Top Trend: What Is a Taper Fade?

Everything you need to know about this cut, and how to rock it like a pro.

When you aren’t barber-lingual, you actually miss out on the opportunity to try out one of the coolest classic men’s hairstyles around: the taper fade. Some of you who aren’t up on the latest men’s hair trends might be asking, “What is a taper fade? And why are most of Hollywood’s leading men sporting it?” Rest assured that we’re about to shine a light on this essential hair query and help you nail this trendy style.

Ahead, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that’ll help you learn more about the cut that’s dominating the male grooming scene, plus how you should be rocking it for ultra-modern results. Are you wondering “What is a taper fade?” We’ve got you covered:

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Wondering what is a taper fade? Here’s what to know! Photo credit:

What is a taper fade?

You’ve likely heard the word “taper” thrown around quite a bit in the men’s style and haircut discussion, and it’s important to know exactly what it is in order to get the correct style you want. Essentially, a taper fade is a cut that goes from one length to another (from the top of the head, down to the sides and to the nape of the neck). It also usually starts off long and gets shorter towards the ends. Now, while hair merges and disappears in a regular fade, with a taper fade hairstyle, hair is left shorter and subtly blended for a more groomed effect (as demonstrated by this gentleman above). Cool, right?

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The best thing about the taper fade? It works for all hair textures. Photo credit:

Who is the tapered fade cut for and how can you style it?

So now that you know all about the taper fade haircut, you might be wondering if it will work with your hair type. And guess what? It will. Most shorter haircuts for men can be turned into a taper fade, you simply have to ask your barber to use different clipper lengths on the back and sides of your head.

Editor’s tip: Since a tapered fade is naturally clean-cut, you’ll want to make sure that you use either a gel or a pomade, like AXE Clean Cut Look: Classic Pomade, to make your cut look extra sharp and slick.

Here are a few taper fade styles to inspire you!

1. Side-Part With a Bald Taper Fade

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Go bold with a bald taper fade cut. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Firstly, we have a bald taper fade cut. Who said you can’t go bold (or should we say bald) with a taper fade? Add a modern touch to a classic side-part hairstyle by opting for a bald taper fade and you’ll instantly give your style an on-trend edge. It’s a stand-out look, but not severely so, meaning it’s suitable for the office and wherever else you might venture. Now go forth and flaunt your new style!

2. Curly Taper Fade

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Bedhead curls and taper cutwork, too! Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Falling on the subtle side of the taper fade spectrum, this curly style is another example of how versatile the cut is. Just because you’re rocking a classic taper, doesn’t mean you have to keep your style looking put together 24/7. In fact, bedhead curls can work with a tapered fade and will also have you out of the door in seconds. You can’t argue with that!

Sea salt spray is the key product behind this look, so if you want to make the most out of your curls or waves, activate them with the help of Bed Head By Tigi Queen Beach Salt Infused Texture Spray.

3. Taper + Dreadlocks Combo

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As we said before, the taper works with all hair types. Credit: Dvora

Are you a style-conscious hipster who doesn’t mind drawing attention to your style? Take a look at this taper and dreadlocks combo for inspiration: The tapered sides create a cool contrast to the textured lengths on top for an on-trend style that works with this particular hair type. If you have loose dreads, use a styling product like Bed Head for Men by TIGI Matte Separation Workable Wax to separate and style your locs.

4. Taper Fade + Quiff Combo

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Have a quiff? Make it modern with a taper fade. Credit: Allyson Alapont

Already rocking a classic quiff hairstyle? For this season, the look is getting an edgier upgrade and being paired with a tapered fade. Because this look adds a charming modern touch to this otherwise retro style, the resulting look is undeniably on-point. #swag

5. Wet-Look Taper Fade

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Sleek strands are the name of the game. Credit:

Lastly, whether you’re attending a wedding, have an important meeting at work or just need a style that will ensure your strands are styled to perfection, a wet-look taper fade will do you proud. Seen on the heads of A-list stars and runway models alike, this slick style exudes a suave and sophisticated vibe that can work for either dressed-up or dressed-down events! Honestly, there’s no excuse not to try this universally sleek style this season.

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