Barber scissors are scissors which have been designed specifically for use in cutting hair. There are several different styles, including thinners and regular hair shears, and many hairstylists carry a personal pair of barber scissors which they maintain and prefer to use whenever possible. Hair supply companies usually stock a range of barber scissors, along with products for maintaining them, such as carrying cases and grinding stones.
The most distinctive feature of barber scissors is the finger rest, a small projection which protrudes from one of the loops of the scissors. Many companies make left and right hand versions of barber scissors, so that hairstylists can use scissors which are comfortable in their dominant hands. Using the appropriate scissors is also very important for hair cutting because the wrong scissors can result in a loss of control and a sloppy haircut.
The other critical feature of barber scissors is their sharpness. Good haircutting scissors should be razor sharp, with an edge which cuts hair almost as soon as it comes into contact with it. This prevents the mangling and splitting of the ends of the hair, and also prevents hair loss through pulling and strain. Many hairstylists sharpen their scissors on a regular basis, and the scissors may also be sent out to a specialist for periodic sharpening.
In salons, stylists usually do not use each other's tools, especially in the case of tools which are stored at an individual stylist's station. Some stylists even carry their barber scissors and razors with them in a carrying case wherever they go, to protect their personal tools and to be ready to cut hair anywhere. Carry cases for barber scissors and other supplies are usually heavily lined and padded so that the sharp blades inside are protected, and to prevent people from accidentally injuring themselves.
These extremely sharp scissors are perfect for the fine detail work of cutting hair, and they are not advised for other purposes. Stores which stock barber scissors may call them by a variety of names, including barber shears, hair shears, hair scissors, haircutting scissors, or just shears. Hairstylists usually try to keep a few pairs sharp and ready for use, and some grow attached to specific manufacturers, preferring their products when possible. Some people like to keep a pair at home for periodic touchups on their own hair, along with home haircuts, in which case it is a good idea to keep the scissors in a cool dry place away from children and pets to ensure that the scissors stay sharp and rust-free and to protect people from injury.