What Is The Difference Between A Fade And A Tapered Haircut?

16 Jan
2013

Home » Hair Styling & Cutting Tips, Taper Fade Haircuts » What Is The Difference Between A Fade And A Tapered Haircut?

Before sitting in the barber’s chair, some men wonder the difference between a fade and a taper. Although these styles do boast certainly similarities, they can be dramatically different in both the aesthetics they supply and the remaining length of hair. It is also important to note that either look will vary significantly, according to the person’s natural hair texture.

Photo of Colton Haynes tapered haircut.
Colton Haynes tapered haircut.

With a taper, the length of the hair gradually decreases from the top of the pate down to the nape of the neck and to the sides. It can be done with both hair clipper and scissor (with the help of a comb using the scissors-over-comb method). It allows men to sport longer lengths while still maintaining a carefully groomed appearance. This cut also allows for more movement and greater styling flexibility.

A fade haircut image.
A fade haircut.

Conversely, a fade will usually taper the hair starting at the top of the pate and ending just above or right at the ear and at the occipital bone with no line. The same cutting concept is applied but it can only be done with hair clippers in order to fade out hair smoothly. However, the resulting length is much shorter and the transition from a thick crop of hair to a short, neat one occurs far more rapidly. These styles do not allow for much movement and generally work well for many hair textures.

The fade is low-maintenance and is best for men who want a short, neat cut while keeping modern and fashionable style. There are even several variations of each style which may be termed differently according to the shop location and the surrounding culture. This makes it important for people to learn the local jargon that is used by stylists and to review before and after images that are kept in the shop.

It is also important to note that while your stylist will not be asking, “Whats the difference between a taper and a fade?” he may have very unique answers to this question. Thus, if you are working with a new barber for the first time, it is best to give a clear description of the cutting style that you want used. This will eliminate any confusion that can arise given location, linguistic and cultural differences. If you are more knowledgeable about the cutting implements, you can even select the razor guard size and thus, the resulting length.

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