Originally used in the 40's and 50's.United States Armed Forces, and continued in black and Hispanic barbershops, the fade really rose to "pop culture" in the '90s with the likes of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
The fade haircut used to be seen as a bolder hairstyle that might not have been accepted in the workplace, but with the resurgence of the fade in recent years, this type of style has seen tremendous acceptance.
And with that, the fade haircut has only made a huge leap for all hair types in the last few years as more and more men wanted to pair it with almost every hairstyle imaginable.
Fades, skin fades, low, medium, and high fades are all types of fade haircuts, and it's easy to get confused as to what they are and how to order them.
So, here's our guide to what a fading haircut is and everything you need to know about it, plus some fading haircut inspiration.
Haircut by @tuckercuts
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What is a fade haircut?
What Are the Different Types of Fade Haircuts?
2. Low fade
3. Medium fading
4. High fade
5. What is skin fading/bald fading?
How do you ask your barber for a faded haircut?
Fade haircut inspiration
A fade essentially means a transition of lengths and colors at the back and sides of the hair. This means that the hair is not all tied up in one length and has a sort of mixed length variation.
The fade level - tapered, low, medium or high - is defined by how high the shortest section of hair rises on the head and begins to fade into another, longer length.
A fade can essentially be divided into 4 main categories based on the height of the fade on the head.
We've seen many definitions of taper vs. fade before, but most barbers describe a taper when there's a fade around the neckline or sideburns. This should be a small, subtle fade that is the lowest and least harsh of all fade types. Often used to fade the beard at the hairline or with longer hair on the sides to add something different!
Haircuts from top left: @nickbarford top right: @drewrys_ bottom left: @nickbarford bottom right: @nickbarford
At the top, there is a slight fade on the head side. Let's take a skin fade haircut as an example: going down to the skin leaves the skin too low and the fade to a longer length starts about a third of the way up the head. This is great for those who don't want a rough haircut but still want to add transition at the back and sides.
Haircuts from top left: @jakelansley_jbs top right: @nickbarford bottom left: @tuckercuts bottom right: @zeke_the_barber
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As with all of these, it's pretty much self-explanatory. The fade starts in the middle of the head and goes down the side of the head somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3. It is usually just above the height of the eyebrows and can frame the eyes well. It's also the maximum height you want to achieve if you have a longer head, as a high fade can make your head appear even longer.
Haircuts from top left: @anthonythebarber916 top right: @nickbarford bottom left: @zeke_the_barber bottom right: @patty_cuts
You guessed it, the worst of all blackouts! The high fade starts somewhere in the last third of the head and is the strongest of the four fades. When worn high and tight, the high fade can almost reach the crown before progressing to longer lengths, giving it a much more severe look.
Haircuts from top left: @hayden_cassidy top right: @nickbarford bottom left: @nomadbarberldn bottom right: @hayden_cassidy
When it comes to fade, skin fade haircut is often mentioned. A skin fade once again does what it says on the tin. This means that the hair side reaches to the bald skin. This is usually done with a razor (or sometimes even a straight razor) rather than a trimmer to really get an ultra-fine shave. A skin fade haircut can still be broken down into the four categories mentioned above;
Not all fades are skin fades - a fade is just the transition from one length of hair to another, so that doesn't mean you have to go to the skin to have a fade. Many people won't want to go down to 0, so you can still request any guard length attenuation. However, the skin fade is the most pronounced fade as you can see very clearly how the hair fades from bald to say 0.5 in 2 on the sides. On the other hand, if you start at number 2 and work your way up to number 3, it may not be as clear and obvious depending on your hair color and thickness.
Haircut by @patty_cuts
To ask your barber for a fade haircut, you really need to know 4 things:
1) How high do you want to go with the fade?Low, medium, high or tapered. Talk to your stylist to see what they think about your face shape, the look you want, and your lifestyle. The different fade heights also work with different face shapes and styles.
2) What do you want to achieve at the top?The gradient only defines the style of the back and sides, it is not a style itself. Find out what style you want on top(has some inspirations below).
3) How short would you like to go?Fading again only sets the style. It's not length per se. You'll want to know how short you want to go with the fade, like any other haircut: skin fade (completely bald), 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3?
To be safe, if you're not sure, start with a number 2 and ask your stylist to make it shorter if you want it shorter. It's better to start longer than to go short and not like it. Tell your hairstylist ahead of time that you're not sure how short you want to go so they can do a test run on your head so you can see. The last thing you want is to waste your barber's time, he finishes the fade and you're like, "We can actually go shorter."
4) Take a picture.If all of this sounds like a lot to you, just find a picture of what you want. By far the easiest way to get what you want and not worry about it is to show them a photo, or better yet, a few different photos. This ensures that you and your hairstylist are on the same page, rather than asking about a skin fade and not really knowing what it is or what it's going to look like.
Now that you know what the different fade levels are and how to style a fade haircut, here are some popular haircut inspirations that work great with a fade.
Short haircut with gradient
Haircuts from left to right: @hayden_cassidy, @hayden_cassidy, @poz.does.trims, @hayden_cassidy
Go for the cut with longer or shorter bangs depending mainly on your face shape and where your hairline is. Ask your stylist to add lots of texture for a structured look.
This haircut is often seen paired with a low to medium skin fade.to stylize use theArcilla Mate Regal Gentleman for a natural finish that enhances the texture of the haircut.
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Pompadour degraded haircut
Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @blackfishbry, @blackfishbry, @nickbarford, @blackfishbry
The faded pompadour is ideal for those who want to add some length at the top but like to keep the back and sides short. This will often be seen with gradual, low and mid fades rather than something very dramatic and loud. Since it's a classic style with lots of length on top, you probably don't want to be too harsh with this one. And you might also want to let it fade longer instead of going on the skin.To style, use a paste likeRegal Gentleman Texturpaste.
Buzz cut fade haircut
Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @mtominay, @hayden_cassidy, @nomadbarberldn, @jakelansley_jbs
The modern cut is often worn with a fade at the back and sides and a slightly longer length at the top compared to the more traditional length. This adds an element of style to the cut to show that you visited a barber and didn't do it yourself at home. The fade is usually worn quite high at a medium to high fade and is usually seen with an ultra short skin or #0 fade at the back and sides with a number between #1 and #5 at the top. No styling required, just get up and go!
Side part fading haircut
Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @blackfishbry, @blackfishbry, @domthebarberian, @blackfishbry
The side parting is a classic that most men have tried. Wear it with a low to medium fade for a softer look, but if you want something more outlandish it can easily be paired with a high fade as well. This is a versatile haircut that can be worn with any length on the back and sides. Use a medium to high shine pomade for stylingRoyal Caballero Salve.
Quiff Degraded Haircut
Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @tombaxter_hair, @alan_beak, @domthebarberian, @toastiestyles
The chignon can be worn in almost any desired length. We've seen a lot of shorter, structured chignons over the past 6 months, but the most classic chignon is a longer, mid-length style. The most important part of this cut is to leave more length in the front and add texture for a messier look.
The shorter and more textured you layer on top, the higher you can likely go with the fade, and if you leave more length on top you should probably go for low to medium fades.To style, use theArcilla Mate Regal Gentleman For a matte finish with strong but workable hold, perfect for the textured pompadour.
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Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @daniellebarr_3, @tuckercuts, @ruffians, @ruffians
The modern take on the undercut is the faded undercut, which leaves hair no longer as separated as it was in the past. The faded undercut will likely be seen more often with slightly higher fades from medium to high. How you style it will depend on how shiny you want your hair to be, but for a more versatile look use a paste likeRegal Gentleman Texturpaste.
Curly Cut Fade
Haircuts from top left to bottom right: @hayden_cassidy, @bentham_barbers, @handsome_._ransom, @cutsandbruisesbarbershop
Exactly the same as the faded undercut but this one is for guys with curly hair. The hair is often worn almost in a pony and the sides are kept in a medium fade.To style, use a salt spray likeRegal Gentleman SalzsprayApply to damp hair and finish with a leave-in conditioner or moisture-blocking product to protect your locks.
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A fade haircut is a cutting technique that tapers the hair so it eventually “fades” into the skin. Generally, this involves keeping it longer on top and gradually shaving closer down the sides and back. This hairstyle is also called the “military reg”, as it mimics the traditional cut given to men in the service.What do I need to know about fades? ›
A fade is a style that incorporates a transition of lengths on the sides and the back of the head. Contrast this with a buzz cut, which features all one length on the top, the sides, and the back of the head. For you artsy folk, a fade is a gradual transition of hair density from thick to sparse in varying speeds.What is a fade haircut black? ›
Undercut Fade Haircut
In all versions of this haircut, ultra-short sides are contrasted with a longer top section. A mid fade is a great choice for mimicking a classic undercut's disconnected look, while dreads, twists, or braids provide a cool contrast with the faded sides.
The level of the fade - taper, low, mid or high is defined by how high the shortest part of the hair goes up the head and starts to transition into another longer length.What are the two types of fades? ›
While there are quite a few variations of the fade, the most popular styles include the razor fade, skin/bald fade, temple, burst, drop, flat-top and high top fades. Each style provides different possibilities, and gives your hair a look unique to that style.Does a fade look good on everyone? ›
Today, the skin fade remains an extremely popular haircut and is highly requested in barbershops all around the world. A precise skin fade is flattering, suits almost everyone and can immediately elevate your client's look to one that is stylish, sharp and well-groomed.What is the most popular fade haircut? ›
- Burst Fade Mohawk.
- Cropped Medium Fade.
- High Razor Fade With Hair Design.
- Undercut Fade With Hard Part And Textured Spikes.
- High Fade With Pompadour.
- High Bald Fade With Comb Over Pompadour.
- High Bald Fade Haircut.
- Comb Over High Fade.
Who's It For? “A great look for someone who needs a smarter haircut and wants it to look slightly more natural.” Also, because the taper fade lacks any significant scalp exposure, it can be used as the basis for several different styles up top from a neat scissor crop to longer, more dramatic styles.Why is the fade haircut so popular? ›
The hair on the top can be on the shorter side or left long if you want a style that has more volume, like a pompadour. Low fades are extremely popular because they are low-maintenance and work well with all different types of hair.What race started the fade haircut? ›
The fade still functions as a popular hairstyle today and it's presently not solely supported amongst Black men, but the origins started in Black communities. Even today, the stylistic variations of the fade is what keeps it a popular and signature look.
A burst fade is cut in a semicircle shape above the ear, it drops down behind the ear where it ends, it does not continue along the nape of the neck like a low or mid fade does. Burst Taper Fade. Much like the taper fade mentioned above however the fade at the temple is cut in a semicircle shape or 'burst'.Are fade haircuts attractive? ›
Nearly anyone with any hair type or texture can pull it off. Why do women find it attractive? It's stylish but understated, with a subtle edge that women especially appreciate. Low fades also look like you don't put too much effort into your look.What is a 0 fade vs skin fade? ›
Zero Fade Vs Skin Fade: What's The Difference? A zero fade is a taper fade that leaves some remaining hair near the base of the neck, whereas a skin fade is a zero-grade cut that is shorter at the bottom, revealing more of the scalp.What is the best length for a fade? ›
Classic Fade Haircut
The cut is usually faded at a length of 3-4 inches above the hairline. It fades at every level at a ½ inch thick from the parietal ridge. To maintain the style, damping the hair with wax may be necessary.
In a high fade cut, the taper from long hair to short hair just above the temples. The high fade works best if you leave at least a little length up on top, since you'll be cropped so close on the sides of your head, though some guys do like the classic “high and tight” look with this fade.What is a shadow fade? ›
The Shadow Fade. A Shadow Fade is any haircut that starts off lighter on the sides and blends into longer hair on top. That's it!What is a high fade called? ›
It was common among young black people between 1986 and 1993 and to a lesser extent in the mid–1990s (1994–1996). The hi-top fade is commonly called a crew cut, due to the great likeness of the two styles.What kind of fade to ask for? ›
Since a fade reveals the skin underneath your hair, go for a cut that makes your skin tone look consistent from neck to scalp. Try a traditional fade, a tapering fade with longer hair on the back and sides (like a #4), or a scissor fade. If your skin tone is even across your scalp and neck, go for a high or low fade.How often does a fade last? ›
If you want to keep that skin fade looking fresh, it does take a bit of maintenance. We advise visiting your barber every 1-2 weeks to get this cut. If you have a short grade on top e.g. a grade 1,2,3 – again every 1-2 weeks will keep it looking clean.Does a fade make your face look thinner? ›
Going super-short or opting for a skin fade will only make your face look thinner and longer. The same goes for volume: if you style your hair with a quiff or pompadour you will elongate your face.
"High fade has more volume and length while low fade is shorter and requires less maintenance daily," explains Biggs. Another huge difference between a low and a high fade is how much length can be kept on top with each style. Since low fade hair is shorter, it involves more frequent visits to the barber.Why is a fade easier to hit? ›
Golfers who want to hit more fades will feel that their path is a bit more from the center and not as far inside. Path tends to be a difficult way to control the ball flight, and it is easier for pros to master this type of swing.When did the fade haircut become popular? ›
The hairstyle originated in the U.S. military around the '40s and '50s. Since the military is known for having strict grooming standards, it's no surprise to learn that the fade haircut was and still is popular among military men, as the harsh lines and angles signaled you meant business.Are fade haircuts hard? ›
Tapered, tight and never out of style, the Fade Cut is an easy haircut to do and easier to maintain. That's why it has never faded from popularity.Why is it called a fade? ›
The term "fade" originated in Black-owned barber shops and has become the popular term for an aggressively tight taper in men's hair. Hair at the sides and back is cut as close as possible with clippers and "fades," or tapers, up into almost any length on top.What is a Afro fade called? ›
The Afro taper fade haircut, also known as the Afro fade for short, is a popular hairstyle for black men of all ages. While the taper fade Afro is pretty straightforward, there are a number of variations, styles and designs that can be applied to this haircut. For example, a curly Afro with a taper …Why is it called a taper fade? ›
A fade is a taper that gradually takes the hair down to the skin, so that it looks like the hairline on the sides and back of your head “fades” away before it reaches the natural hairline. Basically, a fade is a really short taper. Hence, all fades are tapers, but not all tapers are fades.What is a Deathhawk? ›
Noun. deathhawk (plural deathhawks) A mohawk hairstyle with voluminous teased or backcombed hair, common in the deathrock subculture.What is a blended fade? ›
Blending is fading or tapering shorter hair to longer hair without having a line marking the difference in length. Learning blending is key to clipper work for all barbers and stylists. Almost every men's haircut uses blending – for either a tapered hairline, shorter sides to a layered top, or a skin length fade.What is a mid drop fade? ›
Mid Drop Fade Haircut Style
The mid fade shows a little more of the neck as the fade typically begins around 2 inches above the ears or higher and allows for more of a drastic change between the skin and hair. The Quiff – Like the pompadour, the quiff sees the front of the hair brushed up and pushed back.
- The Low Fade.
- The Classic Quiff.
- The Buzz Cut.
- Classic Side Part.
- The Undercut.
- The Crew Cut.
- The Champion: Bed Head.
- Tell your barber how long it has been since your most recent haircut. ...
- Tell your barber about your lifestyle. ...
- Be specific about how you want your hair to look. ...
- Bring a picture (but only of your hair)
A low fade is particularly good for men with round or heart-shaped faces, as the closely-cropped sides help to slim the head down. A style with a bit of height – such as a pompadour or quiff – will further elongate the face for a more balanced overall look.What is a taper vs fade? ›
A fade, like a taper, is all about taking hair from long to short in a stylish way. Unlike a taper, though, a fade can be dramatic, abrupt, and super short. Tapers are all about a natural decrease in length for a more conservative look–a fade can just disappear before it reaches the natural hairline.What does a good skin fade look like? ›
Generally, a skin fade haircut starts with longer hair on top of the head, and then gradually becomes shorter down the sides and back, towards the neck. The high skin fade haircut will taper your sides and back to look like a shaved cut.Is a 0.5 fade a skin fade? ›
A 0.5 fade is a type of fade haircut where the hair is faded down to a grade 0.5. This type of fade is extremely popular because it can be paired with nearly any hair type or style.What is a 1 2 3 in haircut? ›
Similarly, hair or balding clippers can also be used when asking for a buzz cut or crew cut. Here's a quick reference for the different haircut lengths. Number 1: One-eighth of an inch. Number 2: One-quarter of an inch. Number 3: Three-eighths of an inch.How do you hit a perfect fade? ›
To hit a fade, you want to have a slightly outside-to-in motion, meaning the club is hitting the ball and moving left (for right-handers) through impact. Again, be careful because if the clubhead comes in from too far outside and cuts across the ball, you will create a slice.What is number 1 haircut? ›
Number 1 Haircut
The #1 haircut length is one-eighth in. It is slightly longer compared to a zero haircut but is still pretty short. So, when you opt for it as an all-out haircut, you should be aware that you will get a buzz cut that will expose the scalp.
So, what is a low fade haircut? Well, low fade is an elegant haircut with a short back and sides. Your hair length gradually becomes shorter on the sides and the fade effect continues around your head.
The Fade. The Fade consists of a very short taper that “fades” into the skin — thus giving this haircut its name. You can ask for your fade to end high on the sides and back (High Fade), low (Low Fade), or at the temples (Temple or Brooklyn Fade).How would you describe skin fade to barber? ›
The skin fade is a type of haircut that tapers on the sides and back, blending short faded hair into the skin. Generally, a skin fade haircut starts with longer hair on top of the head, and then gradually becomes shorter down the sides and back, towards the neck.What is a fade definition? ›
/feɪd/ to lose color, brightness, or strength gradually: If you hang your clothes out in the bright sun, they will fade. If something fades away/out, it becomes less clear and then disappears: The voice on the radio faded out.How long does a fade last? ›
A 1 fade can last anywhere from three to five weeks.How much should you tip a barber for a fade? ›
Generally speaking, for good service, you should tip 15 to 20 percent of the entire bill. Tip more for exceptional service or less for what you consider to be inadequate service. Tipping is your way of saying “job well done,” so tip more if the person performing the service has gone above and beyond what is expected.What is the history of the fade haircut? ›
The fade first arrived on the scene with the invention of electric trimmers in the 1930s but grew to prominence in the 1940s and 50s as a result of rigid military standards for grooming. Newly enlisted cadets would have their hair cut to skin level with sharp lines and angles to signify strength and discipline.What is the difference between a skin fade and taper? ›
Unlike a taper, the fade effect happens much more quickly and finishes above the natural hairline; giving the appearance that your hair has blended into your skin. The hair on top of the head is often shorter than a taper too, usually less than two inches.What grade is a taper fade? ›
Taper Fade & Short Braids
“To create a clean-cut taper fade, you will need to ask your barber for a grade one cut on the back, fading up to grade two and three. Make sure you keep your hair long on top long to ensure you can create the short dreads that are key to this style.”
We watched the ship gradually fade from view as it sailed away. The smile faded from his face. Hopes for a quick end of the crisis are fading fast. Their reasons for leaving have faded from memory.
A fade haircut blends down to the skin, while a taper doesn't end as short. While both are generally considered blended haircuts, as a more conservative cut, the taper leaves a little hair and doesn't expose the head. We'll discuss the many different types of fade haircuts later!
A common way of asking for a fade is to specify what clipper guard your barber should be using at the end of the fade. So a #1 fade will terminate in hair that's ¼ of an inch. In this case the fade tapers all the way down to the skin and is usually finished with a razor blade by your barber.