Man with medium fade hairstyle and sunglasses.

Fade Haircut: Everything to Know About this Classic Style

The confusion ends here.

Do you love a classic fade haircut? We do too. This versatile style is a classic for a reason, and it’s surprisingly easy to DIY if you have the clippers and the style know-how. Need some pointers? Learn the differences between fade variations and how to achieve them at home with our clipper guide. You’ll also find the freshest fade styling tips and fade haircut inspiration for the season. Plus, if you want to take your fade one step further, we’ve put together the most popular bald fade hairstyles, too.

Types of Fade Haircuts and How to Get Them

This easy-to-follow infographic illustrates the basic fade haircuts in current (re)rotation. For future reference, gentlemen:

fade haircuts easiest guide ever infographic

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

Classic fade haircuts leave a healthy length of hair up top (>3”) and taper down from a part line on each side, lightening 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-fade haircuts or “high and tight” taper haircuts have strong military leanings. The “high” in its name comes from the high point on the head where hair starts to sharply thin out, as opposed to other, more gradual fades. It looks pretty crisp with a suit or a regular shirt.

3. Mid Fade—Clipper guard: #3, #2, #1

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

4. Low-Fade Haircut—Clipper guard: #4, #3, #2, #1

Try a low-faded version of the scissor crop to update a clean-cut style. Low-fade haircuts also work well on guys with curly, wavy, or ‘fluffy’ hair, keeping things neat on the sides with fun, malleable texture up top.

How to Style a Fade Haircut

Once you’ve got the fade haircut you want, it’s time to style! You don’t need to put any product on the fade part of the style, but depending on the length you have going on top, you might want to add some of the following:

1. Wax

For a light texture and hold, we recommend adding some AXE Messy Look Wax. It’s perfect for adding lightweight hold to your look without that dreaded stiff, crunchy texture. Plus, this wax also adds a bit of shine to your hair.

2. Hair Glue

If your style requires a more intense hold, go for AXE Spiked Up Look: Extreme Hold Glue. It’s perfect for keeping your style locked in place all day. Windy outside? No problem! The glue will give you an extreme yet precise hold that you can count on.

3. Pomade

For those who want to create a natural texture, apply SheaMoisture Men Argan Oil & Shea Butter Waves Pomade. It helps to keep your hair moisturized and soft while providing a lightweight hold.

Fade Haircut Inspiration

Now that you either have your new fade haircut or are ready to try one out, it’s time for some style inspo. Keep scrolling to check out some of our favorite fade haircuts.

1. Mohawk Fade Haircut

Man with a curly mohawk and mid-fade hairstyle.
Dare to be different with a mohawk fade.

Make a statement with a mohawk fade hairstyle. Achieve this by using Bed Head for Men by TIGI Power Play Firm Finish Gel. Simply apply a small amount of gel to the longer lengths of your hair and style it in an upward motion.

2. Mid-Fade Taper Haircut with a Full Beard

Man with beard and sunglasses + medium fade.
Style your beard with a medium-fade haircut.

Is a beard your thing? Pair your signature facial hair with a trending fade haircut, and you’ll be the most stylish guy around. The medium fade haircut paired with a neatly trimmed beard is bound to elevate your look.

3. Blonde Number 2 Fade Haircut

Man With Blonde Fade Haircut
Stride into warmer seasons with this blonde medium fade haircut

A number 2 fade haircut is when the sides and back of your hair are cut to a 1/4 inch length using the #2 setting on your clippers. If you want to switch up your typical fade style, opt for a bright blonde look!

4. Dreadlocks Fade

Man With Dreadlock Fade
The medium-fade haircut looks great on locs too!

When you think of a fade hairstyle, most people don’t think of dreadlocks. But it’s totally possible to pair this style with your dreadlocks! Whether you have baby locs, faux locs, or growing locs, the medium-fade haircut is a great way to transition between looks.

5. Facial Hair Mid-Fade Taper Haircut

Man With Facial Hair Fade Haircut
Facial hair paired with your medium-fade haircut can go a long way.

Not sure what style to pair with your facial hair? You can never go wrong with a fade. This mid-fade haircut starts thinning out between your temple and ear, making it the perfect haircut to blend into facial hair seamlessly.

6. Deep Part Fade

Man With Deep Part Fade, medium fade.
Take your medium-fade haircut to the next level with this side part.

Need to change up a classic style? Add a deep side part! It can make a huge difference. Plus, the side part instantly gives your hair a put-together look. The perfect style for the dapper man wanting to take his look to the next level

7. Layered Fade Haircut

Man With Layered red Fade Haircut
Standout in the best way by adding layers to your medium-fade haircut

Add layers to make a typical haircut like this stand out. A layered style adds a little edginess to your cut that you wouldn’t typically have in a traditional fade hairstyle. This is also a great way to trim grown-out hair without causing major changes to the length.

8. Slicked-Back Style

Man With Slicked-Back Style
Slick back your medium-fade haircut

A slicked-back fade style is a great option to go for if you want your beard to be the focus of your look. Slicked-back styles also instantly give you a professional vibe, perfect for going from work to a night out.

9. Textured Medium-Fade Haircut

Man With textured blond medium fade
Add some texture to your medium-fade haircut

Have curly or wavy hair? Let your texture shine with this style. Use AXE Messy Look: Matte Wax for a lightweight hold that will last all day. Brush your hair back with your fingers to create a look with plenty of height.

10. Sleek Hairstyle

Man with sleek black hairstyle and facial hair.
The modern take on the medium-fade haircut

A sleek style like this instantly looks super professional but is also perfect for everyday wear. You’ll be ready for anything that comes your way. Not to mention, this medium-fade haircut is very low-maintenance style.

11. Fade with an Undercut

Man With Fade with an Undercut
Add an undercut to your fade to achieve a classic medium-fade haircut

Want to take your style a step further? Shave the bottom section of your hair to add an undercut to your fade. This combination is as cool as it gets and offers some major edginess to your fade style.

12. Medium-Fade Hairstyle on Natural Afro Hair

Man With Fade on Natural Hair
The medium-fade haircut looks amazing on textured hair.

For guys with natural afro hair, a fade is a great option if you like to keep your hair on the shorter side. By opting for a medium fade, your hair will begin to thin out and get shorter between your temple and ear, which is great if you’re new to fade cuts and want to ease yourself in gently.

13. Ponytail Fade

Man With Ponytail Fade
This ponytail fade looks even better over time with growth.

You can 100% sport a ponytail with your fade if your hair is long enough. Wearing a ponytail like this helps emphasize the shortness of your hair on the sides and around the back. This style also looks great as your hair continues to grow out over time.

14. Fade Hairstyle for Curly Hair

Man With Fade Hairstyle for Curly Hair
Embrace your waves and curls with the medium-fade haircut

This type of style is perfect for curly hair because it makes your strands a lot easier to manage, and it won’t feel too overwhelming. If you are worried about cutting off too much curl, opt for a short or medium-fade haircut.

15. High-Fade Hairstyle

Man With High Fade Hairstyle
Create some layers in your fade hairstyle to add extra volume to your hair.

Play around with lengths throughout your style. Adding layers to your high-fade haircut is not only a great way to help create a unique style, but it also adds volume to your look.

9 Bald Fade Haircuts to Try

Here are 9 bald fade haircuts to try:

1. Buzz Cut

Man with bald fade buzz cut.
A buzz-cut fade is perfect for maintaining extra-curly hair.

If you’re looking for a fresh cut that’s easy to maintain, go for a buzz cut with a bald fade. This cut is simple, clean, and perfect for going days without having to do any excess styling.

2. Taper-Fade

Man with blonde bald fade taper fade.
Get a clean cut with this taper-fade combo.

A Taper-fade combination gives a sleek, clean style to your fresh cut. Style your hair with AXE Urban Look: Flexible Paste to give your hair a messy and sexy look. Adding in a side part is a great way to make the look even cooler.

3. Curly Fade

Man with afro fade haircut and beard.
If you like to keep your hair short, play it with some facial hair.

For those of you with curly hair, a simple bald fade is perfect for maintaining an easy and clean cut without having to style your hair all the time. A simple shave on the sides is all you need to achieve this look.

4. Chin Strap

Man with afro hair with bald fade and chin strap.
If you have curly hair and don’t want to go too short with your hair, this fade is perfect for you.

Combining a bald fade with a chin strap is a great way to add spice to your style while looking modern and fresh. If you really want to go all out, try growing a beard and styling it with beard oil and balm.

5. Afro

Man with bald fade and combed out afro.
A bald fade into an afro is the perfect way to freshen up your look.

If you want to go minimal with the hair clippers, an afro with a bald fade is the best style for you. This look is funky and fresh, and your hair will stand loud and proud. Tame any frizz or puffiness with AXE Clean Cut Look: Classic Pomade for the ultimate styled afro.

6. Combover

Man with bald fade and slicked back comb over
This isn’t your grandpa’s combover.

When you think of a combover, “sexy” doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. But, when there’s a will, there’s a way to make any cut look good, and the combover has definitely gotten an upgrade. Just style it with AXE Smooth Look: Shine Pomade for a sleek finish to your hair.

7. Grown Out Curls

Man with bald fade and grown out curls
Let your curls flow freely with this style.

If you’re tired of going to the barber all the time, get a bald fade and let those curls run loose. This combination style is the perfect blend of undone and clean-cut. It’s super cool and edgy too!

9. Bowl Cut

Man with brown bald fade bowl cut.
Go against the grain this winter with this vibey retro haircut.

This cut was a big trend back in the day, and now it’s making a daring comeback. Style it with AXE Natural Look Softening Cream to do it justice.

If you’re looking for more fade style ideas, then check out these high-top fade styles we’re obsessing over. And remember, whatever your hair type, there’s a fade style out there waiting for you.

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