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Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out in the business, there are some basic tools that belong in your kit.
We’re talking two pairs of shears that cover all the bases, a powerful yet lightweight blow dryer, a versatile curling iron, a razor, a paddle brush, a thermal round brush, a set of combs, clips for sectioning and a water bottle that makes it easy to keep hair moist throughout the haircut.
Our advice is to do your homework before making any purchase and to consider the tools of your trade as an investment. After all, it’s your livelihood that’s at stake. To make things easy, we’ve come up with a list of 10 items that are absolutely essential for building the perfect hairdresser’s tool kit.
The standard size most hairdressers use is between 5.5 inches and 6.5 inches depending on the results they want. A 5.5 inch shear is ideal for precision cutting, while a longer shear, say, between 6 and 7 inches, works well for bigger jobs like large sections, compressed cutting, and deep texturizing.
A longer shear also reduces the time it takes to execute a one-length bob or a scissor-over-comb technique and allows you to comfortably cut the hair around a client’s face. Want the best of both worlds?
Our favorite “do everything” shear is a professional 6.25” shear. An ergonomic shear in this size is large enough to handle any job from layering techniques to cutting one-length styles but not so long that it’s uncomfortable to use every day behind the chair.
When you want to remove weight in a hurry, soften lines or add controlled texture, you need a blending shear. Sometimes called a thinning shear, this versatile tool has evenly spaced teeth on one side and a straight blunt blade on the other.
Look for a professional blending shear (also called a professional thinning shear or professional texturizing shear) with a moderate removal of weight so that it can be used for softly removing lines, texturizing, and adjusting weight balance within a shape. For best performance, the blending shear should have convex blades and opposing grip handles so that it is reversible.
What’s a hairdresser without a blow dryer? Out of work. Next to your shears, it might be the most important tool in your kit.
You want something light enough that it won’t feel like you’ve been lifting weights at the end of the day, and look for cutting-edge ionic technology, which speeds up drying time, reduces damage and leaves locks looking shiny and frizz-free.
Our favorite is a professional ionic blow dryer with ceramic tourmaline. Weighing in at less than a pound, it delivers powerful airflow, yet it’s whisper-quiet.
If you can have only one iron in your kit, make it a 1” curling iron. It’s versatile enough to create a variety of looks because the barrel is not so small that you end up with tight ringlets, yet it’s big enough to deliver just the right amount of bend and wave.
Wrap the hair around the barrel using different techniques and get curl that runs the gamut from loose to polished and sophisticated.
For professionals, we always recommend a marcel curling iron because of the control and diversity in techniques that can be created versus a spring curling iron.
This is one tool that’s a must for removing hair quickly while building incredible texture. Want hair with a lived-in look that’s not so clean and precise? Use a razor.
For more versatility, look for a razor with interchangeable blades that are suitable for classic straight-razor cutting, blending and texturizing. Also, an ergonomic finger design keeps your hand in a natural position, which reduces strain, so look for this feature on your next razor purchase.
When it comes to quickly and safely detangling hair, there’s nothing like a paddle brush to do the trick. It’s also the brush of choice for flat-wrapping or volume wrapping hair before finishing.
Another plus: The wide, rectangular surface is ideal for creating tension across a large surface while blow drying.
Look for a design with a soft cushioned base and ball-tipped nylon bristles infused with tourmaline. This will create more tension and shine within the hair with less work.
A variety of combs will make any job easier—creating clean sections when cutting, coloring or styling hair; scissor-over-comb or clipper-over-comb techniques; and separating, straightening and styling the hair.
A Comb Set featuring a tail comb, a short cutting comb, a long cutting comb and a wide cutting comb will cover all of the bases.
Choose ivory and black colors to maximize visual contrast between dark and light hair. Also look for professional combs crafted from carbon fibers, silicone and graphite resins, these combs provide the smoothest glide possible and can stand up to 450 degrees of heat.
Clips are ideal for sectioning hair while styling, cutting or coloring. Still, not all clips are created equal. Look for ones that provide maximum grip on dry hair so you can isolate large sections of hair when dry cutting. You also want a clip that won’t leave marks, a must for creating pristine upstyles.
Dry sectioning clips are a great option because they can still be used on wet hair but will minimize creases and lines on dry hair.
Every hairdresser should have a water bottle that fits easily in their hand while lightly misting or quickly saturating the hair. Prolonged, continuous spray is a great feature found in many newer water spray bottles.
A round brush is an absolute necessity when it comes to executing flawless blowouts, but it’s important to choose the right size for the job.
A small barrel is best for styling short hair, a medium barrel creates fullness at the base, and a large barrel is ideal for long, loose waves or straight looks with body.
A round brush can also transform fine hair, making it look fuller and thicker. Search out a brush with the perfect combination of nylon and boar bristles to create maximum volume and shine.
If there’s money in your budget to add one more tool to your arsenal, we suggest a texture iron or some call it a mini crimping iron. They can create up to 3x the volume and texture in hair. Use it to build a foundation for long-lasting updos and wedding styles or to create bulk for thicker braids. This is a tool you never knew you needed, but once you have it, you can’t live without it!