The taper vs fade debate has raged for years. In fact, some barbers can’t articulately explain the difference between a fade and taper because they use the terms interchangeably. And in most cases, that’s fine because the general concept of hair gradually getting shorter down the sides and back applies to both. But while faded and tapered haircuts have strong similarities, understanding what each style offers is crucial to getting the right barbershop cut for you.
What Is A Taper?
The taper haircut is generally a more conservative cut and style. With a taper, the length of your hair gradually gets shorter from top to bottom on the sides and back, ultimately reaching the ear and curving around to the nape of your neck. Furthermore, a classic tapered haircut allows for longer hair on the sides.
What Is A Fade?
The fade haircut differs from the taper as the cut is generally much shorter, and can result in fading down to the skin at any point, thereby minimizing the hairline. The fade is also incorporated into more hairstyles than the taper. For example, some of the best hairstyles for men include the comb over fade, mohawk fade, and undercut fade.
What Is A Taper Fade?
The taper fade isn’t actually a haircut or style. The term was created when people started to confuse the two cuts due to their similarities. Technically, a taper haircut is a type of fade, but a fade is not a kind of taper. Just know that, if you ask your barber for a taper fade, you will likely get a tapered haircut.
Given that the fade is the most popular way to cut men’s hair on the sides, we recommend you ask for a fade when describing how you want your hair cut.
Difference Between Taper and Fade
While explaining the difference between a taper and fade may be helpful, a visual representation of each type of cut is probably the best way for you to envision which cut to get. Here are pictures of low and high tapers and fades!