Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hot scissors hit Charlotte

So have you heard about this “hot scissor haircut” method?

It started gaining attention in the U.S. toward the end of 2013, mainly in NYC, but has apparently been wildly popular in Europe and Russia for ages.

Essentially, a pair of scissors are plugged in and heated (to between 230 and 338 degrees, depending on your hair type) and are supposed to be the silver bullet for split ends.

In theory, the heat seals the end of each hair, helping to retain moisture and manage split ends, as well as keep styles looking fresh longer.

To read the Jaguar TC Thermocut page, they describe it not as a haircut, but a wellness treatment:

"Fine hair will be given more volume, split hair will become healthy and more resistant, permed hair will be given more elasticity, dull, brittle hair will be regenerated, every type of hair will be easier to style."

A segment that aired in October on the "Today" show is partially credited with having brought one of the first pairs of hot scissors to Charlotte, said Zahava Thornton, co-owner of Poza Salon in Myers Park.

Thornton learned about and researched the growing trend online, she said, and clients began mentioning the "Today" show segment. So several weeks ago, Poza invested in a set of the $1,400 scissors, patented as the Thermocut system by Jaguar (not the car company) and made in Solingen, Germany.

So far, Thornton is loving the results. “Everyone's always looking for a split end cure.”

What many people don't realize is that a hair is fibrous, like a strand of yarn or ribbon, she said. “Ends unravel and with heat, sun exposure, from your flat iron ... (the damage) works its way up.

“So once an end is split, it’s probably split at least an inch up … This kind of cauterizes the ends.”

Thornton uses hot scissors on Racheal Haywood's hair.

Styling with hot scissors is ideal for several types: those who are growing their hair out, those who want to keep hair healthy without losing length, those maintaining the Ombre (two-tone color) look and those who want a very pronounced edge, such as China Doll bangs, Thornton said.

While one cut with hot scissors will provide improvement, those who use hot scissors five or six times will see the most benefit, Thornton said, as pre-existing damage is cut away.

An internet search of “hot scissor haircut, Charlotte N.C.” (and a number of variations) doesn’t turn up much, not even Poza Salon. The initial investment cost and relative newness of hot scissors has likely kept them off the local radar, Thornton said.

So because “hot scissors” are still a bit of a local rarity, you can expect to shell out money and time.

While no special training is needed, the heat element requires a stylist to slow down and hold the sheers differently to avoid burning themselves, Thornton said. (In all our Web trolling and research, we didn’t find any serious safety warnings, for stylist or client.)

Regularly, a haircut would take about 45 minutes, but a hot scissors appointment is allotted 1 1/2 hour.

At Poza, women’s haircuts range from $45-$105, and for the hot scissors method, an additional $50 is tacked on for the extra time needed. But so far, clients haven’t balked at the price, Thornton said. “The reaction has been to the difference you can feel at the ends.”

But as word of mouth spreads and the trend starts taking hold in Charlotte, more local salons will likely invest, especially with summer – months of sun, swimming and elemental damage – approaching, Thornton said.

Racheal Haywood after her hot scissor haircut on Tuesday