Your Definitive Easy Guide to Fade Haircuts

The debate ends here.

Still baffled by the fade haircut? We can’t blame you for the confusion. What was supposed to be a pretty straightforward look—hair fading downward—has now gathered layer upon layer of complexity, depending on both stylist and wearer. Street trends have thus catered to this variance, coining up with new nicknames and buzzwords for a hairstyle that’s basically as old as time itself.

Fade Haircut Breakdown

So: What are we here for but to keep you from being confused by a hairstyle ever again? In this easy-to-follow infographic, we illustrate the basic fades haircuts in current (re)rotation. For future reference, gentlemen:

fade haircuts easiest guide ever infographic

1. Classic Fade – Clipper guard: #3, #2, #1, 0

The classic fade haircuts leave a healthy length of hair up top (>3”) and taper down from one part line until it lightens up significantly towards the neckline. Some guys like to play with the back part, leaving a “tail” or tuft, versus an all-over taper.

2. High Fade – Clipper guard: #2, #1, 0

High fades or “high and tight” taper haircuts have strong military leanings. The “high” in its name comes from the somewhat high point on the head where hair starts to sharply thin out, as opposed to other, more gradual fades.This looks pretty damn crisp either with a suit or just regular shirt.

3. Mid-Fade Clipper guard: #3, #2, #1

Guys with thick hair can go with a mid-fade as a starting point. Your barber will still keep some volume up top—freeing you to play around with your pomps and quiffs as you wish—but will keep the sides precisely clipped. Mid-fades are also a great match for sharp temple edges, especially if you have an angular forehead—it’ll make your features look more chiseled.

4. Low Fade – Clipper guard: #4, #3, #2, #1

If you want to update your textbook clean-cut style, ask your barber for a low faded version of the scissor crop. Guys with curly, wavy or otherwise kinda fluffy hair can also ask for a low fade to keep things neat on the sides, which still keeps some fun, malleable texture up top.

Styling Products

Once you’ve got the fade haircut you want, you need to be able to style it on your own! You don’t need to put any product on the fade part of the style, but depending on the length and style you have going on top, you might want to add in some product.

For a light texture and hold, we recommend adding some Bed Head for Men Press Up Body Building Foam.

If your style requires a more intense hold, go for AXE Spiked Up Look: Extreme Hold Glue.

And for those who want to create a natural texture, apply some AXE Natural Look: Softening Cream.