Scissors University©

Thumb Pressure

What You Need To Know About Scissors©

Many things come into play when we discuss scissors, and why thumb pressure is such an issue with excessive wear, and blade damage. 


There are three Basic Career Disciplines related to the use of scissors, and those are to have proper edge, a correct tension setting, and a relaxed hand. Each of these disciplines are intertwined with the others, and this becomes obvious with this class on Thumb Pressure.



This is what takes place when using your scissor that has a proper tension setting.

"Also see my Upper Hand Control video for a full demonstration”.

  • Scissors require a relaxed hand and a loose moving thumb to cut with perfection.

  • In other words, the scissors need to feel balanced and weightless; the fingers are relaxed; the thumb does not hold any weight, and can move freely because the small finger stabilizes the scissors weight, with just a slight, and constant downward push.

  • It is essential that the small finger push slightly downward on the finger rest, this allows the fingers to stay relaxed, and to comfortably hold the handle. The fingers should easily bend at the first joint and drape over the handle, but, not with any firmness.

  • This frees up the thumb to gently touch the handle ring, yet barely entering it.

  • Because the thumb does not hold any of the scissors weight, it will have an exceptionally smooth up and down motion; as well as allowing the scissors a free range of radial, and directional movements, by directing the handle with your fingers.

  • The thumb should only lightly touch the handle ring and barely enter inside.

  • Never push or pull the thumb against the handle ring, as this causes the blade to have excessive pressure, that will tear the hair instead of a smooth clean cut.


Why scissors malfunction when the tension setting is ignored.

  • The tension setting stabilizes blade movement, when the adjustment loosens, the hand unconsciously overcompensates. 

  • As the blades become loose the contact point of the edge has separated causing the blades to malfunction, slightly at first, then increasing over time as the tension becomes even more loose. 

  • Hence the recommendation that the scissors tension be check for accuracy daily!

  • The fingers that need to be relaxed while holding the scissors handle, unconsciously form a tighter grip, giving a false sense of control.

  • The thumb which was just touching the handle ring, now slips inside the ring, allowing the full weight of the scissor to lay on the thumb.

  • Immediately, the small finger lifts off the finger rest and your ability to produce a precise haircut is diminishing.

  • You will now notice that the blade will start to droop causing even more overcompensating, your elbow starts to lift to regain the scissors balance,

  • When the thumb naturally flexes, the fingers tighten their grip, and this manipulates the blades, and forces the scissors to cut. This push and pull motion caused by the thumb is the problem, versus a smooth blade going up and down cutting action.

  • As the tension incrementally loosens, the thumb slips deeper into the handle ring, and the fingers tighten their grip causing even more hand stress.

  • Now the blades are flexing and that causes blade damage, bending, pushing, and pulling of the hair while cutting.

  • However, when the tension is properly set, the scissors will cut effortlessly.

Thumb Pressure
00:00 / 03:38
Hand holding scissors properly.
Perfect Thumb Control

The results of not setting a scissors tension, is premature dulling of the blade, possible repetitive stress injury, and it forces you to produce an inferior haircut.  


Take the 5 seconds each day to prepare your scissors for a perfect haircutting experience.


Once you start adjusting the tension the thumb can relax, and allow the scissors to work properly. The ease of cutting is immediately obvious and that alone is worth your effort.