Thumb Pressure is one of the leading
º Fatigue and
pain in the fingers, hands, wrists, and arms
º Dull and
nicked scissor blades
|To warn you about
a serious problem that plagues many hair
stylists, the information below answers the following questions:
Horizontal Thumb Pressure?
Horizontal Thumb Pressure harmful to scissors and stylists?
Horizontal Thumb Pressure and how can I prevent it?
What is Horizontal Thumb Pressure?
Horizontal Thumb Pressure (HTP) is the force created by a
stylist pressing their thumb against, inward towards, or through the
of the handle of their scissors as they cut hair.
While a scissor may tolerate a
negligible amount of thumb
pressure, the majority of stylists exert far more horizontal pressure
advisable, unknowingly damaging their scissors and stressing their hand
process. Sadly, HTP
can quickly develop
into an unconscious habit that causes numerous problems.
How is Horizontal Thumb Pressure
(HTP) harmful to scissors
Put simply, HTP = dull scissors + hand fatigue.
significantly impairs the performance of high quality
scissors by grinding the inside edges of the blades as they open and
metal-on-metal friction erodes the
cutting edges, dulls the blades, and causes nicks.
The scissors’ performance swiftly
deteriorates, and the
degradation may be noticeable within a few weeks or even days. This premature dulling
causes stylists to
exert even more thumb pressure, and soon HTP becomes a chronic habit.
unaware that HTP damages scissors are often
disappointed and perplexed by a scissors’ failure to retain its
resign themselves to a vicious cycle of
repeatedly and frequently sharpening scissors that dull prematurely. This costly and
frustrating cycle can
continue for years before the root of the problem, HTP, is finally
importantly, HTP imposes undue stress upon a stylist’s
fingers, hand, and wrist. This
to hand fatigue, pain, cramping and, over time, ailments such as
repetitive motion syndrome (rms), carpal tunnel
syndrome (cts), and tennis elbow.
What is Vertical Thumb Movement
using a relaxed thumb to move the scissor handle in
an up and down (vertical) direction only; zero horizontal thumb
technique allows the
scissors’ pivot area and blade sharpness to generate the perfect amount
power to precisely and effortlessly cut.
The scissor handle with the finger
hole (known as the guide
blade) never moves. It serves as a stable base for fingers
are relaxed and in control, optimizing radial freedom but not
interfering with the scissors’ functions.
to HTP, VTMO™ is beneficial for both the stylist
and the scissor. It
optimal, maximizes cutting precision and consistency, and minimizes
and scissor wear.
VTMO™ is a
cornerstone of the Hikari scissor design.
Accordingly, Hikari scissors
best when the thumb moves in an up or down direction only. Any nonvertical movement,
force, or thumb
pressure, especially HTP, works against the scissors and will result in
the section below titled Use Vertical
Movement Only (VTMO™) Techniques for additional important
information on how to
effectively use Hikari scissors.
What causes Horizontal Thumb Pressure
(HTP) and how can I
below summarizes the primary causes of HTP and
practical, inexpensive measures to prevent HTP.
In order to
analyze your own cutting style and successfully
implement safeguards against HTP, please read the following important
Problem: A Locked
Thumb Leads to HTP
Many stylists lock their thumbs while they cut.
The drawbacks of a locked thumb
demonstrated by pointing your thumb as if you were a hitchhiker
ride. As you extend
and lock your
thumb, note how the muscles in the palm engage.
All the muscles in the hand are
firm and taut because a locked
thumb cannot relax and is prone to applying HTP.
In contrast, notice that when you
bend your thumb, the fingers,
hand, wrist, and arm all relax.
Vertical Thumb Movement Only (VTMO™) Techniques
Cutting with VTMO™ entails having a relaxed thumb, slightly
bent at the knuckle, and resting only the tip of the thumb in the thumb
the scissor handle. As
the thumb moves
vertically, the scissor handle moves up and down.
scissor handle with the finger hole (known as the guide blade) never
moves. The thumb movement puts only one of the handles in
This technique allows the pressure generated from the pivot
design and the sharpness of the blades to do all of the
Practice these five steps to cut with
Keep your thumb knuckle slightly bent at all times. This
your hand and wrist to relax and minimizes the tendency to
2. Insert only the tip of your
thumb into the thumb hole. This will maximize your range of
motion and protect you from applying HTP. To guard against
inserting your thumb too far through the hole, it may be helpful to put
a finger ring in the thumb
the tip of your thumb, while bending the knuckle, move the scissor
handle in an up and down direction only. Be careful
push or press the handle in any other directions or
Ensure the guide blade (the scissor handle with the finger hole) does
not move up or down; it should be completely still. A
guide blade serves as a stable base for your fingers to rest
upon; prevents HTP; and enables you to cut a precise,
your hand be at ease supported by the contours of the handle.
Refrain from gripping, pushing, pulling, or pressing the scissor with
force as this will retstrict your freedom of movement and inhibit the
scissors’ natural cutting stroke.
Results in Grinding
Over time the tension screw and washer in the pivot area of
scissors may loosen and settle. If
tension screw is not promptly adjusted, the scissor blades may become
misaligned or unbalanced, drastically harming the scissors’ performance. If the blades fail to meet
at the proper
angle or the pivot function is impaired, the scissors may bend, fold,
hair instead of cutting it, and the precision of the cut will be
HTP will be required to cut when using scissors with
A very easy, quick solution to avoid cutting with loose
tension is to check a scissors’ tension on a daily basis and adjust the
screw as appropriate. Checking
adjusting the tension can be completed in less than one minute and is
to maintaining the scissors’ performance and sharpness.
(Click here for information on how to
check your scissors tension).
Another simple but important preventative measure is to oil
your scissors daily. Hikari
oil is a
protective lubricant that fights rust and corrosion and helps the
as they flex across each other when cutting.
Scissors that are not regularly
oiled will dull very quickly due to the
friction between the blades. (Click
here for detailed instructions how to properly oil your scissor).
Memory Never Forgets Dull Scissors
Frequently, stylists “temporarily” use dull scissors in an
attempt to defer the expense and inconvenience of scissor sharpening. Unfortunately, dull
increased thumb pressure to cut, and even brief experiences applying
immediately incorporated into the hand’s muscle memory.
When dull scissors are eventually
the thumb’s muscle memory continues to apply the same excessive
when the scissors were dull. As
result, the newly sharpened scissors very quickly become dull, and the
cycle repeats itself.
Quality Backup Scissor
even intermittently applying HTP can quickly
become a dominant, stubborn habit, at the first signs your primary
dulling or require service, immediately switch to using your backup
quality, sharp, backup pair
of scissors is a must-have for all stylists, not only to address
circumstances, but to protect you from acquiring the HTP habit. An investment in a quality
backup scissor is
far less than the continuing expense of addressing the many problems
Blade Angle (and Non-Hikari) Scissors Require HTP
Lesser quality scissors usually require HTP to cut because
they lack the sharpness and balance to cut without it.
Similarly, non-Hikari sharpened
have higher blade angles that require HTP to cut.
Only Hikari scissors serviced by
Hikari have low blade angles
designed to cut with VTMO™. Moreover,
Hikari scissor serviced by any one other than Hikari will probably
to cut because non-Hikari sharpeners do not have the specialized
required to properly service or maintain the Hikari low blade angle.
Higher Quality Scissors
When switching or upgrading to a Hikari or a Hikari serviced
scissor, stylists must make a deliberate, concerted effort to relax
and refrain from exerting HTP. If
stylist continues to use the same substantial thumb pressure required
lower quality scissor, then like any high quality scissor subjected to
Hikari scissors will rapidly become dull.
VTMO™ is an effortless, precise cutting
technique, and scissors that induce or require HTP should be avoided. Only Hikari offers true
scissors that enable stylists to reap the many benefits of VTMO™.
We hope you have found these tips regarding thumb pressure
useful. For more
information on keeping
your scissors in top working condition, please see the care and maintenance
section of our website. Also
website is a care and maintenance video that
visually demonstrates all of the
concepts discussed in this article in a quick and easy to understand
As the only
scissor company founded and managed by
hairdressers, Hikari is passionate about the hair industry and hair
stylists! Our goal
is to provide you
with the tools and knowledge for an enjoyable and productive career. If you have any questions
maintenance, and thumb pressure, please call us at 1-800-445-2747.