The drop fade is a variation on the classic fade that will spice up any haircut and truly take it to the next level. The kind of fade is so named because the fade drops behind the ear. This creates a tidy arc to the fade. The result is a clean looking haircut with a nice, even appearance.

drop low fade
@patty_cuts / Instagram

The fade (or taper) is an element of many snazzy men’s hairstyles. It looks great when paired with an undercut, a pompadour, and pretty much everything else. This is because the fade adds a layer of definition to any haircut that makes it instantly stand out and gain another dimension. Keep in mind that the drop fade can be combined with any haircut and create unique styles.

Sharp skin fade faux hawk hairstyle
Disconnected Drop Fade Faux Hawk, @z_ramsey / Instagram

How to Get the Drop Fade

The drop fade is a technique that most (if not all) barbers will be able to do, but some of them may not know it by name. Because of this, we recommend finding a picture of the kind of drop fade you want and showing it to your barber so you can get the most accurate drop fade haircut.

The drop fade is a variation of the skin fade, so a skin fade is what you’ll want to ask your barber for. But you need to be specific here––getting a drop fade isn’t as simple as asking for a skin fade.

Hand Brushed Back Drop Skin Fade
@barberdeano/ Instagram

Here’s what you need to ask your barber for in order to get a drop fade: You want the fade to create an arc over your ear so that the fade “drops.” That is, the fade is lower behind the ear than it is in front of the ear. Again, this can be somewhat difficult to describe, so make sure to bring a picture.

(Note: Some barbers use “taper” in place of “fade,” so if your barber looks a bit confused when you ask for a fade, ask for a taper instead.)

The fade should be blended so that there’s a gradual fade all the way up.

Low skin fade with line up
@dbarber203_ / Instagram

How to Maintain the Drop Fade

Since the drop fade is a fairly meticulous style, it will require regular trips to the barbershop. If you want to maintain it and keep the fade nice and tidy, then visiting your barber routinely is a must.

Alternatively, if you have clippers handy at home, you can maintain the fade yourself. This will probably be tougher if you don’t have much hair experience, but if you’re handy with clippers, you can try maintaining it yourself. But as always, we recommend visiting your barber and letting them take care of it for you.

Below you can find more examples of the drop fade haircut:
Wavy Hair, Skin Fade, Taper, Beard
Wavy Hair with Beard

A slightly messy yet elegant style, this drop fade takes advantage of wavy hair to create a lot of motion. The beard rounds out the style and adds balance.

Drop Fade Pomp
Drop Fade Pomp

This classy combination of a drop fade and a matte finish pompadour puts a few trendy twists on a classic look.

Blow Out Drop fade
Blow Out Taper

If you like the blown-out look, you might like this style. The hair is brushed and teased while the fade keeps the focus on the blowout.

Curly Messy French Crop with Drop Fade
Curly Fringe with Taper

As shown here, fades work nicely on curly hair, as they add definition and provide contrast to the messier hair up top.

Drop Fade with Beard and Longer Top
Drop Fade with Beard and Longer Top

Here’s a head-turning fade with a prominent side part and a layered, brushed back top. The gradual fade also blends the hairline and beard together for a seamless appearance.

Drop Fade with Beard and Longer Top, by @criztofferson / Instagram
Thin Hair with Pompadour
Thin Hair Pompadour

Pompadours are generally best with thick hair, but here’s a variation that works well with thinner hair. The evenness of this cut is crucial to ensure that it looks good.

Wavy Drop Fade
Wavy with Short Elephant Trunk

For a more casual “just rolled out of bed” look, try out this wavy drop fade with a short elephant trunk curl.

Drop Fade
Textured Fade with Design

This fade has a lot of unique aspects. A satisfying peak is created where the sides meet the top, and the two shaved lines add a surprising amount of depth to this look.

Faux Hawk with Disconnected High Skin Fade
Faux Hawk with Disconnected High Skin Fade

Combining two popular styles––the faux hawk and the disconnected haircut––this style has an edgy attitude that’s all its own.

Side Swept Undercut, by @conortaaffehair / Instagram
Layered Pompadour with Low Fade
Layered Pompadour

Pompadours typically have a shiny finish, but matte finish pompadours are rising in popularity. This offers a different look that’s a bit more contemporary.

High and Tight High Skin Fade
High and Tight High Skin Fade

The high and tight is a classic men’s haircut, and this updated version is perfect for fashion-forward guys who like mixing old and new styles.

High and Tight High Skin Fade, by @conortaaffehair / Instagram
Low Drop Fade with Undercut
Low Drop Fade Undercut

This longer undercut uses a slicker finish and gradually faded sides, so it’s great for guys who like medium length hair. Best for thick hair.

Side Swept Undercut + Faux Hawk + Angular Fringe
Drop Fade with Side Swept Undercut

If asymmetrical hair is your style, this haircut is an excellent option. It takes a simple undercut and builds on it with a long fringe that hangs to one side.

Side Swept Undercut + Faux Hawk + Angular Fringe, by @barberdeano / Instagram
Colored drop fade faux hawk
Dyed Drop Fade Fohawk

Faux hawks and dyed hair are always a good match. This style strategically uses a fade to place all the attention on the color of the hair on top.

Drop Fade and Elephant Trunk
Drop Fade and Elephant Trunk

Here’s a simple drop fade with a small hint of asymmetry thanks to the small elephant trunk on the side.

High and Tight Drop Skin Fade + Hair Design
Drop Fade With Design

Shaved designs are making something of a comeback, and this style shows just how creative you can get with this approach.

High and Tight Drop Skin Fade + Hair Design, by @javi_thebarber_ / Instagram
Angular Drop Fade

This is a very unique twist on the drop fade. We especially like how the hair comes to a point in the back and forms a line straight down.

Layered Pompadour with Hard Part
Layered Pompadour with Hard Part

Here’s another matte pompadour that features a hard part for increased definition. There’s also a subtle line up, which is a nice touch.

Faded Haircut with Tapered Neckline
Drop Fade with Tapered Neckline

For guys with curly, matted hair, this fade haircut will work very well. Due to the tapered neckline, this style looks full even though the hair is quite short.

Faded Haircut with Tapered Neckline, by @rumbarber / Instagram
Disconnected undercut faux hawk
Disconnected Drop Fade Fohawk

This casual fohawk has the hair spiked for emphasis, while the disconnected sides help to frame the fohawk itself.

Irregular Top with Swanky Mid Fade
Irregular Top with Swanky Mid Fade

This highly textured style takes full advantage of a mid drop fade. Fades are great at adding contrast between the top and the sides, and that’s on display here.

Tapered Dyed Drop Fade
Tapered Dyed Drop Fade

If you’re looking for something a bit bolder, try this one out. Featuring a dyed top and a sculpted drop fade, it’s an eye-catching look that’s great for the fashionable man.

Subtle Drop Fade with Grizzly Top
Subtle Drop Fade with Grizzly Top

Want something more subtle? Here’s an application of the drop fade that’s understated yet stylish. With the clean fade and wavy, textured top, this fade is a solid all-around haircut for any guy.

Drop Fade with Fancy Neckline
Drop Fade with Fancy Neckline

This high-volume style is incredibly unique and definitely meant for the guy who wants to make a statement. The hair is styled almost into a faux hawk, while an around-the-ear drop fade and designer lines add contrast.

Subtle Finely Taper Faded with Lengthy Top

Here’s a tidy, more formal haircut that’s an excellent choice for work or school. The defined part and clean fade make for a polished gentlemanly look.

Drop Fade with Line Up Yes Please
Drop Fade with Line Up Yes Please

Along with the drop fade, the line up creates fine lines that add definition and tidiness to this overall style.

Dyed Drop Fade with Subtle Taper
Dyed Drop Fade with Subtle Taper

Unlike most of these styles, this drop fade is taken higher up the head for a more minimal look that creates more space and places the focus on the dyed top.

Drop Faded with Messy Top
Drop Faded with Messy Top

Whether you have straight, curly, or even coiled hair, this messy drop fade style is a stylish option. The contrast between the unkempt top and the neat sides takes the classic undercut formula and adds a fresh change.

Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
Side Swept Undercut Drop

If you want a style that’s as fun and outgoing as you, give this side-swept cut a look. The hair on top is grown out until it’s almost at the chin, with the drop fade and hard part providing a definition.

drop fade
Furious Low Drop Fade

For a more classic look, you can go for a drop fade like this one. The hair on top is brushed up into a small pompadour, with the fade adding a modern flair.

Modern Pomp Drop Fade
Modern Pomp Drop

This type of style––consisting of a tall pompadour or quiff with super short sides––has been all the rage in recent years. The addition of a dyed top makes this look even trendier.

Subtle Drop Fade
Subtle Drop Fade

Subtle yet impactful, this drop fade makes use of a thin hard part and a messy top to create a multi-dimensional style.

Straight Mid Fade

This is a straightforward, no-fuss haircut for the man who wants something that’s stylish but also relatively low maintenance and adaptable.

Curly Top with Drop Fade
Curly Top with Drop Fade

If you have curly hair, you can rock some unique looks with a drop fade. Here, the drop fade offsets extremely messy curly hair.

Low Fade Clean Simple
Low Skin Fade

Looking for something traditional? Check out this simple low drop fade that’s obviously retro-inspired yet still fashionable and fresh.

Vivid Drop Fade with Simple Top
Vivid Drop Fade with Simple Top

Whereas most haircuts focus on the hair on top, this cut is mostly about the fade. The fade is expertly done, and a line up finishes off the look.

Drop Fade and Pompadour
Styled Pompadour

This style is for the guy who wants something that will make him stand out from the crowd. With an incredibly voluminous pompadour and a designer fade, this haircut is sure to turn heads.

Pomp it Drop Fade
Pomp and Drop Fade

Old meets new with this pompadour style. The top is styled rather classically while the sides are drop faded, and the hard part is the cherry on top.

Textured Top Skin Fade for Men
Textured Top Skin Fade
Curly Top with Mid Fade
Curly Top with Mid Fade
I Love My Fade and I Drop It Too
I Love My Fade and I Drop It Too
Modern Side Brush Up with Lowest Drop Fade
Modern Side Brush Up with Lowest Drop Fade
Casual Brush Up with Drop Fade
Casual Brush Up with Drop Fade