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Scissor Cut Vs. Clipper Cut

by Emma Rensch ; Updated September 28, 2017

Practice both techniques on friends and family.

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Stylists who cut men’s hair are required to make the sometimes difficult choice between using scissors or clippers for each client. While both of these tools are essential for every stylist, they boast distinct pros and cons, and can deliver a disastrous haircut if they are employed for incorrect purposes. Perfect your hair-cutting style by learning exactly when to use which tool.

Length

Scissors are ideal for longer haircuts since they allow more control over the length the stylist allows for each section of hair. However, for short cuts or cuts that are all one length, clippers are cleaner and neater, since they can be set to one specific length and applied to all parts of the head. Since clippers only allow several inches of length, scissors are essential for haircuts longer than 2 to 3 inches, otherwise a client might end up with hair that is much shorter than desired.

Texture

Stylists adjust the tools they use depending on the texture the client seeks for his new hairstyle. For example, if a client wants choppy, highly textured hair, a skilled stylist will use scissors or even a razor-scissor technique to leave some hairs long while trimming others, providing a choppy, stylized look. Meanwhile, if a client seeks a more traditional look and wishes to keep all of his hair close to the same length, clippers on a consistent length setting is the ideal choice.

Purpose

When deciding whether to approach a client’s desired look with scissors or clippers, stylists should first hold a consultation to learn about the lifestyle of the client and the kinds of occasions he is most likely to attend. Learning more about the events your client must participate in can help you decide between the setbacks and benefits of both clippers and scissors. For example, if a client wants a low-maintenance haircut and does not need to capture a specific aesthetic for his job or social life, a simple clipper cut will be easiest for him to maintain and style.

Style

Stylists tailor the tools they use to the style of cut desired by the client. For example, if a client wants a cut that involves longer hair in the front and short, buzzed hair in the back, the hair cutter will likely use scissors to cut the stylized portion in the front and clippers on a short-length setting to razor the back to achieve a short, even length. Meanwhile, if a client wants a buzz cut or a low-maintenance cut of a uniform length, using clippers with adjustable settings is the best option.

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