If you’re looking for a haircut that’s up to date with the latest men’s hairstyle trends, look no further! We introduced you to the skin fade haircut in our article on 2017 men’s hairstyle trends, and now, you’re going to learn all about it.
The skin fade is particularly unique because it stands out––or, rather, it jumps out. The contrast of shaved sides and a full head of hair is instantly attention-grabbing. It’s an especially trendy, contemporary look, and best of all, it’s easy to get.
A skin fade is achieved by cutting the hair shorter and shorter as it moves toward the neck. Whereas some haircuts require the hair to be the same length all around the head, skin fade haircuts demand the hair to be cut at decreasing lengths.
How do I get the skin fade haircut?
The skin fade haircut is all in the cut itself. You don’t really have to style the faded hair at all; it’s the hair on top you’ll want to style. So for the skin fade haircut, it’s important you go to a barber or stylist who’s experienced with the cut or at least similar cuts.
Regarding the hair on top of the head: It’s important to note that the type of skin fade haircut you get will dictate what you tell your stylist. Read on for more information on skin fade variations and styles.
For the sides and back, however, it’s almost always the same. You’ll simply ask your stylist for a fade. Specify the starting point (depending on the exact hairstyle you choose), and tell your stylist you want your hair to fade into your skin.
In most instances, you’ll see guys with skin fades have gotten the fade extremely short. Many men typically request a shorter clipper setting like #3 or #4 for the top part of the fade (above the ears). Some go as short as a #2. The length of the clipper setting can completely change the look of your skin fade, so make sure you know what settings you want.
Also, consider how gradual you want your fade to be. If your fade starts at #5 and goes all the way down to skin level, it won’t stand out as much. If you’re going for a subtle, classy look, then consider starting from a higher clipper setting.
On the other hand, if you start your fade at a #2 or #3, it will pop out. That’s because your fade starts at a low setting and doesn’t have much lower to go. It only decreases 2 or 3 lengths before fading into your skin.
Take a look at examples with both of these styles, and see what you like. As always, we recommend taking in a picture of your desired haircut to your stylist.
And finally, guys with straight or slightly wavy hair will get the most out of a skin fade. It’s more difficult to achieve with curly hair, though it can be done.
Check the gallery below for more ideas.
This is the most simplistic skin fade haircut, and it’s one of the most classic. Combine the age-old, retro side part with a contemporary skin fade, and you’ll be the definition of style.
After you know exactly what you want for the top, just ask for a fade on the sides. Again, be specific with your clipper lengths, and bring in pictures if you have any doubts.
The pompadour was a popular style in 2016, and we expect to see more guys embracing the pomp in 2017. This also combines old with new, and it’s a surprisingly versatile look.
As with the skin fade/side part combo, this style is simply a pompadour combined with a skin fade. That’s all you need to ask for to achieve this style. After that, it’s all about maintaining the pompadour regularly to keep it in tip-top shape.
A relative of the pompadour, the quiff has emerged as a men’s hair trend in recent years, and it looks like it’s here to stay for a while. This lively look requires some serious styling to achieve, so if you’re up for a challenge, this is for you.
You’ll need a good bit of length on top––2 inches is probably the shortest you can go. The longer the hair, the taller the quiff. To style it, apply product to damp hair, then brush your hair up while blow drying it at the same time. This styling process is similar to that of a pompadour.
We mentioned earlier that it can be difficult to achieve the skin fade with curls. However, this is one option that will come in handy for curly-headed guys.
In this style, let the hair on top grow out so your natural curls show. Add a skin fade on the sides and back, and you’ll have unbelievably unique hair. This is similar to the textured curly undercut.
If you’re going for an insanely retro, dapper look, slicked back hair is a must. This is a great skin fade haircut variation for gents who desire a classy appearance.
You can achieve this look in many ways. One good option is to get a cut that’s ideal for a side part. Then, slick back your hair with a nice water-based pomade. This way, you can sport the side part, slick it all back, or do both!
Curly hair can be finicky, making it a bit more difficult to achieve a flawless fade. So, keeping edges clean and well-maintained is a must when going for this look. The line design cut near the back of the hair breaks the continuity of this skin fade and adds drops of character to the look.
Another way to add dimension to any look is with a disconnected fade. The line separating the textured top and the clean skin fade underneath the line is an easy way to make any haircut more compelling.
A drop fade starts at the temple and severely drops back behind the ear and down the nape of the neck. In this look, the vanished neckline keeps this style looking fresh and clean. Maintaining shorter hair prevents this style from feeling unkempt.
There are a few differences between a drop fade and a low fade. With a drop fade, the fade starts around the temples and aggressively drops to the nape of the neck. With a low fade, the fade starts from the sideburn and gradually slopes down the neck. A low fade is only light on the bottom and darker from the middle of the head to the top of the fade.
A skin fade is an easy and sleek way to maintain thicker hair. The top of the hair can be grown to mid-length or kept short, as seen in this photo. For a distinguished look, keep the hairline clean and sharp.
Highlights suit wavy hair especially well because they give dimension to the curves of each strand. The cool-toned gradient highlights pictured here work nicely with the base color and contrast well with the fade below it.
This look is all about proportions. The hair on top is long enough to balance out the beard. The sideburns are faded out to keep the look from feeling too heavy. This is a great example for those who want to pair a beard with a fade but are afraid of having a harsh line disconnect the two.
Often, when we think of the buzz cut, we imagine a mom sheering a little boys’ hair with his dad’s beard trimmer. A buzz cut with a skin fade is an updated variation of the traditional buzz cut. For a classic buzz cut, the hair is typically shaved all over with a #1 or #2 guard. With a skin fade, the sides of the hair will have a gradient from the temples down. In this look, a curved line is carved into the darkest part of the fade.
As we’ve already seen, the skin fade is a great canvas for interesting line art. The bottom of this fade is fine and close to the skin. This leads the eye to the two lines that are sculpted across the darkest section of the fade.
Spiky hair is quite simple to achieve with the right product and hair length. This style works best on shorter hair, as the weight from long hair prevents hair from staying up. Using gel through the hair will keep hair very spiky. For a more wearable look, run a wax from the front of the hair towards the back. This will separate sections and get them standing up. The vanished neckline gives a sleek and polished feel.
A quiff is similar to the pompadour in that length is styled with the volume on top. The hair on the back of the head is kept shorter and the sides are usually swept back. In this variation, the quiff is kept shorter and the sides are shaved down to a skin fade. Because the quiff in this example is a bit smaller than the classic quiff, hair can simply be brushed up with some wax instead of having to blow dry it up as would be needed with a classic quiff.
A burst fade is a style where a gradient radiates from around the ear in a semicircle shape. Length is kept on top, to the back of the head, and to the bottom of the nape where the hair naturally stops growing. The fade can start anywhere from the temple to the sideburns. The consistent element is to have the fade “burst” from the ear.
The contemporary skin fade updates this traditional look. Hair is parted on one side and gelled to the other. It is best to follow the natural part, however, if you prefer one side over the other, blow-drying hair from above the head and in the direction, you want your hair to be parted can force a partition on your preferred side. This is a classic look for the dapper gentleman.
In most line designs, the line is cut in the darkest area of the fade. What makes this design interesting, is that it delineates the fade right above the transition from the darker area to the lighter area: creating two lines, like a line and its shadow. The shallow curve down the neck leads the eye down the neck, where the hair is kept tidy and clean.
The curves in this line design are placed strategically on the border of the fade. It cleverly mirrors the arc of the hairline to create a graphic look. Volume is kept high on top to add more structure to an already striking style.
The undercut first came into style in the early 1900s. Historically, this cut has been associated with young working-class men, military men, and members of street gangs. To this day, an undercut lends itself to the tough-guy persona. The sides of an undercut are typically kept short and even all around. Adding a slight fade to the sides and texture to a longer top can give this look a more current feel.
In earlier years, hair was plucked from the sides of a person’s head to achieve a mohawk. Less drastic methods have since become popularized with the advent of clippers, but the tenacious reputation of the style remains strong. The Mohawk has come to represent an anarchist attitude. The short sides of a mohawk make a nice canvas for a skin fade. Curly hair adds the necessary volume to the top and back.
This is your traditional taper fade; Some might say the OG of fades. The look works well on any hair texture and can be adapted to any face shape. The perfect blend of old and new, it’s sure to take your look to the next level.
The gradient in this cut is more abrupt than traditional skin fades. But it works. Why? The contrast between the mid-length hair on top and the vanishing sides helps draw attention to the face. And, the clean sides and tapered neckline keeps this medium length top from looking too heavy.
A proper line design should be put in the hands of an artist. In the art world, the line of beauty is a theory used to describe the aesthetics of a curved line. According to this theory, the curved line represents liveliness and grabs the attention of the viewer. This theory is well represented in this designer neckline cut. A burst fade around the ear is perfectly interrupted by a small curved cut near the nape of the neck.
This skin fade is quite gradual but gives the style a good base to work off of. The perfectly curved line follows the curve of the pompadour. It starts at the temple and thins out as it moves closer to the back of the head.
A great cut for thick hair, the high fade offers structure and style while being easy to maintain day to day. The two short lines that are shaved into the fade are a refreshing jolt to the high fade crew cut.
A similar cut was seen on Brad Pitt around the time he made the movie Fury. It’s a slick style that grows out well. To get the cut, leave the top long enough to slick back (at least 2 inches). Have an experienced barber cut the sides close to the skin with a short fade near the crown. To style, use a gel or wax on damp hair, brush back, and let the hair air dry in this position.
The front edge of this pompadour is shaved clean into a widow’s peak. The sharp border creates angles and lines that parallel the full beard. This geometric cut can give anyone instant style.
A French crop is a modern, short style with bangs that skim the forehead. It compliments most face shapes and is an easy way to disguise a receding hairline. The skin fade is a standard feature for the French crop. A bold bolt is carved into the side; great for those looking for extra presence.
This sharp lineup is especially nice on short, naturally curly hair. It polishes up any disorderly waves by taming the hairline and creating a strong foundation. For those with straight hair, this look can be achieved by adding layers and piecing wax through the crown. Regular visits to the barber are necessary to ensure the lineup remains fresh and straight.
Crew cuts go hand in hand with a skin fade. The shorter hair on the crown coordinates well with the gradient and shorter sides. It is a universally flattering look that is always on trend.
This skin fade starts close to the crown with a shorter fade. The high and tight fade allows the crown to quickly move into the bald area of the nape, which provides a nice high-contrast look.
A fade can be the perfect addition for those with mid-length hair who want a chic look without having to sacrifice length. Sweeping hair to one side gives the illusion of movement. It is equally as casual as it is sophisticated. The short undercut provides a nice equilibrium to the longer top.
This cool-toned French crop is a very unusual color that looks surprisingly natural and not too out there. The light and shadow ripples through the hair and reflects the bursts that explode from the line art in the sides and back. It is an interesting color and pattern with relentless intensity.
This cut is a symphony of geometric shapes and form. The symmetrical balance between the textured top and the graphics line art is experimental and exciting.
Another great example of a disconnected skin fade; this haircut shows a darker fade with a crisp line cut through one of the thicker areas. The line looks clean under the heavily weighted top.
We absolutely love a striking skin fade with an Ivy League haircut. The bald sides give this classic style an edgy, modern quality. The side-swept crown maintains the refined feel of a traditional Ivy League cut.
Cutting your hair into a satirical faux hawk is a versatile way to go from edgy to cultured, depending on how its worn. When a skin fade is cut into the sides, the haircut can be styled back to look slick and professional or defiantly gelled up.
Spruce up your mid-length locks with a messy top and skin fade. This fade bursts from the ear and severs the cool top from the beard. The divergence leads to focus on the facial hair and the engaging mess on top.
The bald fade in this haircut emphasizes the texture in the French crop. The French crop stands out because of how it contrasts with skin fade, which is different in color, texture, and length. The fringe can be cut in a variety of ways, but in this example, it is cut straight across the forehead and rounded up near the temples.
Frame your frames with a wispy and wildly brushed up haircut. Skin fades work so well with glasses because they act as a blank background that accentuates a nice pair of frames. Brushing wavy hair up further highlights a pair of unique glasses by drawing focus to the upper half of the face.
Because a skin fade works best to give a high-contrast look, a voluminous pompadour is often paired with faded sides. The mid-skin fade provides a unique take on the ever so popular pompadour.
Akin to the pompadour or quiff, this brushed up look also offers high style and meticulous structure. The excellently crafted gradient detail makes this look extra respectable. It showcases elements of refined grace and power.
This zero fade will turn heads. The bald fade is a striking cut that is trendy and modern. Integrating it with a brushed-up top makes the entire look come together.
This is becoming the new paradigm for a taper fade. Combining side-swept hair with a tapered fade offers a clean cut that isn’t overly structured. Most of the work is done during the actual haircut. After, daily maintenance is minimal. Running a light wax to damp hair and let the hair air dry is all it takes to style this look.
If you want a style that can go from nice guy to tough guy with little-to-no effort, look no further than this side-swept cut. This look is achieved with a high gloss, strong hold gel or pomade. To avoid a comb-over, ensure that gelled hair is being combed slightly back and to one side; don’t comb hair straight from one ear to the other. The skin fade should be tight, high, and well maintained. This look grows out nicely, but frequent visits to the barber help keep this cut looking fresh.
This is becoming one of the defining styles of the year. The texture and body is a nice contrast to the skin fade on the sides and back. The hair on the crown curves every which way and is aggressively pieced apart. The tight fade grounds the look and keeps it from being overly wild.
Let’s go back to the mid-’80s where this style ran through the streets of New York City. This fade is masterfully done and is a look for the fun and bold. The back and sides are shaved close to the skin. An abrupt line acts as a cartoonish part that pleasantly adds character to the look. For those with straight hair, a perm is necessary before a barber can carve out the high-top shape.