It feels like there are dozens, if not hundreds of hairstyles to pick from lately. With so many different styles and looks that it can be challenging to decide what to choose. If a longer hairstyle doesn’t take your fancy, you can’t go wrong with a good old fade hairstyle. “Fade hairstyles are most likely our popular request at our barbers and the haircut most students want to master at our barbering academy”, according to Cardiff-based Barber School Wales.

Fades and tapers are extremely popular now — and they have been for a very long time. Both the fade and taper haircuts deliver a clean, fresh look that doesn’t look out of place in both a casual and professional environment.  

Every barber has one technique that they work hard to master. For many, that trim is the skin fade! The three most popular varieties of fade haircuts are low, medium, and high fades. The names relate to how high the fade is on the customer’s head. This means that the hair is not all shaved to one length and has a contrast of lengths combined.

The fade first rose to popularity in the 40s and 50s amongst American soldiers and since then has remained part of black and Hispanic barbershop culture. The fade cemented itself into mainstream “popular culture” in the 1990s with celebrities like Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Despite the fade haircut previously being associated with an ‘edgy’ look, due to its widespread popularity amongst different age groups and social classes, fades can now be seen in workplaces, schools, and tv and film.

The skin fade has arguably been the most popular haircut amongst men in the UK for the past 2-3 years. Thousands of men a week pay a visit to their local barbers and request this specific trim. The skin fade haircut is a fresh adaptation of the taper fade that comes in a wide range of looks and styles. In addition to this, the fade can be used alongside almost any length, or style of men’s haircut. Fades are straightforward and are a low-maintenance cut. However, another advantage to the barber is it requires regular visits for upkeep.

Tools you will need:

  • Clippers
  • Cutthroat razor 
  • Fading brush
  • Comb

Variations of the fade haircut

A fade can typically be broken up into 3 fundamental categories based on how high the fade is. 

Tapered fade, skin fades and then low, medium, and high fades which are all variations of the fade haircut, so it’s simple to get confused by which style to ask your barber for.

Taper Fade

taper is when your hair slowly shifts from long to short from the top of your head down toward your hairline. A taper is only done in two places — your sideburns and your neckline.

Skin Fade

A skin fade can be whatever length you fancy on top, provided it’s bald on both sides. Barbers normally utilise their trimmers to ensure the sides are extra sharp. Others choose to use an electric shaver or a cutthroat razor if they want to pull out all the stops. You can request for your barber to give your blend a low, medium, or high finish.

Low, Medium and High Fades

  • Low Fade

The low fade is precisely what it sounds like on paper – a taper cut that runs an inch or two off the hairline. Some people also call it a ‘drop fade’ since the line drops down behind the ear. The low fade enhances the hairline for a distinct finish that even looks good a few weeks after the trim when the hair begins to grow out.

  • Medium Fade

The medium, or mid fade, is seen as the ultimate haircut as it is versatile and suits almost everyone. A compromise between a high fade and a low fade, it’s a tapered cut that essentially finishes between your temple and ears. Not only is it stylish, clean and extremely low maintenance, it’s also versatile. Meaning you can rock this look in a range of settings, from the board room to the beach.

  • High Fade

A high fade trim is a classic look that involves the fading of the hair high up the back and sides of the head. In some cases, the hair only goes roughly 1 to 1.5 inches below the sides and the back of the head. This guarantees the hair on the top of the head appears thicker and sharper.

Final Thoughts

So that’s our guide to the fade haircut. Think the one lesson we can take from this is that the reason this kind of style is in such high demand around the world as it is such an incredibly versatile haircut. It seems to have been adopted by people from various backgrounds and personal styles and shows no sign of its popularity diminishing anytime soon!

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