Feeling like you’re in a rut with your hair? You deserve to look good; that’s why it’s so important to stay on top of trends. One hair trend that’s making a major comeback is the low fade. Read on to learn why it’s trending.
What Is a Low Fade?
A low fade is a haircut that is longer at the top and shorter as it goes down or “fades” into shorter hair. The fade makes an excellent base since it describes the transition between the hair up top to your neckline.
As a result, you can personalize the low fade to get a haircut that’s right for you. Key features of a low fade are:
- Shows very little skin (only show skin closer to the hairline)
- Gradually gets thinner and thinner
- Tight, clean lines
- Least dramatic of the fades
Some of you may be too young to remember the years of the fade haircut and think this is a new look. On the contrary, the fade has long roots in history. While the fade came into existence in the ’50s when men in the military had to keep their hair a certain length, it was ’80s black culture that popularized the look.
From Nas to Spike Lee in “Do The Right Thing,” the fade took over hair culture and never really left. Even women rocked this look in its heyday, like Queen Latifah (can you say icon?) and Grace Jones.
Inspiration: 10 Ways to Rock a Low Fade
There’s so much to do we listed out 10 possible ways to rock a low fade haircut. Check out our list to gather some inspiration for the next trip to your barbershop!
1. Classic Low Fade
The classic low fade looks good on a variety of people, so if you’re trying something new, you won’t go wrong with this style. The fade blends effortlessly, from medium-length hair on top down to slight stubble at the base of your neck.
2. Military-Style Low Fade
Military men have rocked many different hairstyles throughout history, but the high and tight fade is the most current. The hair on top is short and looks like a cap. The fade drops off abruptly right below, and then the rest of your skin is clean-shaven.
3. Spiked Low Drop Fade
The drop fade has a pretty high drop-off, hence the name. There’s a distinct visual where the fade drops off instead of blending into hair further down. In this particular example, the man chose to keep his hair long on top. Spiking it up in this style makes the haircut even bolder.
4. Slicked-Back Low Fade
The slicked-back look works best with hair that’s at least four inches long, so keep your hair longer on top for this style. When you slick back your hair and hold it with hair spray, it will blend right into your fade.
5. Side Part Low Fade
You probably have a natural part in your hair, so it’s best to follow this part when cutting and styling your hair. It’s easier to style, for one thing, and you can use less product on it. This cut makes you look clean and professional.
6. Comb-Over Low Fade
The comb-over is a great look to pair with a fade because of the visual interest it creates. You can keep your hair long on top and still benefit from the coolness of the fade tapering down your head. Take time to style your comb-over. You can slick it back or blow dry it to give your hair some height.
7. Pompadour Low Fade
This is another look where the contrast of the fade’s short hair looks striking against the longer hair on top. You don’t have to worry about that long hair getting in your face when you style it back into a pompadour.
Both the low fade and the pompadour are styles that have been popular throughout history, so it’s fun to combine the two into a unique look!
8. Stark Line Low Fade
This unique style keeps your hair longer on top then blends into a buzz cut. Instead of then fading into your skin, there’s an abrupt line where your hair just… stops! It’s a statement look.
9. Low Fade With Long Hair
Depending on the length of your hair, this could also be an undercut fade. That’s when you shave your hair underneath but keep it long on top. Half the fun of having long hair is the variety of styles you can try. From day to day, you can go from braids to a headband to a ponytail and more.
If you really want to look different, you’ll love the camouflage a low fade with long hair can give you. When you wear your hair down, no one knows how it looks underneath. When you pull it up into a bun—surprise!
10. Low Fade With Design
Talk about a surprise! Something cool about getting a low fade is that you can get designs shaved into your hair. This inspiration is pretty intricate to get you to think outside of the box. But you can ask your barber for something more simple, like a few lines of varying lengths.
Low Fade Maintenance
Barbers blend low fade haircuts from top to bottom to give your hair a cohesive look. Your barber will most likely use scissors on the top of your head, even if you’re not keeping that hair too long. They’ll start using trimmers on the sides and back of your head.
Your barber uses the longest trimmer attachment (with the larger hair clipper size) first, to keep the hair near the top of your head longer. As they get closer to your neck and ears, they’ll switch out for shorter attachments.
By the time your barber reaches your ears and the base of your neck, they’ll use the shaver directly. This cuts the hair off completely so your skin will show, giving your fade a clean look.
Once you understand how much work goes into a haircut that looks simple, you’ll realize that it takes a lot of maintenance. Your hair will look messy when it starts to grow out. You can comb it down and use hair products to keep flyaways smooth for a while, but then it’s time to freshen up.
Since it takes a lot of finesse to trim the hair, so it fades into the rest, this haircut is impossible to do yourself. Trimming your hair all one length, or even shaving it off, isn’t hard to do on your own, but low fades require a professional.
As the name suggests, a fade should look natural. If you have lines in your hair, tell your barber you’d like it more blended. Although the inspiration above shows you that there are some cool ways to integrate lines into your style if you find your hair is difficult to fade properly.
After about two weeks, your hair will look pretty shaggy. That’s when you know it’s time to get back to the barbershop and clean up your look.
Things to Consider
The low fade has soared in recent popularity, but not all hairstyles are suitable for everyone. Before you commit to this new style, think of all the considerations that might impact your look.
Types of Fade
This article focuses on inspiration images for low fade haircuts, but that’s not the only type of fade you can get. Each look is slightly different, so you can choose what type of style you want to have before you get the cut. Popular styles include:
- High fades stop within two inches of the hair on top of your head, then fade into your skin. Mid fades get short very quickly, often showing skin around your temples. Low fades go midway down your head before tapering off to close-shaven hair.
- Classic fades taper down naturally from your hair to your skin, following your natural hairline. Taper fades start longer on top and stay somewhat long until a couple of inches down your head, then gradually fade off to a close-shaven look.
If you don’t want to use clippers on your hair at all, you can spring for a scissor fade. Your barber will use scissors to cut the hair all over your head. This keeps your hair longer and gives it a more natural, tousled look.
With this style, you could probably go three or more weeks without a touch-up, since you won’t have any shaven areas. This way, you won’t be asking, “how often should you get a haircut?“
Bald Fade Cuts
In addition to different types of fades, you can also choose if you want a bald fade cut or not. This look can work with many different hairstyles, so it’s good to know what to ask for before you get to the barbershop.
A bald fade cut is when the barber cuts right to the scalp to show the border between your hair and your beard. A lot of guys like having their beards connected to their hair with sideburns. But with fades and some other short hairstyles, sideburns can look out of place.
When you get a bald fade cut, your barber will cut your hair in your chosen style. Then they’ll completely shave the hair from in front of your ear and then fade in your beard where a sideburn normally grows. You can mix and match this look with any haircut, but if you’re getting a fade, this cut will keep your style looking sharp and clean.
Before getting a low fade haircut, consider how much of your scalp is going to show. You can choose different lengths or tell your barber that you don’t want much bare skin. Still, since your haircut will blend into itself before fading into your scalp, more will be visible than you’re used to.
This means that if you have scars, acne, or regrettable tattoos on your scalp, you might not feel comfortable with a low fade. Even if these things aren’t in full view, they won’t be as hidden as they would be with longer haircuts.
Going to a barber for a low fade is great because they can give you advice on your hair type and what styles will work well for you. If you have a strong natural part, they can tell you how to style your hair along that part.
Trying to go against it might mean your hair will work its way free during the day, even if you use a lot of product to hold it in place. If you don’t have a part, your barber can shave a hard part into your hair to make your low fade look even more striking.
They can shave it slightly wider than a natural part, so it’s easier to style around. They can also widen your natural part if you like the look of a hard part. You can train your hair to look different regardless of your part.
Styling your hair when it’s slightly damp, using products to hold it in place, and training it with headbands or hats make it easier to keep in your signature style. Keep in mind that it takes time to train your hair, so have patience!
Is the Low Fade for You?
A low fade haircut is an excellent cut for any guy—or girl! It frames the faces nicely, is in style, and is fresh no matter what kind of hair you have on top. Keep your hair longer to rock different styles, or go short and sweet for minimal style time.
The low fade does require a lot of upkeep to keep your look clean. You’ll have to visit the barbershop every couple of weeks before your hair starts looking shaggy. In this sense, this haircut may not be the right fit for everybody, but you can have fun finding the right style for you.