Dreads with Fade Styling Guide + 12 Locs Styles Inspiration

Dreads by themselves look incredibly impressive and command a lot of attention.

But if you want to take your dreads to the next level, you might want to combine dreads with fade. By cutting the rest of your hair short, you’ll highlight your dreadlocks and make maintenance on the rest of your hair much easier.

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Types of Dread with Fades

In general, there are three types of fades you can use with your dreads: the high fade, the medium fade, and the low fade.

Each of these different fades differs in where they start. High fades, as their name implies, start pretty high up in your hairline. Most fades start around your ears, but high fades usually begin at around temple level.

Medium fades begin a little above the ears, while low fades begin at the ears. Each of these cuts gives off a different vibe, and I strongly recommend looking at previews of each so you can envision how your dreads will look when coupled with each height of fade.

Once you know which height of fade you want, you can move on to the shaving style. There are roughly five of these: temple fades, burst fades, drop fades, skin fades, and shadow fades. It’s important to note that you can mix and match a fade design with a fade height.

Dreads with Skin Fade

Dreads with Skin Fade
Photo from IG/@lorenzoyourbarber

Let’s start with the most striking of these – the skin fade. A skin fade sets itself apart from other fades by cutting extremely close to the skin. This creates a striking look (not to mention a fantastic counterpoint to your dreads) as it gives off the appearance of baldness. On the downside, this can expose parts of your scalp, normally covered by the hair, to sunlight and dirt.

Dreads with Shadow fade

Dreads with Shadow fade
Photo from IG/@sbjkillacutz

If that sounds like too much of a commitment, you can opt for a shadow fade. This fade is almost similar to the skin fade, with the key difference of not cutting the hair all the way down. This leaves your scalp with short, fine hair – perfect for highlighting your dreads without exposing sensitive skin.

Dreads with Temple Fade

Dreads with Temple Fade
Photo from IG/@thebeautifulbarber

Temple fades (also known as temp or Brooklyn fades) are for those who want to create a fine, precise line between dreads and fades. By carefully shaving the hair at the temple level, the temple fade creates an appearance of gradual shortening.

These fades are especially popular for men with beards, and for a good reason. The stark contrast between the gradation of hair lengths along with sideburns creates a classy, well-groomed appearance. But it’s not just bearded that are great with temple fades – dreads, too, greatly benefit from their rigid and structured appearance.

Dreads with Burst Fade

Dreads with Burst Fades
Photo from IG/@barberpetz

Burst fades get their name from their appearance, where they “burst” around your ear. The fade uses your ears as a center point and gradually expands outwards from them.

The drop fade gets its name from the drop behind your ears. This type of fade proceeds from the front of your head towards your ears. It arcs downwards in a smooth curve and creates a rounded appearance at the back of your head.

Now that you know the different kinds of fade you can go for, here’s a styling guide and some tips to get you started!

Best Dreads with Fade Hairstyles

Short Dreads with Fade and Braids

Short Dreads with Fade and Braids

For those who want to rock short locs with a fade, I suggest styling your dreads first, as it’s easier to select a fade once you’ve fixed your locs. High-tied dreads like this one benefit from a high fade, but if you’re thinking of hanging loose, you can opt for a medium or even a low fade. If your locs are loose, you can also combine these with braid accessories, such as beads or shells.

As this is a pretty simple style, it’s entirely possible to create these dreads with fade hairstyle on your own. You’ll need a steady hand and a good pair of clippers to get the ball rolling, especially if you’re blessed with type 4 hair! But if you’re not confident in your styling skill, your barber or stylist will be more than happy to help you.

Box-Patterned Dreads with Low Fade

Box Dreads with Low Fade

Medium-length locs require a bigger canvas to make a statement, so I suggest a high temple or drop fade to go along with this. You can start this look with a square grid pattern locs starter.

Additionally, you can pair this look with designs on your fade by coupling it with short, well-groomed facial hair, such as a goatee or a soul patch. If your dreads are too long, you can opt for a high ponytail style for a neater appearance.

Medium Length Dreads with High Fade

Medium Length Locs with High Fade

Dreads with a high fade are all about accentuating the locs. In this case, your best choice is to go for a low ponytail. Depending on whether you want people to focus on your dreads or on your fade, you can opt to accessorize or dye your locs or go for a shadow fade with designs.

This dreads with fade style is highly dependent on your face’s shape. That’s why I suggest you try this combo first with simple comb coils before fully committing to it. Alternately, you can opt to wear this style with some facial hair – though in that case, you may want a temple fade to go along with it.

Long Dreads with Fade

Long Dreads with High Fade

Long dreads are tricky to take care of, but they’re one of the most striking hairstyles out there. And while they’re plenty good on their own, they shine when combined with a well-done high fade (especially a temple fade) and a beard.

If you’d like to give some extra distinction to your dreads, you can combine them with accessories like beads or shells. If you have naturally blonde or dark blonde hair, this dreads with fade hairstyle works great with those tones. And if you don’t, you can always use dye!

Styling Long Dreads with Fade

Styling Long Dreads with Fade

I get it, long dreads with fade are gorgeous. But there are days when you need your hair to, well, stay out of your hair. For those days, you’ll want to style your long dreads, and you may find your new favorite look!

If a ponytail isn’t an option, I suggest learning to style your dreads in a bun. All you really need for this is a hair tie of some sort, with elastic being the best, as dreads are quite strong. Simply take your locs in hand, twist until you’re satisfied, then secure them with your hair tie.

There’s a lot of freedom in this style, too. You can dye the tips of your locs for a more distinctive look or combine them with an intricate design on a high shadow fade.

Braided Dreads with Fade

Braided Dreads with Fade

Braiding your dreads is a long and involved process, so you’ll naturally want them to be the star of the show. If you’re rocking braided dreads, pair them with a simple high fade. You can go for a burst fade if you’d like to direct attention to the braids nearest your ears. Or a regular skin fade if you want to accentuate all of your dreads.

Braided dreads are great on their own, but they shine when they show beautiful and intricate patterns. And if you want to achieve the dread and fade combination above, I’d highly recommend you go to a veteran stylist or loctician.

Long Dyed Dreadlocks with Fade

Long Dyed Dreadlocks with Fade for Women

Men can also leverage the advantage of longer hair to create even more dazzling displays in dreads with fade hairstyles. Utilizing the power of long dreads and powerful colors such as platinum white or silver, long-dyed dreadlocks have a special something to them that just can’t be beaten.

If you’re using this locs style, you might want to opt for a low fade. That’s because very long dreads are visually more impressive when they stem from a base of healthy hair. In addition, you’ll probably need all that hair for your locs, and the higher your fade, the less potential hair you’ll have to work with!

Half Up Hald Down Dreads with Skin Fade

Dreads with Undercut

When using skin fade to accentuate your dreads, you have a ton of options to choose from. You can for a half up, half down style to create a careful blend of professional and carefree.

You can dye your hair – again, blonde is a good starting point for those with black hair – or accessorize it with beads and shells if you’d like to go for a more tribal look.

This style works best with medium-length hair, where you’ll have a healthy mix of locs and scalp hair to work with. And depending on how long your hair is, you can opt to pair this with a thick beard to complete your look.

How To Do Fades

While fades may seem like a simple hairstyle, they require a careful hand and a trained eye to ensure that they’re even on both sides. If it’s your first time getting a fade, I strongly suggest you get one at your local barber or stylist.

If you feel confident in your ability to cut cleanly and evenly, you’ll need a good set of clippers – one with just the right guard length – to create your own fade. That’s really all you need! Because of this, however, it’s possible that you won’t get the right length of the fade. In particular, skin fades are difficult to do on your own.

Do note that if you’re planning to zero fades, however, I strongly suggest you go to a barber, as it’s possible to injure yourself with zero-gapped clippers.

FAQs about Dreads with Fade

Should I go for a fade or an undercut with my dreads?

That depends entirely on you. Undercuts provide a more striking appearance than fades as there’s a clear separation between the scalp (and locs) and the rest of your hair, but they tend to be higher maintenance. In contrast, fades still connect to your scalp via gradation and are lower maintenance.

How long do fades last?

It heavily depends on the type of fade you get. Very precise cuts require a touch-up every two to three weeks, while more moderate styles can get away with maintenance every four to six weeks.

How do I protect my dreads when I sleep?

You can use a bonnet or a durag to maintain the form of your dreads when you go to sleep.

Are dreads with undercuts the same as dreads with fade?

Let’s get this out of the way – undercuts and fades are technically different hairstyles. Where fades deal more with the sides of the head, undercuts are better geared for the back of the head. That said, they’re very similar in the way they give additional attention to your dreads.

Can women sport dreads with fade locs style?

Dreads and fades aren’t just for men – the ladies can rock them just as well. And when it comes to dreads with fades for women, high skin fades are unmatched in creating contrast.

Women arguably benefit more from this contrast than men. Aside from being able to add accessories for hair, a high fade with dreads can also serve to emphasize one’s ears and neck.

Dreads with Fade: Two Styles Combined

When it comes to adding extra pow to your dreads, there’s nothing quite like fades. And while both hairstyles are great on their own, when put together, they’re a lot more than the sum of their parts!

Brian M

Frank is a barber from San Francisco. He has 10 years of experience providing the best straight-razor shaves, haircuts, and barber facial services for men. With all of his training, he is the go-to for any advice on beard and men’s hairstyles. When Frank’s not working, he spends his free time fishing or spending quality time with his wife and son.

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