Low Fade vs High Fade—there are so many options for a short haircut. Maybe you’re thinking of going for something different and you’ve had the same old fade for a while? Maybe you just want to know what length suits your face shape better and what fade works on your hair type.
What is a Fade Haircut?
A fade is a gradient effect in a short hair cut. When you see a blend of very short hair with a build to a longer length giving a gradual transition of light-dark fade. That’s where we get the name ”fade”. It’s because it has a faded effect. It looks shadowy, transitional, and very cool. Basically, a high fade is when the gradient sits higher, a low fade is when the gradient is lower.
High Fade Hair Cut
The high fade hair cut reduces the width around the face. This is because fades are cut short. The short look takes away the width that would be there given the hair was longer. The high fade removes more length around the sides. You can still have a variety of lengths on top with a high fade so it can also add length to the face.
Low Fade Hair Cut
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The low fade hair cut can add width and balance to a face shape. It also gives a little more option on the overall hair cut your looking to achieve, low fades have more space to transition. Low fades tend to look a little less sharp but they are not for everyone.
Low Fade vs High Fade and Hair Types
Thick dense hair types when cut short can grow blunt, dense, and outwards. Sometimes this can create corners where the head rounds and builds weight. These types look better for longer with a high fade. Fine hair types and light hair types will look thin when cut too short. So sometimes a high fade can look harsh, trying a low fade may be better to retain some color/density around the sides.
Mid Fade Hair Cut
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Also, we do have somewhere in the middle of a high fade/low fade. This sits around the temple area. This look is a good one as an all-rounder. It can add balance to the top if you have a wide or strong jawline/face width and a narrower forehead. It can draw attention to the eyes and works well for many short cuts.
High Fade With a Beard
A high fade with a beard is a look that elongates, especially if you have a beard with more length and length that’s worn with height. If you like the high fade and beard but do not want to lengthen your face, avoid growing the beard too long with the hair too high.
Low Fade with a Beard
If you have a beard that grows outwards, maybe a low fade is a better option to balance the outward growth, unless you’re happy with a statement beard and a short high fade. Sometimes it’s nice to balance out the bottom-heavy look with some weight at the top too. If you’re a fan of texture and messy the low fade gives more hair to play with.
Low Fade vs High Fade Mullet
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The mullet and back-heavy haircuts are around. Fades can be paired with a mullet to bring in the sides. A high fade can add a disconnected almost undercut look. A low fade can add more of a transitional blend. Ask your barber or hairstylist for tips too.
High Fade or Low Fade Undercut
An undercut is usually best when you have a longer length, and decide to shave areas of the head for contrast. The areas can have a fade too. The high fade will have more disconnect because it’s a bit sharper and bolder. The low fade will have more of a blend to the top length, giving the illusion of a smoother transition.
Fades With a Curve
Some fades can work with a curved line on the head adding a fluid look to a fade. It is quite a cool aesthetic hairstyle because it looks different. It’s less military-looking and has a little creative flair. The curvature tends to look nice sat on the line of the head where it is widest. So, this look can work on a high or low fade. Use the best edgers for this look.
Low Fade vs High Fade With Lines
Some barbers like to give extra detail by cutting in a line in the hair. This can look edgy and add a bit of interest. High fade looks quite cool with a shaved inside part and low fade has the length for detail around the sides if you want something more obvious.
Low Fades and Detailed Edges
Sometimes people want a low fade without realizing it is a low fade. Blending out this hairstyle with edges of a short haircut basically is a low fade. There are different extremities of the faded effect but it can look pretty cool to have little fades on sideburns and around the neck.
Fades And a Bowl Cut
This kind of comes under the undercut category. It also can blend into the hair in the back without being disconnected, so a multi-category. Normally a mid-length cut. The fade can add a cool effect in the disconnected area or a low fade can add balance and transition to this cool, somewhat crazy hairstyle.
Low Fade vs High Fade Advice
Your hairstylist/barber has studied face shape, hair type, and these mixes and vary. This guide is a Low Fade vs High Fade general outline. Trust the advice you get from a professional in the salon too. I recommend speaking with your stylist about the best option, and as a tip – take pictures of your favorite looks. We are visual people, and describing a look can get misinterpreted.
Evely Davies is a British writer and hairdresser who has experience working in hair media. She has written how-to articles, done education videos, photographic work, covered live events, and so on. She’s an all-around stylist and has worked backstage and on stage at high-end celebrity events and product launches. She’s also gone to the other end of the scale and cut hair on beaches, campsites, and hostels. When Evelyn is not behind the chair or writing, you can find her hiking, camping, and backpacking.