A taper fade haircut is one of the most recognizable, iconic styles in the world of hair. It’s stayed for so long because of its timeless look, clean style, and versatile appearance. It’s great for casual and formal situations, so whether you work in an office or at home, it’ll suit you nicely.

jeremywexlerhair CROP classic taper
@jeremywexlerhair / Instagram

What Is The Taper Fade Haircut?

A taper fade haircut keeps the hair long on top while tapering it down the sides and back. The hair gets progressively shorter as it goes down the head until it blends in with the skin. This gradual fade looks sharp and neat, with no messy or unsightly edges or rough spots.

The taper fade haircut is a wonderful low maintenance haircut that doesn’t require much styling or upkeep. It also great for experimenting; you can modify it to fit your personal style.

Classic Tapered Comb Over

What Do I Need For The Taper Fade Haircut?

The taper fade haircut isn’t a particularly long style. Anywhere from 2 to 4+ inches of hair will work. However, the longer your hair, the less neat it will look, so 2 to 4 inches is a good range to aim for.

Since the taper fade is a shorter style that gets progressively shorter, you’ll have to decide if it’s the right cut for you. For example, if you have a scar on your head that you don’t want to show, a taper fade haircut could reveal it. See how the cut looks in the provided pictures, and from there, you can determine whether or not it will be a good style for you.

hudson.hair CROP tapered hairline
@hudson.hair / Instagram

How To Get The Taper Fade Haircut

The standard taper fade is similar to the classic taper haircut. The hair is longest on top and fades down the back and sides. You can specify how gradual you want the taper to be. There’s some additional information on our guide to the classic taper haircut, where we explain how to get the cut in depth.

taper drop skin faded fauxhawk
@javthebarber / Instagram

How To Style The Taper Fade Haircut

Depending on which variation of the taper fade haircut you go with. For more intense styles, like the mohawk, you’ll need a strong hold gel. For a lighter style, like the standard taper fade, you have the option to not style it at all. In the end, it’s all up to you and the style you choose.

There are also tons of variations on the standard taper fade haircut. No matter your hair type, face shape, or personal style, you should find something here you’ll like.

If you still hesitate whether this cut is for you check these options below:
High Fade Fohawk
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Faux Hawk

This is a standard taper fade on the back and sides. However, the hair on top of the head will be left much longer in length so it can be styled like a fohawk.

High Fade Fohawk, Faded Mohawk + Hair Design + V-Shape, by @z_ramsey / Instagram
High Taper Fade
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High Taper Fade

If the hair gets faded with the skin at 2 inches (maximum) from the top of the hair, this haircut can be referred to as a high taper fade haircut.

Low Fade Pompadour
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Low Taper Fade + Pompadour

With this type of haircut, the faded length from the hair top increases from 2 inches. Hairs will fade just one inch above the normal hairline of the wearer.

High Top Afro With Fade
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Afro Taper Fade

This style is usually common with black men. An Afro taper fade style is particularly good black men with curly or kinky hairs. The curls are styled on top, and the hair on the sides and back gets faded.

comb over
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Comb Over

The hair on top is grown out and then combed over in a side part style or a slicked-back manner. This haircut is frequently adopted by bald or balding men to lessen the prominence of their baldness. However, many younger guys are pairing a side part style with a fade in a contemporary take on the comb over as shown above.

Related
Caesar Taper Fade
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Caesar Fade

One of best types of fades for black males is the Caesar fade. The hair on top is cut somewhat longer and commonly swept to the front instead of parted on the side. Short bangs can be combed to the sides. The hair can be styled with strong hold hair gel or wax.

High And Tight Haircut
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High and Tight

The high and tight fade is usually seen in military men. This style requires shaving a larger part of the sides as well as the back of the head. Buzzed hair is left on top.

Bald Fade
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Bald Fade

The bald fade is for those who are bald or almost bald. It is similar to the military buzz cut, but the fade is shorter. it goes from the sides to the top of the head, where the fade is largest.

Precise Faux Hawk
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Faux Hawk

Here, a pointed fade is given. The long hair on top is spiked upward. This isn’t as dramatic as the mohawk, so it’s better suits a wider range of situations.

High Top Fade Hard Parted
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High Top Fade

The high top is popular among young men with curly or afro-textured hair. In this style, the hair at the sides and back is cut short. Then, they’re tapered upward to achieve the high top look. Generally, the taper starts at ear-level, and the top can be anywhere from 2 to 5 inches, depending upon the hair’s texture and customer requirements.

Drop Curl Fade
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Curly Taper Fade

This fashionable cut works with every style, from pop to Euro to modern groovy. It’s quite suitable for men who have curly hair. Men with such hair can check pictures of this hairstyle to see if it’s right for them.

Temp Fade by Vino
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Temple Taper Fade

Normally seen in men of all ages, the temple taper fade is a classic hairstyle, also known as taper fade, a temple fade, or temp fade. By changing or adjusting the blade length up or down a few sizes, you can modify the cut; it’s good at many different lengths. It is also a nice low maintenance cut, as it needs only to be cut every few weeks. This is a timeless haircut that has looked great for decades and will look great for decades to come.

Textured Hairstyle
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Hand Brushed Tousled Blonde

Heavily texturized on the top, fade on the side and back. This haircut brings attention by being neatly elegant and a little bit spiky at the same time.

Ivy League with Taper Fade
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Classic Side Part

This style combines a classic and timeless side part with a taper fade for a more updated, contemporary look. Slick and retro, this style recalls the 1950s and the styles of celebrities like James Dean and Elvis Presley.

Short Haircut with Taper and Fade_
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Short Blowout

If you’re looking for a low maintenance style with a lot of attitude, consider this short blowout. It’s neat and tidy all over and creates visual interest with the styled front and textured sides.

Tapered Fade
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Textured Short Top Crop

This crop top is a short style with lots of texture and personality. The taper fade is extremely short, which highlights the top and front of the head for a bold, striking appearance.

Finger Combed Low Taper Fade
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Flowy Swept Back

For a shorter style with a light and flowy look to it, consider this swept back hairstyle. The taper fade on the sides and back makes the swooping hair at the front the star of this look.

Curly Top with Taper Faded Sides
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Curly Top with High Volume

This style is perfect for guys with wavy hair who want a short yet eye-catching hairstyle. With this look, you can achieve a lot of volume even with shorter hair.

Curly Dyed Highlights
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Curly Dyed Highlights

If your hair is seriously curly, check out this style. It keeps the sides short and tight while allowing the curls to pop out, highlighting your hair’s natural appearance.

Side Parted Classic Style
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Side Parted Classic Style

For a classic, minimal style, look no further than this side part. The taper fade accentuates the part, which can be subtle or extreme. This is a great style for students, office workers, and anyone who wants a professional yet stylish cut.

Burst Fade with Line Up
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Burst Fade with Line Up

The line up is a unique style that’s become quite popular for its sharp look. This burst fade style combines a line up with a side taper fade, accentuating both the top and sides at the same time. The result is an urban-inspired hairstyle with lots of attitude.

Brushed Up Skin Fade Undercut
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Undercut Brush Up

Undercuts have never gone out of fashion, and this look is a tweak on the classic style. The hair is brushed up and forward to create a small quiff, and there’s lots of motion happening all over.

Undercut Skin Fade
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Thin Hair Undercut

Undercuts can work well even if you have thin or fine hair. Here’s a twist on the undercut with a high fade that places the spotlight on the swept back hair on top. A short yet trendy look, this is perfect for thin hair.

Taper Fade for Receding Hairline
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Receding Hairline with Beard

A receding hairline doesn’t mean you can’t have serious style. This look leverages a receding hairline to draw attention to a high-volume quiff. The fade on the side places even more emphasis on the hair on top and moves the focus away from the receding hairline.

Swivled French Crop
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Swiveled French Crop

The French crop is an incredibly popular low maintenance hairstyle that is simple and classic. This take on the French crop uses a line up and all around taper fade to add a bit of edge to this tried and true style.

Disconnected Line with Taper Fade
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Brushed Up Shaved Hairline

This hairstyle is a totally unique combination of styles. It uses a dramatic hard part (meaning the side part is shaved) and a fade, and the hair on top is brushed up as is often seen in many undercut variations.

Taper Fade with Messy Top
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Wavy Messy Top

If shorter is better for you, check out this messy look. Similar to the French crop, this style keeps the hair short and tidy, making it a great option for professionals and students. This will also work well for men with wavy or curly hair.

Messy Curls
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Messy Curls

Sometimes, curly hair looks best when it’s allowed to be a little messy. This is a relaxed and casual style that’s great for men with very curly hair that might otherwise be difficult to work with.

Side Parted Wavy Undercut
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Side Parted Wavy Undercut

Undercuts and side parts have been paired for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. Here a prominent side part outlines the hair and creates a dramatic effect.

Curly Top with Taper Sides
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Curly Top with Undercut

This clean curly undercut takes the messiness of curly hair and makes it look rather tidy thanks to the clean fade on the sides and back.

Clean Temple Fade
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Clean Temple Fade

This is another simple and timeless style that keeps the hair short and neat. Featuring clean edges, a gradual fade, and trimmed bangs, this look is great for guys who want a straightforward cut.

Brushed Up Taper Fade
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Brushed Up

This fun, youthful style is ideal for guys with thick, full hair. The hair is brushed up at the front to create a short, wavy quiff, while a taper keeps the sides and back tight for contrast.

Wavy Top with Taper Fade
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Wavy Top with Mild Line Up

This interesting style combines messy bangs, clean sides, and a subtle line up. The result is a trendy, balanced hairstyle that stands out from the crowd.

Slicked Backed Pompadour Taper Fade
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Clean Combed Pompadour

The pompadour is an instantly recognizable style with a reputation for looking slick and suave. This version features a high volume pompadour and a gradual taper fade on the sides and back. This style is ideal for guys with thicker hair who want to make a statement.

Bloated Pompadour with Taper Fade
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Bloated Pompadour with Layers

If you like the pompadour but want something a bit more extreme, consider this layered look. This style will give you a lot of volume and looks much trendier than the classic slicked back appearance.

Taper Fade Slicked Back
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Taper Fade Slicked Back

Here’s another slicked back taper fade haircut that takes a slightly different approach. The length of the hair is blended all over thanks to a gradual fade, so this is a great choice if you want a nice halfway point between something extreme and something conservative.

Classic Taper Haircut
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Classic Taper Haircut

You simply can’t go wrong with this classic taper hairstyle. Great for all hair types and colors, this style is refined and easy to manage.

Blonde Pompadour
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Pompadour Taper Fade

Here’s another version of the pompadour that pairs a clean fade with a lower volume pompadour. The result is an even yet balanced look. This cut will also work well for men with thin or fine hair.

Airbrished Taper Fade
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Airbrushed Taper Fade

If messy hair is your thing, this look is one you should keep in mind. This style showcases rough, tousled hair, so if your hair is naturally unruly, you can use that to your advantage.

Drop Fade with Afro Disconnection
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Drop Fade Disconnected

Here’s an eye-catching style that uses long curly hair and a hard part to create a disconnected look. This is a flexible style; you can wear this style messy, as shown, or you can keep the hair on top short and more even.

Brush up Fade Pomp
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Brush up Fade

Many styles today are characterized by a ton of volume on top and short sides. This brush up fade offers something familiar and classy, and it’s an excellent choice if you like this general type of style.

Curly Fringe Fade Assymetrical
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Curly Fringe Fade

Another look that makes use of super curly hair, this curly fringe fade keeps the sides and back high and tight, emphasizing the curly hair at the front. This is a fresh take on a standard fade that makes for a great casual style.

Side Part Swept
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Side Part Fade

Short and simple, this haircut is simply a side part with a high fade. It’s a low maintenance cut that you don’t even have to style if you don’t have time to.

Brushed Up Fade
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Classy Brush Up with Mid Fade

This fashionable brush up look has the hair tousled and teased to create high amounts of texture and a vibrant appearance.

Skin Fade Side Part
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Fade Pomp

This style places the spotlight on the pompadour as a result of the skin fade used on the sides and back. This is a more daring style that’s great for adventurous guys.

Low Fade Clean Simple
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Low Fade Clean and Simple

Whether your hair is straight, wavy, thin, or thick, this low fade will serve you well. It’s another good choice for students, office workers, and professionals.

High Volume Brush Up
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High Volume Fade

One of the most extreme styles on this list, this high volume fade takes the hair way up and features a fade with a line up. It’s a chiseled, textured look that’s extremely fun and casual.

Slicked Back
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Slicked Back Fade

Here’s a shorter slicked back look that’s simple and low maintenance. We recommend this for men with thicker hair, although you can also use it to accentuate a widow’s peak, as seen here.

Classic Pompadour
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Pompadour High Fade

Looking for a tall pompadour? This hairstyle features a high volume pompadour that gets shorter as it goes back, creating nice visual balance.

Classic tapered hair
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Classic Fade Harvard Style

Short and textured, this Harvard-style fade bridges the gap between professional and casual. You can spike it up as shown here or simply comb it back for a more classic look.

Neat and Clean Top with Finely Faded Sides
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Neat and Clean Top with Finely Faded Sides

This French crop is complemented by a taper fade on the sides. Together with a little facial hair and a few piercings, this style has a cool, retro vibe to it.

Sharp Part with Taper Fade
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Sharp Part with Taper Fade

Here’s a pompadour that’s been made unique with a hard part in the middle and a fade on the sides. The result is a fresh, young look that’ll fit anyone!

That Bloated Quiff with Undercut Taper
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That Bloated Quiff with Undercut Taper

This undercut features a taper fade for a cut that’s full of contrast: long and short, dark and light. With the bleached top, this is definitely an edgy look.

Finely Faded with Stranded Brush Up
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Finely Faded with Stranded Brush Up

Here’s a sleek quiff with the sides faded. This look also features some thick facial hair, which has been tidied up for some added elegance.

Fine Taper Fade with Banged Front
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Fine Taper Fade with Banged Front

The French crop almost always features a fade on the sides. And it almost always has an edgy, hipsterish feel when you add tattoos or piercings!

Elegant Brushed Up Top with Sleek Temple Fade
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Elegant Brushed Up Top with Sleek Temple Fade

This simple brush-up hairstyle has a high fade on the sides, creating another variation of the undercut. Any higher on the sides and we’d have to start calling this a fauxhawk!

Designer Top with Shaved Hairline
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Designer Top with Shaved Hairline

If you take your eyes off the incredible texture on this crop, you’ll see that it also features a parted fade at the sides. This look is definitely a head-turner!

Waved Top with Neat Fade
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Waved Top with Neat Fade

Here’s a slightly longer haircut with a taper fade on the sides. Together with some light facial hair, the resulting look has a sort of skateboarder coolness to it.

Neat Taper Fade with Shaved Line
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Neat Taper Fade with Shaved Line

Check out this tidy crew cut which is finished on the sides with a taper fade. Not just that, this cut also features a shaved line along the side hairline.

Clean Subtle Taper Fade
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Clean Subtle Taper Fade

This clean, manly cut is long on top and short on the sides. A little overgrown facial hair and a smile adds plenty of character.

Neat and Clean Mid Fade
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Neat and Clean Mid Fade

Here’s a taper fade which is clean shave around the neck and chin. The fade creates a gradual transition from the striking contrast of black hair against pale skin.

Neat Quiff with Taper Faded Side
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Neat Quiff with Taper Faded Side

This good old-fashioned quiff has a fade on the sides, with unusually long hair at the top. Together with the simple part, this creates an eye-catching look.

Fade and Relaxed Slick Back
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Fade and Relaxed Slick Back

This slicked-back haircut is plenty modern. The sides start with long hair at the top and, after a sharp fade, come right down to a close-shave at the bottom.

Even Fade All Around The World
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Even Fade All Around The World

Here’s another manly look with short hair on top and an even taper fade around the sides. Wear it clean-shaven or let it grow out, like this.

Low Volume Laid Top with Taper Fade
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Low Volume Laid Top with Taper Fade

This long, textured crop has a harsh mid fade on the sides. Add a little bit of rugged facial hair and this look is masculine yet modern.

Messy Brush Up and Classic Taper
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Messy Brush Up and Classic Taper

This elegant brush-up also features a taper fade. However, the hair is a little longer than usual; combined with the turtleneck sweater, it’s a cool look.

DFree / Shutterstock.com
Trendy Dropping Taper Fade
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Trendy Dropping Taper Fade

Here’s a messy quiff finished on the sides with a taper fade. Together with a clean shave, this is a unique, cohesive style.

Styled Pompadour and Classic Taper
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Styled Pompadour and Classic Taper

This carefully-styled pompadour has a fade on the sides, which wraps around into the facial hair. Overall, it’s a pleasantly unusual haircut.

Inched Top with Mid Skin Fade
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Inched Top with Mid Skin Fade

For something a little more practical, combine a short taper fade with a crew cut on top. The result is handsome and easy to maintain.

Tapered Top Crop
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Tapered Top Crop
Brushed Back Top with Subtle Fade
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Brushed Back Top with Subtle Fade
Side Turned Top with Tapered Side
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Side Turned Top with Tapered Side
Neat Taper Fade
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Neat Taper Fade