Haircuts For Men: Taper vs Fade, What is The Difference?

Is there a simple and correct answer to this question? We have tried our best to demystify these terms accurately in this article. Read on for a detailed overview of different hairstyles.

If you have spent enough time on Google wonder what sort of hairstyle you should get, you have probably come across these two terms: Taper and Fade.

These terms might get a little confusing because a lot of stylists use them indistinguishably. However, not every hairdresser does, which makes these two terms hard to separate. When you are trying to differentiate between taper and fade, you probably will not be able to tell if there is an actual distinction or not.

Difference Between Taper and Fade

Difference Between Taper and Fade

As it turns out, there is a difference, but it is very subtle. So, if you want to get the best haircut next time, first you have to learn what each of these two terms might mean. This way your stylist will be one hundred percent sure what sort of haircut you are asking for.

Recommended: Best Electric Clippers for Fades.

What does a taper haircut look like? Let us take a look.

taper haircut

Taper tends to make your hair shorter as it moves down on your head. This hairstyle will reach your ear and go down to your neck’s nape. It also follows natural hair growth symmetrically. Evenness is the keyword here. Tapers gradually shorten your hair which results in a near-even look.

traditional taper

This is usually referred to as a taper or simply a taper haircut. This is a classic barbershop style and you have probably had this same look on your head at one point in your life.

Despite being a regular and traditional haircut, taper opens up a lot of opportunities. Numerous regular and business hairstyles use taper as a regular base trim and are built upon its symmetrical look.

Additionally, taper allows your hair to be more grown out on the sides, giving your hear a lot of body and room.

This is a perfect choice for you if you like longer hairstyles and do not like to trim your hair every few days.

What is a fade and what does it look like?

regular fade

Having the same basic principle as a taper, fade allows your hair to get shorter from top to bottom. However, fade differs in numerous ways.

The main difference is that fade is not always even. It can go from long to short and vice versa. Also, fade hairstyles are a lot shorter than tapers. It is not an unusual sight to see a fade that almost goes down to the skin.

very slim fade

Fades have several different categories: Skin, drop, high, medium, and low. These terms might be a little confusing to you right now, but let us break it down for you.

High fade

You can probably guess, a high fade is a simple fade that goes higher up on your head. High fades suit dramatic and outgoing styles best. This type of fade takes up almost all surfaces on your head’s side. Sometimes, the entire side of the head is a fade.

Medium fade

A medium fade uses less extreme style and does not cover the entire top of your head. If you have a beard (which goes beautifully with a medium fade), you will not notice a link between your beard and hair, because medium fade is thinnest beside your ears. From there it goes up slowly and thickens as your hair gets higher on your head.

Low fade

This one is probably closest to the previous hairstyle we have discussed – taper. This particular fade happens down on your head and begins from the bottom of your neck. Often, a low fade is mistaken for a taper. Again, the main difference is evenness.

Skin fade

High, low and medium fades all refer to the position on your head where fade is mostly placed, drop and skin fades usually indicate how the fade is executed. While performing a skin fade, a stylist performs a specific haircut that goes down to the skin. Also, the skin face can be matched with any length of the fade.

Drop fade

As discussed earlier, fades sometimes can be very abrupt and this is what a drop fade is all about. With a drop fade, the hair often drops off suddenly and creates a sudden contrast. There are many types of drop fades, but the most popular one is where the fade goes right into the skin. Drop fades also tend to have a very fashionable flair.

Taper fades. What about them?

Taper fades

Finally, let us take a look at a complex term which is a taper fade.

A lot of inspiration and reference albums have a taper fade as a classic, tropical hairstyle. Sometimes they are fade and other times they have a tapered basis. So, what’s the deal?

Sometimes, people confuse these two terms and that is why the term “taper fade” came about. This confusion led to the assumption that the two words meant the same thing, but it is far from the truth.

That being said, most hairstylists use taper fade and mean taper. So, if you want to ask for a taper fade, you will get a normal taper. Be careful what you wish for when it comes to differentiating between these two terms.

Final notes

To sum up the taper and a fade ultimately, a taper is a style that supports gradual hair shortening, whereas a fade is always much shorter and gradual.

Even though several types of fades can be based on a taper, they are pretty damn unique and versatile in their honesty. Which one you choose to get depends on your taste and specific cut you are willing to get.

We hope you are fully informed about the differences between taper and fade. Right about now you must be well-equipped to choose carefully and not be lied to when going to get a new, exotic hairstyle.

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