How to tell your barber what you want, including details about high taper fade, taper fade mullet, taper fade for curly hair and burst fade

Taper Fade: How To Tell Your Barber What You Want

Dec 01, 2023Sharnee Rawson

If you ask your barber for a taper fade hairstyle, they will probably ask additional questions to clarify what you mean. This is because there are many different variations, including low taper fade, mid taper fade, high taper fade, taper fade mullet, burst fade and taper fade for curly hair.

Thankfully, we can give you the vocabulary to describe exactly what type of haircut you need. We will also answer all the essential questions about this popular technique. Make sure you grab a pocketbook and get ready to take notes!


What is a Taper Fade?

According to the barbers, a taper fade describes a haircut that is longer on the top of the head and tapered down the sides and down the neck.

What Is Tapering In Barbering?

Tapering is a barbering technique that changes hair from one length to another. When it reaches the skin to blend in with it, the hair actually disappears or "fades." Tapering is so common in barbering that you will likely get one even if you don't ask for it.

Tapering can be achieved with thinning scissors and clippers. Both are usually needed to create a sharp and neat look without uneven lines or rough spots.

Taper Vs. Fade

While the terms "taper" and "fade" are often used interchangeably, they may refer to different styles. Some people use taper to describe a natural and conservative decrease in length. Meanwhile, a fade can be dramatic, abrupt or extremely short. 

How Long Does A Taper Fade Last?

The shorter the taper fade, the longer you can wait between barber appointments.

In most cases, you can expect to revisit the barber every 2-4 weeks if you want to keep your haircut pristine. If you're not too fussy about regrowth, you could hold off for up to 8 weeks.

How Much Does A Taper Fade Cost?

If you want a basic taper fade, the starting cost should be around $30-60. Keep in mind adding treatments, dyes or other extras will raise the price accordingly.

Before trying a new haircut or barbershop, clarify the cost with your barber to avoid any nasty shocks.

What About A Taper Fade For Curly Hair?

Not all haircuts are easy on curly hair...but taper fades will not be a problem. Anyone with waves, curls or coils can choose from a wide range of styles. In fact, we have pictured some examples below.

13 Of The Best Fades Haircuts (With Pics)

Tapering Neckline

If you want a low-maintenance haircut that will forgive a missed appointment or two at the barbershop, ask for a tapered neckline. A tapered neckline follows your natural neckline until it fades.

When it grows back in, it will retain its shape and won't look as messy as other clearcut hairstyles.



Low Taper Fade Haircut

A low taper fade is more on the "taper" than on the "fade" side. The scalp is gradually exposed by thinning both sides, starting close to the ears.

The low-level taper fade is ideal for beginners who don't like carrying a drastic fade where a large area above the ears is faded to show scalp skin.


Zero Fade

A "zero" fade describes hair being cut to a minimal length. Only a subtle amount is left which gives the impression of scalp stubble. (It is not a completely shaven bald look).


0.5 Fade

A 0.5 fade is just a bit longer than a zero fade. The 0.5 fade follows the zero fade as it moves up the neckline to the top of the head and the sides where it can grow to a 2-inch taper fade.


Buzz Fade

A buzz fade describes a short haircut with shorter sides, which may be zero guard or shaved bald using a razor. The top of the head is buzzed or a uniform length.


Mid-Taper Fade

With a mid-taper fade, you get a defined line that goes about half an inch above and behind the ears. The barber will use the clippers to decide which is the most flattering length.

The mid-taper haircut is a sexy alternative for curly hairstyles. Make it smooth around the sideburns and the neckline for a polished look.


High Taper Fade Haircut

When customers ask for a taper fade, this high taper fade haircut is what they typically have in mind. The high fade has a short back and sides, with more hair left at the top of the head which can be styled in a variety of hairstyles, for example, an Elvis or crew cut.

The fading starts as high as the temples and it can be gradual or dramatic, depending on the chosen hairstyle.


Disconnected Fade

A disconnected fade cut features longer hair on the top with an immediate disconnect instead of a gradual fade. This can offer quite a dramatic statement depending on the depth of the disconnect.

Skin Fade Undercut

The undercut is the same as having a skin fade, but the grade shortens more suddenly leaving it in an undercut style.

This style looks great if you plan on growing your hair at the top to slick back.


Messy Fade

The messy fade is basically a mid to high fade with the top long and styled messy. This look definitely makes a man look more relaxed and casual.


Pompadour Fade

Elvis Presley made the pompadour popular, and this style has endured until now, which is modernised in the pompadour fade. Make sure you have plenty of styling products ready to maintain this eye-catching look.


Taper Fade Mullet 

If you're someone who loves mullets, how about making those short sides "pop" with a taper fade mullet? We think this style will raise eyebrows for all the right —  and wrong —  reasons. Perfect for anyone who likes to be the life of the party.


Burst Fades

A typical burst fade involves cutting a semicircle shape around the ear. Rather than continuing on the nape of the neck, it ends on the side of the neck. The result is a "burst" of hair along the top of the head.


    What Haircut Should I Choose?

    • A mid or tapered fade is perfect for a smart and simple look.
    • A scissor fade is best if you do not want to commit to an obvious clipper fade.
    • A skin fade is great for when hair is shorter at the top.
    • A low fade suits men with a beard or stubble.
    • Men with an afro or tight curls can go for a temp fade.
    • For fine hair, use styling mud to create a matte or textured look.
    • For thicker hair, use a pomade to hold it in place.

    What You Need To Create A Taper Fade

    Creating a smooth taper fade requires a good set of tools, which is why we have created a list filled with all the essentials:

    • Cutting Comb: To remove fallen hair between every fade grade, you need a tooth comb to comb through the moves you make with the clipper guard.
    • Cordless Clippers: This tool makes it easier to move around as you tweak the taper fade.
    • Clipper Comb Set: Different clip sizes enable you to work with thin and thick hair to unleash your inner artist.
    • Shaver: Keep a shaver within reach to groom the neck area and remove any excess facial hair that can spoil a perfect taper fade.
    • Clipper Disinfectant: Remember to spray and disinfect your tools after every customer to adhere to hygiene standards.
    • Hair Trimmer: A trimmer will help you even out those hard-to-reach and sensitive areas, such as the temples and around the ears.
    • Hair Dryer: When you are all done with the tapering and fading, the blowdryer is handy for styling and cleaning.

    Here is a taper fade tutorial for thick hair that you can use for inspiration:

    How To Maintain A Taper Fade

    If you do not maintain bi-monthly trims, a low to mid-tapered haircut may be the better option. This is because the more intricate the shape, the less forgiving it will be at your negligence. Keep in mind cutting your hair very short may additionally sensitise the scalp.

    To keep your haircut clean and healthy, we suggest using shampoo for sensitive scalps like 18 in 1 Professional Nourishing Shampoo 375ml. Each bottle is filled with botanicals from across the globe to nourish, moisturise, soothe and repair your hair.

    Products To Style Your Fade


    Wax is one of the most versatile styling products for men's hair. You can apply a small amount to create a wide variety of different looks. 

    Our top picks are RedOne Aqua Hair Gel Wax Full Force Orange 150ml or RedOne Aqua Hair Gel Wax Full Force Black 150ml. These are a fan favourite. Not only do they smell nice, they create long-lasting style and maintain shape. Oiliness and hardening will not occur on your hair, and the product can easily be washed off. 

    Styling Mud 

    Styling mud is a combination of clay ingredients and wax for creating rougher and more natural styles. The unusual styling ability allows you to add definition, spikes and texture. This will stay in shape throughout the entire day.

    One of the best options on the market is Muk Hard Muk Styling Mud 95g. This delivers a sheer matte style with flexible hold and texture. There is a delicious orange fragrance too.

      The Verdict

      By the end of this article, you should have a solid understanding of taper fades.

      There was plenty of inspiration: low taper fade, mid taper fade, high taper fade, taper fade mullet, burst fade, taper fade for curly hair and more. We also answered all the essential questions about cost, longevity, maintenance and styling products.

      Now, you are completely ready to tell your barber what you want!

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