Every decade showcases some version of a fade haircut, one of the most popular haircuts for men. The fade describes the way the haircut graduates from long to short as it moves down the side and back of the head. What you do on top is up to you. Our simple guide to popular and modern fades shows the difference between the most popular men's fades haircuts. Here are some photos of 35 more.
Pompadour With Sharp High Fade
The disconnected pompadour keeps the hair at the top of the head long. A high fade tapers quickly into short hair on the sides. Add to the sharpness by shaving a line into the transition between the top and the sides of the cut.
Comb Over Pompadour With Ear Fade
This men's fade haircut incorporates a few different techniques. The front of the cut is longer than the back. The hairline is sharply cleaned up. A clear side part is created, and the hair is directed to the other side. The fade concentrates around the ear, creating a softer look that's not as harsh as a traditional fade.
Fade Into Beard
The hair at the top of this fade is coarse and a bit curly. It's cut a few inches long for extra height. The fade graduates to almost bald by the ear. Then, it reverses the transition into a full beard. The beard is shaped into a crisp silhouette and is not allowed to grow down the neck.
Men's Fade On A Woman
The men's fade haircut can be worn by women too. This is a version of the pixie haircut that involves a short buzz on the sides. A geometric design is shaved into the fade.
Long Pompadour With Fade
If your hair will stay up, grow it long on top. Clip the sides and taper it down at the ears. This is a great hairstyle for coarse hair. Ethnic hair and hair that has gone gray but is still thick may retain the shape better than soft, sleek strands.
Skin Fade With Top Texture
A skin fade is almost bald around the ears. The hair gets progressively longer up to the part. On the other side of the part, the hair is 1 to 2 inches long. Chunks of hair are gathered with wax, creating a textured look at the top. This gives an edge to what would otherwise be a clean, sleek style.
High Pompadour With Faded Mutton Chops
This pompadour is exceptionally tall in the front. The sides quickly fade into a close shave around the ears. The short sideburns extend almost to the chin, where they are cropped into mutton chops. A short mustache and a goatee round out the look.
Choppy Spikes With Fade
This fade is longer. It doesn't graduate to a close shave. Instead, the fade is kept about 1/8-inch long around the ears. The top is cut roughly and spiked upwards with wax or clay. Pull the ends forward slightly to blend the back of the cut into the front layers.
The top is long and brushed back. You can see some wave in this hairstyle, but a bit of product controls any frizz. The sides are buzzed and tapered all the way down to the end of the sideburns. This is a classic look for many types of hair.
Square Crop With Side Line Fade
The layers at the top of the head are snipped level. You can use a gel with this style. Spiky strands that stay separated are part of the style's appeal. The side line fade is clean cut and striking.
A fade can direct the undercut of a fauxhawk hairstyle. The fauxhawk is a hairstyle that's making a comeback. Add some edge to your fashion sense by bleaching the ends of your hair. The platinum tips look soft and add interest to an already trendy men's haircut. A full, dark beard makes this look even more dramatic.
The fade beard starts from the fade around the ears. Don't feel like you have to have short hair just because you have a fade. With this haircut, the beard and mustache are long. So is the hair at the top of the head. The fade moves pretty quickly into the longer length. Keep the layers slicked back if they get unruly.
Medium Slicked Back Fade
If your hair is medium length, slick it back close to the head. This haircut has very little height. The undercut is a clipped fade that becomes very short at the ears and sideburns. You can rock this style with or without the beard.
V-Shaped Low Fade
This low fade is tapered gradually. The shave doesn't get super close until it almost hits the ear. In the back, the graduated buzz is cut like a V. So are the layers on top of the head, creating a simple look that is clean cut but has some edge.
Low Fade With Long Wave
If you have some wave to your hair, you can leave the length somewhat long. Fan the wavy ends across your head at the top, keeping them directed away from your face. Have a few natural highlights put in to emphasize the hair's texture. Quickly fade back into a full beard, or keep your face bare. The skin fade on this haircut stays around the ears. In the back of the head, the hair grows all the way to the nape.
Short Straight Fade
The hair at the top of this cut is short and straight. Brush it upwards, and keep it there with wax and holding spray. Fade down to a close crop that extends down the jawline with your beard.
Fade With Bangs
Men with tall or wide foreheads can wear bangs quite well. You don't have to have a long, floppy hairstyle to support fringe, however. Keep the top tousled and textured, and bring the hair forward over the face. Crop the sides into a fade. You might want to stay away from this style if your head is excessively narrow, however. The heavy top and short sides can exaggerate a long face.
Long Curls With Fade
The fade adds a neat, crisp element to a bedhead style. If your hair is a medium length and wavy, you may not have to do much to keep it looking great. Bring a few curls forward, and direct most of the hair up and to the front. Stay away from the hair dryer that you don't end up with puffy frizz.
Brief Fade Long Front
This brief fade works with a classic crew cut or longer hair. Keep the ends textured, and maintain heavy, side swept fringe in the front for a handsome look that borders on rock-star cool.
Crew Cut With Low Fade
The traditional crew cut is short and blends perfectly with a fade. This look can work well with a short beard or just some stubble. It doesn't take much product to style it. However, some wax or putty worked into the hair can help you direct the ends toward the center. This will help prevent the cut from looking too fuzzy, especially as it grows out.
Cleaned Up Edge With Texture
Thick hair shows off a great fade well. Keep it longest at the center of the top of the head. Crop the hair close in the front, and taper it down the sides. Have the hairline edged for a sharp look that makes the hair look thicker. This is a good look for people with a low hairline. It won't work if your hairline is thinning or receding.
Ivy League Fade
The Ivy League haircut is aptly named. It was made popular by university men and pairs well with a blazer and khaki trousers. According to Men's Health, the trick to getting a sharp haircut is finding a great barber, working with your hair's natural texture, using the right tools and products and knowing what to ask for. This cut has a medium fade with a natural-look shaved area.
Dark, Short Fade
Curly hair can be kept short for tons of texture at the top of the head. A high fade never gets too short. In fact, the sides are the same length as the beard. In this cut, the beard is allowed to grow down the neck, creating a dark, thick patch that balances out the dark shade at the top of the head.
Kids can rock a sweet fade as well as adults. This one has a geometric design shaved into the sides and a longer top. Children's hair tends to be fairly thick. They haven't begun to fall prey to male pattern baldness at a young age. That makes their hair versatile to work with.
High Fade Receding Hairline
If you have a receding hairline or a widow's peak, keep the top buzzed short. Work some product into the hair and direct it toward the center of the head. A high fade looks sleek and grows out well. A short beard makes this look a little more rugged. Go for a close shave for a clean-cut look. Both versions are great for a professional.
If you have a thick head of dark hair, a fade can be especially dramatic. Keep the top long, and spike it upwards or toward the back. Have the fade cut with scissors instead of clipped or buzzed for a different texture.
The cowlick looks good with a receding hairline. It lets you retain some length at the top without hiding the thinning areas. Style the hair on top upwards and to the side, curling the front down over the forehead. The low fade at the sides can be brushed back. Keep it all in place with gel or pomade.
This is perhaps one of the most traditional men's haircuts. It's also one of the most popular. Keep your hair maintained with the right shampoo, conditioner and styling products. You can wear this style messy or keep it combed.
Side Part With Geometric Lines
Carve a side part into your fade to separate it from the longer hair at the top. You can add lines above the ear to give your hairstyle a sharp look.
This modern fade works well with thick or thin hair. It's cut to about one inch at the top, and the high fade tapers quickly. Wear a short beard for a trendy look. You can always shave it off to change your style without going back to the barber.
Go long at the top with less blending between the faded area and the top layers. This could end up looking like a bowl haircut if you're not careful about leaving the tapered sides a little bit longer.
Taper Fade With Classic Top
The taper fade has a classic top with longer layers that are brushed to the sides. You can also brush this into a pompadour or slick it back.
Keep the hair at the top drastically longer than the hair on the sides and back. This type of undercut is often worn by surfers and skaters.
The French Crop is a timeless haircut that involves keeping many thick, short layers at the top of the head and going for a high, bald fade. This haircut requires less maintenance than a quiff or pompadour. It's similar to a Caesar haircut, but the bangs are longer.
Side Swept Undercut
This side swept look features a deep side part, a low fade, and a faded beard. The beard is thicker at the chin than at the sideburns. The top of the hair is highlighted for a sun-kissed look.
WikiHow offers instructions for cutting a fade haircut by yourself. However, we recommend that you go to a professional for the best results. Esquire explains which products are the best to use for your hairstyle and type. Combine a fabulous cut with the right products for a look that maintains its appeal over time.