Difference Between Taper and Fade

Over the years, different styles of cutting one’s hair have been developed. Nowadays, stylists tend to mix various types of cutting to make the look more attractive. Taper and Fade are two kinds of hairstyle whose differences even barbers tend to confuse.

Taper vs Fade

The main difference between a taper and fade haircut is that a fade haircut demands more precision and accuracy than a taper haircut, whereas a tapered hairstyle can be done casually. However, both of the hairstyles are very popular among youth, and there are many variations one can try.  

Taper vs Fade

Taper is a type of haircut where the longer hair on the top of the head starts shortening as it goes down. It needs skilled assistance to execute this hairstyle. But the dividing line between the longest and the shortened hair can be visible.

It has three variations- high, mid, and low.

Fade is almost like a shortened version of taper. Here the length of the hair is less compared to taper. But it does not require skill as it can be executed at home. The look with a fade haircut is a bit casual.

However, there are many variations in this type of hairstyle.

Comparison Table Between Taper and Fade

Parameters of ComparisonTaperFade
StyleIn taper, different types of layers can be seen.In fade, the layers are hardly detectable as they kind of fade on the back and sides of the ears.
Length of hairOn top of the top, the hair remains the longest.In fade, the hair is usually shorter than taper
VariationsThree- high, medium and low.There are many variations such as high, mid, low, beard, drop, skin fades.
SkillNot required.Required.
Type of lookCasual.Realistic.

What is Taper?

Taper is a type of haircut where the hairline around the neck and the sides of both the ears get shorter. On the contrary, the length of the hair in the middle of the head is the longest.

As the name suggests, the hairline starts fading when it approaches the edges. Though there is a disparity in the length of the hair over the head, some kind of evenness can be found.

Nowadays, barbers have added many variations to the traditional Taper haircut. The most popular among these are High, Mid, Low, and Skin Taper. These different styles focus on which part of the head the hair will get shorter.

However, this haircut can be worn by both men and women. But one needs to decide whether he or she wants to get shorter hair before opting for a Taper haircut.

The crown is where the hair is the longest, and it is in the middle of the head. The length of the hair starts getting shorter layer by layer, and each layer’s length is slightly shorter than the previous one.

Now in the three different taper haircuts- high, mid, low, the place of the head from where the length of the hair starts to shorten is different.

In a high taper cut, the length starts to shorten around the top of the head. But in a mid haircut, the length of the hair starts to fall down above the ears. In a low haircut, the hair’s length starts to shorten around the ears.

So, it solely depends on the individual what kind of haircut he or she wants.

What is Fade?

As the name suggests, fade refers to that hairstyle where the hair starts to vanish from the head of the person. It often happens that in this haircut, the skin of the head is exposed.

On the top of the head, the hair is the longest but slowly starts to fade as it goes down.

There are three variations in this hairstyle- high, mid, and low. Around the sideburns and neck area, the hair is too low. But in the fade, it is blended very well.

So basically, a fade is a shorter version of the taper haircut where the hair on top remains longest and starts to immerse with skin as it goes down.

To execute this haircut, a trimmer along with different sizes of blades are required. In a high fade haircut, the length of the hair is usually longest than the hair on the back of the hair and sides of the ear.

In a mid fade cut, the length of the hair starts to fade around the ears, but the length on the top is longer than the hair length on the back and sides of the hair.

In a high fade haircut, the length of the hair is the smallest and often exposes the skin of the head. Apart from these main three styles, there are many variations in the fade haircut like skin fade, drop fade, and beard fade.

Main Differences Between Taper and Fade

  1. In a taper haircut, the length of the hair varies in different styles. But in fade haircut, The length of the hair remains short.
  2. There are three variations in a tapered hairstyle, but in the fade, there are more than three.
  3. In taper, the hair can abruptly be shortened, and the dividing line can be recognizable. But in the fade, that fine line is unrecognizable.
  4. In taper, the length of the hair on top of the head is usually longer than a fade haircut.
  5. The taper can be tried at home and does not require skilled assistance, but a fade haircut requires expert assistance.
Difference Between Taper and Fade


Both of these hairstyles- taper and fade, look very similar to each other. But one looks very closely, their minute details that make a taper haircut from a fade hairstyle.

While a taper haircut looks more casual whereas the fade hairstyle requires skill to deliver that look. Though there are only three variations in a taper haircut, fade has a lot of variations.

However, both of these hairstyles are intricate. Fade needs to be more precise than a taper haircut. But both fade and taper hairstyles are accepted in both social and work environments.

Thus, it boils down to the individual’s choice whether he or she wants to go for taper or fade.


  1. https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=ol-22-15-1129
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