When to Switch to a Swivel Shear


Cutting hair with the elbow down prevents carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain conditions. It’s all about ergonomics, and the one shear that allows a hairdresser to cut hair in any position with their elbow down is a swivel shear. This type of shear helps protect the wrist, neck, thumb tendon, shoulders, and back. 

“I find myself picking up a swivel shear with the trend of layers and shags in the last few years. With the elevation high, elbows tend to get extremely high and put our hands in an awkward position if you use a regular shear,” says Sam Villa, co-founder and chief creative officer of Sam Villa and global artistic ambassador for Redken. “Swivel shears allow you to hold your body in a natural position with your elbow down at your side at all times instead of rotating your shoulder.”  

When to switch to a swivel shear: 

  • Your wrist is bending severely when cutting, which can lead to injury. 
  • Your elbows are elevated and away from the body, straining the shoulders and causing repetitive strain injuries. 
  • Your thumb is too far in the finger ring. Only the fingertip should be inside—never go past the second knuckle as it minimizes control. 

Yes, change is hard, but it is the catalyst for evolution. There are five swivel shear cutting positions that increase mobility, provide relief from shoulder, wrist, and finger pain, and provide a wide variety of cutting positions that drastically reduce the physical effects of cutting hair. 

A good swivel shear should feel comfortable in the hand, stay incredibly sharp, and be durable. Look for these attributes: 

  • High-carbon Japanese steel with molybdenum alloy for strength. 
  • Cryogenic tempering for a really sharp edge that’s resilient. 
  • Balanced weight in the blade for easy maneuvering. 
  • Rotating thumb handle so hand is always in a natural position. 
  • A dual finger tang to help stabilize the top blade. 


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