Choosing the Right Scissors for You
Top Tips with Brand Ambassador Lorraine Mottershead
Top ranked groomer Lorraine has more than 30 years experience in the industry. She has won numerous awards and accolades through her career and her face became even more familiar when she was asked to be the demonstration groomer on the 2021 TV show Pooch Perfect. She has been a brand ambassador with Mutneys since 2020. She is the proud owner of three standard poodles, Chyna, Hilda and Romeo and two poochons, Domino and Vegas. She has shared with us her top tips for choosing the right scissors for you!
What advice would you give on choosing scissors?
When choosing the right scissors, it very much depends on what you want the scissors to do, what kind of coat you are working on and the finish you want to achieve. The choice of scissor is a very personal thing both to you and to the dog you are grooming.
My main piece of advice would be to make sure you see how the scissors feel in your hand where possible before you buy them. That way you can make sure they feel right and well-balanced. Your scissors are an extension of your hand and everyone’s hands are different so what is right for your hands may well be different to what suits another groomer.
Do you use the same scissors on every dog?
I have been trying out the Inari scissor range for Mutneys and I have used them daily in the salon and find them easy to use and suitable for several different breeds and types of coat. A good workhorse scissor is always a good addition to any collection.
You may use the same scissors regularly but knowing which blade or size you need for different types of coat, size of dog, parts of the coat or a particular finish is important knowledge for a professional groomer.
What would you suggest as a starter set for a new groomer?
A basic starter set would probably include three pairs of scissors but choosing those three is still a case of what suits you best – the feel and balance in your hand. It also depends on your price range. The most expensive scissors may not be the ones that suit your hands although they are likely to last longer.
I would suggest a set that includes a 7 to 7.5 inch blade, a finer pair for finishing and a curved blade pair. Your grooming supplies company will be able to give you good advice if you tell them exactly what you need the scissors for.
A large hairy pooch arrives in salon and the customer has asked you not to clip them off. Which scissors would you reach for?
You can scissor a larger dog as long as the coat is not too matted. So if it was something like a poodle cross with a 4 inch coat and the owner just wants some shape and for it to look cute and cuddly, you could scissor with a good strong pair of 7 to 8 inch scissors to reduce the coat and then choose a finer curved pair for shaping. But always make sure your dog is thoroughly bathed and prepped.
How do you look after your scissors?
A daily routine is a good way of looking after your scissors. At the end of each day you should wipe away any hair with a scissor cloth; apply a small drop of scissor oil to each blade and then wipe them off throughly.
Storing them in a protective pouch or scissor rack will also help prevent damage from being dropped. No one ever wants to drop a pair of scissors.
You also need to find a good scissor sharpening service – someone who really knows what they are doing and will tell you when your scissors have come to the end of their working life. A good quality pair of scissors will last for years and years if they are well looked after and properly sharpened.
How do you look after your hands?
It’s important to look after your hands to keep them strong and avoid things like carpal tunnel syndrome. After all they are vital to a groomer’s job. I have a set of hand exercises that I do every day where I stretch out my hands as far as they will go and then bring the thumb and each finger in turn into the palm of my hand.
The other exercise which will help your hands and improve your scissoring technique is to practise scissoring with an old pair of scissors against a wall or door – any flat surface. Open the scissors as wide as you would need to groom and practise scissoring a straight edge keeping as close to the wall as you can without touching it. Start slowly and speed up as your technique improves. It will help you develop a steady hand and build up your hand strength.
The American groomer Blake Hernandez has some really good tricks of the trade. Take a look at his YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e0G1-q20tM