How to Hold Hair Scissors Like a Pro: Western & Traditional Grips

February 01, 2022 5 min read

How to Hold Hair Scissors Like a Pro: Western & Traditional Grips - Scissor Hub Australia

It might seem easy, but some multiple grips and methods allow you to hold hairdressing scissors.

The two main ways to hold hair scissors found in salons and barbershops - are the Western grip and the Traditional grip. This article will discuss how to hold hair scissors like a pro using the Western grip. 

The Western Grip is the most common way to hold your shears and is best for cutting straight lines.

The Traditional Grip is more advanced and is used for more detailed cutting.

Before jumping into the grips, let's get a better understanding of your hair scissors, including the finger hold, finger rest, smaller hole, and shear pivot point.

The Anatomy Of Hair Scissors

A close-up image showing the anatomy of hair scissors

When looking for a new pair of hair scissors, it's important to know the different parts and what each one does.

The blade is the sharp edge that cuts through hair, while handles provide grip and control.

A shank connects these two elements together for stability during use, and a tang is the metal piece that extends from the shank and into the handle.

Some hair scissors also have finger rests - these are small bumps on the handle that can be placed between your fingers to help you hold them comfortably. 

If the holes for your thumb and rings fingers on the shears aren't large, you will not be able to grip them, which causes problems when trying to hold the hairdressing scissors. It's also normal for hairdressers to lose them when cutting hair.

This will help ensure that you don't damage them or hurt yourself while cutting hair at home. 

Why Do I Need To Learn How To Hold Hairdressing Scissors correctly?

Knowing how to hold hair scissors correctly is important for many reasons:

  • It allows you to grip the shears firmly, which gives you more control when cutting hair.
  • The Western grip is perfect for cutting straight lines.
  • If you are using the Traditional grip, it will help improve your accuracy and detail while cutting hair.
  • It also prevents you from dropping the scissors, which can damage them or cause injury.
  • Reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries like RSI, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc.

An experienced hairstylist and barber understands the different grips and is also conscious of their middle fingers, index fingers, and thumbs. This is important for how you use the two-finger holes in your scissor handle.

What Is The Hook (Tang) On My Scissors?

The tang (hook) found on the handle of your hairdressing scissors

The hook, or tang, is the metal piece that extends from the shank and into the handle.

This is an integral part of your hair scissors as it holds the two pieces together.

When looking for a new pair of hair scissors, make sure to check that the tang is securely attached to both the shank and the handle.

How To Hold Hair Scissors Like A Pro Using The Western Grip

An image showing you how to hold your hairdressing scissors with a Western Grip

The Western Grip is the most commonly taught method for holding hair cutting scissors and thinning shears in a professional salon or barbershop environment.

The Western grip is a way of holding the scissors where you:

  • Insert your thumb into the larger of the two-finger holes
  • The smaller finger hole with the tang (hook) on the scissor handle should fit your ring finger.
  • Both of your middle finger and index finger are placed on the arm of the scissors just in the front of the finger.
  • If you find that the finger holes might be too big and that your grip is loose, you may need rubber finger inserts to secure your grip. 

The Western grip is an ergonomic way to hold your hair scissors. Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their environment and the tools they use.

When it comes to scissors, the Western grip is designed to reduce strain on your hand and arm by evenly distributing the weight of the scissors.

This reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and makes cutting hair more comfortable.

The Western grip is also the most common method of holding your shears.

The Traditional Grip For Holding Hair Cutting Scissors Correctly

The Traditional grip is another way to hold your hair scissors.

How to use the traditional grip on your scissors:

  1. Insert your thumb into the larger of the two-finger holes
  2. Your index finger should be in the hole with the tang attached
  3. The ring finger and middle fingers are on top of the arm of the scissors, next to your index finger.

Avoid loose finger holes when possible, as the scissors can slip out of your grip easily. Rubber finger inserts tighten the finger hole and can be adjusted to fit your fingers better.

The traditional grip is great for cutting hair at a 90-degree angle and is also very accurate and detailed.

Like the Western grip, it also helps reduce repetitive motion injuries. In the Traditional grip, you use all of your fingers to hold onto the scissor handle - with your thumb and index finger on top and your ring finger and middle finger underneath.

Summary: How To Hold Hairdressing Scissors Like a Pro

So which grip is better for you - the western grip or the traditional grip? It really is a personal preference, and you may find that you use a different grip for different tasks.

But, if you are just starting out, the Western grip is probably the best way to go. It's more comfortable, reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries, and gives you more control when cutting hair.

Remember, always be conscious of where your fingers are when you are using your scissors so that they don't get caught in the hair.

Also, keep in mind that some people may have a different preference on how to hold their hairdressing shears, and this is totally fine!

The most important thing is to make sure you're comfortable with what works best for your individual cutting style.

The final tips for hair scissor grips to avoid repetitive strain injuries:

  • Always remember where your fingers are.
  • Ensure the finger hole in your scissor handle fits your fingers correctly.
  • If your finger hole is too big for only the thumb, then you can change the rubber finger insert to gain more space.
  • You may find that you use different grips for different hair cutting techniques, so don't feel pressured always to use the western grip.
  • Have fun and keep on cutting!

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

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