what does low taper fade mean

It would help if you had a stylish new haircut and help figuring out where to start. Don’t worry; the low taper fade has got you covered. This versatile cut works for any hair type and style preference. Whether you want an undercut, comb over, buzz cut, or quiff, the low taper fade provides the perfect subtle side and back fade to make your chosen hairstyle stand out. The best part is how low-maintenance it is. The gradual fade means you can go longer between cuts and still look sharp. Ready to see some inspiration? Check out these 37 excellent low taper fade haircuts for men to find your next stylish cut.

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What Is a Low Taper Fade Haircut?

Low Taper Fade

A low taper fade haircut is a stylish cut where the hair is gradually tapered down the sides and back of the head using clippers with different guard sizes. The low taper fade gets its name from how the sides and back are faded down in increments, leaving hair longer on top.

With a low taper fade, hair on the top of the head is left longer, around 3 to 5 inches, while the sides and back are tapered down using clipper guards to create a faded effect. The low taper starts around the temples and sides, blending the longer top hair with the shorter sides. This creates a stylish look that is versatile and low-maintenance.

There are a few variations of the low taper fade to choose from. A drop fade tapers hair down to the neckline in a curved shape. A temp fade tapers down to a hard line around the ear level. You can also ask your barber for a low skin fade, where the sides and back are tapered down to the skin. For a conservative look, a regular low taper fade blends the sides down in increments of 1/2 inch.

The low taper fade works well with many hairstyles, like a side part, comb over, quiff, or textured crop. It’s a fashionable yet professional cut suitable for the office or a night out. Low taper fades are also popular because they grow out nicely by blending in with your natural hair growth and are easy to maintain between barber visits.

Whether you want a stylish drop fade or a conservative taper, the low fade haircut is an excellent choice for any guy looking for a versatile, low-maintenance cut. Tell your barber which low taper fade style is right for you.

The Versatility of the Low Taper Fade

Versatility of the Low Taper Fade

A low taper fade haircut is one of the most versatile and stylish. The gradual fade from longer hair on top to closely cropped sides and back allows for much flexibility.

You have options galore with a low taper fade. On top, you can go with longer styles like a comb over, pompadour, textured crop, or shorter styles such as a crew cut or buzz cut. The longer top contrasts nicely with the tapered sides and back.

The low taper also pairs well with different fades – you can do a shadow fade for a very subtle look or an undercut fade for more contrast. A low skin fade that exposes the scalp at the bottom of the fade is a bold choice.

Another benefit of the low taper fade is how low-maintenance it is. The gradual fade means quick and easy touch-ups between cuts. You only need to trim it every 3 to 4 weeks to keep its shape. Daily styling is also a breeze since the taper guides how the more extended top section naturally falls.

Whether you want an edgy undercut or a classic side part, the low taper fade provides the perfect base for any hairstyle. Its versatility and easy upkeep make it a go-to cut for guys wanting a stylish yet fuss-free hairstyle. Give the low taper fade a try – you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner!

Expert Opinion:

Versatility and Style:

  • “The mid taper fade is the sweet spot between a high fade and a low fade. It offers the perfect balance of edgy style and practicality, working well with both casual and formal attire.” – Andre Walker, Celebrity hairstylist (Vogue)

Evolution of Style: Low Taper Fade Through the Ages

Evolution of low fade taper

The low taper fade haircut has been a popular style for decades and continues to evolve. This classic yet stylish cut is timeless, but new variations are constantly emerging.


In the early 1960s, the low taper fade gained mainstream popularity. With longer hair on top and short, tapered sides and back, it epitomized the era’s stylish yet rebellious look. Actors and musicians like James Dean and Elvis Presley popularized the iconic “DA” (duck’s ass) hairstyle, featuring a low taper fade with hair greased up and combed back on top.


In the ’90s, hip-hop and urban culture influenced new low taper fade styles. “Fades” with shaved-in designs and patterns on the sides and back became popular, along with asymmetrical cuts. Stars like Will Smith, Tupac, and Biggie Smalls sported these iconic 90s low taper fades.


The low taper fade remains highly versatile and continues to evolve. Modern styles incorporate a tricky part for an extra definition, or pair the fade with a comb over, pompadour, or messy style on top. Subtle variations like the mid fade, high fade, and drop fade provide extra options for customization. The timeless style of the low taper fade ensures that it will remain a staple for men through future decades.

Whether emulating the ducktail DAs of the 50s or today’s hard part pompadours, the low taper fade allows you to pay homage to classic styles while making it your own. This cut is genuinely iconic yet always open to reinterpretation. The options are endless.

Expert Opinion:

Modern Take on Classics:

  • “The mid taper fade takes classic cuts like the comb-over or pompadour and gives them a modern update. The subtle fade adds a touch of cool and keeps the overall look fresh and contemporary.” – Tyler Colton, Barber and founder of The Men’s Hair Project

The Anatomy of a Low Taper Fade

The low taper fade haircut gets its distinctive style from how the hair on the sides and back of the head gradually transitions from longer to shorter, with the hair at the crown left longer. The key to getting this cut right is understanding the anatomy of the low taper fade.

Anatomy of a Low Taper Fade

Hair on Top

The hair on top of the head is left longer, usually 1 to 3 inches. This longer hair on the crown provides contrast with the tapered sides and back. You have options here:

  • Ask your barber to cut the top so you can sweep it to the side.
  • Push it back and up.
  • Just let it lay flat and natural.

Mid Fade

Just below the longer hair on top, the mid fade begins. This is where the hair starts to taper down, usually tapering about an inch at the mid-fade area. The mid fade creates a gradual, blended transition from the longer top to the shorter sides and back.

Low Fade

The low fade sits just above the ears and neckline. This area is cut even shorter, usually down to 1/2 inch or less. The low fade provides sharp definition and contrast for an edgy look. It can taper down to the skin for an “edge up” effect that looks neatly groomed.

Tapered Neckline

The neckline is cut progressively shorter down to the skin. A tapered neckline blends the low fade with your natural neckline and sideburns for a sculpted finish.

Keeping these areas balanced while tapering the length progressively shorter from top to bottom results in the iconic low taper fade cut. Talk to your barber about which variations of length on top, mid fade, low fade, and neckline will work best with your hair type and personal style. The low taper fades with regular maintenance will keep you looking sharp for weeks between cuts.

Choosing the Right Low Taper Fade for Your Hair Type

Choosing the proper low taper fade for your hair type will ensure a stylish cut that suits your natural hair. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

 Low Taper Fade for Your Hair Type

Straight or wavy hair

If you have straight or wavy hair, a low taper fade on the sides and back will provide shape and contrast for the top. A classic low fade that gradually blends into your natural hair at the crown is a versatile choice. You have flexibility in how long you want the top, from short to medium-long. This fade works well with side parts, comb-overs, pompadours, and fringes.

Curly or oily hair

A low fade can be tricky to achieve and maintain for curly or oily hair. Look for a barber experienced with cutting curly hair. A low drop fade, where the fade starts lower down, at the base of the sides and back, works better than a high fade. Leave the top at least 3 to 5 inches longer, so you have enough length and weight to style your curls. A curly top with faded sides is a stylish look. Ask your barber to cut the top when dry so they can cut curl by curl.

Thick or dense hair

If you have thick, dense hair, a low fade may require more frequent trimming to look sharp. A low bald fade, faded to the skin, provides maximum contrast for thick hair. Please leave at least 2 to 3 inches of length on top so you can style it up and off your face. The weight from longer hair on top will prevent it from sticking straight out from your head. Ask your barber to thin out your hair on top with thinning shears, making it more manageable.

The proper low taper fades for your hair type, whether straight, curly, or thick, along with a skilled barber, will have you walking out of the shop with a stylish, tailored cut. With some styling tips for your hair type, you’ll be rocking an excellent fade in no time.

How to Get the Perfect Low Taper Fade

There are a few key steps to follow to get a perfect low taper fade.

Low Taper Edgar

Start with clean, damp hair.

Wash and towel dry your hair to remove any product buildup. Working with damp hair will allow you to see how the haircut progresses and make any necessary changes.

Decide how low you want to go.

Low taper fades typically end around the top of the ears, but you can go lower down the sides and back of the head. Ask your barber for a #1 or #2 clipper guard for a very short fade up to a #4 or #5 for a longer fade.

Use clipper guards to taper in stages.

Your barber will start with the most extended guard size you chose for the lowest point of the fade. They’ll work in sections, using the clipper guard to taper the hair gradually shorter as they move up the sides and back. This tapering method creates a very gradual fade with no noticeable lines.

Trim the top (optional)

The barber can trim the hair on top of the head to your desired length and style if needed. A low taper fade pairs well with many top hairstyles like a comb over, slicked back, messy, or textured style.

Check your work

Have your barber use a mirror to show you the back and sides of your fade so you can view the full effect. Ask for any touch-ups needed to get your ideal low taper fade.

Style as desired

Use a pomade, wax, clay, or cream to style your hair on top as desired after shampooing and conditioning. A low taper fade is a versatile cut that can be styled in many ways for any occasion.

These critical steps ensure you walk away with a stylish, trendy tap, er fade haircut. Ask your barber for expert advice and recommendations to get the perfect fade and hairstyle for your hair type and personal style.

Low Taper Fade With Beard Styles

Low Taper Fade With Beard Styles

The low taper fade is a versatile hairstyle that pairs well with a beard. If you want to rock facial hair with your fade, here are some stylish options to consider:

Short Beard with Low Fade

Keep your beard trimmed short (1/2 inch or less) with clean lines along your cheeks and neckline for a classic, masculine look. With a short beard, the focus remains on the sharp fade from long to short. This style works well for oval and round face shapes.

Medium Beard with Low Fade

If you want a fuller beard, try a medium-length style (3/4 to 1 1/2 inches) with a low taper fade. The fade will prevent your beard from looking unkempt while allowing it to be the focal point. Comb and brush your beard regularly to keep stray hairs in place. This pairs nicely with diamond and square face shapes.

Long Beard with Low Fade

For the boldest style, grow your beard longer (2 inches or more) and combine it with a low fade. Long beards require more maintenance to prevent tangling and keep your desired shape. Use beard balm and oil to moisturize and style your beard, and trim it regularly. The low fade balances the volume on the sides and top. This style is ideal for heart-shaped faces.

Low Fade with Stubble

For a “5 o’clock shadow” look, maintain short stubble (1/4 inch or less) and fade the sides and back short. This gives you the rugged appeal of facial hair with less maintenance. Use an electric trimmer to keep your stubble at an even length. The low fade prevents your style from appearing unkempt. This pairs well with all face shapes.

In the end, the low taper fade offers a range of options to pair with your facial hair. Find a style that matches your personal style and face shape for a stylish, contemporary look. Let your barber know exactly how you want your fade and beard to complement each other.

Low Taper Fade With Curly Hair

Low Taper Fade With Curly Hair

You have some stylish options if you have curly hair and want to rock a low taper fade. A low taper fade cut on curly hair can look fabulous. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

You’ll want to start with longer curly hair on top, around 3 to 5 inches, so you have enough length and weight to style it. Ask your barber to use clippers with multiple guard sizes to taper and gradually fade the back and sides. Have them start higher up, around the temples and mid-sides, so you’re left with more volume. A high low taper fade, if you will.

When styling your curls, apply a curl enhancer or mousse and scrunch your hair to bring out your natural texture. You can also twist or braid a few sections for extra definition. Let your hair air dry, or use a diffuser in a low heat setting. The length on top will allow your curls to form and shape.

For extra height and volume, tease your roots with your fingers or a pick once dry. You can also gently lift sections of curls on top with your hands. Finish with a medium-hold hairspray to keep your style in place all day without feeling crunchy.

A low taper fade cut on curly hair is ideal for letting your natural curls take center stage while keeping the back and sides looking fresh. With the right products and styling techniques to enhance your curls, this relaxed cut will make you look your best with minimal effort. Experiment with different partings, braids, or twists to change your style. A low taper fade on curly hair offers maximum versatility and style.

Low Taper Fade With Lineup

Low Taper Fade With Lineup

The low taper fades with a lineup, a stylish cut that combines a fade on the sides and back with a sharp line along the hairline. This cut keeps things short and tidy while still having enough length on top for versatility.

To get this cut, ask your barber for a low taper fade, tapering the hair on the sides and back down to the skin. Then, have them use clippers to carve a clean line across your natural hairline to define your shape. The lineup will make your hairstyle look fresh and polished.

With a low taper fade and lineup, you have options for styling the top. You can sweep it to the side for a side part, brush it up and back for a pompadour-inspired style, or just run some light product through it for an easy tousled look. The fade and lineup do most of the work, so you only need to spend a few minutes styling the top.

This cut is ideal for guys who want a stylish yet low-maintenance hairstyle. The fade and lineup will keep your cut looking neat and tailored for weeks before needing a touch-up. It’s also a versatile style that suits most face shapes and hair textures. Whether you have thick, wavy, or fine, straight hair, a low taper fade with a lineup will make you look your best with minimal effort.

Some tips to keep in mind:

• Ask your barber for a low taper, fading to a number 1 or 0.5 guard for the shortest point. This will keep it subtle but still closely cropped.

• Get a lineup every 1-2 weeks to keep that hairline looking fresh. Use a mirror to check how it’s growing and see if it needs a quick touch-up trim.

• Use a light to medium hold product to style the top. Something pliable that can be restyled easily. Avoid anything too shiny.

• Taper fades grow out quickly, so you must see your barber every 3-4 weeks to maintain this cut. Scheduling ahead will ensure you don’t end up with an overgrown style.

Low Taper Fade With Hard Part

Low Taper Fade With Hard Part

The low taper fade with hard part is a stylish variation of the classic taper fade. With this cut, you get the faded sides and back, but the top section of hair is parted to one side using a razor to create a sharp line. This adds extra definition and shape to your hairstyle.

To get this cut, ask your barber for a low taper fade on the sides and back, tapering the hair down to the skin. Have them use a razor to part your hair to one side, shaving in a straight line to create a tricky part. The top section of hair should be left longer, around 3 to 5 inches, and styled up and to the side opposite of the part. You’ll want to use a strong hold product with a matte or natural finish to keep your hair in place all day.

This stylish cut pairs well with casual and formal attire. The tapered sides keep the cut neat and polished, while the longer top and complex parts add height, texture, and flow. The part cuts extra definition and shape for a bold yet sophisticated style. You can fade the hard part for an undercut style with extra contrast.

To maintain a low taper fade with the hard part:

  1. Get a trim every 2 to 4 weeks.
  2. Use a razor or clippers to keep the sides and back faded and touch up the hard part.
  3. Trim the top only as needed to maintain its length and shape.

Daily styling with matte wax, clay, or pomade will keep your longer hair swept to the side and the hard part looking crisp. With regular maintenance, this stylish cut will keep you looking your best for any occasion.

Expert Opinion:

Adaptability to Hair Types:

  • “The mid taper fade’s gradual transition makes it flattering for most hair types, from straight to wavy to even some curls. It provides definition and control without going too short on the sides.” – Anthony Cole, Hairdressing educator and founder of The Men’s Groom Room

Low Taper Fade for Different Face Shapes

Low Taper Fade for Different Face Shapes

A low taper fade haircut works well for most face shapes, but some styles may be more flattering than others, depending on your face shape. Here are some tips to help you choose the best low taper fade for your face.

Round face

If you have a round face with full cheeks, a low taper fade on the sides and back with longer hair on top will make your face appear more oval. Leave the hair on top slightly longer, around 3 to 4 inches, and style it up and off your forehead. This helps make your face look longer and more balanced.

Square face

For a square face with a broad forehead and angular jawline, a low taper fade with rounded edges helps soften your features. Have your barber use clipper guards to taper the sides and back in a rounded pattern. On top, get a medium cut, around 2 to 3 inches, and style it up and off the face with a matte pomade or wax. The height and rounded style masks the square angles of your face.

Oval face

If you have an oval face, a low taper fade with short sides and back and longer, textured hair on top helps add width to balance your face shape. Ask for a fade down to the skin on the lower sides and back. On top, get around 3 to 4 inches of hair and style it up and messy using a matte product with a high hold. The longer top and short sides make your oval face appear broader and more proportional.

Diamond face

A low taper fade with medium-short hair on top for a diamond-shaped face helps minimize the pointy chin. Have your barber taper the sides and back down to around 1/2 inch at the bottom using a medium clipper guard. On top, get 2 to 3 inches of hair and style it up and off the forehead to make your face appear more oval. The fade and height on top draw attention upward and balance out the narrow chin.

Expert Opinion:

Face Shape Considerations:

  • “For rounder face shapes, a mid taper fade with slightly more volume on top can help elongate the face. For square faces, a sharper mid fade can soften the jawline and create a more balanced look.” – Robert Gunn, Hairstylist and founder of The Men’s Style Guide

Mastering the Low Taper Fade: A Step-by-Step Guide

Mastering the low taper fade cut requires some skill and patience. But with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve this stylish cut at home.

Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need professional barber tools like clippers, guards, scissors, a comb, and a mirror. Have everything within easy reach. You’ll want clipper guards ranging from #1 to #4 for the low taper fade.

Start with Longer Lengths

Begin by attaching the #4 guard to your clippers. Run the clippers over the sides and back of your head using upward strokes. Check your work in the mirror as you go, ensuring both sides are even.

Work in Sections

Next, attach the #3 guard and repeat, moving the clippers slightly higher. Repeat with the #2 guard and, finally, the #1 guard. At each step, start with the area right above your ears and work upward and around the back of your head. Use the mirror to check your work and ensure the fade is gradual.

Blend and Tidy Up

Remove all guards from the clippers and use the bare blades to blend the different lengths and achieve an even taper fade. Use light, short strokes, and check your work frequently in the mirror. Use the comb and scissors to touch up longer hair on top and style as desired.

Maintaining Your Cut

To keep your low taper fade looking sharp:

  1. Touch it up every 3 to 4 days.
  2. Repeat the same clipping process, starting with the lower guards and working your way up.
  3. Use the bare clippers to re-blend and create an even, gradual fade.

With regular trims, you’ll master the art of the low taper fade in no time.

Expert Opinion:

Low Maintenance:

  • “Mid taper fades are a low-maintenance dream. The longer hair on top requires minimal styling, and the faded sides grow out gracefully, needing touch-ups less frequently than shorter fades.” – Sal Salcedo, Master barber and educator at The Art of Styling


Ready to rock a stylish low taper fade? Explore the 37 excellent low taper fade haircuts above and find your perfect look. Share your favorite style or ask questions in the comments below! If you’re heading to the barber soon, show them the inspiration you’ve found. For more hairstyle tips and trends, keep up with our latest updates. Your next great haircut is just a click away!

Low Taper Fade Haircut FAQs

A low taper fade haircut is popular, but you may have some questions before getting one. Here are some common FAQs about low taper fades:

Q: How short will my hair be?

The low taper fade features hair tapered down gradually on the sides and back, but the top remains longer. The sides and back will be trimmed with clippers, starting longer at the top of the sides and tapering down to very short at the bottom. The top can be left longer, allowing you to style it up and off to the side—the longer top contrasts with the short, faded sides for a stylish look.

Q: Will it require a lot of styling?

The longer top of a low taper fade does require some styling to look its best. You’ll want to use a pomade, wax, or cream to comb the more extended top section up and over to the side. The short, faded sides do not need styling and are meant to be left as is. With the right product, styling the longer top should take only a few minutes and last all day.

Q: How often will I need to get it cut?

Low taper fades require frequent trims to look their best. To maintain the fade, the sides must be trimmed every 2 to 3 weeks. The extended top section must be trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks to remove split ends and allow for continued styling. Fading and tapering the sides at home is difficult, so frequent visits to your barber are needed.

Q: Will it work with my hair type?

Low taper fades tend to work best with hair that is straight, wavy, or has a slight curl. Hair that is very curly or unruly can be more difficult to fade and style. However, with the help of a skilled barber and the right products, most hair types can achieve a stylish low taper fade. It may take more frequent cuts and touch-ups to keep curly or unruly hair looking neat.

Q: What is a low taper fade haircut?

A low taper fade haircut is a hairstyle where the hair gradually gets shorter from the top down to the sides and back of the head, creating a clean and tapered look.

Q: How does a low taper fade haircut differ from a high taper fade?

 The main difference between a low taper fade and a high taper fade is the starting point of the fading. In a low taper fade, the fading starts lower on the head, while in a high taper fade, the fading starts higher on the head.

Q: Can low taper fade haircuts work for men with curly hair?

 Yes, low taper fade haircuts can work for men with curly hair. The gradual tapering helps to maintain the natural texture of curly hair while giving a polished appearance.

Q: Are low taper fade haircuts suitable for men with long hair?

Yes, low taper fade haircuts can be styled for men with long hair. The tapering adds a sleek and refined touch to long hairstyles, creating a modern and stylish look.

Q: What are the advantages of a low taper fade haircut for straight-ired men?

 For men with straight hair, a low taper fade haircut can add dimension and style to their hair without losing the natural flow of straight locks.

Q: How do you get a trendy low taper fade haircut?

 To get a trendy low taper fade, ask your hairstylist to start the tapering lower on the head and to keep the taper clean and precise for a sharp and stylish look.

Q: Is a low taper fade suitable for men with wavy hair?

Yes, a low taper fade can complement the natural texture of wavy hair, providing a neat and stylish appearance while maintaining the waves’ inherent charm.

Q: What is the difference between a taper and a fade in a haircut?

 In a taper, the hair is cut gradually shorter without a defined starting point. In contrast, in a fade, the hair is cut very short at the sides and back, gradually blending into longer lengths at the top.

Q: Can a low taper fade be styled as a bald taper fade?

 Yes, a low taper fade can be styled to a bald taper fade, where the tapering at the sides and back seamlessly transitions to very short or bald skin, creating a sharp and clean-cut look.

Q: What is the best way to maintain a low taper fade of long hair?

 To maintain long hair with low taper fade, regular trims and touch-ups are essential to keep the tapering and long locks in shape and to preserve the hairstyle’s sleek and polished appearance.

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