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Everything You Need to Know About Fades


Let’s Get Faded

No, no. Not that type of faded. 

We’re talking about the type of fade that landed a top spot in Google search trends of 2020. The type of fade that puts the finishing touch on most stylish men’s coifs in 2021… The fade haircut.

Fade styles are all the rage. You would be hard-pressed to take a walk down 6th street without running into at least 10 men with fades. Try it, we dare you.

While fades are increasingly popular with no signs of slowing down any time soon, they are sadly misunderstood. Like a middle child. 

All fades are tapers, but not all tapers are fades. There are low, medium, and high fades, taper fades, and a bunch of fancy fades that you should keep in your arsenal for a rainy day. But, let’s take it slow.


First Off, What is a Fade?

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. A high fade transitions from thick to sparse (or bald) at a faster pace than a low fade, while a medium fade finds a happy balance between the two.

The result of a fade is a faux hairline on the sides and the back of the head. A well-kept fade looks clean and symmetrical, which is the primary goal of regular haircuts, unless you are Jason Momoa.


What’s the Difference Between a Taper and a Fade?

A taper and a fade are often used interchangeably. This is incorrect… Sort of. 

A taper gradually transitions hair length from longer to shorter (dense to sparse), which sounds a lot like the definition of a fade, right? Well, a taper can be long or short while a fade is always short. 

So, a fade is a taper but a taper is not always a fade. 


Types of Fades

Fades range from low to high, referring to where on the head the tapering begins. 

To note: a fade is always short, but fades can vary on a spectrum from short to bald depending on the individual’s preference. A fade to bald is generally called a “skin fade” since it transitions to full skin rather than a shorter taper. 

Low Fade

A low skin fade begins about ⅓ of the way up the crown of your head. The low fade shows very little skin, only the areas directly above the ears and at the nape of the neck. 

The low fade hairstyle is the least dramatic fade, though it creates very appealing tight, clean lines.

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Medium Fade

The medium skin fade starts to taper about ⅔ of the way up your head or at the top of the eyebrow. 

The medium fade is slightly more dramatic than the low fade, and looks great with most hairstyles.

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High Fade

The high skin fade is certainly a showstopper and pairs well with undercuts or afro hairstyles. 

The high fade begins around the parietal ridge (forehead level), and reveals much more skin than the medium and low fades. 

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The “Other” Types of Fades

There are a few other types of fades that are worth mentioning. We will deem them the “fancy fades” for effect. These include: temple fades, drop fades, and burst fades. 

Temple Fades

A taper fade involves tapering around the temple area or the sideburns. This fancy fade creates a unique artistry that can shape the face really well if paired with the right top cut.

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Drop Fade

A drop fade, as one would assume, drops behind the ear and low onto the neck. The result of a drop fade is a tidy curve, which adds an intriguing shape to the hairline. 

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Burst Fade

The burst fade is quite similar to the drop fade, but this fade style focuses efforts around the ear. The burst fade resembles a burst of sunshine emanating from the ear, which is how this style got its name. 

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Hairstyles that Pair Well with a Fade

As you may have noticed, a fade is not a hairstyle per say, but an additional styling technique that can add the perfect finishing touch to a great cut. 

So, what hairstyles pair well with a fade? 

Whether you are interested in building your hairstyle around a fade that interests you or finding the best fade for your current hairstyle, these picks are worth browsing.


The Caesar

The “Caesar” hairstyle borrowed its inspiration from Roman emperor Julius Caesar way back in the first century B.C. 

The Caesar cut is easily identified by a uniform length on the sides, the back, and the top of the head. The cut looks best with a high skin fade and a 0.5 to 3 inch hair length.  

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The “blowout” hairstyle features medium length hair on top with shorter, cropped sides. The juxtaposition of the top and sides creates a striking effect that is completely alluring.

Blowout hairstyles are very versatile and look great with low, medium, or high skin fades.

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The undercut is a style originating in the early 1900’s with a recent resurgence in the last decade. 

The undercut showcases a long mane on top with shorter hair on the sides and looks great with virtually every hair type. In addition, the undercut pairs well with a high skin fade for a more dramatic effect. 

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Taking Fade Matters Into Your Own Hands

What if you could give yourself a fade? Or, what if you could give your friend, your roommate, your dad, your brother, or your girl friend with short hair a fade?

You could, and you totally should.