20+ Differences Between Taper And Fade (Explained)

So, you finally decided to change your hairdo? While getting a haircut is necessary, there might be a slight chance that you get confused about which style you should opt for.

But that’s what we are here for! We have distinguished between Taper and Fade- the most popular haircuts that won’t ever go out of style. 

Major Differences Between Taper And Fade

What Exactly Is a Taper?

A tapered haircut refers to the change in your hair length, which starts out longer at the top of your head and get shorter as you go down to the bottom. The natural hairline on the neck and your head’s nape and the sides remains short.

Your lengths of Taper can vary according to your need. If you want, you can ask for a long Taper. Or you can go with a shorter nape where the hair comes close to the skin. 

A taper can be summed up as a cleaner and more precise version of your hairline. It leaves a visible arch behind your ears while fading the hair at your sideburns and neck. 

What Exactly Is Fade?

Now keep this in mind, all fades can classify under Taper, but all tapers cannot be categorized under fade. A fade is basically a haircut that blurs the edges of your hair at the sides and back of your head. 

As the name defines, fading is done by clippers and blades to trim down your long hair to super short until it starts to fade. The hair throughout does not have a similar length. Your hair shows a variation in lengths that blends together afterward. 

A fade haircut can be customized as well. You can go for low fade, medium fade, or high fade. It depends on your style, hair routine, and commitment. 


Hairstyle of celebrities- Tapered vs. Faded

Celebrities who wore tapered haircut

  1. Chris Pine’s Taper
  2. Lionel Messi’s higher Taper
  3. Rami Malek’s skin taper

Celebrities who wore fade haircut

  1. David Beckham’s high Taper
  2. Ludacris’s Afro fade
  3. Zayn Malik’s spike fade
  4. Ryan Raynold’s low fade
  5. Liam Payne’s fade haircut 
Parameter Taper haircut Fade haircut
AimIt provides a cleaner and more precise version of your hairline, along with creating a visible arch behind your ears. It shows slight variation throughout your hairstyle. 
Weekly touch ups3-5 weeks4-5 weeks
Equipment used Mainly clippers Clippers and styling scissors
Variations Lower, higher, tapered neckline, skin taperLow, drop, skin fade, undercut, faux hawk fade
Face shape Every face cutOval and square

The Contrast Between Taper and Fade


  • Taper – This haircut is characterized by long hair on top of the head and comparatively shorter hair on the nape and sides. 

    You can customize this style by telling the barber how you want the hair at the back of your neckline. Instead of going for that conventional hard line where your hair ends, you can ask your stylist to taper it. 
  • Fade – it generally does not provide any even gradient. It goes from long hair to short hair suddenly. It is much shorter than a taper haircut. 

    The uneven gradient and length of the Fade make it bold and precise. So if you are willing to take a risk, you should definitely go for this abrupt haircut called ‘Fade.’ 

Kind And styles

Taper- The variations of the Taper haircut include: 

  • Lower Taper: It can be identified by a haircut that is shorter above the ears. It gives you a subtle and clean appearance without exhibiting much of your scalp. This gives you a posh look. 
  • High taper: The hair in this cut is cropped just a few inches above your ears. For adding an appealing visual contrast, you can also combine Comb Overs or Modern High Tops. 
  • Tapered Neckline: If you worry about what will happen once your hair grows out, then you can opt for a Tapered neckline as the solution. It gives you the most natural appeal to your hair once it starts growing. You can choose from the variety, which includes design, disconnect, or classic neckline. However, round or blocked necklines will certainly require some commitment. 
  • Skin taper: So you are planning to act a little frisky? You should go with a Skin taper. The hairdresser cuts the hair close to the skin, which reveals much of your scalp. You can customize your skin taper while trying it with other tapers. Skin taper may also decrease the sweat forming on the head. 

Fade- The types of Fade are as follows:

  • Low Fade- Yes, we know that low Fade and low Taper might appear the same to you. But they are NOT. Low Fade varies in its length all over your head. It does not show the same length of your hair as in Taper. Spice up your hair game by adding low fades with a buzz cut. 
  • Drop Fade- does Classic Fade not appeal to you? Don’t worry, and we got another option. You can go for Drop Fade, as it will frame the structure of your face. It drops at the back of the ear. However, it will require some maintenance to keep up its effect. 
  • Skin fade- This haircut is commonly known as bald Fade. It stops at the natural hairline, and your hair is cut closer to the skin, just like a skin taper. However, a skin fade will work best with long hair at the top, long enough to make a quiff. But a skin fade can also top up your short hair game if you can’t commit to your hair routine. 
  • Undercut Fade- This cut includes cropped hair at the higher end of your ears. Have you got long hair? Well, undercut Fade might work for you if you want to flex your hair length difference. 
  • Faux Hawk fade- Are you intending to keep it subtle yet classy? Why don’t you try Faux Hawk Fade? It shows the length and height contrast of your hair. You can customize it with a tapered cut. 
  • High Fade- It begins at the top of your ears, just above a few inches. It gradually gets short afterward. 


Types of Tape vs. Types of Fade

Types of Taper:

  • Lower Taper
  • Higher Taper 
  • Tapered neckline
  • Skin taper 

Types of Fade

  • Low Fade
  • Drop Fade
  • Skin fade
  • Undercut Fade
  • High Fade
  • Faux hawk fade 

Ideal For Taper And Fade

We know how confusing it can be to choose which one will suit the best on you. We have pointed down all the key differences between the two cuts. However, you are advised to ask your hairdresser for suggestions as well. 

  • Taper – It focuses on making the hair longer as your overall look. The hair gradually shortens at the sides. So, if you want a modest look, you can go for Taper. 
  • Fade – Fade ensures abrupt shortening of your hair and uneven gradient. Looking for a bolder style? Definitely go with Fade. Even though both of the haircuts are versatile, Fade lies more on the bolder side. 

Face Shape

  • Taper- It works ideally for any face cut. As mentioned before, go for a taper cut only if you are ready to stay committed to a hair routine. 
  • Fade- Yes, it is versatile. But the face cuts it will work best with are oval and square. 


We know time is a luxury, but a smart and classy haircut needs time and attention to maintain its effect. 

  • Taper – It can last up to three to five weeks. You can either let your hair grow then or book an appointment for touch-ups. 
  • Fade – This haircut can remain anywhere up to four to five weeks.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Is there any such thing called ‘taper fade’?

No. Taper and Fade have been used interchangeably for so long that people have come up with the term ‘Taper fade.’

However, when you explain this to a barber, they will only look up at you with pure disappointment. You should decide beforehand whether you are going with a taper or fade haircut. 

Q2. How should I describe my Fade to the barber?

That totally depends upon you. First, decide for yourself which kind of Fade you want.

This article has already differentiated all the types of Fade that you can try.

Since pictures convey the message more precisely, do remember to always show an inspirational hairdo picture to your stylist. 

Q3. Does a taper haircut last longer than any other haircut?

A tapered haircut consists of hair evenly cut throughout. So, unlike Fade, Taper will show you quick hair growth since your hair will grow out together. 

Q4. Can I give myself a fade?

Yes, you can give yourself a fade if you are up for taking chances. Since fade haircut is considered to be done with certain precisions, you should follow the process correctly. A wrongly done fade might end up making you look bald from one side. 

Q5. Does an undercut count as a fade?

The main difference between undercut and Fade is pretty simple. As mentioned above, fade haircut crops or fades your hair at the sides of your head. However, an undercut works with the hair present at the back of your neck. 

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