Not hot on haircuts? Don’t worry: we promise you’ll have come across the fade many times, even if you don’t know it. This slightly edgy, yet totally smart style is found on the heads of men across the world after bounding into popularity around the 1950s. But what does a ‘fade’ actually mean? It’s simple: a fade haircut simply denotes a gradient of length, creating a fade effect—sometimes fading to skin, sometimes to very short hair.
Opt for a high fade, a medium fade, or a low fade, with each offering its own look. In essence, the lower the fade, the more coverage you’re left with. So, while a high fade leaves you with a mop-top and little else, a low fade will taper subtly down your head, with the absolute shortest cut just around your ears. And the medium? Naturally, it falls somewhere in between.
Generally speaking, the higher the fade, the more maintenance is necessary. However, if clean cuts are high on your agenda (we get it), you’ll need to commit to (very) regular barber trips to freshen up. In fact, a fade only really looks its best for 3 or 4 days—so, plan your date/job interview/meet the parents for your fade’s honeymoon period. So, which is the best faded haircut for you? Without further ado, let’s take a look.
The best fade haircuts for men in order of popularity
- Low Fade Buzz Cut With Line Up
- Buzz Cut With Quick Fade
- Low Drop Fade With Pompadour
- Low Taper Fade With Textured Top
- Low Bald Fade With Curly Fringe
- Box Fade
- Burst Fade
- Sideburn Fade
- Low Fade With Hair Design
- Low Bald Fade
- Bald Drop Fade
- Side Part Fade
- Bald Low Fade (Skin Fade)
- Short Hair Fade
- Buzz Cut With Line Up And Low Temple Fade
- Classic Taper Fade Haircut
- Comb Over Medium Fade
- Medium Fade With Side Part Haircut
- Faded Sides With Faux Hawk And Design
- Mid Bald Fade With Spiky Hair
- Medium Faux Hawk Fade
- Mohawk Fade
- Curly Hair Fade
- Shaved Sides With Buzz Cut
- Fade Undercut With Textured Comb Over
- Long Hair Fade
- Long Quiff High Fade
- Slicked Back Hair With Medium Fade
- Straight Hair Fade
- Medium Pomp Fade
- Burst Fade Mohawk
- Cropped Medium Fade
- High Razor Fade With Hair Design
- Undercut Fade With Hard Part And Textured Spikes
- High Fade With Pompadour
- High Bald Fade With Comb Over Pompadour
- High Bald Fade Haircut
- Comb Over High Fade
For more short hairstyle inspiration, check the rest of our men’s haircut styles guides series:
Check our selection of the best hair products for men to see the complete collection.
Low Fade Buzz Cut With Line Up
Channel your inner GI Joe (honestly, it works), with a low fade buzz cut with a line-up. This get-up-and-go hairstyle is a terrific choice for the low-maintenance among us, though you should spruce it up every few weeks.
Buzz Cut With Quick Fade
Suave, sleek, and full of satisfying angles, the buzz cut with quick fade is worn by the likes of Zayn Malik, among others. Short all-over, this fade haircut is one for fuss-free mornings.
Low Drop Fade With Pompadour
A stunning union of the 50s pompadour and the categorically (20)20s low fade, the low drop fade with pompadour makes a gallant gentleman of anyone. Seen on famous heads like that of Elvis Presley, it’s a sure winner every time.
Low Taper Fade With Textured Top
Reluctant to let go of your thick mop? Save those strands with the low taper fade and a textured top. Smart enough to head to the office but very much Friday-night ready, this is a cut for the man-about-town.
Low Bald Fade With Curly Fringe
Blessed with curls? Don’t give them the snip: opt for the low bald fade with curly fringe, instead. Many men would kill for a full head of curls, so show yours off with this fade with a (very much rounded) edge.
A smooth choice for afro hair, the box fade lets your ‘fro run wild up-top while remaining neat, tidy, and clipped around your neck and ears. While the traditional ‘box’ is super angular, you’re free to go as sharp or laid-back as you please.
The burst fade: where the undercut steals the show. Yep, draw attention to your neck and shoulders with this eye-catching faded haircut, and go as messy or slick as you like on top.
Burn, baby, burn—sideburn, that is. If you rock ‘burns like a boss and there’s no way you’re letting them go, check out the sideburn fade. Somewhat miraculously making sideburns cool, this continuous fade pairs well with a beard for a rugged vibe.
Low Fade With Hair Design
Make your mop a work of art with a low fade with hair design cut. Using a ‘0’ on the clippers, your barber will etch a sleek pattern in your fade, while you’ll keep messy tresses on top. Step aside, ill-advised tattoos, we’re all about temporary hair art.
Low Bald Fade
Ever wanted to look like, well, every English footballer ever? Check out the low bald fade, a tight cut developing into a longer chop on top. A suave haircut for men of all colors and creeds, try this one on for size.
Bald Drop Fade
Go as high or low as you like with this short fade haircut, tapering from (slightly) longer on top to bald-as-you-like towards your neck and ears. We love the freedom at play with this fade—opt for a hair fade design for extra quirk points, or keep it simple.
Side Part Fade
Reminiscent of the Peaky Blinder crew, the side part fade proves side partings didn’t die with the roaring 20s. A fresh take on the retro style, the side part fade brings this asymmetric look hurtling into the 21st Century.
Bald Low Fade (Skin Fade)
Retain your precious locks (hey, not everyone has any) with the bald low fade, or skin fade. A messy top descends quickly into a close shave, and you can rock it brushed forward or side-parted—whatever takes your fancy.
Short Hair Fade
Be ‘that guy with the great haircut’ with a short hair fade. A close cut on the back and sides, it crescendos in a little mop to play with on top. Providing a well-groomed look, this versatile fade haircut will take you from desk to dancefloor.
Buzz Cut With Line Up And Low Temple Fade
For a fade cut that’s as neat as your school geometry workbook, opt for this slick variation of the classic fade. Guaranteeing all eyes on you (for the right reasons), this look is close-cut, with a pronounced design curving out from your temple.
Classic Taper Fade Haircut
Ask your barber for this chop, and you might just find yourself fighting off the ladies (disclaimer: this is not guaranteed). This handsome cut makes the most of your existing locks, tapering to a clean shave around your nape.
Comb Over Medium Fade
Sported by the likes of JT (don’t worry, post-NSYNC) and Brad Pitt, this red carpet-worthy fade haircut is a smokin’ choice. Longer on top for that all-important comb-over, and quickly tapering to barely-there hair.
Medium Fade With Side Part Haircut
Want to rock a side-part but avoid resembling Jack Dawson (so 1912), the medium fade with side part haircut is another Justin Timberlake special (would you believe it?!). Yep, comb over if you like, or keep it tousled with this versatile fade.
Faded Sides With Faux Hawk And Design
Yep, turns out faux hawks are cool again. Try out this amalgamation of styles and you’re sure to steal the show, no matter where you’re headed. Combining close-cut faded sided with a sharp and edgy faux hawk, the cut-in design brings this look together.
Mid Bald Fade With Spiky Hair
For that ‘women want me, men want to be me’ vibe, opt for the mid bald fade with spiky hair. This boyishly charming fade haircut is an excellent choice for men seeking a playboy look, perfect for transitioning from meetings to margaritas without ado.
Medium Faux Hawk Fade
This subtle fade haircut is balanced out by messy tresses on top, which you can faux-hawk or no-hawk as you wish.
A nice medium haircut, the mohawk fade is akin to the medium fade, but much more pronounced. A statement cut, this low-fade cut is all at once striking, suave, and somehow, smart.
Curly Hair Fade
Got a curly-fro but hankering for a fade haircut? Black guys: gather around. The curly hair fade maximizes your mane, yet still keeps things tidy with a close-cropped fade. Keep the top tumbling and spritz a suave cologne for a debonair feel.
Shaved Sides With Buzz Cut
Tom Hardy, eat your heart out: opt for shaved sides with a buzz cut, and you’ll be letting your chiseled features and smooth skin do the talking. Exuding bad-boy charm (irresistible, we assure you), this high fade lets everyone know you mean business.
Fade Undercut With Textured Comb Over
Ah, we adore an undercut. Especially when it’s topped with an attitude-by-the-bucketload textured comb over. Naturally, this fade will need a little styling in the AM, but the results are in, and it’s so worth it.
Long Hair Fade
What if there’s a way to rock a short and long haircut simultaneously? Well, like Schroedinger’s (unfortunate) feline, there is: the long hair fade. Keep tumbling tresses on top—or neaten it up with a top knot—and show off your natural silhouette with a fade down-under.
Long Quiff High Fade
Show off a high forehead with the long quiff fade, the ultimate marriage of two of our favorite styles. With an (extremely) short-back-and-sides, this fade haircut retains a lengthy top that you can blow-dry, quiff-up, or comb over as you see fit.
Slicked Back Hair With Medium Fade
#OMG. Like the slicked-back look? Your wish is our command with the slicked-back hair with medium fade, crafting a clean-as-a-whistle, got-it-together look. For a fade cut that’s as refined as you, look no further.
Straight Hair Fade
Equally striking on caucasian, black, or Asian hair types, the straight hair fade is the tuxedo of the barbering world. Almost bald around your ears and nape, there’s plenty of room to play with the tufts left wild on top.
Medium Pomp Fade
For smooth-talking volume (plus an extra inch to your height—hurray), the medium pomp fade is The One. Grease without the grease (assuming you don’t forget to shampoo), this fade demands a quick swipe of a good styling product on top, while the fade is good-to-go without interference.
Burst Fade Mohawk
This cool fade haircut is one that lets your ‘fro sing, while staying neat and clipped with the rapid fade beneath. Offering a classy alternative to the passé mohawk, this edgy fade is at home on afro, straight, and curly mops alike.
Cropped Medium Fade
For those with a fondness for balance, the cropped medium fade is a must-try. With a devil-may-care charm of the longer top, combined with a slick, close-cropped medium fade, this cut is for the man who wants it all.
High Razor Fade With Hair Design
We’re all about the tribal designs melded with a high razor fade. Complete with an almost-faux-hawk on top, you must be warned: the design will grow out quickly, so have a barber’s appointment at the ready.
Undercut Fade With Hard Part And Textured Spikes
If any style is guaranteed to have an impact, it’s this: with a military-style undercut fade and gravity-defying spikes up top, this haircut is a showstopper. The sky-high fade turns to skin well before your ears, letting that sculpted silhouette truly shine.
High Fade With Pompadour
Dramatic, stand-out, and authoritative, the high fade with pompadour haircut is not for the faint-hearted. No, this voluminous cut strikes gold, making for a contemporary twist on Jazz-age chic.
High Bald Fade With Comb Over Pompadour
The contrast in this fade haircut makes it a winner in our books. An almost-bald, ultra-high fade ends abruptly at the crown of your head, where slicked over (or back) locks then take the stage. Paired with a swipe of wax, you can’t go wrong.
High Bald Fade Haircut
A high fade without the histrionics of a pompadour, the high bald fade haircut exudes put-together, well-groomed vibes. The high fade culminates in a short mop on top, which will be ready to roll as soon as you, well, roll out of bed.
Comb Over High Fade
A modern twist on the classic comb over, the comb over high fade is a style that doesn’t discriminate. Young, old, short, tall, black, or white, your locks will look smarter than ever when arranged in this ‘do. Keep it sharp with regular TLC, and experiment with the comb over.
The different types of fades haircuts
Low fade haircut
The low fade haircut was popularised during WWII and has out-stayed its welcome since (in the best of ways). This military-esque cut has many variations, with the common denominator being this: they’re all sharp, smart, and suave. Low fades are easier to maintain since the transition from short to long is more gradual. So, if booking a bi-weekly barber sounds like a hassle, opt for a low fade.
Medium fade haircut
A tapered cut that finishes around your temples and ears, the medium fade is just that: a happy medium. Making for a more dramatic vibe than a low fade, but less in-your-face than a high fade, the medium fade is great if you’re new to the fade life in general. Then, if you wish to make waves, you can opt for a higher fade. Or, if you miss your tousled mop, simply let it grow out without an obvious ‘in between’ period.
High fade haircut
High fade haircuts are the most demanding, but also look the smartest. Ah, what a conundrum. Since this cut relies on a sharp transition from long to short, it’s crucial that contrast is pronounced. So, book a bi-monthly barber’s appointment to stay on top. What’s more: if you opt for a more striking fade variation (of which there are countless), you’ll want to set up a three or four-weekly appointment with your barber.
Frequently asked questions about the best fade haircuts for men
Start with familiarising yourself with the difference between low, medium, and high fades. Then, we recommend thinking of a celebrity whose hair you admire and referencing them to your barber. This will help them understand the look you’re hoping to achieve.
Also known as a ‘1 fade’ the number 1 fade is characterized by very short back and sides (we’re talking around 3mm in length), which gradually gets longer further up your head. These nice fades are striking, sure, but suitable for work and play, too.
Undercuts make more impact if you have naturally long hair. The dramatic transition between almost bald and long at the top is the appeal of the undercut. A fade, however, can be worn successfully no matter how long your hair.
There are three main types of faded haircuts: low, medium, and high fades. However, within this, there are countless variations with which to experiment. Check out our guide to the best fades haircuts for inspiration.