Due for a haircut soon? Shake things up with a precise burst fade. These partial fades give you an option to try something new without completely changing your look. See examples and things to consider below.
What Is a Burst Fade?
A burst fade is a take on the traditional fade haircut. It involves trimming a curved section of the hair from the ears to the back neckline, then seamlessly tapering or fading that section to blend into the longer hair around it.
The final look is a semi-circular section of short hair above and behind the ear. The shorter section usually touches the back neckline and begins a few inches above the ear.
With a burst fade, the short section around the ear may be shaved all the way down to the skin (which is a bald burst fade) or it may still have a little length, depending on the clipper guard size you choose.
It might be a small section that tightly hugs the ears or a bigger section that reaches up to the temples and all the way back. That’s what makes this type of fade so versatile – you decide the length, shape, and size of your burst based on your preferences and how you want it to look.
You can combine a burst fade with other types of fades, haircuts, and styles. This type of fade has nothing to do with the length of the top, back, or sides of your hair. It only refers to the way the hair is cut around the ears.
Burst fades are sometimes confused with drop fades. They are similar, but in drop fades, the longer section on top dips down in the back but doesn’t meet up with the neckline. In burst fades, the longer section does reach down to the neckline.
10 Burst Fade Looks We Love
Looking for a little inspiration or think this style might be for you? Don’t commit to this cut without checking out plenty of examples and inspiration photos! A good, clean burst fade is all you need to liven up your current haircut. Here’s the photographic proof.
1. Long and Shaggy With Burst Fade
The quickest way to turn your hairstyle into something trendier? Fade the area above and behind your ears in a burst. Since this type of fade is usually done with shorter hair, you’ll stand out with longer locks that really contrast with the short sections on either side of the face!
2. Short South of France Fade
Nail two trends at once with this high burst “South of France” fade that resembles a wide mohawk. The burst portion begins high up around the temples to create a larger short-hair zone. With uncut curls on top that cascade down the back, you’re rocking the South of France haircut at a shorter length.
Read Next: High Fade Ideas
3. Mini-Burst With Side Part
If you like clean-cut hairstyles but still like incorporating trendy elements, this is the cut for you. Featuring a long top divided with a side part and gradually faded sides with a mid (medium height) burst, this style looks sophisticated with a modern twist.
4. Brushed-Over Burst Cut
Burst fading adds a punchy edge to this otherwise basic taper fade haircut. Pin-straight hair can have a mind of its own at shorter lengths, but working in a little gel and brushing the top over to the side helps keep it in line. Extend the fade from about 2 inches above the ear in a curved line down to the neckline behind the ear to get this look.
5. Bald Burst Mohawk Fade
We love seeing one haircut borrowing elements from so many different styles! Here, the model’s hair is cut into the popular South of France wide mohawk cut.
Above and behind the ears, the hair is burst-faded down to the skin, making it a bald fade. Keep a little more length on top than the back to mimic this look.
6. Two Block Burst Fade
This two block haircut is shaved/undercut on the bottom half, leaving long hair in a side part on top. You could totally stop there and have a great, trendy haircut, but why not take it a step further by adding a burst faded section around the ears? It gives this cut an edge.
7. Mid Burst Skin Fade
A casual, pushed-back texture on top doesn’t look too clean-cut thanks to the bursts around the ears. These zones are faded down to the skin to create an edgy contrast between the longer hair on the top and sides and the shorter sections around the ears. If you have straight hair and want a little more interest in your haircut, this is one way to do it!
8. #2 Bursts With Pushed-Back Top
Knowing how to tell your barber the cut you want is important so you end up with what you asked for! Here, the faded bursts around the ears are cut with the #2 clipper guard (1/4 inch) to stand out from the rest of the cut. Keep enough length on top to style it back casually and you’ll nail this look.
9. Burst Undercut Fade With Side Part
A deep side part combined with an undercut allows you to create this high-contrast look. The hair is shaved down almost to the skin (#1 or #2 clipper guard) around the ears.
The much-longer top is brushed over the side to fall down over the top of the faded section, so the look is a mix between a two block cut, mid fade, and undercut.
10. Hard Part Fade With #1 Bursts
Like the clean, precise look of a hard part? Highlight it with a little gel on top and detailing along the sides. Bursts are the perfect way to do it! Use the #1 clipper guard to leave just a little length inside the faded sections, or take it all the way down to the skin (#0 guard) if you’d prefer.
Things to Consider
Before you run to the barber shop or attempt to give yourself a burst fade haircut at home, there are some important things to think about. Here’s your list of things to consider before getting this type of fade:
- Make sure it works for your face shape. Since this type of fade has less volume around the sides of the face and more on top, it’s an almost universally flattering haircut for all face shapes. Round, square, and heart-shaped faces all benefit from the way burst fades remove bulk from the sides of the haircut and draw the eye upward to the top. Oval face shapes can wear this cut but may need to steer clear of bald burst fades.
- Mix and match haircuts and styles. The best haircut for you will likely be made up of components from a few different cuts and styles. Since the burst type of fade only involves the hair above and behind the ears, you’ll need to borrow elements from other cuts and styles to figure out how the rest of your hair should look. You might keep it long on top to style a pompadour or quiff, or choose a low skin fade to blend in with the bursts on the sides.
- Have a little fun with it. If you’re into this type of fade, you probably enjoy trying new things with your hairstyles. Why not take things a step further and try the South of France haircut (seen above) out, or opt for a mullet look that’s longer in the back? You can always turn it into a long top, short side haircut if you decide this one is not right for you.
- You can turn it into a drop fade later. If you like to switch up your look often, it’s good to know that burst cuts can easily be turned into drop fades when you’re ready for a change. Just have your barber bring the fade line up from the neckline in the back to change a burst fade into a drop fade.
- It’s easy to grow out if you change your mind. There’s no need to be overly cautious before getting this type of fade because it’s so easy to grow out. It won’t take long for your hair to regrow in the small sections around the ears. The placement of this type of fade also makes it less noticeable as you let those sections get longer.
Burst fades are becoming so popular because they look good, they’re versatile, and they’re universally flattering. Even if you love your current haircut, adding bursts to the style can shake things up and give your look a more modern edge.
Whether you decide on this type of fade or something entirely different, make sure you’re working with a skilled barber or stylist who can deliver the results you want. And don’t forget to screenshot your favorite examples from this guide to show your barber!