22 Looks that Prove the Taper Fade Is a Classic

Call it the trend repeller.

Skin is in! Crisp crew cuts, sleek comb-overs, even an artfully done man bun get top marks in the day-to-night swag department. These looks, together with our latest obsession, the classic taper fade, are classics in their own right: All are seasonless styles that have stood the test of time—not to mention held their own amidst the dozens of campy viral trends we’ve seen online.

Scroll on down for a bunch of our favorite skin fades, from natural to high and tight, sure to keep you (quite literally) looking fresh. We love a great fade, and these skin-baring versions are as sharp as it gets, my friend! Read on to check out some of the hottest taper fades out there:

Long Taper Fade

Yep, fades can run on the longer, more natural side, and there’s no reason to assume you need to chop it all off to sport a shaven hairstyle. It’s all in using the proper clipper guard (but go to the pros for this one) and seamlessly blending the top with the bottom. Natural fades that start thinning out below the temples/near the sideburns are a popular choice. As for the crown? Afros, pomps, short dreads, a bowl-cut undercut—the sky’s the limit, provided that it turns into skin gracefully near the neckline. A soft styling cream, like AXE Natural Look: Understated Cream, can help you blur those edges!

1. Afro

afro bald taper fade
Anchor that fluff with a sharp fade that starts at the temples. Photo credit: Dvora

Want to keep your fluff, but need to edge it out? Get a cut that can do both. This genius mashup features a tapered baby ’fro on the crown that blends into a skin fade near the nape.

2. Bowl Cut

bowlcut bald taper fade
It’s more versatile than you think. Brush it up at an angle for a bit more polish, or muss it up for a bedhead feel. Photo credit: Dvora

Funnily enough, this ’80s staple went viral again fairly quickly last year—but we’re not complaining. Cut with the right angles (like a shorter crown comb-over and cleanly faded sides, as shown), it turns from cheesy to cool in no time.

3. Natural

natural bald taper fade
Evokes some ’90s boyband charm too, and we’re kind of really happy about that. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A nice-guy fade, if there were such a thing, would probably look like this: A simple, almost floppy, angst-free shape met with some even texture, with some slight edges for good measure.

4. Short Dreads

dreads bald taper fade
Uptown funk with a Brooklyn fade? Sign us up. Photo credit: Dvora

Chock-full of personality, these wiry curls somehow perfectly set off a cool Brooklyn fade (or a fade haircut with angular temples).

5. Pomp

pomp bald taper fade
Volume tip: Apply some mousse and blow-dry as close to the root as you can manage, while tugging upwards. Photo credit: Dvora

Want to show off that thick, full mane while keeping on trend? Keep some length up top that you can easily style into a high pompadour, and just take the clippers to the sides and back.

Medium to Short Taper Fades

A bit of tuggable length styled in a quiff, or maybe even a true-blue high and tight fade—these shorter cuts are meant for the guy with confidence in his angles (and his head shape!). The bald taper fade with a tiny bit of length up top offers some versatility in style, so go for a casual quiff or something razor-parted for a bit of a street style kick, and give it some oomph with some non-greasy wax, like Bed Head for Men by TIGI Matte Separation.

6. Long High and Tight

long high and tight bald taper fade
Polished and dapper, without looking stuffy. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A neatly styled look, this high and tight is longer than your regular version and is a winner for both the office and after hours.

7. Spiky

spiky bald taper fade
A classic with a twist! That razored part is subtle, but makes all the difference. Photo credit: Dvora

This cool hairstyle is a clever twist on a bald taper fade: It features a razor part on one side before it fades out.

8. Natural Neckline

natural neckline bald taper fade
A well-tapered nape is the hallmark of a great haircut.

In case you were shopping around for a casual cut with an easy grow-out, a clean, low skin fade might be just up your alley.

9. Subtle Undercut

classic taper fade undercut
Create fade with an undercut. Photo Credit: @barbersofbt45

Create a fade that leads into a subtle undercut for the best of both worlds on one cut. Create some hold for this style by adding a little bit of AXE Texturizing Cream to the top.

10. Clean-Cut

clean cut bald taper fade
The perfect everyday bald taper fade.

We can see this no-nonsense high and tight looking on-point with a business suit as well as casual or even sportswear.

Buzzed

If length (or lack of it) ain’t a thing, then nothing is sharper—or more straightforward—than a legit buzz cut. Although oftentimes of uniform length all around, some like to play around with a marginally longer top area for contrast or even play around with some strategic clippings on the side for added interest to your classic taper fade. Product-wise, a drop of gel, like Dove Men+Care Control Gel, is all you’ll need for shine and control.

11. Two-Toned Taper

two tone bald taper fade
Dark hair color against a whitewalled base makes for a high-contrast look. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Takes a bit of personality to pull this off (we’ve even seen some celebs rock a bleached blonde version), but it’s doable even without any hair dye, provided you’ve got a base color darker than your scalp. Achieve this by using longer clipper guards for the top than the back and sides.

12. Cropped

cropped bald taper fade
So fresh, so clean. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Everything about this clean, natural look is correct—from the well-blended side fade to the subtle temple notches.

13. High Temples

high temple bald taper fade
A strong hairline makes up for a softer jaw. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

If you need to mimic some angles, some 90-degree notches buzzed high into the temples can help give your face a squarish shape.

14. Grown-Out

classic taper fade grown out
The uniformly cut bald taper fade: Another neat and all-occasion look we can get behind. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Deliberate or nah? This buzz is equally cropped all around, giving it a nice, clean look even a few weeks after the cut.

15. Devil’s Horns

devil's horns bald temple fade
Camouflage those receding temples by opting for a straight(ish) hairline. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Guys starting to recede at the temples can still squeeze a great year or two of fades by opting for a short buzz that’s cut straight across the forehead.

16. Clippings

bald taper fade with clippings
These stylish, graphic designs are subtle enough for work.

We’re totally digging the subtle temple clippings in this bald taper fade, which do the double duty of transitioning the hair as well as providing a visual quirk. This style is a totally cool variation of the classic taper fade, and we’re here for it.

17. Widow’s Peak

widow's peak bald taper fade
A longer length diffuses your hairline. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

If you’ve been blessed with a widow’s peak (as well as a finer, peach-fuzz texture), keep it less severe with a longer buzz at the top.

18. Gelled

gelled bald taper fade
A baby gelled comb-over is a good way to work around a widening forehead. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

No hair is apparently too short to benefit from some product. We’re digging this deliberate cowlick, which, in addition to the natural, almost Caesar-cut hairline, is giving us serious 1990s vibes.

19. Fade-On-Fade

fade on fade bald taper fade
Use different clipper guards for a more nuanced length. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Fadeception? Although we think this result was this guy’s natural density pattern, those with thinning hair can certainly employ this strategy to mimic some fullness where they need it most. The trick is using multiple guards to give you longer hair on the tops.

20. Straight Part

staright part bald taper fade
A razor-thin part also breaks up the peach fuzz effect. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Look closer, and you’ll see that a hard part is razored in from the temples to the back of the head, adding more interest to a regular buzz.

21. Squarish

squarish bald taper fade
A more structured cut gives natural textures more definition. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

A super-short squarish crop is a handsome option for men with a natural or curly texture who want to give more structure to their buzz.

22. 360 Waves

360 waves bald taper fade
Baby waves: Profesh and on-trend at the same time. Photo credit: Indigitalimages.com

Though not completely grown in yet, a natural texture cut in a skin-faded buzz is a great starting off point for a trendy wave.

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