Why You Shouldn't Use Thinning Scissors On Curly Hair

March 10, 2024

Every professional stylist knows that naturally curly hair can be a little trickier to cut and every curly haired woman or man knows just how invaluable a hair stylist that knows how to cut curly hair really is. Thinning shears are a hair stylists go - to tool for removing weight and adding texture to a hair cut, but they aren't the answer for all hair. 

We love thinning scissors but we also love educating you ! Let's have a look into curly hair and our thinning shears.

What are thinning shears?

Thinning shears are a very versatile tool many hairdressers and barbers have come to know and love. They can be used to remove weight, add texture and blend hard lines. 

Thinning shears are scissors with one straight blade and one with teeth, or notches. They are designed to cut hair where the teeth are and leave hair where there are no teeth, which means they do not do a straight cut and remove length. They range in size from 25- 40 teeth. The more teeth they have the more hair is removed.

Thinning shears are best used on dryer hair, to prevent from removing too much hair. By cutting on dry hair it also helps to show us where we need to cut to remove weight or blend any hard lines. 

To remove weight from thick hair you can take hair, section by section, and from the mid shaft use your thinning shears to remove bulk. To soften or blend hard lines, especially on straight hair, you can dust the ends of the hair with your thinning scissors. This is also a great way to blend fades.

Ok so if thinning shears are so great... why can't you use them for curly hair?

Thinning shears and curly hair

Ask anyone with curly hair what their biggest hair complaint is and they will most likely tell you - weight and volume. Curly hair can be very thick and seem to grow out instead of down. So it would make sense that if they want to remove bulk you should consider using your thinning shears right? Thinning scissors are not meant for everyone ! And here is why

  • Damaged hair
    Using thinning scissors for cutting curly hair can often do more harm than good. Curly hair is more prone to damage, dryness and breakage. The cuticle of curly hair can often be more raised, resulting in more dry hair, prone to breakage. Using thinning scissors can affect the cuticle and make already damaged hair more susceptible to things like chemical damage or heat damage. Using thinning scissors on curly hair can lead to split ends.
  • Frizzy hair
    A curly girl's worst nightmare is frizz. Unfortunately cutting curly hair with thinning scissors can lead to split ends and unwanted frizz. When using thinning scissors we create hair of different lengths, which is great for straight hair and blending lines. However with curly hair these different lengths can leave your ends looking thin and frizzy.
  • Curl Pattern
    A hairdresser who knows how to cut curls understands the importance of curl patterns. Every curl has its own unique pattern and texture. Using thinning scissors on these curl patterns can affect their natural fall. When larger pieces or chunks of hair are removed they can be uneven or create holes or gaps in the curl pattern. With curly hair you want to work with defining the curls, not breaking them up.

Other Ways to Cut Curly hair

The best way to approach cutting curly hair is to think of it as sculpting. You want to sculpt the hair into its perfect shape. There are many different ways to do this without using thinning scissors.

  • Layers
    Getting a layered haircut is one way to reduce bulk without using thinning scissors. Adding layers can also help tight curls spring right back into shape. Wavy hair can also benefit from having layers cut into it. The layers will make it easier to style and define your curls. 
  • Dry Cutting curly hair
    Back in the day, before we really began to understand natural curls, curly hair was cut dry and straight. This meant that your hair looked perfect when you would straighten it but if you wanted to embrace your natural hair it often did not fall correctly. We have since learned to embrace curly locks and stop forcing it to be straight.
    Dry cutting curly hair is still very much a popular way to cut curls. However, we now know the best way to do this is to dry the curls into their natural pattern and then cut them. This technique is done by washing, scrunching and then styling the curls. This way the hair stylist can see the individual strands and curls pattern. This is also a great way to see where volume is needed, or where it is needed to reduce bulk. 
  • Cutting curly hair wet
    Some stylists still prefer to cut curly hair wet. Curly wet hair is a great way to see the natural curly pattern. Cutting curly hair while wet allows us to cut every curl precisely and embrace its natural fall. This is a great technique for sculpting curls, removing length and determining where to leave volume or remove it.

Managing Curly Hair

As a hairstylist once you have perfected the curly cut it is also important to understand, and teach your clients, styling curly hair. Even if cut correctly and without thinning scissors, curly hair can still become frizzy hair. Styling it correctly is key.

  • Product
    Using the right products on curls can be a game changer. Curly hair is more inclined to dryness. This means the best products for curls are those that add moisture back into the hair. By adding moisture you also help prevent frizz. Oils, leave-in conditioners and deep conditioning masks can help keep curls hydrated.
    You will also want to use curl enhancing products. After adding moisture into your hair you can add a cream, gel or mousse to help you embrace your natural curl. 
  • Proper Detangling
    Curls are known for tangling easier. This is a combination of lack of moisture and how each curl falls. With curly hair the less you comb it, the better. Combing or brushing curly hair, especially when dry, can cause a lot of frizz. To properly manage curls they should be combed when wet, and with a wide tooth comb or your fingers. Working from the ends up can help prevent damage to the hair strands.
  • Styling
    Knowing how to properly style curls can ensure that the haircut you have given them always looks its best. After you have added the right moisturizing products and curl enhancers you will need to dry their hair. This can be done with a towel and scrunching or with every curly haired person's favorite tool.... the diffuser. A diffuser is an add-on to our hair dryer. It moves the air around the curls to help sculpt them. Using a blow dryer without a diffuser will just straighten curls and make them frizzy. 

Embrace those curls!

For too long curly haired men and women have been trying to hide their curls ! Now that you know how to properly cut curly hair, remove weight and style these curls.. Why not embrace them! 

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