How to Use Thinning Shears

Getting the best look for your hair is a significant part of your life. This is regardless of whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you get to attend to other businesses or work.

As a hairdresser, you must have in your possession some specific tools for this kind of job. One of the most important ones that we’ll look at today is thinning shears.

Thinning shears play a vital role in controlling the look and feel of your hair. Apart from managing the shape and length, they can also give you the desired texture. And unlike normal scissors, thinning shears have a set of teeth that selectively trims your hair.

Now, thinning shears are a great tool in that you can use them on yourself or pets like dogs.

Let’s find out more about this below…

What is a Thinning Shear?

A thinning shear is a special type of scissors that helps to reduce weight and hard lines from your hair. They have special blades that have texturizing teeth on one side and a plain sharp arm on the other. These sets of teeth are what help the thinning shears to give an even, clear cut on your hair.

Contrary to how some people use them, you should not use thinning shear for shaping. Instead, employ them when you want to style or decorate your already-shaped hair. That way, you will get better-outlined results.

Types of Thinning Shears Available

There are several different types of thinning shears that you or your hairdresser may use.

What you pick, of course, depends on the type of work you want to get done on your hair. What sets each thinning shears apart is the number of teeth they have on their blades. Also, what determines the work each shear will do is how spaced the teeth are.

Thinning shears with closer-spaced teeth serve a different function from wider-spaced ones.

Some of the main thinning shears include:

  • Blending and texturizing shears
  • Chunky weight removal shears
  • Finishing shears

Let’s look at them in detail below:

a. Blending and Texturizing Shears

They are among the most versatile pair of shears. Put to use, blending and texturizing shears can cut a range of 40 to 70% of your hair. These types of shears will serve you well when leveling your hair texture in different areas. They can also enhance a smooth blending of hair from just a few cuts.

Generally, most texturizing or blending shears have about 25 teeth on their blade. The finer each set of teeth is, the more weight removal happens and the better the blending experience.

b. Chunky Weight Removal Shears

Chunky hair removal shears have a much wider alignment of teeth on their blades. You will find that most of them have a range of about 7 to 15 teeth on their blades.

Chunky removal shears are a perfect fit for you if you happen to have pretty thick hair.

Hesitate using this type of shears if you have thinner hair as it can leave ugly holes in your set strands. When cutting, they can gobble up 40 to 80% of your hair from a single slice with great ease.

The best thing about this type of shears is that they also work well on curly hair.

c. Finishing Shears

As their name suggests, this type is normally meant for ‘finishing’ the thinning process. Most of the time, you will spot your hairdresser resorting to a pair of finishing shears to ‘polish’ your hair after thinning with the other two.

Finishing shears have a much finer set of teeth numbering about 15 to 22 teeth in total. They won’t do much by themselves and will require multiple runs for you to see their effect. That is why it’s mostly used as a last resource for your touch-ups.

Finishing shears give heavy hair a softer texture and a more ventilated layering.

Is Using Thinning Shears Safe?

Up to now, there haven’t been any freak incidents to render thinning shears unsafe. As a matter of fact, thinning shears have gotten more use with several groomers also using them on pets. This is because they can function as a multiple-purpose tool while remaining equally effective.

When looking at their build, you’ll notice that they have softer cutting edges compared to normal scissors. This prevents accidental cutting of hair or injury on the user as you handle the tool.

Despite that, here are a few things that I feel you ought to know when handling thinning shears:

Make sure you get the appropriate thinning shear for the job

You must understand the functions of the various types of shears available. Equally, you must also know what exactly it is you want to do with your hair. Answering the two questions will help you select the best thinning shear for your hair.

That way, at least, you will avoid using the wrong set of blades and cause damage to your hair.

With that said, the most user-friendly types of shears include blending or texturizing and finishing shears. It is quite easy to give your hair that unique lift with a texturizing shear all by yourself.

Finishing shears, on the other end, will help you remove excess hair from your hair’s length. You only need to apply them from the middle of your hair length, down to the tips.

Know your cutting location

Aside from where you want to place your cut, the direction in which the shear faces matter a lot. When not done right, you may end up overcutting your hair and still get an awful finish.

For placement, positioning the thinning shears too close to your scalp is also not advisable. This is especially when you use wider-spaced shears as they can create ghastly holes in your hair.

Cutting too close to your scalp might cause you to have shorter hair.

On the other side of the tracks, placing your thinning shears in an opposite direction is also bad. When the teeth look away from the direction of your hair growth, then you’ll get unwanted, chunky cuts.

Know the type of hair you have

As I mentioned earlier, you’re best suited to using chunky weight-removing shears if you have thick hair. The same also applies if you have a middle-range weight type of hair.

For fine, straight hair, your go-to accessory should be the blending and texturizing shears. They are a great option for softening out harsh lines on your tips and lengths.

Important to note though is that whatever your hair type, you should not overuse thinning shears. If you overuse shears on long hair, you may end up having thin, worn-out, and brittle strands.

Also, over-relying on thinners can make your hair lose shape, something that we should all avoid. Always remind yourself that thinning shears are for improving hair texture more than length.

How to Use Thinning Shears at Home

Using these types of shears should not give you trouble while using them at home. The procedures are pretty straightforward and you’ll be in and out in a jiffy.

Let us look at the various ways in which you can use thinning shears at home.

They include:

i. To Blend Fine and Shorter Hair

To blend fine and shorter hair, you should:

  1. Wash and completely dry off your hair.
  2. Use the scissor-over-the-comb method on 2 different points on your hair’s length.
  3. Brush the comb and thinning shears upwards and out. Ensure that you keep the teeth facing upward and the flat end at the bottom where you grip.

ii. Thinning Out Regular Hair

To thin out medium to long hair, you should:

  1. Brush your hair to remove any signs of entanglement.
  2. Once you smoothen your hair, separate it into manageable sections for easy handling. You can use hair clips to hold the different sections in place.
  3. Loosen one of the sections and comb it some more to make it straighter. In the last pull of the comb, do not go the entire way and hold the hair a few inched from the tip.
  4. Insert your thinning shears into the held-out section of hair. Ensure that you have placed the shears’ teeth facing upwards and towards your roots.
  5. Comb your hair with the shears in place.
  6. If the results are still bulky, you may turn the shears’ tips to face downward. Re-insert them at the same spot where you started and have another go. That should give you a successful thinning for that particular area on your hair’s length.
  7. Comb through the thinned-out part to remove hanging strands cut out from that section. You may use your hands to pull out stuck strands or just wait until you hit the showers.
  8. Release another section of hair and repeat the steps above. You should move to start from the front of your head, slowly towards the back. Also, follow the upward then downward tip placement formula to get uniform results. If you do it randomly, your hair may end up looking very unnatural.
  9. Comb your hair through when done and check whether you need to make corrections. If yes, then use finishing shears.

iii. Texturizing Tips

To get soft, natural tips on your hair, you should:

  1. Separate your hair into sections using your hands and not a comb.
  2. Perform the steps for thinning highlighted above on the exposed tips.
  3. Make your movements slow when starting from the middle of your hair to the tips. Excessive thinning can destroy the shape and texture that you might have already established.

Note: Only use texturizing shears if you’re handling hair that’s right below your crown. This prevents shortening the layers when you thin from top to bottom.

iv. Thinning Thick Hair

Thinning thicker hair may require a slightly more different approach to hack the process.

To do it:

  1. Wash and dry off your hair so that you can see your progress as you move.
  2. Cut your hair just like when thinning regular hair.
  3. Comb through the hair several times to see whether you’ve achieved the look you wanted.
  4. Use varying angle placement of the shears to give your hair a more natural look.
  5. Work through the sections in chronological order to avoid unruliness.

v. Texturizing Bulky Tips

To texturize bulky tips:

  1. Take one section of hair from your head and hold it aloft.
  2. Hold the tips of the section in one hand. Use your other hand to position the thinning shears horizontally against the tip of your hair.
  3. Cut the tips inwards from the outer edges. Also, thin and shape as you please while going at it.
  4. Repeat this technique for the remaining sections of your hair until you get your desired results.

How to Use Them on Your Dog

Thinning the fur cover on your dog is an important step to keeping your dog free and light.  In other cases, a vet may recommend thinning fur cover when a dog has an injury below.

The type of thinning shears used on dogs has blunt tips, teeth, and moderately curved blades. This build makes it easier to work around areas like the dog’s ears, muzzle, and anus.

For dogs, thinning shears help to blend in clipped hair with scissor-cut hair. It’s also great for blending clipped hair with unclipped hair.

Now, thinning shears with finer teeth will give your dog a fuzzier and softer look after the cut.

All that aside, you’ve seen the use and importance of thinning shears on human beings. So, how can you use them to groom your dog at home?

Take a look at the steps highlighted below:

  1. Make your dog stand on a secure, non-slip platform. It should have some elevation such that the dog’s back levels with your chest.
  2. Steady your dog’s stance by slipping a leash through his head and tying it somewhere above its head. Make sure that the leash is not so tight that it brings discomfort to the dog.
  3. Comb through the dog’s coat with a fine-toothed comb gently. (Set apart the hair you want to cut out as you do this)
  4. Position the thinning shears in a way that the base is against the body. The tips should always point away and upwards towards the ceiling.
  5. Cut the hair back to the length that you want. Start below at the paws and move upwards when working around the limbs. For the rest of the body, start in front near the neck, and move back towards the rump.

Hint: Always take a few breaks in between the cuts to assess whether you’re headed in the right direction. Also, put the fine comb between the dog’s body and the thinning shears to avert injuries.


Knowing how to use thinning shears will help you blend and enhance the texture of your hair. Depending on the type of hair you have, you may need texturizing, finishing, or chunky weight-removing shears.

Blending or texturizing shears work best for normal thinning and shaping of regular hair. If you have thicker or denser hair, the chunky weight removing shears will work as it has wider teeth. The finishing shears are only recommended for making final touches over your already thinned hair.

Hope you had a blast!


Which of the techniques listed above appeals to you? Have you groomed your dog with thinning shears before? What was the experience like? Feel free to share and ask me any questions in the Comments Section below!

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