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What is the Difference between Fade and Taper Haircut

Are you looking for a new hairstyle to change your appearance? Have you heard people talking about fade and taper haircuts? Are you trying to find the difference between these two haircuts? If yes, you have landed at the right place.

In this article, we will guide you regarding these hairstyles and the differences between each other. Also, it will provide you an idea about how to tell which haircut is best for you.

What is a Fade Haircut?

The fade haircut originally started back in the 1940s when the US military adopted this hairstyle. The style became popular among men during the 1990s. Still, it wasn’t accepted in the workplace and wasn’t considered appropriate until the last few years. With few innovations in the fade haircut and new variations, the hairstyle is now accepted everywhere.

Fade means a shift of color and lengths on the sides and back of the hair. It means the hair has different lengths at different parts of the head. The sides and back should have very short to almost no hair, leaving the skin on display. The level of fade is actually different in each type of fade hairstyle.

In typical fade haircuts, you have very short hair at the top with a maximum of 2 inches length. This is actually the main difference between a fade haircut and a taper haircut. The fading effect on the side is quite similar in both styles and hard to differentiate.

There is a gradient beginning from long hair to short hair on the sides and back of the head. Unlike some other haircuts, you will notice a proper transition from long hair to short hair. The fading effect begins just below the top of the head. It hides your hairline completely when it comes to an end as it blends into the skin perfectly.

The fade haircut is usually cut using trimmers. Occasionally, people use scissors to fix the top hairs, but the trimmer does the primary role.

What is a Taper Haircut?

The taper is a haircut when your hairs are long at the top and gradually become shorter on the sides and towards the back of the head. Usually, the length of the hairs at the top is anywhere between 3 to 5 inches. The remaining hairs at the sides and back are cut short until they are gradually shorter at the end of the hairline.

The hairline remains intact, which is a clear difference between a fade and taper. In a fade haircut, the hairline is hard to spot as it’s blended with the hairs perfectly. In taper, the hairs are still very short at the end of the hairline, but you can clearly notice the hairline.

People who prefer to have long hair, but like fade haircuts, actually end up having a taper. It’s a perfect blend of both allowing you to keep your hair as long as you desire. A few of the most popular taper haircuts are side part tapers, classic tapers, faint tapers, short tapers, and long crown. Taper haircuts are cut by using scissors only.

What is a Taper Fade Haircut?

The taper fade is not an official term because both haircuts are different from each other. This term is, however, becoming popular as people are mixing both styles. To get this hairstyle, you need to explain it to your hairstylist very clearly before they start it.

The taper fade actually keeps the hair long but starts the fade right from the top. In the end, the hairline will be blended and become hard to identify anymore. As both haircuts are explained above, you can understand that this haircut is a true blend of both hairstyles.

What is the Best Haircut for You? 

The answer to this question actually depends on your face shape and requirements. If you are someone who is lazy and can’t get frequent touchups, the fade haircut is perfect for you. It doesn’t require any maintenance for the long term.

On the other hand, if you are someone who loves experimenting, the taper is for you. Most professionals recommend a taper haircut because it has a lot to offer and it suits most people. The only downside is that it requires proper maintenance.

If you have a square, oval, long or round face, a taper haircut will suit you. Meanwhile, fade haircuts look perfect on square or oval faces only.


The difference between fade and taper haircuts are plenty. People who prefer long hair usually go with a taper while people who can’t manage long hair get fade haircuts.

No matter which haircut you are about to get, just make sure that you explain it perfectly to your hairstylist. They should understand the difference between both haircuts. Otherwise, you might end up having a bad haircut experience.


Hi I'm Vincent, the editor of this website. I consider male grooming as a lifestyle choice. If you're comfortable with letting mother nature take care of your looks, then that's cool, however for those of you who want to make sure they look their best, I provide guides and tips for your male grooming needs.

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