Taper Fade 101: The Best Fade Haircuts for Men

What’s a taper fade haircut, you ask? Let us educate you about this trendy hairstyle and give you some tips on how to style it, too!

You’ve probably heard of the fade haircut, but do you know what it is, exactly? The fade cut is a cut that goes from one length to another. It starts off long at the top and gets shorter (or balder) on the sides and the lower back, creating a seamless blend that makes the hair look like it’s fading into nothingness. There’s the fade cut, and then, there’s also the taper fade haircut.

You might have questions about the taper fade cut, but don’t worry! We’re here to answer your questions. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this cut.

What does a taper fade haircut look like?

Asian man with a taper fade haircut laughing
A taper fade has a little bit of length at the beginning of the fade. Credit: Shutterstock

There’s a fade haircut, and then there’s a taper fade haircut. These two hairstyles for men are often used interchangeably. They may look similar, but they’re not the same.

So, what’s the difference? Basically the length. These two hairstyles are similar in that they are both gradient haircuts. They go from one length to another. But a regular fade typically goes from short to even shorter, while a taper fade starts with hair that’s about a few inches longer. This way, you see the fade tapering or gradually getting shorter.

What does “taper fade” mean?

To taper means to decrease length or thickness little by little. This is why it’s called taper fade haircut, because you see the strands getting shorter or fading little by little.

How long does a taper fade last?

Depending on how fast your hair grows, a taper fade may grow out in three to four weeks, in which the taper fade may not be noticeable anymore. After that, you may need to go back to your barber to have it refreshed. If you have your own hair clippers at home, you can do it yourself by following the existing fade pattern and adjusting the size of your clippers accordingly.

A fade haircut, on the other hand, has a tighter fade because it has shorter strands to start with. And because it has shorter strands, you may need to trim or clip your hair sooner in order to maintain the look.

Should I get a taper fade or a fade haircut?

Deciding which one to get depends on your face shape and personality. Because a taper fade has longer strands that gradually fade or transition to shorter ones, its overall look is closer to classic men’s haircuts. So, if you want a classic look with a little bit of a fresh twist, a taper fade is for you.

If you want short hair that looks edgier than regular haircuts, give the fade haircut a try. It’s light and presko so it’s perfect for hot and humid weather.

There are more different ways to wear this cut, and depending on how funky or conservative you are with haircuts, you can choose whether you want to do it low (hair is tapered down the shortest, near the ears), mid fade (a few inches higher), or a high fade (hair starts to shorten high up on the head.) There are a lot of different variations, and they can easily liven up your style. We’ve got a few cool looks right below.

1. Side Part Taper Fade Hairstyle

Asian man with short hair wearing a blue polo
Update a side part hairstyle by adding a taper fade. Credit: Vincent Coscolluela

Upgrade your classic side part style by combining it with your choice of fade. To create this look, use a comb to part your hair on the side while it’s still damp. Apply a coin-sized amount of wax or putty to your hair to take it where you want it to go and keep it there. A blow dryer can help set your style.

2. Straight Hair with Fade

Asian man with straight hair with fade haircut wearing a white polo and smiling
Slicked-back straight hair with faded sides makes for a dapper look. Credit: Hariono Halim

Straight, slicked-back hair goes well with a fade haircut. It’s a smooth and polished hairstyle you can wear together with a crisp dress shirt and suit.

Editor’s tip: Wearing a fade haircut will give people a peek at your scalp. Make sure it’s free of dandruff by washing your hair regularly with CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men. It’s formulated with Bio-Nutrium 10, which activates scalp’s natural protective layer and keeps your hair flake-free.

3. Man Bun With Taper Fade

Asian man with man bun and taper fade haircut
Show off your taper fade by putting the rest of your hair in a man bun. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Go for this style if you want a fun and funky hair fade. The man-bun-fade-cut combination automatically gives you a fresh, youthful vibe. Nobody can accuse you of being boring and old-fashioned!

4. Taper Fade With Mohawk

Filipino man with a blonde mohawk with taper fade wearing a blue shirt
A blonde mohawk and taper fade makes for a bold look. Credit: Michelle Pedron

Want a bold look? Pair a taper fade haircut with a mohawk ‘do! Make it even more unique by dyeing your mohawk blonde or any color you like.

5. Faux Hawk With Taper Fade

Asian man smiling wearing a long-sleeved top outdoors
Give your everyday look a funky vibe with a faux hawk and taper fade cut. Credit: Hariono Halim

If you want a more subtle version of the mohawk hairstyle, create a faux hawk by brushing your hair upwards to create height and keeping it in place with putty or pomade. Meanwhile, a taper fade will help focus all attention on your faux hawk.

Editor’s tip: Before you style your hair, make sure it is clean and fresh by washing it with Dove Men + Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo. It washes away dirt and grease from your hair and scalp. It also leaves your hair and scalp cool and refreshed. 

6. Brown and Thin Fade

guy is kind of laughing while sporting a fade haircut
The taper fade haircut also looks good in brown. Credit: Shutterstock

The taper fade haircut also suits thin hair. You can also play with hair colors for men to add more personality to your look.

7. Brushed Back

Asian man with brushed back hair wearing a coat
To create a casual and laidback look, brush your hair back with your fingers. Credit: Shutterstock

If you have thick hair, a taper fade can help keep your hair from overwhelming your face. Then, go for a simple brushed back hairstyle to face the day in style.

8. Easy Comb Over with Fade

Guy in a blue sweater is smiling
The fade hairstyle can also be styled to look more formal. Credit: Natasha Estelle

Another classic look that you can pair with a taper fade is the comb over hairstyle for men. It’s perfect for looking sleek and smart at work.

Editor’s tip: Keep your hair in place with Axe Ice Chill Pomade. It gives you maximum control over your hair so you can style it in different ways. It also adds shine for that polished look. 

9. Quiff with Fade

Filipino man with a quiff wearing a blue shirt outdoors
Show off your fade by styling your hair into a quiff. Credit: Michelle Pedron

This kind of fade haircut gives you a clean look, and when you style your hair into a quiff, you get to exude a friendly, boy-next-door vibe. Go for this look when going out on weekend walks or hanging out at your friend’s house for game night.

10. Curly Taper Fade

curly taper fade haircut
Accentuate your curls with a fade haircut. Credit: iStock

Who says only the straight-haired guys can have all the fun? This curly style is a more subtle fade but it’s cool and stylish just the same.

Cool, huh? So why don’t you go and give the taper fade haircut a try?

Next Read

Check out these trendy hairstyles for men for your next haircut!
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