German or Japanese: What's the Difference?

What is a Japanese Style scissors? Is it different than a German Style scissors? Is one better than the other for different uses? Is there a difference in caring for different scissors? These are a few of many questions constantly asked in the beauty industry.

The Edge:

Japanese style scissors have very sharp edges that taper to a sharp point called a convex edge. These edges are very thin and sharp allowing the user to use all cutting techniques, including slide cuts, wisping, etc. Because the edges are so sharp, they would rub themselves dull on the hollow side of the edge. To keep this from happening, a hone line is ground in the hollow along the edge. The hone line is the thin flat line that you see on the hollow side of the edge that runs from the tip of the scissors to the back. This gives the scissors a smooth and quiet run. If we did not grind on the hone line, the scissors would run hard and loud. (The run is the feel and function of opening and closing a scissors). If a scissors sharpener does not sharpen and re-hone your scissors correctly, the scissors will never feel like it did when it was new, but if sharpened correctly, the scissors often feels and cuts better than when it was new!

A German scissors has flatter edges than a convex scissors. We call this a sword or bevel edge. Bevel edges are not as angled as a convexed edge, thus requiring one or both edges to be serrated or corrugated. Serrations are fine lines or teeth ground into the edge of one blade. The serration holds the hair, keeping it from being pushed forward.

The Performance:

Because of its very sharp edges, the convex scissors cuts through hair smoothly and efficiently, with less force. The convex scissors is constructed for slide cutting or wisping. It runs smoothly, quietly, and very lightly, however, it has the tendency to nick and dull faster than a bevel edge scissors. It also has a tendency to push the hair more than a serrated bevel edge scissors.

The bevel scissors is very durable. It holds the hair very well and does not push it forward. It is the scissors of choice for blunt and layer cutting, dry cutting and for the cutting of synthetic and coarse hair. Its major drawbacks are that one cannot slide cut with it, because of the serration, and it runs louder and rougher than a convex scissors.

Rating the scissors:

Bevel edge scissors:
Slide cutting / wisping 5
Layer cuts / Scissors over comb 10

Convex edge scissors:
Slide cutting / wisping 10
Layer cuts / Scissors over comb 9

See Also: Scissor Length

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