning hair make it grow back thicker?

Some people think that thinning is a way to grow thicker hair (sounds a little weird, you might say). However, the thickening process is simply due to the hair growing in between cuts and the extra weight makes it appear thicker. Thinning scissors do not thicken a strand of hair or create more hair, but the hair continues to grow.

How often should thinning shears be used?

It all depends on the hair. For some hair types, the answer is never. Very fine hair should not see thinning shears, as they make the problem worse and you can see the different lengths of hair in lines (which does not look good). For curly, frizzy hair, use regular scissors, as thinning scissors can make the hair even more frizzy and difficult to style.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have very thick hair, thinning scissors can be used with each haircut to remove some of the unwanted weight and add volume.

What is the difference between thinning scissors and texturizing scissors?

For the novice hairdresser, it is easy to confuse thinning and texturizing scissors with their small, menacing-looking teeth. Both thinning and texturizing scissors remove hair, but they have different jobs. It is important to know the difference between the two, so that you know when to use one or the other scissors to get the best results for your client.

How to use scissors for thinning hair?

Sculpting scissors have between 28 and 40 teeth whose function is to remove excess weight from the hair and blur the lines of demarcation left by the scissors. They do not create any visible texture or volume in the hair. Cut and uncut hair are blended together. They are often used to smooth and remove dullness from the haircut.

Texturizing clippers have fewer, but wider teeth, with more space between each tooth, so they remove a larger section of hair and create volume and texture through the layers. There are subtle and aggressive forms of texturizing scissors. Aggressive texturizing scissors can have up to five teeth, so they remove a significant amount of hair. They leave wider sections of hair uncut and trimmed. Thinning and texturizing scissors are used to create specific looks that can look subtle or even dramatic.


Equinox Professional Razor Edge Series – Barber Hair Thinning/Texturizing Scissors/Shears – 6.5 Inches

2.Hair Cutting Scissors Thinning Teeth Shears Set ULG Professional Barber Hairdressing Texturizing Salon Razor Edge Scissor Japanese Stainless Steel 6.5 inch

3. Professional Hair Cutting Scissors Set Hairdressing Scissors Kit, Hair Cutting Scissors, Thinning Shears, Hair Razor Comb, Clips, PLYRFOCE Shears Kit for Home, Salon, Barber

Wrapping up

In short, it really depends on what you are most comfortable with and, of course, the type of haircut/style you want to achieve. As the hairdressing rule goes, less is more! Start small and if you need more, you can do it because, as we all know, once it’s over, it’s over. Hopefully, we have been able to give you a detailed account about how to use thinning shears and this post will help you learn more things about using them.

Have fun thinning the hair with thinning shears!





Janie Wilson
Janie Wilson

Janie Wilson, a former fashion model and photographer, dedicated beauty expert and prolific writer on all topics related to fashion, beauty, hair and skin care. I started this website a few years ago when I felt that I have had enough of a hectic lifestyle and need to settle down. Presently, I live with my loving-and-caring husband in New York, but I travel around the world pretty often to derive inspiration for my fashion blog. Yes, let me admit that I am fairly obsessed with anything related to fashion and style. All things from fashion to grooming are things I study all the time whenever I get an opportunity, and my biggest joy in life is to help men and women look their best!