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5 Ways to Use Hair Scissors (Shears) for Maximum Length Retention

When most of us began our hair journey, we tried to read all we could on ways to grow our natural hair long. Some of us even did a lot of research on hair products which would make our curls pop and grow them long. Then after we’ve accumulated all the products we read about online, we then started to accumulate hair tools and accessories to make our twist outs and up-dos look cute.

Then once we started enjoying our cute afros, we were then told to go get ourselves a pair of scissors so that those curls of ours can grow long and the end of our hair would look and feel better.  Initially, this didn’t make sense to a lot of us, but a trial and error with more research has helped many of us to understand the importance of a pair of hair scissors in one’s hair journey.

When reading about shears, the majority of hair articles only talk about its primary purpose of trimming split ends. And since many naturals would choose to go to the salon to get their hair trimmed by a professional, they might not even see the use in getting a tool which they will never get to use.

But, did you know that your hair scissors have a greater potential that what you’re currently using them for?  To get the most out of your scissors, here are 5 ways that I use them to manage length and to keep my hair healthy.

1. Trim Tangles: We’ve all been advised to use our fingers instead of harsh tools such as combs and brushes to detangle our hair. But we’re rarely told how to effectively remove those tangles from our hair without causing damage. I myself am guilty of tearing off tiny tangles and knots out of my hair when I come across them. While you might think that ripping those tangles out of your hair is no big deal, a microscopic view of the ripped strands will show split ends which can be damaging to the hair and can reduce length retention. So to prevent the unnecessary damage, I always make sure that I have my shears within reach so that I can neatly trim off the tangles without ripping through my hair.

Photo: Pinterest

This is what happens when you pull and rip through the hair

2. Trim SSKs (Single Strand Knots): Similar to tangles and knots, single stranded knots can easily get tangled and knotted with other strands of hair, which can be a nightmare to detangle and remove. For those who do search and destroy whereby they look for individual strands of hair with a knot on it, they can be easily tempted to use their nails as scissors. However, if you want to eliminate SSKs from your hair, the best tool to use is a pair of shears, not your long nails.  This isn’t only healthier; it’s also faster because you can quickly and easily trim those knots without causing damage.

3. Trim Stray Shed hair: Have you ever come across a hair strand which seems to be twice the length of your actual hair? If you looked close enough on that hair, you will immediately notice that the bottom half of the hair is a shed hair that is tied to the ends of an unshed (still attached to the roots) neighboring hair.  Rather than being deceived by an accelerated growth, many of us would immediately yank that stray hair away and continue styling. But next time you come across stray, dangling hair like that, simply pick up your shears and trim it off just above the knot. This will reduce damage to the attached hair and help you grow healthier hair.

smooth ends

A smooth end which has been neatly cut

 4. Smooth Finish: The reason why the ends of our hair are thinner than its roots is simply due to a significant loss of the cuticle layers as the hair grows further away from the roots. The reason for the gradual shedding of the cuticle layers as the hair ages is simply due to hair manipulation which happens each time we style our hair or put products on it.  So rather than hanging on to these frail and thin ends, some naturals such as Cynthia of SimplyCyn would trim tiny amounts off the ends of their twists so that her twists would look more smooth, thicker and plum, particularly at the ends.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should be trimming your twists each week, but this is a way that some naturals manage their length, so that the ends aren’t significantly thinner than the rest of the hair. They will also only do this at a spaced out interval, say every month or so.

Split Ends

This is what your ends looks like when you tear it. Photo:

5. Trim split ends: This is probably the most popular time when we use our shears and it’s probably the only time many women use their scissors. Trimming with a pair of sharp shears which is exclusively for your hair allows you to get rid of dead ends which are very damaging to the overall health of your hair. Because trimming split ends takes a while, it only makes sense to use your hair scissors, just as long as you don’t end up trimming too much length off and you space out the time you do it.

 What other ways do you use your shears? Do you find that your hair look and feels better with the regular use of your scissors? Have you seen an increase in length now that you employ your scissors rather than your nails? Will you be trying any of these methods?