Taper vs Fade: Difference and Comparison

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.

Key Takeaways

  1. A tapered haircut gradually reduces hair length along the sides and back, maintaining hair on top.
  2. A faded haircut features shorter hair at the sides and back, fading to skin or near skin length.
  3. Both taper and fade haircuts offer versatile styling options, with fade haircuts seen as more dramatic and modern.

Taper vs Fade

A taper involves cutting the hair gradually shorter from the top of the head down to the neckline. A fade involves cutting the hair extremely short on the sides and back of the head and gradually blending it into longer hair on top. A taper is a gradual shortening process, unlike a fade.

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 faded haircut is a bit casual.

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

Comparison Table

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 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 ears get shorter. On the contrary, the length of the hair in the middle of the head is the longest.

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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 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 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, and 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.

taper haircut

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 happens that in this haircut, the skin of the head is exposed.

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

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This hairstyle has three variations- 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 the longest and starts to immerse with skin as it goes down.

To execute this haircut, a trimmer, along with different sizes of blades, is required. In a high fade haircut, the hair’s length is longer 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 exposes the skin of the head. Apart from these three main styles, there are many variations in the fade haircut, like skin fade, drop fade, and beard fade.

fade haircut

Main Differences Between Taper and Fade

  1. In a taper haircut, the length of the hair varies in different styles. But in fade haircuts, 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 longer than a faded 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
References
  1. https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=ol-22-15-1129

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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22 thoughts on “Taper vs Fade: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The differences are very subtle, but I think I finally understand the different techniques. I think I could definitely use this to choose a good style.

    Reply
    • I’m glad to see this article finally spelling out the difference between these two trendy hairstyles, even when it does get technical.

      Reply
    • Yes, I agree. The article explains the differences well, but the similarities are definitely close together. I’m not sure I could tell them apart.

      Reply
  2. I’m more of a fan of a casual look, so I think the Fade haircut is the right choice for me. I love that it’s a little less labor intensive.

    Reply
  3. There’s quite a bit of skill involved in achieving the Taper haircut, so this article is definitely informative, but it also shows that the Fade haircut is more low-effort.

    Reply
  4. I’m glad to have some clarity on this subject, but I must say it takes some of the fun out of grooming. I thought fade and taper were the same thing.

    Reply

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