Hair and beauty shows can be one of the best places to shop for shears. There may be dozens of companies to choose from with several styles from each vendor. The choices can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you through your dilemma.
• Do Your Homework First, know yourself. Have an idea of the type of shear, price range and possible companies you want to explore. Your style of shear can be determined by your needs and cutting style. Second, know the companies. Go on the internet and read about the various brands of shears that you may see at the show and have some models in mind that you would like to try. If the show has a website with booth locations, map out a plan to visit the booths of the companies you plan to compare. Be skeptical of any company that is not large enough to have a professional website and toll-free number. A shear is only as good as the company that backs it up.
• Test drive the shears Shears are like cars. You can’t really tell how they operate unless you actually cut hair. Some shears will feel sharp and smooth but will pull, bend and rip the hair. Take pieces of hair extension with you in case the vendor does not provide hair for testing the shears. If they do not let you cut with their shears, do not buy them. Go to another vendor. After you select your shear for purchase, perform another test cut with the actual shears you are buying. Top quality shears are hand finished and will have small variances in the way they feel and cut. Palm the shears and maneuver them in a manner you would most likely manipulate the shears when in a salon. Test driving shears is the best way to determine the quality and the suitability of the shears.
• Beware of Imitators One of the disturbing trends in the beauty shear business is imitating. Sometimes the shears may be marked with a different country of origin. Sometimes the company may give their shears a similar name as a well known name-brand shear changing the word by only one letter or leaving a letter out. When you do your homework write the names of the brands of shears you researched in a notepad with the spelling double checked. A third type of imitator is the most disturbing. There are several counterfeit shears on the market made of inferior metal and workmanship. It is hard for a stylist to recognize knock-offs, although a price that seems unusually low can be a tip. Be sure you purchase any name-brand shears direct from the manufacturer or authorized distributor. Most websites will list the authorized distributors for their brands.
• Verify the Warranty Most shears today have a life time warranty. Ask what their life time warranty really covers. Will they replace the shears if they are dropped and break in half? Are there warranty centers in your area? Can you use a local sharpener and keep your lifetime warranty? Some manufacturers require you to use their company for sharpening in order to keep your warranty. Sharpening for these companies can be as much as $60.00 per pair plus shipping, and you must have a back-up pair while your shears are getting serviced. Some offer “Free Sharpening” but you must include $20.00 shipping and handling and $35.00 if the shears have any nicks. Once you add shipping your free sharpening can cost you nearly $50.00! If you buy shears that require you to use the “factory” for sharpening it is unlikely that they are actually sent overseas to the factory. Most have an hourly worker here in the
In general with a little planning, purchasing shears at a hair show can be a rewarding experience. Once you find a brand that you are satisfied with, it is best to stick to that brand. Many stylists come to identify themselves with a particular type of shear much as an athlete will use only brand of shoes and gear. In any case, shears are the most important tool on your station so make your selection carefully.