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Low Fade VS. High Fade: Which Tapered Haircut Is Right For You?

Find out exactly what to ask for at your next haircut appointment.

When it’s time to head to the barbershop, fades are always a popular pick amongst men and women alike. Considered to be one of the most popular haircuts for men, this style is also popular with women who rock a short haircut or long hair with shaved sides. A Fade allows you to add a personal touch to your short or shaven hair, and in some cases, highlight your texture. 


When getting your hair cut into a fade you’ll need to decide between getting a  low fade versus a high fade. Whether you’ve been getting your hair cut with a fade for years or you're new to the style, you may still be wondering what is the difference between a low fade and a high fade. Here, learn all you need to know about a low fade,a high fade, and which fade haircut you should get to suit your hairstyle needs.


What’s the Difference Between a Low Fade and a High Fade?

A fade haircut also referred to as a taper fade (or simply a fade), is a style that uses an electric razor to trim the hair by gradually getting closer to the scalp. It’s a way to shave the hair to keep some hair length on the top of the head before fading to a closer shave and buzz cut. There are two main types of fade: a low fade and a high fade. A low fade vs high fade is all about how high the close shave begins on the head. 


Like all fade haircuts, low fades gradually shift from one length to the next. It tapers just above the ear and transitions through the hairline for the right amount of style. Since this cut has low sides, it’s perfect for those who like to make the longer length of hair on the top the star of their look.

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Similar to low fades, high fades sport short lengths along the back and sides of the head. The key difference that gives this cut its name is that the fade typically starts around your temples or forehead, and then gradually tapers off for a more dramatic look. That’s why high fades are a great pick for those who want a bolder look.

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What Type of Fade Should You Get? 

As with most beauty-related subjects, whether or not you get a high or low fade comes down to preference. Taper fades of any length are great for anyone contemplating the big chop — the process of cutting chemically-treated hair to promote the growth of your natural hair. Shaving down the sides or back of the hair offers a personalized style without the commitment of a full buzz cut. 


If you’re working with a lot of length, the low fade may be just what you need. This haircut is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to switch up their short look without a dramatic change. 


A mid fade serves as a happy medium between a low fade and a high fade. Known as a well-rounded haircut, this style gives you the best of both worlds: length to play with and faded sides for a trendy touch. Since it’s super easy to maintain, this cut is a must for anyone who lives for minimal styling. For men who love bold haircuts and styles, a high fade or high taper fade will make a statement with a closer shaved side that’ll stand out. 


How to Care For a Taper Fade Haircut

Once you pick your fade style you will want to upkeep your hair for the healthiest mane possible. Since this haircut is usually seen on short hair you won’t need to do a lot of styling and can focus on your in-shower routine. Below, Find a few tips and product recommendations to consider when caring for your hair. Remember, no matter how much or how little hair you have, you’ll want a routine that minimizes damage and keeps your hair looking soft, defined and healthy.


1. Nourish Hair With Shampoo and Conditioner

All hair types and hair lengths need a good shampoo and conditioner to keep hair clean and soft. When it’s time to wash your hair, reach for L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Shampoo, Paraben-Free which gently cleanses your mane while adding moisture and hydration for up to 72 hours.


Follow it up with L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump Hydrating Conditioner, Paraben-Free to define any curls you may have and combat dryness with the infused hyaluronic acid. 


2. Define Hair With Styling Products

Keep your taper fade defined and flyaway-free with L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Overworked Hair Putty which texturizes and thickens hair to provide a better hold. This putty is good for building volume in your short strands and to keep any frizzy pieces near your fade down, for a sleeker look. 


Spray L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray - Unscented all over your hair for maximum hold without the risk of crunchy curls. Use this product if you have longer front pieces or a hi-top fade that needs extra hold.


3. Keep An Eye on Hair Length

Be mindful of how your hair grows to determine if you need to get your low fade or high fade touched up as your strands begin to grow. If you like the close-shaved look of your fade you’ll want to touch up your cut every month to keep your fade even. Hair grows about half an inch every month, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, but this will differ from person to person. Keep an eye on your hair length and stop by the barber when it’s time for a shave. 


Next: 7 Best Men’s Hair Care Products to Add to Your Routine ASAP


Photo Credit: Tarik IG @/dreamcutsbarberlounge, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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