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Bald Fade | Style Guide and 10 Examples

Clean-cut yet edgy, the bald fade is one haircut that never fails to make over a man’s look. If you’re due for a haircut soon, this one should be on your list. But the style isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Read on to learn why.


Considering a Bald Fade?

Image titled Style Guide Bald Fade featuring a cutout of a guy rocking this type of haircut against a blue square background

While you might have an image of a bald fade in your mind, there are many ways to wear it. Bald fades (also known as skin fades) are incredibly versatile, and there’s an option for literally everyone. 

Like rocking longer hair but want the stark contrast of a shaved head? Just keep it long on top and opt for a skin fade for a uniquely balanced look. Enjoy the look of a skin fade but don’t want to show too much scalp? Opt for a low skin fade.

Prefer something as low-maintenance as possible? Get a skin fade with the top shaved short. With plenty of ways to wear this twist-on-a-classic haircut, there’s definitely an option out there for you. We’re going to help you find it. 

Get ready to learn all about the bald fade, other names it goes by, and see trending examples of this clean-yet-edgy haircut below. Then we’ll talk about who this haircut is best for and share a few things you need to consider before booking an appointment with your barber.

Ready to get started? So are we. Let’s jump in! 

What Is a Bald Fade?

To help answer the question what is a bald fade, a guy with close-cut electric clippers trims the neckline of a pale man

Trakto Creative Design/Shutterstock

Before you start checking out some examples to get inspiration for your next haircut, we’ve got to really hone in on what this type of fade is. A bald fade, also called a skin fade or zero fade, means the hair is shaved down to the skin at the shortest point of the fade. 

Bald or skin fades can start out at any length as long as they end up being shaved to the skin (usually with the #0 clipper guard) at the shortest point. Skin fades can also be combined with other types of fades to create unique styles. 

High Bald Fades

Skin fades are most commonly seen with high fades, where the hair is faded high up on the head around the temples. Pairing a skin fade with a high fade means more of the scalp will be visible. This creates a starkly contrasted and edgy look, especially if you keep the hair on top longer. 

Mid Bald Fades

While high fades are the most common, it’s not unusual to see a bald, skin, or zero fade with a mid or medium fade. These fades begin lower down on the head, usually just above the ears, and don’t have as sharp a contrast as bald and high fades. If you’re after a more classic, less edgy look, opt for a mid skin fade. 

Low Bald Fades

Low fades aren’t typically seen with bald fades. When you have less room to work with, as you do with low fades that start around the ear level, shaving down to the skin isn’t as noticeable because it’s only done around the bottom of the head.

You can still rock a low skin fade, though, especially if you just want to keep longer hairs off your neckline or like that clean, precise look. While high, mid, and low are the three general fade heights, there are a lot more variations of this ever-popular haircut.

Mixing and matching them is what enables you to make a skin fade your own! Let’s look at some of the best trending examples of zero fades with different combinations below. 

10 Trending Bald Fade Haircuts

Here are the ten types of bald, skin, or zero fade haircuts that are getting the most attention online right now. Most of these haircuts feature components and parts from other types of fades and haircuts.

Think pompadours, mullets, and hard parts. Using these pieces, they create truly unique and attractive styles. Which one can you see yourself rocking? 

1. #2 High Zero Fade

Man in a white shirt with a #2 High Zero Fade (also called a bald fade)

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

This is a high fade, a bald fade, and a drop fade all rolled into one. Keeping the fade high means lots of your scalp will be showing on the sides, but since this is a drop fade, the length on top dips down a bit in the back. 

Keep the top about 1/4 inch long that’s a #2 clipper guard if you want to ask your barber for this haircut. Fade the #2 down to the skin to perfectly recreate this fade. 

2. Pompadour Bald Drop Fade

Side profile image of a man with a Pompadour Bald Drop Fade

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

Here’s a look at how small changes can change the overall look and feel of this haircut. The long top is combed back into a slick pompadour, which is a great contrast for the shorter sides and back that fade down to the skin. 

Since the length dips down and covers more area in the back, this is considered a high bald drop fade. The top is scissor-cut and kept around 4 inches long. 

3. #4 High Back-Point Fade

Image of a guy with a #4 High Back-Point Fade (a variation of a bald fade) as viewed from behind

arul kakap/Shutterstock

This fade haircut is a blend of a high fade (because it starts fading around the temples) and a skin fade (because it fades down to the skin). The hair on top is cut with the #4 guard, leaving it about half an inch long on top. 

The arrow or point design in the back requires some serious clipper and razor skills, so make sure you’re working with a skilled barber if you ask for this!  

4. Long Top High Skin Fade 

Long Top High Skin Fade (a play on the bald fade) haircut 

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

For guys who prefer keeping a little more length on top, this high skin fade is a great option to keep the sides and back neat. The hair on top is around 2 inches long and is cut with scissors, not clippers, like a taper fade.

Then the longer top is faded down to the skin with clippers around the sides and back. To mimic this style, work a little gel or mousse through damp hair and brush it slightly back and over to the side. Blow dry or air dry to set the style. 

5. Hard Part & High Drop Zero Fade 

Bald fade idea titled Hard Part & High Drop Zero Fade 

arul kakap/Shutterstock

Lots going on in this trendy, precision-focused haircut! Start with long hair on top around 4 inches at the longest point so it provides a nice contrast with the shaved sections in the back and sides. 

There’s a shaved hard part that starkly defines where the fade begins on the left side. The longer section dips down in the back, making this a high zero fade with a drop. This one will require more maintenance thanks to the hard part and scissor-cut top. 

6. Mid Drop Bald Fade

Mid Drop Bald Fade haircut on a guy in a ringer shirt in a white studio

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

A mid fade, or medium fade, begins tapering its length lower down than high fades, usually just above the ear level. Mid fades are a great choice if you don’t want as much of your scalp exposed. 

This fade drops down lower in the back and fades all the way down to the skin, making it a drop skin fade. Keep the hair on top at least 3 inches long so you can push it over to the side to style it this way.   

7. Side Part & High Skin Fade

Side Part & High Skin Bald Fade

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

You need around 3 inches of length on top to nail this particular look. You’re keeping the top long enough to push over to the side for a casual but complete and high-contrast style. 

Ask your barber to cut the top to around 3-4 inches with scissors. Then let them know you want a high skin fade where the sides and back are shaved down to the skin starting at the temples. 

8. Modern Mullet Zero Fade

Modern Mullet Zero Bald Fade on a guy on a bridge in a hooded jacket

Dany_cn/Shutterstock

Here’s a fun take on the zero fade just drop the length in the back all the way to the hairline to make it a mullet instead of a drop fade. The only section where the hair is shaved down to the skin is around the ears, making this haircut a mix of the high, drop, and burst fades

For the hair on top, keeping it a couple of inches long will enable you to style it forward as pictured, part it cleanly or push it over to one side, or slick it back for different looks. If you’ve been thinking about rocking a mullet, this is the best way to do it!  

9. Slicked Back Mid Skin Fade

Slicked Back Mid bald skin Fade

Vikafoto33/Shutterstock

Clean lines are the key to this suave style that looks shorter than it really is. If you like to keep the top a few inches long, slicking it back with the help of a little firm-hold gel is an easy way to keep it all contained and in place. 

Short sides begin fading down in length with #4 and #3 clipper guards that transition sharply but cleanly to the #0 guard (down to the skin). Feel free to have your barber do a 3-2-1 (clipper guard numbers) fade if you’re not a fan of the sharp transition. 

10. Mini Pompadour With High Skin Fade

Mini Pompadour With High Bald Fade

Foxy Burrow/Shutterstock

A mini pompadour in the front gives you a boost of volume that can visually slim your face. That’s great for guys with round or square faces, and the high fade makes it even more flattering. 

With this type of fade, the longer section on top is still quite short around 2.5 inches but it’s nice to keep that length so you have more styling options. The top should be cut with scissors and tapered nicely before fading down to the skin with clippers. 

Things to Consider

Before you call your barber to get your bald, skin, or zero fade haircut, there are some things you need to think about first. This haircut can be low maintenance, but some of the most popular variations of the skin fade will require more maintenance than you’re used to. Here are the things to consider before deciding on this type of haircut. 

  • Find the fade that suits your face shape. Does the bald or skin fade you want suit your face shape? Finding a fade that suits your face shape is essential because the wrong cut can make your face look wider, chubbier, longer, or more unbalanced. The right cut and fade height will slim you and highlight your best features. Check out this guide to find out how to choose the right fade for your face shape: What Men’s Haircut Should I Get?  
  • Make sure you can keep up with styling and trims. Before you settle on a fade, ask yourself if it’s a good fit for your styling and maintenance preferences. Making sure the cut you choose fits your needs and preferences is also important. Is this a cut that requires a trim every 2-3 weeks to look presentable? Will you need to spend 20 minutes styling it every morning? Are you sure you’ll commit to that? Think on these things before you hop in the barber’s chair. 
  • Choose a skilled barber. Do not hand the clippers to your inexperienced GF or buddy if you want a proper skin fade. This type of fade should be done by a professional who can seamlessly and cleanly blend the longer sections with the shorter, shaved sections. If you typically cut your own hair, this is your cue to call a skilled, trusted barber instead. This cut requires expertise, especially if you plan to leave the top longer than 1 inch (the max clipper guard length for most sets). And to really nail that starkly contrasted look, the fade must be clean and seamless. 
  • Know what to ask for. Once you’ve found a skilled barber you know you can trust to give you the fade you want, you need to know how to ask for it. If you’re clear about the type of fade you want, your barber will know just what to do! In the examples above, we mentioned clipper guard sizes like #3 or #0. If you know how long you want to keep the longer sections, using the clipper guard number to tell your barber makes it crystal clear. Bringing photos of the cut you want is also really helpful. 

Still think the bald, skin, or zero fade is the right haircut for you? We don’t blame you it’s versatile, can be as low-maintenance as you want, and can easily be tailored to suit your face shape. It’s truly one of the most versatile cuts around.

Just keep these considerations in mind before you commit to the cut, and while you wait for your appointment, find as many photos as you can to show your barber. This ensures you’ll walk out with exactly the haircut you wanted. 

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