SciTech

Local stylist invents Shearfuzion

Enrico Bellisario, a hair stylist in Oakland, uses Shearfuzion to style hair. Shearfuzion helps hair stylists cut hair with ease and helps reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.  (credit: Courtesy of David Huang) Enrico Bellisario, a hair stylist in Oakland, uses Shearfuzion to style hair. Shearfuzion helps hair stylists cut hair with ease and helps reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. (credit: Courtesy of David Huang)

While many might complain about the amount of money spent for something as trivial as a haircut, the hair stylist might actually be paying more. Stylists are at high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive hand motion accompanied by the high tension between the nerves of their fingers from using the scissors. However, local Oakland barber Enrico Bellisario has come up with an invention that could help alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Bellisario, the owner of Enrico’s Haircutting for Men, located on Fifth Avenue, once suffered severely from carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition in which the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the hand becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. One of the most vital functions of the median nerve is to control the impulses to small muscles in the hand that enable the fingers and thumb to move freely.

The carpal tunnel is the narrow channel of ligament and bones at the base of the hand that houses the median nerve. CTS often leads to a sensations of tingling, pricking, numbness, and muscle weakness in the hand. Most people who have this syndrome usually experience the symptoms gradually over time.
Early stages of CTS include frequent burning, tingling, and numbness in the palm and specific fingers, such as the thumb and index finger.

These symptoms usually appear during the night, since many people tend to bend their wrists when they sleep, which applies even more pressure to the carpal tunnel. People diagnosed with this syndrome may also have the urge to “shake out” their hands or wrists.

In later stages of CTS, the symptoms may occur during both the day and night. In addition, decreased grip strength results in difficulty grabbing things. Therefore, patients might notice increased incidents of dropping objects.

Bellisario noticed that CTS was a major hindrance for all hairstylists, including himself. In the past, cutting people’s hair using the ordinary scissor-comb switching method would cause extreme tension in his hands.

It was then that he came up with an invention that combined the scissor and the comb. After searching for three years, he finally found a Taiwanese manufacturer who could carry out his idea by using injection molding to attach the comb teeth to the scissors.

According to an article in the*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette*, his invention won a silver medal in the personal care product category at the InventHelp’s INPEX inventors’ show in June 2008, trailing only the Diamond Shades Long-Lasting Fragrant Face Mask by a Taiwanese inventor. Shearfuzion, the name of the final product, allows Bellisario to save an average of five minutes on each customer.

Using Shearfuzion, he stated, “There is no switching. You see, in the past, you comb, switch hands, and then cut. Now, you comb and then cut.” Also, his invention eases strain in the wrist and palm. “I was able to start cutting people’s hair again in a mere few days after getting better from my CTS syndromes. Usually it takes weeks to do that,” he said.

Shearfuzion is not only for professional stylists; it was designed to be easy for everyone to use.
“I know a lot of students who like to trim their hair from time to time, not to mention wives who love to cut their husbands’ hair,” Bellisario said. “Now they don’t have to worry about messing up their hair by cutting it too deep. And they can save huge time and money from going to a haircut place just to get a little trim for their date or interviews!”

More information about Shearfuzion can be found online at www.shearfuzion.com.