How to ask for a taper fade – How to Give a Taper Fade Haircut


How To Do a Taper Fade Without Any Hassle

If the words DIY taper fade scare you, you just don’t have enough information. Did you know that a taper fade can easily be done in the comfort of your own home? Most men start by asking for some help from their friends and girlfriends while others have no trouble making one themselves. All you need to do is buy the right tools and get ready for the ride.

Let’s Get a Taper Fade!

At first, you might need to spend about an hour creating a more or less feasible hairstyle. But once you get some experience, a simple taper fade will take just about 20 minutes. So we suggest you stop being afraid of experiments and give a simple taper fade a try. After all, you can always go to the barber shop to fix your hair if something goes wrong.

What You’ll Need:

  • Clippers
  • Sharp scissors
  • 2 mirrors
  • Comb


What To Do:

  1. Wash and dry your hair as you usually do. If your hair is curly, try to straighten it out with a comb and a hair dryer. Straight hair is easier to manage.
  2. Carefully run a comb through your locks to make sure that it’s not tangled. Otherwise, clipping might be difficult.
  3. Start with cutting the top. You can either use the scissors to do it or the longest guard of the clipper. This depends on your preferences.
  4. Decide where the fade line will be.
  5. Take off the guard from the clippers and remove the hair just about your ears and in the back, including your neck. Do it up to the fade line.
  6. Use the shortest clipper guard so the length of the hair will be about 1/8 of an inch. Start just above the fade line and run the clippers all the way around to achieve the first level of the fade.
  7. Switch the guard to the next length (1/4) and repeat the same procedure below the next level.
  8. Repeat the same with the next two clipper guards (3/4 and 1/2).
  9. Blend your hair with the shortest clipper guard.

Watch the below video tutorial on DIY Taper Fade Haircut

5 Times that Taper Fades Looked Fly AF

When you wear a taper fade on short hair, you know you’re on-point anytime you leave the house. There’s just so much more you can do with this dashing cut, though. Add a part, start the fade at the neckline, pair it with an almost-mohawk—endless possibilities, endless styles, endless potential to show off how damn smooth you are.


Experience Taper Fades to Fab 

If you need some inspiration, look no further. Don’t just tell your barber you want a taper fade on short hair. Give him permission to experiment. Ask him to do something unique, something fly, something that will keep all eyes on you.


#1: Swoop Part

Want to add a little extra oomph to a taper fade on short hair? All it takes is a curved part. Ask the barber for a little swoop, though. Everybody needs some extra swerve in their life.

Copy These Taper Fades on Long Hair

#2: Hairline Fade

This cut is alternately known as both a hairline fade and a neckline fade because the fade starts at the hairline—and at the neckline, in the back. The secret is that you want to be able to see the fade; the gradient should be visible. Even without the longer shock of hair on top, this cut is fire.


#3: Curly Top

Short is relative, especially when it comes to your hair. No reason to crop those curls—they’re irresistible. Keep your hair a bit long up top—nothing crazy, just leave enough to create a contrast with your fade.


#4: Faded Undercut

How to Ask Your Barber for the Fade Haircut Style You Want

Check out all of the different ways to get in on the fade hairstyle trend.

Knowing what haircut you want is one thing; describing it to your barber is another—especially when it comes to the fade haircut. There are so many different ways to fade hair, so it’s kind of amazing if you do come out with the haircut you envisioned. To help you get the perfect fade haircut, we broke down the process and took out the guesswork. Read on to learn how to get the fade haircut style you really want:

Getting The Perfect Fade Haircut Style Just Got Easier

Understand the fade haircut process can make it a whole lot easier for you to understand what cut you should be going for. Photo credit:

1. Understand the types of fade haircuts.

When it comes to fade haircuts, there is a whole world of different types of cuts. If you like going for a super-short look, try out a high fade. High fades, sometimes called bald fades, angle down much more quickly, shaving all the way down. Low fades are longer and show less skin. Instead of quickly fading into nothing, low fades mostly just angle away from the hairline.

2. Try out other types of fade cuts.

You can also try other types of fades! It’s not always about all of your hairline fading away. A different fade haircut style you can try is the Brooklyn fade, where just the temple area has the fade. If you like the idea of a fade haircut but want to keep more length, a scissor fade might be your best bet. This cut is done with scissors (instead of clippers) to give a clean angle without going down to your skin.

3. Mix and match your fade haircut.

The best thing about the fade haircut style is that you can mix a fade with nearly any other cut. This is where it can get complicated to describe to your barber. First, you’ll need to know what kind of cut you are going for, then add a fade to go along with it. If you like military haircuts, you could go for the standard buzz cut and make it more interesting by adding in a Brooklyn fade.

4. Try out an unexpected fade.

We’re a bit partial when it comes to dudes with fade haircuts. We’re particularly fond of the mohawk fade look! It takes a typically grungy style and makes it devilishly handsome. We also like a good high fade mixed with a pompadour for a high-contrast look. Both of these styles take a bit more work on your behalf, but it’s more than worth it for the sexy result.

5. Get prepped for your new fade haircut.

Before you head to the barber to get your new fade haircut style, you should wash your hair. It helps to give you the best cut that works with your natural texture. Start off by using the Suave Men 2-in-1 Alpine Fresh Shampoo + Conditioner. to make your hair nice and clean, and the conditioner helps to keep it soft.

6. Describe what you want to your barber.

When it comes to chatting with your barber, it’s a good idea to bone up on some common barbershop phrases, that way you and your barber are on the same page. When you have decided on your haircut, describe that to your barber first. When you’ve let your barber know what haircut you would like, then you can describe how you would like to add in the fade. It’s important to be specific about where you would like the fade to start and where you would like it to fade into your skin. You can bring along photos to help show your barber exactly what you’re talking about.

Need more fade haircut styles to look at before making the cut? Check out these man bun fade hairstyles.

20 Best Comb Over Fade Haircut — How to Ask Barber And How to Style

Comb Over Fade: The comb over was one of the favourite hairstyles amongst the guys long ago. But since some of the celebrities have adorned it, comb over has gained back the popularity and has become a latest buzz for guys now days. Now it is one among those modern and versatile hairstyles that can suit almost every face.

From a comb over with taper to a wavy comb over, we have picked 20 modern comb over hairstyles to reinvent your look.

What is the Comb Over Fade haircut?

The comb over haircut is one where the longer hair on top are either parted to the side or slicked at the back. Wearing a comb over haircut with faded sides gives it just the perfect finish and so comb over is often clubbed with the fades, hence the name – Comb Over Fade haircut.

How to ask for comb over Fade Haircut?

To get a comb over haircut, you can ask your hairstylist to start with the side parting. Then you can choose any of the can comb over fade haircuts, with tapering sides or long top or if you want a sophisticated cut then ask him to keep the sides shorter.

How do I get the comb over fade?

To get a comb over fade, you should follow the steps given below:

  • Choose the perfect comb over style for yourself.
  • Discuss it with your barber and ask him to give you one.
  • Now to maintain this look every day, start with the dry hair.
  • Comb your hair carefully to find your side part. Do not mess up things.
  • Use a hair dryer to blow and dry from front taking it to the back.
  • Comb the hair at the top to their place while maintaining the side part.
  • Use a good quality hair serum or gel from back to front.
  • Finish it by combing the front hair.

Short Combover fade with side part:

This comb over fade hairstyle is a very easy to maintain as you don’t have to give much time on it every day. All you need is to keep your hair short, give a little spiky look to the hair in front while keep the rest of the hair to the other side. But yes, you might like to use a good amount of hair gel for a perfect look.


TIGI Bed Head Manipulator Texture Paste


The product is a styling expert that contains style boosting polymers, which help in bringing about good hold on the hair and also helps to define the hair. The product has ingredients that help by giving texture between the hair fibers and also a thicker look. The product is known to be of great help in protection from frizz as well as humidity.


  • Makes hair controllable, gives it definition and a workable hold.
  • Makes hair less frizzy and protects from humidity.
  • Gives hair a stronger and thicker look.
  • Easy to apply and wash out as well.


  • Has a chemical scent that lingers on for a longer time.
  • Has a watery consistency.

The product is a good choice if your hair is prone to get frizzy or be affected by humidity. It provides for ingredients that help make the hair look stronger and thicker. There is no definite cause for you to not go in for this product.

Razored comb over with pompadour:

Pompadour has never been out of fashion. So club your comb over fade haircut with a pompadour at the front while keeping your sides razored. For a bolder look you can try a light beard look too!

Mohawk comb over fade:

One of the boldest comb over fade styles is the faded comb over with Mohawk. The style only guys with a lot of guts and die hard fashion freaks would like to try. Go for it dude!


Key Brands Jax Promade


The key brands Jax Promade is currently in the running for the best promade along with other similar products. The product has worked wonders, without a lot of quantity being required for application. The product has medium hold and is also known for the high shine that it creates once applied.


  • On application, gives the hair a high shine.
  • Holds onto styled hair for an entire day.
  • Application is easier, as minimum amount is required.


  • Does not seem to work well on curly hair.
  • Hair tends to become hard and stiff.

Though the product is one of the best in the market, it is quite expensive in respect to the quantity

Find the Right Haircut for You

“Taper,” “fade,” “taper fade….” When it comes to men’s haircuts, you’ve most likely heard people throw these terms around. But if you’re confused about the differences between each type of cut, then you’re certainly not alone!

Though the terms “taper,” “fade,” and “taper fade” are sometimes used interchangeably, tapers and fades are actually separate haircuts with distinct differences and taper fade is a catch-all term for both. We’ll walk you through exactly what these haircuts look like, the differences between the two, and how to know which cut (if either) is right for you.


Taper Cut, Fade, Taper Fade: What Are the Differences?

The taper cut and the fade cut are two very similar hairstyles, and if you don’t know what to look for, it can be tricky to tell them apart. This can make knowing what to ask for a little more difficult when getting your hair cut, so let’s break down what each cut looks like, plus what people mean when they talk about a taper fade haircut.


Taper vs. Fade: What They Have in Common

Both the taper and the fade haircut start with long(er) hair on the top of the head, which then gets progressively shorter going down the back and sides.

Versatile and easy to maintain, both cuts are extremely popular and have been for several decades. While the taper haircut is more common and a little more adaptable to different looks, both are considered “classic” styles, suited towards many different face shapes, as well as both casual and professional environments.

Both the taper and the fade cut will grow back in evenly over time, which makes maintenance touch-ups generally pretty hassle-free. And it also allows for an easy transition growing back in if you decide you don’t like the style.

Because the cuts are so similar, it can be confusing to understand the difference between them or know which to choose. But there are a few key differences between the styles, so let’s look at each in more detail.


What Is a Taper Haircut?

“Tapering” in hair means that the hair reduces in length along a gradient (goes from longer to shorter). Most modern men’s haircuts have some form of tapering, but the amount varies depending on the cut in question. Even on relatively uniform haircuts, a small amount of tapering—especially towards the bottom and at the hairline—helps prevent any haircut from coming to a “sudden stop.”

A proper “taper haircut” leaves a relatively long length of hair at the top of the head (usually 2 to 4 inches, but sometimes longer) and then slowly reduces the length along the back and sides. The gradient usually begins around the temple and ends at the natural hairline. The fading process itself can either be stylishly “sloppy” and have obvious layers to it, or be fairly uniform and smooth, depending on the desired style.

Though the gradient of a taper cut gets quite short at the hairline, the hairline remains intact and the fading doesn’t blend all the way down to the skin. This is one of the key differences between a taper cut and a fade cut.



The taper cut can be done with scissors or clippers (or both), depending on how thick the hair is and how slow the tapering effect is. There is also some wiggle room for a hairdresser to get it “wrong” or otherwise make a mistake in a taper cut, as the tapering is generally done along a slow gradient. Because of this, it’s easy to recover from a mistake by simply blending in the rest of the hair along the sides and back to match.

The taper cut has been a classic look for decades, as it combines the best of two worlds—allowing for longer hair (with little required maintenance), while still maintaining a stylish and well-groomed look. Taper also gives a lot of freedom of movement for the longer hair at the top of the head, which allows for a wide variety of day-to-day styling choices.



What Is a Fade Haircut?

The fade haircut, like the taper, also has a gradient, beginning from longer hair on top, to very short hair along the back and sides. But the difference between a fade and a taper lies in the the length of the hair at the top of the head and the style of the fading along the back and sides.

The hair on the top in a fade cut is generally much shorter than a taper cut, usually less than two inches. The fading effect of a fade cut also happens more quickly than in a taper cut, with the hair of a fade ending above the natural hairline. The hair at the bottom of the fade cut should blend into the skin so that the hairline isn’t visible at the back and along the sides.

In a fade, the hair usually fades to skin right at or above the ear (though a “low fade” can be much lower, near the hairline, and a “high fade” can end high above the ear), and the cut should have an incredibly smooth blend overall from the hair to the skin. Whereas a taper cut can potentially look “artfully messy” or choppy, the fade cut should look smooth and streamlined, which can be difficult to master. So make sure whoever’s cutting your hair has experience with the technique!



Also known as a “high and tight,” the fade cut has long been popular with military personnel due to its neatness and ease of maintenance. But there are many styles and variants on the fade cut, so it is by no means limited to the military. The cut gives a modern and fashionable look while requiring only touch-up maintenance (not daily styling). It’s also a particular popular cut in American-American communities, as the fade haircut works well with most any hair texture, including very tight curls.


What Is a Taper Fade Haircut?

Because the taper cut and the fade cut styles are so similar, many people conflate the two haircuts into one catch-all term: taper fade. However, if you walk into your barbershop or salon and ask for a taper fade, you’ll have to spend some time explaining exactly what you want, since taper fade isn’t an official term.

Most stylists will assume you’re asking for a regular taper haircut if you ask for a “taper fade,” but it’s best to be clear about which haircut type you want so as to avoid any misunderstandings. After all, if what you really wanted was a taper cut and you the got the closer-cropped sides of a fade cut, chances are you won’t be too happy!


Why Choose a Taper or Fade Haircut?

Taper and fade cuts have been (and continue to be!) some of the most popular haircuts for men, and for good reason. These cuts allow for a wide range of style choices, are adaptable for different social or work environments, and look good on the vast majority of men. Each cut can be as trendy or as formal as you want to make them, and most versions of the taper or the fade are easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis.

Overall, if you’re looking for an easy style that still looks like you put some effort into your appearance, a taper or fade haircut might be the right fit for you.



Taper vs. Fade: Which Hairstyle is Right for You?

Okay, so you’ve decided you definitely want to get some kind of gradient cut. But how can you decide taper vs. fade?

Again, though there are more similarities between the two styles than not, each has its own different benefits and drawbacks. Each cut will be a better or worse fit depending on how much effort you want to put into your daily appearance, your general style, and your face shape.


Picking the Best Hairstyle for Your Lifestyle

If you’re someone who wants to think as little about your hair as possible, then a fade haircut is perfect for you. It requires zero daily maintenance, though do take note that you’ll have to get frequent haircuts, or learn how to do it yourself, if you want to maintain the cut).

Though you can absolutely choose a fade cut that is stylish and daring, most fade cuts are short enough on top that they don’t need a lot of daily styling and maintenance. Generally, all you need is the initial cut and then you’re free and clear to live your life without worry until it’s time for the next touch-up. The fade cut also tends to look a little more “serious,” so if you’re someone who doesn’t want to worry about ever looking frazzled or messy, then the fade cut is probably the way to go.

If, however, you’re someone who likes to experiment with different looks from day to day (or hour to hour), then you may want to go with a taper haircut.Though still easy to maintain, the extra length of the taper cut means that you can play around with different products and styles to alter the look however often as you want.

Without styling, the taper cut can also look a little more casual than the fade cut, so if you like to bounce between a relaxed look and a more professional one depending on your style choices of the day, the taper cut is versatile enough to master the challenge.


Picking the Right Hairstyle for Your Face Shape

A haircut can drastically change the look of your face, and the right or wrong haircut for your face shape can make all the difference. No face shape is inherently better or worse than any other, but knowing what yours is can help you make the best style decisions for your overall look. Finding a haircut that complements your face shape can even help draw attention to your best features.

The four most common face shapes are: round, square, oval, and long/oblong. So let’s talk haircuts that work best for different face shapes.



Round Face

Round faces are about as long as they are wide, which gives the face a uniformly circular appearance. If you have a round face, you’ll want to try to give it the appearance of length and avoid making it look even rounder.

To balance your face shape, avoid round, completely uniform, or full haircuts. It’s best to have a shorter length along the sides and some more volume on top.

A taper cut or other square hairstyle works great with round faces. The fade cut can be a little too extreme for round faces, however, since the bald sides will often make a round face appear rounder and more “babyish.”

Celebrities with round faces: Elijah Wood, Leonardo DiCaprio


Square Face

Square faces are faces with strong, straight lines along the cheeks. Many people with square faces also have a strong chin and jaw line.

Square faces work great with either a neat and tidy cut or one that has more volume and softness, depending on the look you’re going for.

If you want to emphasize the “strength” of the square face, a haircut that has shorter sides and some volume on top will do the trick. If you want a softer look, then a haircut that’s a little longer on the sides also looks great with a square face.

Both the taper cut or fade both work perfectly for square faces. Go with the taper cut if you want a soft or playful look and the fade cut if you’re going for a more serious look.

Celebrities with square faces: Michael Fassbender, John Cho


Oval Face

Oval faces are about one and a half times longer than they are wide, with relatively uniform proportions. Oval faces are extremely adaptable and pretty much any hairstyle will suit an oval face.

If you’re thinking about a gradient cut, both the taper or the fade will be perfect for an oval face.

Celebrities with oval faces: Will Smith, Jake Gyllenhaal


Long/Oblong Face

A long or oblong face is usually noticeably longer than it is wide. Often, people with long faces have long foreheads or chins as well, though this isn’t universally true.

If you have a long face, go for volume and layering in your haircuts to draw attention to the sides  of the head and away from further elongating the face. Bangs or other soft style that keeps the hair in front of the face can also go a long way in keeping a long forehead from being too overwhelming. Avoid long hair unless you’re also pairing it with some neatly-trimmed facial hair. And avoid hair with closely-cropped sides.

The taper haircut can work for a long face if you keep the gradient choppy and give the cut lots of layers and volume. But a fade cut is not ideal for an oblong face, as it will make the face appear even longer.

Celebrities with long faces: Hugh Laurie, Morgan Freeman



What to Ask for When You Get a Taper Fade Haircut

Knowing the right cut for you is an important step, but it won’t mean much if you don’t know how to communicate your needs to your barber or stylist. Know what to ask for and how to start out with gradient haircuts so that you walk out satisfied every time.


1. If a taper or fade haircut is new to you, it’s probably best to start slow.

If you want a fade cut, start with a low fade, with the hair blended to skin just above the natural hairline. That way you can see if the style is a good fit for you without going too extreme right out of the gate. If you want to go higher and shorter, you always can.

If you want a taper cut, start slowly by having your barber start shorten the length with scissors instead of clippers. You can always go shorter if you want a closer crop, but you can’t undo it if you start too short too quickly.


2. Be clear with your stylist about exactly what you want before the cutting starts.

The two haircuts are similar, so start by using the terms “taper” or “fade” (depending on what you want) in order to give your stylist a sense of direction. But then take a minute to get specific.

Describe how and where you want the hairline to end and how close-cropped, gradual, or abrupt you want the gradient to be along the sides and along the back. Give specific lengths and guidelines when you can—the words “long” and “short” are subjective and will vary from person to person.

Use inches and/or clipper grade lengths when you describe what you want. After all, “Leave three inches at the top and start tapering with the clippers at 3 on the back and sides,” is much clearer than, “I want it longish on top and shorter on the sides.”


3. Bring pictures for reference.

There’s a good reason people say that a picture is worth 1,000 words! If you find a great haircut that you want to emulate, bring a photo (or three) to show your barber.

A photo reference will go a long way towards preventing any misunderstandings between you and your stylist and will help you achieve the cut you want.


4. Be willing to listen to input from your stylist, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice!

Getting an outside opinion—especially from someone who works with hair styles and textures, and different facial features all day long—can prevent you from making any style mishaps. And your barber may also lead you in an even better direction than what you originally had in mind.

Don’t be too nervous to ask for advice or feedback—if your stylist has some qualms with the haircut you want, there’s probably a good reason for it!

But also keep in mind that the decision is ultimately yours. After all, you’re the one who’s going to live with your cut, so do what makes you happy.



A Few Hair Terms You May Need To Know

Knowing a few hair terms can make the difference between getting the perfect trim and ending up with a nightmare cut. Check out our guide to ensure your next trip to the barbers is a success.

Read more Men’s Hair Features

Most guys knowledge of hair terms extends about as far as “can you trim a bit off the sides, please?”. If that sounds all too familiar, then perhaps it’s time your brushed up on a few more specific hair terms. By doing so, you can ask your barber for exactly the cut you want, which highly increases the chances of you being happy with what they give you.

From the names of different haircuts to knowing which numbers correspond to which lengths; the more hair terms that you know, the more that your barber can do for you in terms of creating a style that works for your hair type and face shape. We’ve got a rundown of everything you’ll need to know to ensure your next haircut is your best yet.

Haircut Terminology

The key to walking away from your barbers feeling confident with your new haircut, is to learn a few hair terms. Once you’ve got to grips with a few hair terms, you wont have to smile and nod politely when your barber asks if you’d like your haircut tapered or a blocked neckline. Instead you can ask for, and get, exactly what you want (taking a picture of the style you want always helps, too).

Barber Terms

  • Blocked Neckline: A straight line cut across the natural neckline. This cut can give the appearance of a wider neck but can also look messy once it starts to grow out.
  • Rounded Neckline: The same as a blocked neckline, but with the corners rounded off.
  • Tapered Neckline: The hair gets gradually shorter towards the neckline and can give the illusion of a slimmer neck.
  • Choppy: If you ask for a choppy cut, your barber will pick the hair up at different lengths and cut it at a 45 degrees angle (that’s called point cutting, if you want to get really technical). This will add volume and create texture.
  • Razored: This is where the barber trims the ends of your hair with a straight razor instead of scissors. This is particularly helpful if you’ve got curly hair as it helps the hair to lie flatter.
  • Thinned Out: Thinning shears look like bog standard scissors, but they’ve got teeth in them which cut some strands whilst leaving others uncut. If you’ve got a particularly thick mane then your barber will use a pair of these bad boys to thin out the ends and make your hair more manageable.
  • Arches: This is the space between your hairline and your ears. If you ask your barber to cut a high arch, then the space will be bigger, which in turn makes small ears look bigger. Most men prefer to ask for a natural arch, where the barber simply neatens up the natural hairline.
  • Sideburns: Okay, you know what your sideburns are, but you probably didn’t know you can be specific about how they’re trimmed. Ask for them to be cut to the top of the ear, mid-ear or bottom of the ear depending on how long you like them. You can also ask for them to be thinned out.


Types of Haircuts

It’s always best to start off by telling your barber what type of haircut you want, then you can get more specific as you discuss what will work for your face shape and hair length.

Men’s Undercut

This trend has been around for a few years now; the reason that it’s been able to stick around so long being that it allows you to maintain some individuality with your hairstyle. It can be cut and styled in numerous ways, making it incredibly flexible. Simply put, this haircut is much shorter on the back and sides than it is on the top. It’s perfect for the Summer months when you don’t want too much hair on your head, but you also don’t want to look like you’ve just stepped out of prison.

This haircut really shows off facial features, and the length and fade of the cut really depends on your  head shape and hair type; these are things that any good barber will consider before beginning the chop. One of the things that can make or break this haircut is the sharpness of the outline, so make sure that you’ve got a clean line around your ears and at the back of your neck.

Experiment with different products on the longer, top layers to create different textures. You can use gel for a classic, slicked back look or you can try using a paste for something more tousled and undone. An undercut will maintain it’s shape as your hair grows out, but it’s recommended that you visit your barber every four to six weeks to get your look freshened up.


Taper Haircut

A taper is a gradual trim where the hair on top stays long whilst the sides are tapered. In simpler terms, the hair gets gradually shorter down the sides and back until it blends in with the skin around the ears and nape of the neck. The gradual fade creates a sharp look that works well for all face shapes and hair types. This cut is similar to the undercut, but the gradual fade makes it a little bit smarter.

Most men’s haircuts involve a taper, although the length of the hair varies depending on the style you are going for. For a timeless look, opt for a number two cut round your ears and the nape of your neck whilst leaving the hair on top at 1-2″ long. This is a style that suits men of all ages; it’s low maintenance but can be styled in to a slick or messy look, due the length on top. Taper and fade are interchangeable hair terms, so it’s good to know both.


Haircut Numbers

If you’ve walked in to a barber’s and asked for “a number two all over, please” without really knowing what “a number two” refers to, you’re not alone. Similarly, if you usually just have to ask your barber for “nothing too short”, then knowing what the numbers refer to will allow you to ask for exactly what you want instead. The numbers one to eight actually refer to the size of the guard on the clipper, which in turn determines how long your hair will be.

  • Number Zero: No guard is attached to the clipper, so the head is shaved and only a very light stubble is left behind.
  • Number One: Hair is 1/8″ long. This is pretty much as short as it gets without shaving your hair off completely.
  • Number Two: Hair is 1/4″ long. This is twice the length of a number one cut, but still falls in to the “short hair” category.
  • Number Three: Hair is 3/8″ long. Whilst this is still a short haircut, it is best for those with slow-growing hair.
  • Number Four: Hair is 1/2″ long. This length sits right on the boundary between short and long hair, and is the longest style that a razor can handle with ease.
  • Numbers Five and Six: Hair is generally 5/8″-6/8″ long, although there is no standard size for these clipper guards. These guards are designed for tapering the hair.
  • Numbers Seven and Eight: Hair is 7/8″-1″ long. This is the longest cut that can be achieved with a standard pair of clippers and leaves hair long enough that it can be styled, using gel.


It’s important to note that these lengths can vary between barbers, but the differences will only be slight. You should also remember that these numbers don’t refer to hairstyles, but instead to the exact length of hair that you’re left with after your trim. If you skipped maths class and fractions mean very little to you, then know that a number two and below will leave your scalp exposed and anything above a number two results in scalp coverage.

Types of Fades

As previously mentioned, the hair terms fade and taper are interchangeable. Both just mean a gradual change in the length of hair. However there isn’t just one style of fade, so it’s helpful to know exactly which one you want.

High Fade Haircut

This cut doesn’t leave the hair to gradually fade out all the way down to the neckline. Instead, the hair disappears anywhere less than two inches below the top of the hair. This means a lot of the scalp is left on show so it often doesn’t look great for the first few days, until the scalp has tanned to the same shade as the face.


Low Fade Haircut

If you ask for a low fade, the hair will disappear halfway down the sides and back of the head. This is usually about an inch above the natural hairline, but is ultimately down to personal preference.


Temple Fade Haircut

This cut mirrors a low fade, except the difference in length is abrupt as opposed to gradual. The first inch above the natural hairline transitions from half an inch to a skin fade. The hair above this rapidly increases in length to anywhere between one and two inches, depending on personal preference.


Skin Fade

This is largely just another term for taper or fade. Specifically, the hair gradually gets shorter towards the ears and neckline until it blends to skin. Consider how gradual you want the fade to be; if you want it to be subtle then ask your barber to start with a number five and gradually move down to a zero. If you want something that stands out a bit more, then ask them to start with a number two or three.

How to Ask for a Haircut

Once you’ve brushed up on all of your hair terms and know exactly what you want your barber to do, you should be good to go. If you’re still a little unsure exactly how to ask for what you want, then we’ve got a few more tips for you.

What to Tell your Barber

Begin by telling your barber what kind of style you want. Perhaps you want an undercut, or a cut similar to a celebrity; you can always bring a picture to help you explain. Also tell him exactly how much you want taken off, and where. To one barber, “just a trim on the sides” might mean “take off 1/2 an inch” whilst another barber might take off two.

You can also tell your barber how you want to style your hair on a daily basis, so that they can take this in to consideration when going in for the chop. Then you can get in to the specifics of necklines and texture. Lastly, listen to the barber. Once you’ve told him what you want, he’ll probably make suggestions as to a style that would be better suited to your hair type or face shape. As badly as you want your haircut to be an exact replica of David Gandy’s, it just might not suit you; your barber knows best.


Hair Cutting Techniques

Knowing the names of various hair cutting techniques isn’t necessary; you don’t want to look like you’re trying to outsmart the barber. It can be helpful when figuring out what kind of haircut you want, though.

  • Point Cutting: This technique is used to give texture to the hair by removing bulk from the ends of the hair. This creates layers and movement, and helps to guide the hair in to the right shape.
  • Edging: The barber uses the corner of the blade to create curved edges above the ear and around the neckline.
  • Club Cutting: This is a standard technique, where the barber cuts straight across to create a smooth look. This means length is removed, but bulk isn’t.
  • Scissor Over Comb: This technique allows the barber to cut close to the head without having to use a clipper. This creates a soft, rather than shaved, finish.
  • Clipper Over Comb: If you’ve got a large amount of thick hair that you want getting rid of, your barber will probably use this technique for an even cut.


Your Quick Guide to Hair Terminology

  • Before you go into the hairdressers. Know what you are asking for, whether you have researched throughly or gathered images
  • Get in the know with your terminology, there is a language involved when getting a haircut.
  • Be realistic with your goals, if your hair is straight don’t go in expected to leave with a head full of curls
  • Talk to your barber and don’t be intimidated, this is the best way to leave with a style that you like
  • Keep up the maintenance, it’s all well in good having a great cut but if you aren’t keeping your trim fresh then what is the point?

On That Note…

You should now be a walking dictionary of hair terms. Next time you go in to your barbers, you’ll be able to use these newly acquired hair terms to get the exact cut that you’ve been dreaming of. It’s important to remember that one cut does not fit all, so your barber will have to make adjustments based on your hair type and face shape. But, if you’ve struck up a good relationship (which is more than likely if you know the lingo), then he should be more than happy to help.

What’s The Difference? – HairstyleCamp

Changing up your look is made easier once you know what to look for. Tapers and fades are two of the most popular haircut choices among men, especially those who are looking for an edgier look. Since they’re cut fairly similar it’s easy to get drawn into the taper vs fade confusion, but here are a few differences between the two:



Tapered cuts are where the hair is longer at the top and then gradually gets shorter down the back and sides of the head. In a normal taper haircut, the top is left about 2-4 inches long while the rest of the hair is cut shorter. Typically, the hairline around the perimeter is cut very short but left completely intact which has to be one of the main differences between tapers and fades. You can find both men and women rocking tapered haircuts more so than fades since you don’t have to cut as much hair off. It is important to have a good idea of what type of look you’re trying to achieve when deciding between a taper or fade. Here are a few of the most popular ways to sport a tapered cut:


Classic Tapers

Classic tapers feature longer hair at the crown and top of the head which gradually tapers as it extends down to the sides and back of the head.


Side Part Tapers

Side part tapers feature a prominent side part where the hair is thick at the part and gradually thins out as you extend down to the ear. This style is a great way to add some edge to a professional look and is very popular among business-type men.

Our favorite taper fade haircuts for black guys


Short Tapers

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