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25 Coolest Taper Fade Haircuts for Men

When you wear a taper fade, you know you’re on-point anytime you leave the house. There’s just so much more you can do with this dashing cut. Add a part, start the fade at the neckline, and pair it with a mohawk – there are so many variations you can try.

Learn more about its history, how to get one, and how it differs from similar styles.

What Is a Taper Fade?

taper fade

A taper fade is a hairstyle that tapers down the sides and back of your hair so that it fades into your skin. There is no standard length for a tapered fade, which makes it a good casual and professional haircut.

Some claim that this fade is not an actual hairstyle but a phrase only used by the uninformed. However, we assure you that it is both a real and timeless hairstyle and one that many people wear confidently.

Who Should Get a Taper Fade?

A taper is a common hairstyle for men. It can look good on all textures and types of hair and is a clean, low-maintenance style. If you want your hair to have a reasonable balance between short and long, you may want to try a taper haircut.

How To Ask for a Taper Fade

There is some overlap between regular taper and fade haircuts. If your barber hears “taper fade,” he will most likely ask whether you want one or the other. You will need to be specific with your barber so that you get exactly the style you want when you ask for it.

You should tell your barber the exact length in millimeters that you want your hair to taper down to around the back and sides of your head.

Taper Fade Haircuts

Are you confused about how to achieve a well-done taper fade or need haircut inspiration? Don’t just tell your barber you want one. Show him one of the below styles and ask for a unique cut that will keep all eyes on you.

1. Curly Ponytail

curly ponytail with taper fade
Instagram / raymond_cuts809

A thick curly hair pulled into a ponytail will give you that rough and edgy look. Adding a taper fade will provide a handsome definition to it, making it look sleeker and smoother. For best results, throw in an eye-catching hair art that will surely make you stand out. 

2. Taper Fade with Waves

taper fade haircut with waves
Instagram / cheo.lnv

With the waves going to the sides of your head from the center point, this hairstyle looks like a work of symmetrical art. The addition of the smooth low tapering makes the haircut looks as sexy as hell. Not only that, the sharp razor cuts will also make your face look slimmer and your jawlines more prominent. 

3. Braids

taper fade with braids
Instagram / hairbykenadee

Braids and fades have always been the perfect combination and for lots of good reasons! A braid is a masterpiece and a taper can help showcase its beauty, so don’t be afraid to braid your hair all the way and finish it off with a fade to keep your hairstyle looking cool and neat. 

4. Curly Taper Fade

taper fade with curls
Instagram / goldenbarbershopjjj

Taper fade is the perfect match for short curly hair as it helps emphasize the curls. Plus, the fading goes towards the temples and necklines and leaves a well-shaped line behind the ear and at the back of your hair for a more polished look. 

5. Bleached Hair

bleached hair with taper fade
Instagram / jaragao27

If your bleached hair is spot on, you should definitely pair it with a fade that’s on point too. For this short bleached hair, the mid fade is the best option. It’s the perfect balance as it’s not as dramatic as a high taper but not as unnoticeable as a low one, making it the perfect choice for a casual-looking hairstyle. 

6. High Taper Fade

high taper fade

But if you want drama and a more noticeable haircut, go for high taper fade which has shorter sides and the fading starts 2 inches from the top of your hair down to the sides. The best thing about this type of fade is it can subtly frame your face, making it look slimmer. 

7. Low Taper Fade

low taper fade

The short fade is the least subtle of all taper haircuts. It starts at the ears and closely follows your hairline up to the nape of your neck. Even though it won’t give you the high contrast that other fades have, it can still make your hair look more structured and can draw focus to your gorgeous cheekbones. 

8. Short and Neat

taper fade for black men

Taper fades work on all types and lengths of hair. So even though you like keeping your hair short and neat, you still have the option to sport a gorgeous fade.

Pro Tip: For a more masculine look, leave your beard long and rugged. 

9. Medium Fade

medium taper fade

Showcasing the perfect tapered medium fade, this haircut starts at the middle of your temples, runs around the ears, and up to the back of the neck. With this type of fade, you can enjoy longer hair without worrying that it will overwhelm your face. At the same time, it makes long hair more manageable and easier to style. 

10. Afro Hair with Fade

afro taper fade

With a taper fade, you can give your afro a better shape and structure. By keeping the sides of your hair shorter, you can keep your hair away from your face while still allowing your curls to run wild– the best of both worlds!

Pro Tip: If you want to keep your hair longer at the back, ask your barber to start the dimming above your ears. 

11. Man Bun

One of the best ways to style thick and long hair is to pull it into a slick man bun. Take your simple bun to a whole new level by pairing it with an undercut taper fade. The faded sides will balance off your edgy look and give it a more put-together appearance. 

12. Mid Bald Fade

Instead of gradual fading, try going for a mid-bald taper fade which shows off more skin. Due to the absence of hair on the sideburn and neckline, this haircut won’t add any width to your face. Because of this, this type of fade is perfect for men with wide, round, or diamond-shaped faces. 

13. Temple Fade

From its name, temple fade is the type of fade that’s focused on the temples and is meant to serve as a bridge between your hair and beard. This popular ’90s hairstyle is making a big comeback nowadays and we totally understand why! It creates sharp clean lines on the face, giving men a more sharp and masculine look. 

14. Brush Up

taper fade comb over

Is the classic brush-up your go-to hairstyle? Matching it with a taper is highly recommended as it can balance off the length of your hair and keep it neat and clean. The fade on the sides makes it suitable as both a casual style and business professional haircut. 

15. Taper Fade with Beard

Beards and fades are just meant to be together. That’s because the taper fade’s clean-cut and polished look balances off the beard’s rugged and masculine vibe.  

Pro Tip: If you have short hair or a shaved head, the best option would be low tapering which starts at the temples and goes around at the back of your head. 

16. Skin Taper Fade

skin taper fade

As compared to other types of haircuts, the skin taper fade is considered to be the shortest as it exposes the skin on the sides of your head. It’s the perfect match for short and voluminous hairstyles like the one in the picture. 

17. Dreadlocks

There’s no doubt that dreadlocks are one of the most stylish protective hairstyles you can get your hands on. But if we’re being honest, it can get a bit overwhelming, especially if you have no time to style your hair.

Lucky for you, adding a tapered fade can give you better control over this unruly hairstyle and make it look even more stylish in the process. 

18. Faux Hawk

Despite being less dramatic than mohawks, faux hawks still might not fit the everyday hairstyle category. The good news is adding taper fade can make this hairstyle more wearable. The fade gives you a subtle gradient between your long top and the fully shaved sides, making the entire look more tamed and casual. 


19. Taper with Hair Art

For a sharper and edgier look, incorporate designs in your taper fade. It’s the best way to express your creativity and personality since the sky is the limit with hair designs. You can go for drawings (like this one), symbols, letters, or lines. You can even choose to place it either on the side or back of your head. 

20. Gradual Fade

short taper fade

For men with short hair, the gradual fade is their best bet. Since there’s not much length difference between the hair at the top of your head and on the sides, gradual fading offers a smooth transition between the two. 

21. Burst Fade

With its dramatic appearance, it’s impossible to confuse burst tapering with any other type of fade. To achieve the burst fade effect, the hairline at the sides and back of the head is tapered while the hair at the top is cut longer. 

Pro Tip: For a more stunning look, dye your hair with a vibrant and playful color like the one in the photo. 

22. Drop Taper Fade

Putting a modern twist on the classic taper fade, the drop fade curves around the ear and then drop down to the nape. This fade creates a curve that makes the hairstyle look sexier and a whole lot cooler.  

23. Fade with Design

If standing out is what you want, dyeing your hair is the way to go. If that’s not enough, you can amp up your dye and fade game by dyeing your hair in steaks and adding a striking design to your fade. 

24. Taper Fade with Part

A simple way to update your short hairstyle is to add a hard part. A hard part makes your parting stand out, adding more dimension to your combover hairstyle while the taper fade gives it more structure. When combined, these simple elements make up a neater and sharper look. 

25. Pompadour Fade

Pompadour and fades are a classic combination because the neat fade adds a stark contrast against the attention-grabbing high-volume slicked-back hairstyle. It makes your hair look cleaner and become more manageable without having to lose all its length and volume. 

High Taper vs. Low Taper

A high taper is a taper in which your hair is trimmed down above your ear, no more than two inches down the sides of your head. A low taper is a taper in which your hair is trimmed farther down your head. It typically descends below your ear around the nape of your neck.

Taper Fade vs. Temp Fade

A temp fade, also known as a temple fade, low fade, Brooklyn fade, or blowout, is a style of fade that became popular in the 2000s. It has a stricter definition than the taper fade, characterized by the hair on the sides and back of your head being trimmed very short and fading into the skin around your temples.

A taper fade has much more flexibility in the height of the fade and the length of your hair.


Here we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about taper fades. 

When was the taper fade invented?

The fade haircut was first invented in the United States in the forties and fifties.

American soldiers who had served in World War II and the Korean War massively popularized the taper fade hairstyle. When they returned home, they maintained the sharp, clean styles that military regulations had imposed on them. The fade kept their hair short and neat, and its clear lines gave off an air of severity.

In the eighties and nineties, the fade experienced another surge in popularity. Many variations of the style emerged, such as the
bald fade, the Jersey fade, and the Philly fade. The taper is one of the newer styles that resulted from this.

How are a taper, a fade, and a taper fade different?

A taper is a hairstyle where your hair is gradually trimmed shorter down the back and sides of your head, while left long on the top. Instead of “fading” into the skin, the ends of a taper are marked with clear lines.

A fade is a style of taper cut in which the taper is trimmed shorter the farther down your head it goes that your hair appears to “fade” into your skin. It is a more dramatic look than the traditional taper and is typically shorter.

A taper fade combines the two styles. It does not trim the hair into tight, severe lines like the taper, and it is not as striking a look as a full fade since it does not fade completely into the skin. If either the traditional taper or fade isn’t the right look for you, a taper fade can be a stylish middle ground between the two.

Is a taper fade a professional haircut?

Yes. While it is not the name of a specific haircut and you will need to state your preferences clearly to your barber. Any professional barber should be able to give you a tapered fade as requested. It is best to leave it to them rather than trying it yourself at home.

How high should a taper fade be?

A taper fade can vary in height and position depending on your preferences. It will require some experimentation to see whether a high fade, mid fade, or low fade looks best on you.

Typically, a taper can be anywhere from two to four inches below your hairline. The variety of the style leaves a lot of room for adjustment.

How much will a taper fade cost?

The prices of haircuts may vary depending on where you live and the quality of your chosen barbershop or salon. However, the average cost of a fade is about $30.00.

You can expect to pay between $30.00 and $40.00 for your taper fade. Fades may cost extra if a wash is requested.

What guards should I use for getting a taper fade?

In styling hair, guards are attachments for the barber’s hair clippers that prevent them from accidentally trimming hair shorter than intended. They are essential tools that help them make clean, accurate cuts.

For a taper fade, one should use guards intended for shorter cuts. When you are doing the fade, use a guard two sizes shorter than the guard you used for the taper. For instance, if you used a number 4 guard for the taper, use a number 2 guard for the fade.

What is the difference between a taper fade and a skin fade?

A skin fade is a very short style of fade. While the hair is left long on the top, it is trimmed considerably shorter and shorter down the sides of the head until they are shaved down to the skin.

It differs from a taper fade in that a tapered one is typically longer and not trimmed so close to the skin. While both taper and skin fade utilize varying lengths of hair, as the name implies, you will see a lot more skin on a skin fade.

What is the difference between a taper fade and a drop fade?

A drop fade is a style of low fade that deviates from the standards of sharp, severe lines and angles usually seen in a fade. As the hair is trimmed down the side of your head, it is cut into an arc that “drops” behind and below your ear.

A taper fade is a more traditional style and does not curve behind your ear. Like most fades and tapers, it is characterized by straight lines and angles instead.

How long does a taper fade usually last?

While a taper fade’s iconic, distinctive shape is a striking look, like any fade it will lose its luster as your hair grows back out.

You can expect your fade to last about two or three weeks before you need to go back to your barber to have it touched up. You can let it grow out for a week or two longer if you wish, but most people prefer to keep their fade short and tight.

Now that you know more about the timeless taper fade style, feel free to talk with your barber about trying it out for yourself. Consider taking a look at the photos of the various styles to see what would best compliment your face, head, and complexion.

With time and patience, you will find the perfect look for you!