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German or Japanese

Posted by Mark Waterworth on

German or Japanese: What's the Difference?

What is a Japanese Style scissor? Is it different than a German Style scissor? 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 today.

The Edge:

Japanese style scissors have very sharp edges that taper to a sharp point called a Convex Edge or Honed Scissor. 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 scissor to the back. This gives the scissor a smooth and quiet run. If we did not grind on the hone line, the scissor would run hard and loud.

(The run is the feel and function of opening and closing a scissor). If a scissor sharpener does not sharpen and re-hone your scissor correctly, the scissor will never feel like it did when it was new. But if sharpened correctly, the scissor often feels and cuts better than when it was new!


A German scissor has flatter edges than a convex scissor. 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.



Now we come to the performance differences between the Japanese (convex edge) and German (bevel edge) scissors. Because of its very sharp edges, the convex scissor cuts through hair smoothly and efficiently, with less force. The convex scissor 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 scissor. It also has a tendency to push the hair more than a serrated bevel edge scissor.

The bevel scissor is very durable. It holds the hair very well and does not push it forward. It is the scissor 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 scissor.

So we rate the scissors as follows:

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

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

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