The Complete Guide To Fade Haircuts For Men

Men’s fade haircuts and the various types of fade haircuts that come under the umbrella term are fast becoming the classic go-to look amongst the legions of stylish gents.

If you’re unfamiliar with the hairstyle, a fade haircut basically refers to long (or at least, longer) hair on top of the head, and short hair on the sides and back of the head. Whether you opt for a skin fade haircut, a taper fade haircut or one of the many different types of fade is entirely down to you – we’ll look at a solid selection of them in a moment.

The fade haircut is incredibly versatile, so is a suitable option for most guys when heading to the barber for a fresh trim. But what exactly should you be asking your barber when talking about styling options and, perhaps more importantly, how do you ask for a fade haircut, when it’s not as simple as just asking for a fade haircut? Allow us to reveal all.

How To Ask Your Barber For A Fade Haircut

When you’re sitting in the barber’s chair, you can’t simply ask for a fade. Instead, you must tell your barber or hairdresser exactly what kind of style you want. The more precise you are, the more accurate they will be at delivering your wishes. The fade haircut can actually be broken down into various styles: low-fade, mid-fade, high-fade and taper-fade to name a few, but other slightly more obscure options include the undercut fade, pompadour fade and the skin fade haircut.

While it’s certainly true that the fade cut will suit the majority of guys, your face shape will determine which specific style of fade haircut works best for you.

You can also choose the length you want your faded sides to be. Naturally, you’ll want to aim for as short as possible – some guys even choose to have no guard on the clippers to get a skin fade – but a good starting point would be a number 1 over the ears, which gradually increases in length to a number 2 further up the sides of the head.

Ultimately, if you’re not sure exactly what type of fade haircut, or what length to get, ask for your barber’s recommendation, or take a picture in with you of someone else’s hair that you like the look of. They’ll let you know if it’s possible.

Different Types Of Fade Haircuts For Men

What good is all this talk about the different styles of fade without some images and further explanation on them? Here are the best men’s fade haircuts to ask for on your next barber visit.

Low Fade Haircut

Man with black hair styled in a quiff, with a low fade.

A low fade haircut is a perfect entry point into the world of fades, as it doesn’t require too much of the hair on the sides of the head to be removed. Instead, your barber will only cut the hair just above your ears. You can choose to have a hard low fade, which will see your hair go from a grade 0 or 1 to a 3 or 4, for example, or it can be blended more naturally, going from a 1 to a 2.

Mid Fade Haircut

Man with brown hair styled in a side-part with mid-fade.

The mid fade presents itself as being a great all-rounder. It’s less ‘boring’ than a low fade, but doesn’t have quite the same impact as a high fade. As its name suggests, the mid fade starts further up the sides of your head, roughly in line with your temple.

A mid fade works with virtually any hair length on top of your head. Pair with a long pompadour, a short French crop, or even a buzz cut, and it doesn’t matter if you have straight or curly hair.

High Fade Haircut

Rear view of man's head with high fade and buzz cut.

The high skin fade is becoming increasingly popular for men, although there’s no denying it works best for guys with short hairstyles. This allows the dramatic change between the fade and the hair on top to be seen more clearly.

A high fade can be worn by guys with all hair types too, whether it be straight, curly, afro or Asian

Taper Fade Haircut

Man with brown Ivy League hairstyle with low taper fade.

Taper fade haircuts provide a combination of the taper haircut and the fade haircut. These two styles on their own are often mistaken for one another, but there is actually much to separate them. A taper cut doesn’t exhibit as much of a drastic change between hair lengths but sees the hair taper inwards as it reaches the ear. It also only tends to concern the hair just over the ears and at the neckline (although, you’ll find there are still many different types of taper fade).

A taper fade, more often than not, shows skin and follows the hairline all the way around, so even the back of the hair is faded too.

A taper fade sees the hair gradually get shorter and shorter as you move toward the ears, before blending in with the skin. It’s possibly the best fade hairstyle for all guys, as it works with all hair types and any style you wish to have on top. It can also work wonders for all face shapes too, as the taper can be modified to suit.

Temple Fade Haircut

Also known as the Brooklyn Fade, the temple fade can have its history traced back to the 90s. Predominantly popular with black men with afro hairstyles, the temple fade has since found its way into haircut mainstream, where it is a viable option for anyone.

A classic temple fair haircut will see the hair fade abruptly from the temple and down towards the ear. Only the hair in front of the ear is touched.

Undercut Fade Haircut

The undercut fade combines both the undercut haircut and a fade haircut, to create an incredibly modern hairstyle for men. The undercut by definition already exhibits incredibly short hair contrasted with longer hair on top of the head, with no real in-between phase. Adding a fade into the mix helps to soften this hard contrast, by incorporating fade sides as opposed to having one length of hair.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the fade hairstyle you pair with your undercut fade, as they are all worthy contenders, however, the high fade will give the most eye-catching results. And, as is the case with the undercut haircut, the length of hair on top is down to your discretion too, as anything from short hair to long hair is allowed.

How To Style The Fade Haircut

There are several ways you can style your fade haircut. For a high fade – where the sides are short up above your ear – working some matte-effect product through the hair on top will give a tousled, stylish look.

Patricks M2 medium hold pomade will do the job here, offering a good amount of hold, but is pliable enough so that your hair will do exactly what you want it to. We’d recommend Patricks M2 for any fade style.

A fade doesn’t necessarily mean the hair on top has to be short either, just as long as the sides are faded, you have a fade. This means you can also opt for a pompadour hairstyle for a vintage vibe. A classic pompadour calls for a high-shine, so a pomade will be your friend here. Reuzel Blue is the perfect product for proving a strong hold and a high sheen.

You’ll want to add on some hairspray to really make sure your look stays locked in.

If you prefer a less subtle look, a quiff will do the trick. This doesn’t need to be so shiny, so a matte paste or cream will allow you to run your fingers through your hair to restyle it throughout the day.

How To Maintain Your Fade Haircut

The main downside to rocking a fade hairstyle is that it will grow out and look unfaded pretty quickly. With this in mind, you’ll want to revisit your barber every two to three weeks to keep your hair looking its faded best.

Fade Haircut FAQs

What are other types of fade haircuts for men?

Burst fade, temple fade, shadow fade and bald fades are some of the variations of the fade haircut. Each is defined by the point where the fade begins.

What is the most popular style of the fade haircut?

The low fade haircut is the most popular cut because it is timeless and trendy at the same time. It is also versatile. You can add the low fade to any men’s hairstyle, short or long, for a clean-cut and fresh finish on the sides and back.

How do I know which fade haircut is for me?

Some fade hairstyles look best for a particular face or head shape. A drop fade, for instance, suits men with round or square face shapes. Play around with fades and find the one that suits you the best.

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