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Taper vs Fade: Here’s The Difference

Last Updated: June 8, 2022

Wondering what the difference is between a taper vs fade haircut? Below, we’ll give an in-depth look at each, plus which one you should go for.

You can easily see how hairstyles change and evolve with each passing decade, and it’s common for these different trends to seem like the norm in their prime. 

There have been many haircuts that are passing fads, but some have found their place as a versatile choice for many generations.

Of course, the haircut you want entirely comes down to preference, but even with different styles, there are some practices that are part of the process nonetheless. This article will take a look at Taper vs Fade to determine their core differences and why some people may choose one over the other.

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Taper vs Fade

A taper haircut has been a preference for many people for quite some time; it’s a versatile choice that gives a professional and relatively neutral look. It can blend with numerous hairstyles and usually looks great on most people.

Others prefer a fade, and although the two choices may have some similarities, they offer something unique that gives them a signature look. Both are excellent choices for casual and more business professional cuts, but it comes down to how blended of a look you’re going for.

What is a Taper?

The tapered look is a go-to choice for many people as it provides an overall neat appearance, and it pairs well with many different hairstyles. Its primary characteristic is that the hair shortens from top to bottom, reducing at a perfect gradient for a clean-cut style.

It allows the top to be styled in numerous ways that’ll blend in with the gradual taper, making it easy to style and grow evenly on a daily basis. It’s also a haircut choice that works on people of many age groups.

What is a Fade?

Some people prefer an even more blended look, and a fade is a great way to accomplish that. It’s similar in the sense that the hair gradually reduces at a gradient, but what separates it from a taper is the fact it’s generally much shorter and is meant to blend in with the skin.

Considering the fade takes your hair down all the way to the skin, it can take a bit longer to grow out, and there are multiple styles of fades you can work with. Choices such as high, medium, and low fades give varying lengths of hair for those who prefer a little more or less to blend in with the rest of their cut.

What’s the Difference?

Fades are generally known to be much shorter in their gradient than tapers, with a sharper difference in length from top to button.

A taper cut offers a more neutral look that is less distinct and blends with numerous hairstyles. It keeps your hairline looking clean and crisp without sacrificing too much of your hair. Tapers will always have a gradient that’s even, while a fade offers a more contrast difference in hair lengths.

You’d be surprised at the number of hairstyles tapers and fades can be applied to, as well as the variations that are possible. Customizations aside, there are a handful of differences between the two that are pretty distinct.

What is a Taper Fade?

This is a somewhat controversial term as some feel it’s just a perfect blend between the two choices, and others think it simply arose due to the initial confusion between a taper and fade style. 

Regardless, if you ask for a taper fade, a barber may do their best to give you the perfect blend, but some barbers may seem confused and ask if you want one or the other. Both style choices come with some close similarities, but barbers and people who pay close attention to their hair definitely see the stark differences between the two.

The Bottom Line

In our modern era, a haircut with a taper or fade is quite common with men and even some women out there, and they’re recognized as a universal clean-cut look that makes people look sharp. A taper is generally more popular as it doesn’t look as thin and still ensures a groomed and even look. 

This article broke down the differences between taper vs fade, why people prefer one over the other, and how they’ve been a haircut choice for numerous generations.

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