Keeping your hair looking clean and groomed goes a long way to giving anyone you meet a great first impression. Caring about your appearance projects confidence and attention to detail; speaking on your behalf without uttering a word. A drop fade hairstyle works for all men in all situations. There is nowhere it doesn’t belong.
Before you sit down in your barber’s chair and tell them you want a drop fade, there are a few things you need to know. First, there is a difference between a fade and a taper. A taper is more gradual and typically leaves your hair longer all around, but a fade is shorter and more drastic of a transition from the skin on your neck to the hair on top of your head. Second, keeping this look fresh requires regular trips to the barber. Knowing these two things, here are 23 ideas to elevate your drop fade.
Low fade hairstyles closely resemble the tapered style, as they have the least drastic transition from hair to skin. The fade will often start about an inch from the top of the ears. Here are a few ideas for your low drop fade.
- Low Pompadour – The pomp is a classic that will likely never go out of style. With the Danny Zuko textured style hair pushed up on top and the combination of a fade instead of the classic taper, this option brings the 50s into today.
- Low Buzz – Some guys just like to roll out of bed and not worry about styling their hair. If you are one of those, this style keeps your hair closely cropped all around your head, limiting the time and product invested.
- Low Curls – This is an excellent way to maintain your curls and avoid the big frizz, fading your hair on the sides and letting your curls speak for themselves up top to keep your hair manageable.
- Low Drop Undercut – Undercuts are all the rage, but if you aren’t ready to go full “Peaky Blinders” yet, a less drastic face on the side will baby-step you into the look.
- Long Top – If you’re looking to grow your hair out to a longer style, this look is a great way to avoid the awkward in-between stage by sporting a fade on the sides while allowing the top to gain some length.
- Fohawk – While the fade focuses on the sides, the top and back can run wild in a more advanced and expressive cut style. This haircut is less professional but more and more accepted as the world becomes more casual.
- Hard Part – If you have difficulty getting that straight line along the side of your head to part your hair, have your barber cut a permanent part in for you. Keep in mind that this limits the styles you can play with until it grows out again.
The mid fade shows a little more of the neck as the fade typically begins around 2 inches above the ears or higher and allows for more of a drastic change between the skin and hair.
- The Quiff – Like the pompadour, the quiff sees the front of the hair brushed up and pushed back. While the pomp has more structure, the quiff tends to look more windblown.
- The Spiky Top – The times of the spikey hair didn’t go out with the punk bands of the early 2000s. The spiked hair on top is now more often combined with a fade on the bottom to give the style an updated look.
- The Comb-Over – Similar to the hard part, this look pushes the hair to one side of the face and is the most professional of the hairstyles. Pro tip: Your face isn’t symmetrical, so have your barber look at your face and give their opinion on which direction is best for your hair.
- Crew Cut – A longer version of the buzz cut above, this look gives you a manageable level of maintenance. The sides are as short as the buzz cut, with the length on top only slightly longer.
- Blow Out – If you have a blow dryer in the drawer in your bathroom and desire to look like a Hollywood heartthrob, this is the look for you. A generous amount of product and blowing your hair back and up will create volume. Keeping the sides and back faded will allow you to focus on the top.
- Layered Pompadour – This style finds common ground between the low fade pomp and the quiff. Have your barber cut the top hair in layers, giving it the texture of the quiff, but styling it in the structure of the pompadour.
- Man Bun – The difference between the Steven Seagal ponytail of the 80s and the updated man bun is the presence of the fade. Keeping the hair shorter on the back and sides allows you to focus on putting just the hair on top in the bun, sitting higher on the crown than the ponytail.
- Mullet – Speaking of the 80s, another hairstyle making a comeback from decades past is the mullet. Now, this isn’t your “Achy Breaky Heart” mullet, as the short, mid fade on the side gives you an updated look that feels more today than yesterday.
With the high fades, you show the most extreme transitions, as the fade is almost nonexistent between the long hair on top of your head and the skin below it. These fades often begin at the curve of your head, even with the crown.
- Peaky Blinders Undercut – Get yourself a newsboy hat and an overcoat to complete the look. Your hair will be long on top and the sides almost completely buzzed for one of the most popular hairstyles in the last decade and a decade nearly a century ago.
- High and Tight – Popular with the American military branches, this look is the ultimate in low maintenance. Shaved on the sides and back with minimal hair on top, this hairstyle is perfect for the role-out-of-bed and head-to-battle type.
- Flat Top – If you’re not ready to give up on the 90s or you long for a little “Fresh Prince,” the flat top is the perfect drop fade for you. As short as the high and tight on the sides and back, the hair on top is longer and shaped in a boxy fashion.
- Undercut Design – An excellent undercut variation allows you and your barber to flex your creative muscles. You can use the short hair on the sides and back as a blank canvas, cutting designs from simple lines to pictures or words into the hair.
- Double Hard Part – When your hair is short and manageable, it’s the best time to experiment with different ideas. One great way to test it is to have your barber cut a forced part on both sides, allowing you to push the shorter hair to either side of your head with precision.
- Viking – Maybe you are a history buff, an alpha male, or just a huge fan of the Netflix show; the Viking is a combination of the high and tight and the man bun. Shave the back and sides of your head and let your long hair on top grow until you can pull it back into a ponytail. Ferocity not included.
- Slick Back – Whether you are short on time or your hair is thinning, taking the medium-length hair on top and slicking it straight back accentuates your fade line and draws attention to the clean lines of your cut.
- Combine With a Beard – Speaking of Vikings, one of the most masculine looks you can give yourself is taking any of the above looks and combining it with a beard. Whether you keep the length of the fade consistent with the beard in an uninterrupted hairline down your face or grow the beard longer, you’re bound to be the envy of every other man in the barbershop.
No matter where you are in your hair journey, the drop fade has a deep roster of looks to satisfy any man. Whether a novice or hair care expert, these hairstyles elevate your look and cause every eye to never drift from your face, keeping the attention where it belongs. On you.
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