The 10 Guide to Taper Fade Hairstyles for Men

Taper Fade

Introducing the workhorse of men’s hairstyles – the Taper Fade . It’s the foundation upon which more flamboyant styles can be built, offering a timeless yet cutting-edge appeal. Taper Designs are incredibly versatile and tend to outlast many heavily clipped styles. Don’t just take our word for it; even style icons like Messrs Beckham, Gosling, and Timberlake are fans of the Taper Design.

According to Dan Glass, a senior barber at Murdock London, a Taper Fade is a crucial element of any good haircut. But don’t confuse it with a fade. Glass clarifies, “A fade involves gradually reducing the length of hair from the temple downward to a grade two or shorter. A Taper Fade, on the other hand, trims the hair about a centimeter above the ear and continues around to the nape of your neck. If the bottom is shorter than the top, it’s a Taper Design.”

The beauty of Taper Fade lies in their adaptability; they can be as conservative or as bold as you desire. If you have thick or wavy hair, they work wonders in removing excess weight, making your mane more manageable. For those with faces resembling a football shape, Taper Designs add length and much-needed definition. Glass adds, “Your barber usually finishes every haircut with a taper, unless you specify otherwise.”

However, there’s a word of caution for those with a triangular face shape – where the temples are notably wider than the chin. In such cases, a Taper Fade may accentuate this feature instead of softening it. But for everyone else, it should be the default choice. Glass affirms, “It helps elevate any haircut.”

If you desire a more pronounced Taper Fade but shy away from anything as extreme as a fade, communicate your preferences to your barber. Glass advises, “During your consultation, mention that you’d like the hair to be sharply tapered around the ears and at the back of the neck. Also, specify your preferred shortest length for the taper and whether you prefer a natural or sculpted neckline.”

After that, maintenance is a breeze. “Because it involves short, clipped hair, it doesn’t require extensive styling,” Glass explains. Just schedule regular touch-ups every couple of weeks to ensure those unruly wisps don’t compromise its sharpness.

WHAT IS A Taper Designs?

A Taper Design is typically characterized by having longer hair on top, while the hair on the sides and back of the head gradually becomes shorter as it approaches the crown.

What makes tapers so fantastic is their versatility. They can be as conservative or as daring as you desire. If you have thick or wavy hair, Taper Fade work wonders by reducing weight and making your hair more manageable. And if you happen to have a face shape resembling a football, tapers can add length and give you that much-needed definition. According to Dan Glass, a senior barber, “Your barber is likely to always finish your haircut with a taper, unless you specifically request otherwise.”


One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a ‘triangular’ face shape, you should exercise a bit of caution. This means if your face is noticeably wider at the temples compared to your chin, a Taper Fade might emphasize that feature rather than giving it a softer look. However, a Taper Fade ought to be the preferred option for everyone else. It will definitely make your haircut stand out.


If you’re aiming for a Taper Fade that’s a bit more distinctive but not quite ready to dive into the realm of a fade, don’t hesitate to communicate your preferences to your barber. During your consultation, express that you’d like the hair around your ears and the back of your neck to have a sharp, clean look,” advises Glass. “Let them know your preferred shortest length for the taper as well – not necessarily down to the skin – and whether you prefer a natural or more sculpted neckline.”

Once you’ve done that, your Taper Fade pretty much takes care of itself. “Because it involves short, clippered hair, there’s no need for excessive styling.” Just make sure to schedule regular touch-ups every couple of weeks to prevent stray hairs from blunting that sharp edge.

If you’re in need of inspiration, you can also search for pictures of celebrity tapers and show them to your barber. However, it’s crucial to collaborate closely with your barber to find a taper that not only suits your face shape and style but is also achievable and maintainable.

THE BEST Taper Design

When we talk about men’s “Taper Fade,” we’re essentially delving into the realm of what’s happening on the back and sides of the head. In reality, this term encompasses a diverse array of men’s hairstyles. So, let’s set aside the mishaps and focus on finding inspiration from our collection of the finest tapered styles.


This is the tapered version of the classic buzz cut or crew cut – the haircut that has stood the test of time. “It’s a clean and practical staple in men’s hairstyles,” remarks Glass. Opt for this style if your morning grooming routine is all about simplicity, like a quick shower. “Make sure to request your barber to give those finishing touches around your ears and the nape of your neck.” Complete the appearance with matte hair a subtle finish and not too heavy. Consider options like men’s hair mousse, clay, putty, or even a non-greasy pomade.


If you’re more inclined towards a lead singer’s style rather than a drummer’s, a Taper Fade can still be your ticket to more voluminous hairstyles, like the classic pompadour. “Think of it as the quintessential ’50s T-bird haircut,” advises Glass. To give it a modern twist, simply have your taper brought down a notch or two. Request that your barber create a skin taper that merges seamlessly with the lengthier portions on the back and sides, which contribute to this haircut’s signature spherical shape.

To perfect the look, make sure to use pomade, and don’t be shy with it. However, you might want to skip the Cuban collar shirt trend – combining the two might be a bit of an overload.


The Taper Fade is the choice for those seeking a style that earns appreciation without drawing too much attention. Glass explains that with a length of one to three inches and a taper, it can sustain a markedly masculine appearance. “Without the taper, a scissor cut tends to appear soft and natural around the neckline, with the hair cascading over the ears in a casual manner. There’s nothing wrong with that look, but often, men desire to keep longer hair on the back and sides while preserving the sharp, clean finish achieved with clippers around the ears and back of the neck. Tapering the hair to either grade three or four strikes the perfect balance in such a situation.”


If you begin your taper a bit higher up on your head, it results in a more gradual transition that can make top-heavy styles, such as a quiff, appear more cohesive. This approach also adds extra length all the way up, making it a versatile choice; you can even switch it up to a side part if you’re not feeling the height. And when you’re ready for that elevated look, a sea salt spray will provide your hair with volume without making it too stiff, allowing you to easily reshape it with your hands whenever you like.


The point where a taper concludes and a fade begins is a matter of personal perspective. If you prefer a style that combines elements of both, you can aim for what’s known as a “taper-fade.” According to Glass, here’s how to achieve it: “Request your barber to use either foils or a cut-throat razor to gradually reduce the hair length around your ears and neck, effectively taking your taper all the way down to the skin.” This technique ensures that your fade maintains an exceptionally sharp look for a little while longer. It’s a great choice if you find the full fade to be a bit too extreme for your taste.


The most challenging aspect of this haircut is, indeed, the daily styling routine. The pronounced asymmetry of hard part styles, with one side left longer and the other trimmed ultra-short with a precise line, means it’s not the ideal choice if you cherish those extra minutes of sleep.

“The finest hard parts typically involve grade 0.5 or one fades, and they look even more stylish when complemented by a clean skin taper,” advises Glass. Make sure to specifically request a skin taper from your barber while keeping your hairline from the ear to the back of your neck strongly defined. You ought to do so either gel or pomade to hold everything in place.


The man bun is still a bit of a debate in the style world. Unless you happen to have those striking cheekbones to pull it off, it can sometimes appear more like an amateur magician’s choice than that of a formidable samurai warrior. However, one way to make it a bit more manageable is by incorporating a taper down to your neckline. Unlike a crisp fade, having some extra length on the sides helps balance your face, preventing it from looking too top-heavy. Plus, this approach allows you to skip frequent trips to the barbershop, saving you some time and effort.


For an ultra-contemporary Taper Design, consider giving the slicked back undercut a shot. This style features longer hair on top and a consistent taper on the sides and back of the head. To achieve the look, use a high-shine hair product to firmly hold the top hair in place as you brush it backward, or for a more textured appearance, use your fingers to comb it back.


Taper designs can really make waves, especially with naturally wavy hair. To accentuate your curls, opt for a clean crop on top, complemented by a gradual taper on the sides and back of your head. This approach allows your natural texture to shine on the upper part of your hair. If you want to enhance those curls further, you can use a touch of sea salt spray or a quick application of matte pomade, simply worked through with your fingers.


The braided taper fade haircut is a consistently favored choice among black men, and it’s a surefire way to give your appearance an instant upgrade. Whether you’re rocking cornrows, long braids, dreads, or classic twists, introducing a taper and fade into the mix will not only emphasize your natural hairline but also infuse your style with undeniable head-turning appeal.

HOW TO STYLE A Taper Design

One of the most appealing aspects of getting a taper design as a man is its versatility when it comes to styling.

Typically, for a classic taper, you can use some styling product to shape the hair on top into a style that suits you. Just run your fingers through it swiftly and shift it to one side or the other. Tapers lend themselves well to parted hair, but the easiest way to style them is by warming up a matte product in your fingers and brushing the longer top hair towards the back of your head, creating a textured look.

If you’re aiming for a more polished finish with your taper design, you can give a shiny pomade a try.


  • A taper fade is characterized by longer hair on top, gradually fading shorter towards the sides and back.
  • Taper fades are incredibly adaptable, offering both conservative and bold styling options.
  • They work exceptionally well for those with thick or wavy hair, as they reduce excess weight and enhance manageability.
  • Taper fades can add length and definition to faces with a football shape.
  • A taper is usually a standard part of most men’s haircuts.
  • Taper fades are not recommended for individuals with a triangular face shape, as they may emphasize wide temples.
  • Communication with your barber is key to achieving your desired taper fade style.
  • Regular touch-ups every few weeks are necessary to maintain the sharpness of a taper fade.
  • You can find inspiration from celebrity taper fade styles and collaborate closely with your barber for the best results.
  • Taper fades offer a wide range of styles, from classic buzz cuts to modern quiffs.


What is a taper fade?

A taper fade is a hairstyle characterized by longer hair on top gradually transitioning to shorter sides and back.

Do taper fades suit all face shapes?

Taper fades work well for most face shapes except for triangular shapes, where they may emphasize wide temples.

How can I ask my barber for a taper fade?

During your consultation, express your desire for a taper fade and specify details like the length, neckline style, and desired finish.

Is there a specific taper fade style for thick or wavy hair?

Taper fades can be tailored to suit thick or wavy hair, reducing weight and improving manageability.

Can taper fades add definition to a football-shaped face?

Yes, taper fades can add length and definition to faces resembling a football shape.

How often should I schedule touch-ups for a taper fade?

Regular touch-ups every few weeks are essential to maintain the sharpness of a taper fade.

Can I show my barber pictures of celebrity taper fades for inspiration?

Yes, sharing celebrity taper fade photos with your barber can help convey your desired style.

What is a high taper with a textured quiff?

A high taper with a textured quiff features longer hair on top and a gradual taper on the sides and back, creating a voluminous quiff.

How do I style a taper fade?

You can style a taper fade by using styling products to create your preferred look, such as parting, slicking, or texturing the top hair.

Are there different types of taper fade products for styling?

Yes, various products like pomade, clay, mousse, or sea salt spray can be used to style taper fades, depending on the desired finish.

Final Words:

Taper fade hairstyles are versatile, adaptable, and suitable for various face shapes and hair types. Effective communication with your barber is essential for achieving the desired style, and regular maintenance ensures a sharp look. From classic buzz cuts to contemporary undercuts, there’s a taper fade style for every preference.

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