Taper vs Fade

Taper vs Fade

In taper, the hairs change from one length to another, unlike the fade, where the hairs gradually fade or blend into your skin. 

Learn the main difference between a taper and a fade haircut.

Taper vs Fade

Taper vs Fade
High, low, mid, and skin Types High, low, mid, skin, and drop
All face shapes Ideal Face Shape Oval and square
Even throughout  Length Abrupt changes in length
Causal Nature Precise and bold
4 to 6 weeks Time in Between Cuts 2 to 3 weeks
Prominent edges Edges Less defined edges
Clippers  Tools Used Clippers and blade

What is a Taper? 

The taper style means the length of your hair gradually decreases from one length to another. In other words, the top of your head will have the longest hair, and the hairline will have the shortest one.

A tapered hairstyle gives you a finished, neat look.

Being a classic and versatile haircut that can be carried in casual and professional settings, the taper haircut is popular among men in the business world.  

Taper vs fade
Example of taper haircut

Types of Taper Haircuts

Taper haircuts see a lot of variation from their classic look. Here are a few basic types to be aware of the next time it’s haircut time for you. 

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High Taper

In a high taper haircut, both sides of the hair are trimmed from a few inches above.  

Mid Taper

In this type of taper cut, tapering begins halfway down the sides of the head and back. 

Low Taper

It is a low taper when hair cuts start to get shorter above the ears.

Skin Taper

When the hair is trimmed so close to the skin that it makes the scalp visible, it is termed a skin taper. 

What is a Fade?

The fade haircut is a trendy hairstyle where the hair goes from long to very short and fades in the skin towards the bottom.

In a fade cut, the length of the hair is different all around the head, thus giving a more dramatic look. 

The fade cut can also be assumed as a “very short taper.” Therefore, all fades are tapers, but not all tapers are fades. 

A faded haircut is more precise and requires attention to detail. It’s worth noting that a fade cut is challenging if you’re trying to do it at home. 

The only downside of fade haircuts is that they require regular trimming to maintain that faded-to-skin look. This is not the case with taper. 

Taper vs fade
Example of the fade haircut

Types of Fade Haircuts

Fade haircuts have different variations as well. Here are several different types of fades. 

High Fade

When the cut begins from the high up on the head, just two inches down the top, it’s termed a high fade. The high fade you’ll likely see on an average person is the pompadour fade. 

Mid Fade

A mid-fade cut begins halfway down from the sides and around the head. 

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Low Fade

In low fade, the fading starts closer to the ear, and the hairs abruptly change hair length.

Skin Fade

In a skin fade haircut, the hair is cut so close to the skin that it makes the scalp visible. 

Drop Fade

When the hair abruptly becomes much shorter, it is termed a drop fade. 

Talk to your barber about which type of fade will work best for you. 

Taper vs Fade Haircut – Key Differences

Taper and fade both have some significant differences, which are listed below.


There are a variety of taper and fade haircuts. For example, the classic taper haircut has four major types – high, low, mid, and skin. 

On the other hand, you can choose your favorite fade cut from among its five major types – high, low, mid, skin, and drop. 

Ideal Face Shape

A tapered haircut suits all kinds of faces. However, a faded haircut tends to suit oval and square face shapes.


Fades have different lengths, from short to long and suddenly very short. However, tapers always have an even gradient.


Tapers are a more casual haircut, and fades are more precise and bold.

How Long Does Each Style Last?

A fade cut usually lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. However, a taper haircut lasts for four to six weeks.


A taper has more visible edges because hair is not trimmed to its base as it meets the natural hairline. 

However, the edges of a fade cut are thicker and less defined.  

Tools Used

Clippers are the most convenient tool for creating tapers. However, many hair stylists prefer using shears. 

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In order to achieve a fade haircut, barbers opt for clippers and a blade.   

Taper or Fade?

Tapers and fades are the two most popular men’s haircuts. They might seem the same but are quite different in length and style. 

Now that you know the difference, it’s time to schedule your next haircut.

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Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

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