Difference Between Taper and Fade

Taper vs Fade

One very visible difference between taper and fade is the visibility of a hairline at the sides and back of the head in a taper and the absence of such in a fade. There are lots of hairstyles for men in vogue these days and, out of them, taper and fade have become very popular as they are not only attractive to look at, but they are also very easy to manage in daily life. These hairstyles look similar to what men in armed forces keep as hair is cropped at the top, sides and back. Despite many similarities, there are some differences between taper and fade hairstyles that will be highlighted in this article.

What is Fade?

Fade is the best choice for you if you are looking for a haircut that is short and low-maintenance. In earlier times, fade haircut was adopted only by men in military and anyone sporting this hairstyle was supposed to be in armed forces. Also called high and tight in those times, it has now evolved into a trendier looking haircut called fade. With passage of time different styles have evolved in the same fade haircut and today, you have the skin fade (jokingly referred to as bald fade), low fade, hi-top fade that is adapted mostly by blacks and celebrities, half fade, and so on. These hairstyles have become extremely popular in males of all ages today, and one can spot a kid, as well as, a senior in this hairstyle.

Though fade haircut is a trendy haircut, it can be used in places that are called conservative with minor variations. If you have a desire to have a fade haircut, which applies to many hairstyles, it is better to carry the picture along with you to let the barber have a clue as to what you have in your mind regarding the pattern you want in your hair. Once you have done a fade, you will see that your hair line is not visible at the sides and the back. That is because as the name implies fade is there to make it look like your hair has faded into your skin.

Difference Between Taper and Fade

A medium-length hi-top fade haircut

What is Taper?

Taper is a male haircut where the length of hair graduates from the top of the head down to sides and back of the head in a symmetrical fashion. The hair gets shorter as we move down the back and sides, but this is not in a haphazard manner rather described in words such as #3 to #1 and so on. ( Here #3 means 3/8 inch while #1 means 1/8 inch). A taper cut is the most common hairstyle in men’s these days. In a regular taper cut, the hair at the top has a length of 2-4 inches, and it tapers in length as one watches the hair come down on sides and the back of the head. Taper looks hot in men of all ages.

Taper cut is short enough to let you enjoy the comfort of short hair and also is long enough to let you style it if the need arises. In a taper cut, your hairline will still remain at the side and the back.

 Taper vs Fade

What is the difference between Taper and Fade?

Both taper and fade are popular men’s hairstyles with short hair.

• Definition of Taper and Fade:

• In fade, hair is cropped from all sides with hair at the top also being on the shorter side.

• In taper, hair at the top is long and decreases in size as we move down sides and back of the head.

• Appearance:

• Fade is closer to a bald head.

• Taper is not close to a bald head as you still have more hair.

• For Whom:

• Fade is for those who want low-maintenance short hair that lets them also to entertain a modern look.

• Taper is for those who want to have short hair and also want to have the ability to style it.

• Hair Line:

• When you have done a fade, you cannot see the hairline at the sides or the back of your head.

• When you have done a taper, you can still see the hairline from every side.


Images Courtesy:

  1. A medium-length hi-top fade haircut by Paul Uzzo (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Actor Colton Haynes by Mingle MediaTV (CC BY-SA 2.0)