Nowadays, the whole world has been compressed into a cell phone and most of its knowledge as well. With one click, you can learn about the difference between taper vs. fade men haircuts, which, of course, is what you’re doing right now.
You can search anything from sports and politics to haircuts on the internet and instantly get the precise answer you want.
But it wasn’t always like that. I still remember when I used to go to the barber’s shop with my father, and he used to tell him which kind of haircut I’ll get (which, of course, used to be the same every single time).
Now when I look back, I think if I had the slightest knowledge about taper or fade haircuts for men, I would’ve never let anyone commit these atrocities to my hair, my father included.
The whole point of telling you this is that you can relate. Anyways, let’s just leave it there and dive into our topic, “Taper vs. Fade haircut, which one’s better for you?”
Taper Vs. Fade Haircut: What’s The Main Difference?
First things first, before you start looking for which haircut would better suit you, it is essential that you know the differences between the two.
Interestingly, both the haircuts have a similarity; in both taper and fade, your hair begins to get shorter from top to button (from your head to the neck).
So, now you’d think, what’s the point then? If both haircuts look the same from top to bottom, how can one differentiate?
Wait right there! That is what I’m trying to do here. Take a chill pill. Because despite being slightly similar, they have many dissimilarities in their details.
In simpler words, in a taper haircut, your hair slowly gets shorter as you go down from top to button, whereas, in a fade haircut, you’re slowly going doing, and BOOM! Your hair got shorter (exposing the skin under the hair) all of a sudden with no advance notice.
Furthermore, taper and fade haircuts are like a category, and if you go deeper, you’ll find several types of both taper and fade haircuts. Let’s look at them.
Taper Vs. Fade: Short Guide
We’ve always been curious to know which one’s better than the other. Messi or Ronaldo? Coca-Cola or Pepsi Taper or Fade?
And no matter how much we try, we’ll never get one answer on which everyone agrees because everyone has a different opinion.
This is why you can’t just say that taper is better or fade haircuts are. Both have different features.
I’ve listed all those features separately down below, and since it’s a short guide, I’ll keep it short.
In my opinion, taper haircuts are better for beginners because it’s easy to play safe in tapers, whereas fade haircuts look better on those who are familiar with these hairstyles.
Moreover, it also depends on your barber’s expertise; if you have second thoughts regarding his experience, you should try taper haircuts first.
Taper haircuts are among the most famous type of fades haircuts alongside ones. Most men prefer taper haircuts so much that they don’t even try fade styles.
Why? Because of the neatness.
Here are some types of taper haircuts.
How Does A Taper Haircut Look Like? And Its Types
In taper haircuts, the hair from the top of the head to the bottom decreases slowly. There’s no sudden change in between.
The hairstyle ends with the natural hairline on both sides and the back of the head.
Tapered Neckline Haircut – What Is It?
A tapered neckline is among the most preferred types of taper cuts. In this type, the neckline doesn’t have a clear cut at the bottom.
This means the barber leaves the neckline hair as it is so that it looks more natural, or sometimes, they precisely cut it down to the neck so that it doesn’t look so blunt.
In other words, no sharp blade or trimmer is used horizontally on your neckline. And as for the upper hair, they’re just cut casually.
What Is A Low Taper
When your hair is slowly from top to bottom and is simply getting mixed up with the natural hair at the bottom, it is called a low-taper haircut.
Moreover, you’ll also notice the hair above your ears are slightly (or sometimes very) less than in other areas.
What Is A High Taper
High taper haircuts are in which your hair is trimmed and slowly reduced from both sides of your head above your ears.
And when I say above your ears, I mean around 1.5 to 2 inches above, unlike the low tapers, in which the hair is trimmed just above your ears.
What Is A Skin Taper
And lastly, the skin taper haircuts. Do you know what hair scalp is? It’s the point from where your hair grows on your head.
When the barber starts trimming your hair just 1 to 1.5 inches below your scalp slowly to the bottom of your head, it’s called a skin taper haircut, which also includes trimming over the ears.
Now we have faded haircuts, and you’ll be surprised to know that these faded haircuts were also famous 80s men’s hairstyles now you will surely want to know how many types of faded haircuts there are.
Let’s take a look. But first.
How Does A Faded Haircut Look Like? And Its Types
Unlike taper ones, hair doesn’t slowly and gradually decrease from top to bottom.
You can choose a high, medium, or low faded haircut, and at the point of your choosing, your hair will instantly decrease or fade away all the way to the neck (sometimes exposing head skin as well).
Below are some types of faded haircuts.
Bald Fade – What Is It?
If you’re having trouble deciding on taper vs. fade haircuts, and you just want to get a stylish haircut with pretty less maintenance, then a bald fade haircut is for you.
A bald faded haircut is different from many other haircuts in many ways.
One thing that you’ll notice in almost all faded haircuts, as well as the taper ones, is that the hair on the top of your head is mostly left intact with some minor changes, right?
Well, that’s not the case with a bald faded haircut. In this, the top head hair is cut and reduced to less than an inch, and the sides and the bottom area hair is almost completely trimmed.
Men who mostly have curly hair prefer to get this type of faded haircut. You’d have seen this haircut on many famous black celebrities.
Low Fade – What Is It?
Some people confuse low fade hairstyles with taper ones, and I don’t blame them, honestly. I made the same mistake when I saw it for the first time.
However, there’s a difference (a fine-line type of difference). Remember what I told you about the main difference between taper vs. fade? That is smoothness.
No matter how much a faded hairstyle looks like a taper, this smoothness difference will always be there.
In low fade haircuts, most of the work is done just above and around the ears. But, if you look closely, from top to bottom, you’ll notice a slight lack of smoothness in between.
Skin Fade – What Is It?
You’ve seen the high taper, low fade, and bald fade on this list. You know that these names (high, low, bald, etc.) tell where the work is being done. In simpler words, these names show the “where,” right?
But when I talk about skin fade, I’m not talking about the “where,” but the “how.” I hope my points are going over your head.
Anyways, in skin fade haircuts, the hairline instantly fades away before even reaching the neck or above-the-neck level, revealing the head skin clearly.
Undercut Fade/Disconnected Fade – What Is It?
You can either call it “pixie undercut” or “disconnected” fade, and this type of fade haircut is among my favorite hairstyles.
Again, some people also confuse it with high fade cuts (about which I’ll talk later on this list). But just like the low fade, you’ll eventually find a difference.
In this, the hair on the top of the head is mostly left intact, with some minor changes. Then, the barber starts trimming the hair right underneath the top hair layer.
Most men also prefer to get a visible fine line between the top and middle (trimmed) layer.
(Pro Tip: This haircut looks so much better on long hair compared to shorter ones)
High Fade – What Is It?
You can make a good guess just by reading the name. In this style, the fading starts from the temple (a temple is an area on both sides of the forehead above the ears) and goes all the way down to the neck.
A high fade is among the most popular fade types among men. That is because you can get any kind of hairstyle after getting a high fade.
Drop Fade – What Is It?
In simpler words, the drop fade haircut is cut in such a way that when you look at it from the side, it will look like the cut is going higher above the ear and then being dropped around it down to the neck.
Some say that among all the other faded hairstyles, the drop fade is the most sudden one; like I said in the beginning, BOOM! And the hair is faded.
With a little luck, and if your barber is professional enough, you’ll get a stylish and neat contrast between the upper and the lower areas of your head.
Taper Fade Comb Over – What Is It?
The slight bipartisan between fade and taper haircuts give birth to taper fade comb-over hairstyles. However, I wouldn’t say that this hairstyle is among the most desirable ones.
It is a simply faded haircut, in which the hair on both sides and lower areas of the head are trimmed (faded), and the upper hair (on the head top) is mostly left as it is (with some styling, sometimes).
Medium Fade – What Is It?
I also call it a mild level of a high fade haircut. While the high fade cut is done near the top of the head, the medium fade is done slightly lower than that.
You’re getting the point, right? In my opinion, the medium fade is an ever-green hairstyle and can suit almost any man.
My suggestion is that if you are trying these faded hairstyles for the first time and want to play safe, then you should try the medium fade first and see if that is your cup of tea or not.
So, Which One Would Suit You Better?
After learning about all (or most)of the types of taper vs. fade and getting the idea of how these hairstyles look, which haircut would suit you?
Well, I’d say that is a subjective matter. I mean, only you can tell which of these haircuts is suitable for you, and for that, I suggest you go back and take another look at all types of taper vs. fade haircuts.
Let me give you some advice so that you can decide better. “If you are new to this whole “new hairstyles and taper vs. fade” thing, you should go for taper haircuts first.”
Why? Because most of the taper haircuts are more or less the same as regular haircuts, you get them from time to time.
Almost every barber would know one or two types of taper haircuts, and since you now know about those haircuts, you can easily make him understand what exactly you want.
However, when it comes to fade haircuts, you’ll need to watch out for the barber’s expertise.
Because most faded haircuts require precision, and I feel like I don’t need to tell you what would happen if your barber isn’t professional enough, right?
So, my advice is to try taper haircuts first and fade haircuts later.
Can You Do It At Home All By Yourself?
Why did I add this question? Because of the pandemic. When all the barber shops and other businesses got shut down around the world, this question – along with many others – arose.
So, the answer is YES. You can get a good taper haircut at home as well as a faded one; obviously, not as good as you get from a barber shop, but satisfactory enough.
Let’s break it down into some steps so you can understand the point clearly.
1- A Good Trimmer/Clipper
You can ask, why did I clearly mention a clipper and not scissors? Because of the precision. Anyways, get a good trimmer/clipper with at least four clipper guards.
And remember to do it upside-down, not the other way around. Choose the point from where you can go down trimming.
2- Put On The 4th Clipper Guard
After determining the highest point, start trimming (both horizontally and vertically) around your head with the 4th guard on.
3- Lower The Guard Number
Once you are done with the 4th guard, put on the 3rd guard and start trimming slightly lower than the highest point to get good contrast, and repeat the process (horizontally and vertically).
This should do the job for now. If you do it correctly, and I’d also suggest that you watch some tutorials before doing so, you’ll get a good haircut.
4- Only If You Want To
The 3rd and 4th clipper would do the job; however, only if you want to, you can go even lower and put the 2nd guard on.
With the 2nd guard on, repeat the process slightly lower than the area you trimmed with the 3rd guard on.
5- Final Look
After doing all this, take a look in the mirror and look for any room for improvement, and you’re good to go!
This was a detailed look at the taper vs. fade haircut rivalry. I also discussed many different types of both taper and faded haircuts.
I hope that you find this article helpful, and thanks for being with me this far. PEACE!