Explained: Low Fade vs Mid Fade vs High Fade Men’s Haircuts

If you are a stylish gent then you have probably heard of a fade haircut. This cut literally separates average guys from fashionable chads.

However, if you are not familiar, then you have luckily landed in the right place. A fade is a type of haircut that cuts your hair short on the sides to unleash unlimited hair styling potential.

Today, we cover the different types of fade haircuts, how to request one from your barber and how to style. Onto the show!


What Is A Fade Haircut Style?

The name for this haircut describes exactly how long your hair is on the side of your head. The length of your hair is fading out.

To use another example, imagine a pair of old jeans that you have. The color in most areas is dark and resembles what the colors were when the pair was new. In other areas, the color is not as vibrant. The transition from dark to light is known as fade and this is what a faded haircut looks like too.

Having a fade decreases the maintenance needed on your hair. If you pair a fade with short hair on the top, then you will have virtually no maintenance for your hair. However, having long top hair all depends on how much work you want to put into styling.

This hairstyle is typically found with a long top and a faded side cut. Some guys also like having fades with much shorter hair on the top as well. There are hundreds of ways to incorporate a fade into your style.

You can mix and match long or short hair with a low fade, mid fade, and a high fade. The possibilities are endless. 

Below we will provide you with a quick explanation on the different types of fades. Where the height of the fade all depends on when the taper starts.

The Low Fade

Low Fade Crewcut
Low Fade Crewcut

For a low fade cut, the taper line from short hair to long hair starts right above the ears.

With this type of fade you will get a very clean look. Especially if you have a close crop (short thick textured top hair) on the top with a nice blend on the sides. This will give you a low maintenance style that is still classy.

On the other hand, if you are fine with a little more effort, you can couple the low fade cut with volume on the top to feature a trendy look. This will definitely make you stand out from the crowd.

As a rule, the sharper the hair fade, the greater the contrast in your haircut.

The Mid Fade

Mid Medium Fade Haircut
Mid Medium Fade Haircut

For a mid fade cut, the taper line from short hair to long hair will start near your temples.

Also known as a medium fade haircut, this fade is the most versatile cut. The benefits of a mid taper fade include, low maintenance, a professional look, and you can partner with many different lengths and styles up top. With mid fades, you can make it work with whatever type of hair you got.

A mid fade hairstyle that has been popular for many years now is the mid fade paired with longer hair slicked back on top. This is one of the best mid fade haircuts for those with thick, wavy hair, or hard to manage hair. The advantage of having this fade is that it will give your hair the appearance of structure with very light styling.

Some other ideas for the mid fade include a fauxhawk or coif, if you are feeling fearless. Or you can get a clean classic cut with a hard part. A hard part is a thick line made across your scalp using clippers.

The High Fade

High Skin Fade Haircut
High Skin Fade Haircut

For a high fade cut, the taper line from short hair to long hair starts right above your temples.

With this type of fade, it is best to pair it with longer length on the top because your hair will already be cropped on the sides of your head.

Some hairstyles that work well with the high fade include a high top if you have the suitable hair texture or you can do a sharp hair part with a comb over.

The Taper Fade

High Taper Fade Haircut
High Taper Fade Haircut

One of the best fade hairstyles for all guys is the taper fade haircut. The taper fade sees hair become shorter and shorter as you get closer to your ears, before meshing with your skin.

The taper fade gives you a combination of the taper haircut and a fade haircut. A taper fade doesn’t have a huge change in hair length compared to other styles. With this style you see hair taper inwards as you get closer to the ears. 

Also, the taper fade only deals with the hair above your ears and neckline. The taper fade haircut shows skin and follows the bottom hairline all the way around your head, including the back of your head.

The Temple Fade

Temple Fade Haircut
Temple Fade Haircut

The temple fade, also known as the Brooklyn Fade, originates from the 1990’s. This style is mainly popular with black men who have afro hairstyles and has found its way back into modern culture.

A modern day temple fade will have the hair fade from the temple and downwards to your ears. For this haircut, only the hair in front of your ears is cut.

The Undercut Fade

High Fade Undercut
High Fade Undercut

One of the most modern and trendy fade styles, the undercut fade provides a combination of the undercut haircut and the fade haircut.

The undercut fade is defined by having extremely short hair on the sides and back with long hair on the top of your head. There is no real transition between the top and sides. However, incorporating a fade smooths out the stark difference.

When choosing the height of the fade to partner with the undercut fade, there is no right or wrong answer. For example, having an undercut with a high fade is the boldest look. You can also vary the hair lengths on top and keep your hair long or short.

How To Ask Your Barber For A Fade Haircut

Anytime you go to the barber you need to come in with specific instructions on what you want them to do to your hair. The more specific, the better. This is your hair we are talking about!

So when it comes to the fade, you have to tell your barber exactly which fade you want to get a good fade haircut.

The fade haircut at a high level starts with a low, mid, or high fade. Then it can be broken down by which areas or direction you want your hair to be faded.

In general, fades will suit any guy that has hair to work with. Your overall style will depend on the shape of your face and head. However, if you are dealing with balding around the crown or a receding hairline, you might need to get creative with how you cut your hair.

For the length of a fade, you want to shoot for going as short as possible. Some guys go for a bald or skin fade which basically requires the barber to take the guard off of the clippers. But, in general, you want to start with a number 1 over your ears and then transition to a number 2 higher up on the sides of your head.

If you happen to not come in with any plan, then ask your barber what fade haircut you should get. Alternatively, you can take a picture of another guy’s hair that you like and show it when you are ready to get a cut. The barber will ultimately let you know what is possible for you.

How To Style The Fade Haircut

Paul Mitchell Matte Cream

Styling a fade can be done in many different ways where the main area being styled is the top of the head. Remember, a fade doesn’t mean that the hair on top is long or short. As long as the sides are faded, you have a fade haircut.

As mentioned, you have a lot of freedom in styling the top of your head. 

For example, if you want a subtle look, you can wear a quiff hairstyle. With this style you can use a matte cream or paste so that your hair isn’t very shiny and you can restyle over the course of a day.

For another stylish look that is currently popular, you can have a high fade with the top styled with matte product. This will give you a tousled or messy hair style.

Honestly, the styles and options with a fade are endless. You can even pair a fade with a middle part!

How To Maintain Your Fade Haircut

Although fade haircuts are slick and trendy, the crisp fade will look unfaded rather quickly after your hair grows. Knowing this, you should plan to head to the barber every two to three weeks to keep your fade as fresh as possible.

Fade Haircut Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Other Types Of Fade Haircuts For Men?

Some other variations of the fade haircut include a bald fade, burst fade, temple fade, and shadow fade. Each of these styles is based on where the fade taper begins.

The most popular fade haircut style is the low fade haircut because it is an ageless style that is trendy in the fashion world. 

This style is also very versatile, you mix and match the low fade with a long or short top. With any men’s hairstyle, the low fade will give you a clean cut and fresh finish on the sides and back.

How Do I Know Which Fade Haircut Is For Me?

Choosing the right hairstyle all depends on the structure of your face and your head shape. For example, the drop fade looks best for men with square or round faces. Have fun and test out different fades to find the right one for you.

Putting It All Together

The key to deciding between a low fade haircut vs mid fade haircut vs high fade haircut is to have a mental picture of what style you want to pull off before you get your haircut.

As part of this decision, you have to know how much work you are willing to put in, to maintain your hair. Getting the right hair look and keeping your hair healthy takes real work and should be a key part of your daily routine.

Having the right fade and hairstyle can change your life. It will make you more confident, attractive, and happy.

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Fact Checked by our Director of Dermatology We know that understanding how your skin and hair work can seem scary, so my team and I devote our time to thoroughly researching every single topic and product we write about. We hope you find our reviews helpful and informative.

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