The fade haircut is a popular, flexible men’s style where the hair is cut short near the temples and neck and gradually gets longer near the top of the head. This gradient “faded” look offers the best of both worlds – catering to guys who want short sides for a fresh, clean cut as well as some length on top to style the hair into a comb over, quiff, faux hawk, or spiky hairstyle.
If you’re looking for a modern, low-maintenance cut that looks great combined with a variety of facial hair and hair types, check out these 13 cool fade haircut styles!
1. High Fade
The high fade haircut, also known as a high and tight, starts fading from the hairline near the temples and goes close to the skin near the upper parietal ridge. It allows you to maximize the amount of hair on top for added height and length.
As musician Ed Sheeran said when describing his signature high fade look – “It’s pretty much top notch.” We can’t argue with that assessment! This versatile fade pairs well with a comb over, faux hawk, side part, quiff, or messy textured crop.
2. Mid Fade
A medium fade haircut offers a happy medium – not too high yet not too low! The mid fade starts dropping down after the temples and disappears about halfway down the sides and back for a balanced look.
The medium fade haircut works well for guys who want a clean-cut style that is acceptable in professional settings yet still stylish for the weekends. Like Goldilocks evaluating the three bears’ beds – it’s just right.
3. Low Fade
Do you crave a rugged yet refined style? Say hello to the low fade. The gradual fade begins to taper near the ears and down to the nape of the neck. This haircut keeps heavy stubble or a beard looking neat while maintaining plenty of length through the top and sides for a textured finish.
As rapper Machine Gun Kelly explained of his signature modern mullet featuring a low fade: “It’s edgy while still being masculine.” Turn heads with this bold fade style.
4. Drop Fade
Similar to the low fade, the drop fade haircut takes an abrupt 90-degree drop behind the ear to create a clear disconnect between the long hair on top and close cut sides. This precision cut requires skill but delivers a stylish, eye-catching outcome.
LA Clippers basketball player Paul George keeps his drop fade fresh with a hard side part and artistic lines for a sleek spin on this edgy style. For a playful take, try a faux hawk or spiky textured crop on top.
5. Temp Fade
The temple fade (temp fade for short) puts the spotlight on your temples as the shortest part of this tapered cut. Hair graduates from a close trim around the temples to longer lengths along the side and toppers.
Men with straight hair will appreciate how a temp fade creates the illusion of thickness. NBA star LeBron James often wears this hip variant for a standout style that reflects his trademark confidence on the courts.
6. Skin Fade
Do you crave an attention-grabbing hairstyle with major edge? Say no more – the skin or bald fade is here for you. This precision cut graduated extremely tight to the skin along the sides and back from the hairline down.
When paired with a short textured crop, spiky hair, faux hawk or other dramatic style on top, this virtually invisible fade makes your haircut impossible to ignore. Soccer pro Cristiano Ronaldo frequently flaunts this eye-catcher.
7. Shadow Fade
Straddling the line between edgy and clean cut, the shadow fade features hair trimmed down to a darker shadow along the temples, behind the ears and nape of the neck. The contrast makes hair on top seem fuller by comparison.
Shadow fades work well with voluminous styles like pompadours, quiffs and faux hawks that benefit from the appearance of added density along the sides. Add an optional hard part for further delineation.
8. Razor Fade
As the name suggests, razor fading uses a straight edge razor to cut hair down to the scalp in an ultraprecise tapered line toward the back. When executed by a skilled barber, this artful yet understated fade looks sharp at every angle.
Wear your razor fade long or short on top – this cut suits everything from messy textured hair to a perfectly coiffed pompadour equally well thanks to its versatility. Actor and singer Jared Leto is a frequent flaunter.
9. Scissor Fade
Prefer a slightly softer take on faded haircut styles? Request a scissor fade. Like the razor fade, this look still incorporates very short hair at temples and neck but uses thinning shears to hand cut hair and allow some textured stubble to show rather than going fully smooth.
This technique allows your barber to customize the fade for a seamless look that complements your head shape. Scissor fades work well with naturally wavy or curly hair that benefits from some length to weigh it down rather than tightly cropped sides.
10. Hard Part Fade
Why choose between a hard part and faded undercut when you can have both? This dynamic duo combines shaved in lines and crisp tapering for a sculpted style loaded with attitude.
The graphic edge of a hard part pairs perfectly with high, medium and low fades in equal measure. Customize yours based on your individual style and preference – the options with this eye-catcher are endless.
11. Taper Fade
Prefer to start faded haircut styles off subtle? No problem – the taper fade has got you covered. This gradual fade sees hair neatly blending from long on top to shorter lengths along the back and sides for a seamless look.
Tapered sides help balance tall hair on top for guys who want a noticeable yet natural gradient between lengths rather than high contrast. This versatile fade integrates beautifully with everything from buzz cuts to voluminous pompadours.
12. Faded Pompadour
Pompadours enduringly suit gentlemen who prefer refined yet eye-catching hair. Combine this beloved retro style with faded sides to keep your modern ‘do looking dapper.
A high or mid skin fade helps sculpt fullness on top into a perfect pyramid of height towards the front hairline. For added polish, incorporate a hard side part. Alternatively, opt for more subtle shadow fading for an integrated finish.
13. Faded Mohawk
Edgy gents, prepare to fall in love with the faded mohawk. This beloved punk style sees hair buzzed super short or fully shaved along the sides to exaggerate that signature center strip of longer hair.
Today’s faded mohawks range from slightly trimmed sides to high-contrast skin fades for maximum attention. Customize yours with straight, spiky or curly locks as well as optional designs etched into shorter sections.
The fade haircut offers versatility for guys who want stylish, low-maintenance modern cuts that are masculine yet on-trend. With options ranging from dramatic to subtle and natural, faded looks cater to hair of all lengths and textures as well as personal style preferences.
Whether you crave an eye-catching high-skin fade, medium shadow fade or more modest taper fade, this technique helps balance and shape short sides with your preferred length of hair on top. Ultimately, faded styles look great while keeping you looking crisp and well-groomed.