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Thinning Hair with Shears: A Comprehensive Guide

Thinning Hair with Shears: A Comprehensive Guide

Thinning shears are the perfect tool for achieving a balanced and polished hairstyle. These unique scissors feature two blades – one with teeth and one without – that work together to create even sections and alleviate excess weight. The blade with teeth is carefully crafted with small, evenly spaced grooves that quickly and efficiently remove hair in a precise and controlled manner.

It’s important to note that while thinning shears are similar to texturizing scissors, they offer slightly different results. Thinning shears are designed to remove weight from the hair, resulting in a softer and more blended look, while texturizing scissors add volume and movement to the hair without compromising its length or shape.

Whether you’re a professional stylist or simply looking to achieve a flawless hairstyle at home, thinning shears are essential for the perfect cut.

Thinning shears offer several advantages, particularly when reducing bulk in thick hair. However, mastering thinning shears on thick hair may require additional experience and skill.

Thinning shears help to achieve a more polished and balanced appearance while making maintenance easier. In addition, thinned hair requires less drying and styling, making it a popular choice for busy individuals who want to look their best with minimal effort.

Different hair stylists may have varying preferences regarding thinning techniques, with some opting for long layers while others prefer thinning shears.

Whatever the choice, incorporating thinning shears into your hair styling routine can make a significant difference in achieving a flawless and manageable hairstyle.

Types of Thinning Shears Available in the Market

Thinning scissors are differentiated by the number of teeth they have. It’s worth noting that each scissor type serves a unique purpose. Let’s look at the different thinning shears available in the market.

Texturizing Scissors 

Texturizing or blending scissors are versatile thinning scissors with 20 to 30 teeth. These scissors are ideal for texturizing and blending hair, with an average of 25 teeth that can remove 40-70% of hair with just one to two cuts.

Their versatility lies in their ability to blend, texturize, and thin most hair types, making them an essential tool in any hairstylist’s kit.

Chunking Scissors

Chunking scissors are specialized scissors that come in two variants: 6 to 12 teeth or 30 to 40 teeth. These scissors are primarily used for removing bulk from the hair and are particularly suitable for individuals with thick or curly hair.

With 7-15 teeth and wider gaps than texturizing scissors, chunking scissors can remove around 40-80% of hair with just one to two cuts.

 Finishing Scissors

Finishing scissors are designed to create a polished and seamless finish to your haircut. These scissors typically come with 14 to 20 teeth and are primarily used for blending and finishing.

Compared to other types of scissors, finishing scissors are the least aggressive as they have more teeth, resulting in less hair removed with each cut. This makes them ideal for individuals who want to achieve a subtle and natural look without compromising the length or shape of their hair.

How to Choose Thinning Shears

When it comes to using thinning scissors, the number of teeth on the blade can significantly impact the outcome of the haircut. As a general guideline, scissors with more teeth tend to create a more subtle alteration in the hair’s appearance.

If you’re working with thick hair, using scissors with fewer teeth can help you remove weight more quickly and effectively. On the other hand, when working with finer hair or aiming to add texture to the hairstyle, scissors with more teeth would be better suited for the job.

 Different Types of Teeth on a Thinning Shear

Thinning scissors are designed to create a seamless blend by removing excess weight and softening any blunt lines in a haircut. Thinning scissors usually come equipped with 28-40 teeth and are specially designed to help blend any harsh lines left behind by traditional cutting scissors. They do not add visible texture or volume to the hair. Instead, they blend the cut and uncut hair to create a polished and natural look.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Thinning Shears

Maintaining hygiene is crucial for every hairdresser, especially regarding tools like thinning scissors. To ensure longevity, it is essential to keep them clean. A simple way to clean your thinning shears is by using warm water and a cleaning solution. Allow them to dry thoroughly before the next use. To prevent buildup, cleaning them after every use and deep cleaning them regularly is advisable.

Preparing Your Hair Before Using Thinning Shears

To begin the process, the hair is divided into manageable sections, with clips used for long hair. Then, working on one section at a time, the hair is held steady with either the hairdresser’s fingers or a comb. Thinning scissors can be held horizontally, with the tip pointing up or down.

 How to Section Your Hair for Thinning

  • Comb your hair to remove any tangles.
  • Place a one-inch section of hair between your middle and pointer fingers.
  • Position the thinning shears about one inch up from the length of the hair and angle them down toward hair growth. Glide the shears down through the ends of the hair in a smooth motion, like combing through the hair.
  • To reduce the weight of your hair even more, try starting your first cut about an inch above the hair’s current length. This technique can help create a lighter and more manageable hairstyle.

Tips for working with wet or dry hair

Thinning shears should be used on dry hair to achieve a softer blend. Wet hair tends to clump together, making it difficult for the teeth to cut through and potentially causing breakage. Therefore, it is recommended to always use thinning shears on dry hair.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Preparing Your Hair

It’s best to work with dry hair to deal with any kinks at the roots. To avoid making mistakes, take very small sections of hair. Use thinning scissors to soften the edges, and when approaching the sections closest to the ears, turn the shears downwards to remove weight and blend the fringe with the rest of the hair.

Techniques for Thinning Hair with Shears

Use Dry Hair

For best results, use thinning shears on dry hair, as it allows you to see the immediate effects of each cut. Wet hair tends to bunch together, making it hard for the shears to cut through, and it’s challenging to see how the hair will settle after it dries. Using thinning shears on dry hair lets you see how the hair will lie on the head and make necessary adjustments.

Comb Through

Before thinning, comb through the hair to remove any tangles. A fine-tooth comb is recommended to ensure the strands are free of snags to achieve a perfect cut.

Section Hair

Use a hair clip to separate your hair into smaller areas that you can thin more easily. This will help you achieve an even cut throughout your head and avoid over-thinning any area.

Start Small

Start with small sections of hair to avoid a choppy, uneven look. To achieve the desired result, take a one-inch section of the hair you want to thin out and hold them between two fingers. Use the thinning shears with the other hand to gently remove excess bulk and create a more textured and natural-looking hairstyle. Avoid grabbing too much hair at once, leading to an uneven cut.

Begin Near the Ends

Start cutting about one inch above the ends of your hair to begin thinning. Depending on the length of your hair and how much thinning you want, you should continue upwards on the hair shaft. However, remember to stay clear of your crown area.

Hold Shears on an Angle

Hold the thinning shears on an angle with the ends pointed down to the floor or facing the top of your head for a soft and blended look.

Cut and Glide

Make a single cut in the strands and glide the shears down to the ends of the hair. This movement will remove the cut hair, and you should see instant results. After each cut, manipulate the hair and see how it naturally falls into place before making more thinning cuts. Keep the shears closed after each cut to minimize the number of thinning cuts.

Aftercare for Thinning Hair

The question often asked about using texturizing and thinning shears is whether they will damage hair. It’s a valid concern, as a poor haircut with these scissors can ruin your hairstyle and cause hair to fall out in just a few weeks. 

However, it’s important to note that thinning shears won’t destroy the structure of your hair. Most experienced hairdressers or barbers will only use these tools during the last 10% of your haircut, and if they have a sharp pair of scissors, there should be no irreversible damage or split ends.

That being said, if your hair is thinned too much or cut too short, it can expose your hair tips to the elements, which can cause more damage.

Hair health is affected by many factors, and as we age, our hair naturally becomes thinner and harder to regrow after damage. So it’s essential to give your hair the boost it needs after thinning and to protect it by taking the right vitamins and minerals.

How often should you use Thinning Shears?

Thinning hair with shears should be done sparingly, ideally, only once every month or two, to avoid causing damage. However, overdoing it can lead to harm, so if your hair is too thick to manage with shears, consider exploring other options.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • The first step in using thinning shears is to make sure your hair is dry. This is because wet hair can be over-thinned, resulting in an uneven cut. Once your hair is dry, use a fine-tooth comb to remove any knots or tangles.
  • When using the thinning shears, take small sections of hair between two fingers and hold the shears in the other hand. Taking one-inch sections of the hair ensures you do not grab too much hair at once.
  • It is important to avoid using thinning shears near the root or halo area of your head, as thinning this area can cause significant hair problems. Instead, to create a single cut, keep the shears closed while gliding them down to the ends of the hair. The movement will remove the cut hair, and you should see instant results.
  • Thinning too much can result in undesirable results, so taking it slow and working methodically is best. However, with the proper technique, thinning shears can be a great tool to add texture and depth to your hair.


In conclusion, thinning shears can offer many benefits for a perfect haircut. Whether you want to add texture, create a flattering look, or manage your hair more quickly, thinning shears can help you achieve your desired style.

To achieve the best results, it’s essential to do your research, choose the right scissors, test the look before you cut, and follow the correct technique. By following these simple steps, you can create a modern, youthful, and textured hairstyle that is manageable and stylish. You can achieve a salon-quality haircut home with the right tools and techniques.

Additionally, thinning shears can help fine-haired people have a bulkier look while allowing thick-haired people to have a flatter approach. Overall, thinning shears can provide many benefits that help you achieve the perfect haircut at home. With the proper knowledge and techniques, you can master thinning shears and enjoy a new, modern, youthful hairstyle that will turn heads.

 Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Can thinning shears be used on all hair types?

Thinning shears should not be used on curly hair as they could cause damage and increase frizz. In addition, curly hair requires more nurturing to maintain healthy and bouncy curls; thinning scissors can hinder this process.

  1. Will thinning my hair with shears make it look thinner overall?

Thinning your hair with shears can make it look thinner, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be less dense. Instead, it removes some of the bulk from your hair, creating a textured and layered look that can create the illusion of thinner hair.

  1. Can I use thinning shears on my hair at home?

According to experts, thinning shears can be safely used at home with the right precautions, although there is still room for error. Unlike hair-cutting scissors, thinning shears have a softer edge, which reduces the risk of accidental hair section chopping or self-injury.

  1. How often should I get my hair thinned professionally?

To achieve your desired hairstyle, the frequency of getting a thinned haircut is a personal decision. Generally, it is suggested to get a thinned haircut every three to four months.

  1. Can using thinning shears cause damage to my hair?

Incorrect use of thinning shears can cause more harm than benefit. Over-thinning or starting too close to the root can lead to spiky and static hair, which is undesirable. It can also damage the hair ends, making it look stringy.

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