Taking proper care of your shears will not only improve the quality of your work, it will also prolong the life of your shears. General use, oils and hair, dust, and chemicals will all gradually wear at your scissors, causing corrosion. Proper maintenance is a must for quality long-lasting shears.
Your shears should be cleaned daily at the end of your workday. Clean them with warn, soapy water and dry thoroughly (with a soft cloth—not a hair dryer). Make sure there is no moisture left between the blades. Barbicide is a sterilizer, not a cleaner. If you sterilize with Barbicide, be extra vigilant in cleaning at the end of the day to remove any Barbicide residue.
Once your shears are clean and dry, you should lubricate the joint daily (or at least once a week), as well. Open the shears to 90º and put one or two drops of a quality shear lubricant into the joint. This will not only keep the joint functioning properly and smoothly, but it will also flush out any dirt and debris from underneath. Silicone-based lubricants are preferable to oils, because hair will not stick to the dry silicone film like it will oil.
To check the tension on your shears, open the scissors to a 90° angle and release the upper blade. Depending on your tension preference, the blade should either barely move (more tension), or move less than two thirds of the way (less tension). If your shears are too loose, the shears will fold the hair rather than cut it. If they are too tight, you may fatigue more quickly, and wear unnecessarily.
Different shears may have different adjustment methods. Generally, you will either tighten with a flathead screwdriver or coin, a tension adjustment nut, or sometimes a specialized key. As usual, it’s “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.” 😉
Be sure to store your shears in a case or other proper shear storage. Do not just toss them in a drawer. That is a good way to end up with dirty and/or damaged shears.
Besides keeping your shears properly cleaned and lubricated, you will want to be careful your shears are not damaged in a fall. Many stylists like to use a belt or holster to keep their shears safe when not in use throughout the work day. However, accidents happen. If your shears do drop, carefully check the blades for nicks or dents. If your shears are damaged, leave the blades open so you don’t worsen the damage. Your shears will need to be professionally serviced to correct the damage before they are usable again.
If you notice your shears are pushing the hair, or worse, pulling the hair as you cut, they may be getting dull. Most professionals will need their shears sharpened every 600-700 haircuts, or every 3-4 months. Like proper cleaning and lubrication, regular sharpening will prolong the life of your shears. A good professional sharpening service will not only sharpen, but inspect, balance, and properly adjust the tension on your shears.
Sheargear recommends Cricket Shear Service. Wherever you take or send your shears, check with other professionals to be sure it is a reputable service. A poor service can do as much damage as not servicing them at all.