Step By Step Taper Fade Instructions [Comprehensive Guide]

step by step taper fade instructions

Step By Step Taper Fade Instructions Everything You Need To Know

There is simply no getting around the fact that the fade is a hairstyle that has been in rotation for many years now.

And, it is without a doubt a hairstyle that will continue to be popular and excel for many more years to come.

Part of this has to do with the fact that it is a hairstyle that offers a timeless and classic look for the right individual. The only problem with the fade is that it can be extremely complex.

This is especially true for the beginner or somewhat that is trying to give themselves a fade.

Fear not, because this guide will walk you through the entire process, and before you know it, you will be adept at fading your hair. Just think of the money that you are going to save!

Step By Step Taper Fade Instructions Examined

Get Your Equipment Together

A racecar driver doesn’t get up and go to work without his or her helmet. A cop doesn’t get up and go to work without his or her gun. Well, you simply cannot fade your hair without the right equipment either.

Now, most individuals think that they can just fade their hair with a traditional pair of hair trimmer or clippers.

Sure, some individuals might be able to pull this off, but if you are just starting this not likely going to be the case at all.

That being said, you will quickly discover that there are clippers out there on the market specifically designed for fading, edging, trimming, and other haircutting techniques.

Of course, you can fade your hair with a regular pair of cordless hair clippers, but fade clippers specifically designed for the job will just make your life easier.

You’ll probably end up getting a better cut as well. These clippers just include essential and pertinent features that make them all-around easier to use and maintain.

What Equipment Is Needed?

If you are asking this question, you are in a world of confusion. And, that’s okay because that was exactly why this guide was created.

You probably obviously know from reading the first paragraph that you are going to need a pair of clippers.

Not just any clippers, but a pair that was specifically designed for fading. Unfortunately, that will not be the only thing you are going to need.

Your Clipper Guards

Most electric clippers come with what is known as clipper guards. When you walk into a store or purchase an electric razor online it will most likely include clippers guards.

Clipper guards come available in a broad spectrum of sizes. You can get something that is going to offer just a little off the top or you can go with a size that will scalp you nearly bald.

For fading, you are going to need a vast arsenal, depending on the end length that you desire.


When you shave you probably shave in front of a mirror for the simple fact that you can’t see what you are doing otherwise.

Well, cutting your hair in front of the mirror is going to be all-around easier as well. However, it will not be just one mirror that you are going to need.

You are going to need at least two lighted mirrors. This will give you the ability to see the entirety of the head, particularly the back portion.

It is probably safe to assume that you will be cutting your hair in the bathroom, so you are already going to have access to the mirror over the sink.

You can’t go wrong with a good quality handheld mirror for your second mirror. You might have to hold the mirror in place, but it will allow you to gain visible access to areas of the head that you might not normally be able to see.

Hair Clips

Hair clips are something that you may or may not need when fading. They are without a doubt an excellent tool to have around when you want to keep a few inches of hair untouched at the center when you are cutting from the side to the back.

That being said, if your goal is to end up with the shortest fade as possible, you will simply have no use for these items. And, not purchasing them could save you a few dollars.

A Comb

It is probably pretty obvious that you are going to need a comb, especially if you are going to be using hair clips.

If you are going to be using hair clips then it means that your hair is long enough to be parted, which pretty much means that it will be easier to handle with a regular-toothed comb.

Regular-toothed combs come in a vast array of designs and styles, but even the most basic of ones will get the job done, so don’t worry about splurging.

Put In Some Research

If you reading this then it shows that you are more than willing to put in some time to research. That is good because that is what it is going to take.

The simple truth of the matter is that fades are different for everyone. Someone’s idea of a fade haircut might be different from your idea.

What you will want to do is spend some time online learning about the types of fades available.

Study up on the classic and modern styles to see which might best suit your personality. This can give you a good idea of what you might want to aim for when you are finished.

How Much Hair Can You Go Without?

Fades can range from semi-long to extremely close cuts. How long have you had your hair in the past? Have you ever had a buzz cut?

This is something that you might want to consider. If you aren’t all that comfortable with shorter hair, you might want to stick to a longer cut.

Not only this, but you have to also factor in the shape of your head. All that being, the best rule of thumb, especially for beginners, is to start the fade at the ears.

Wash And Clean Your Hair

Any time you are going to do anything to your hair it is best to do it when it is slightly damp. This just makes it easier to work with, and it helps ensure that you are getting your cuts straight.

If your hair is oily, has gel in it, or dirt it will be harder to cut because these particulars will stick to the stands.

Once you are completely satisfied with the cut, you will also want to rewash the hair to remove any oils and dirt that you may have added during the prepping and cutting processes.

Get That Hair Out Of The Way

If your hair is short or you plan on cutting it short then you won’t have to worry about this section. However, if you are dealing with longer hair then you will need to pay keen attention here.

This step involves utilizing the comb and hair clips to get your hair out of the way so that you will have an uninterrupted workspace.

The key goal is to make sure that you are clipping the longer hair towards the center so that it does not get accidentally sheared. 

Start With The Biggest Guard

The first cutting step just involves trimming in an upward motion. You want to stick the biggest guard on your clippers, start at the back of the head and neck, and trim in an upward motion.

It might be best to stick your hand at the back of your neck and mimic the cutting motion with your hand. This will give you a good feel as to how you should be moving the clippers.

You can even leave the clippers off, put them in your hand, and running them through the hair in an upward motion. This should give you a feel for the process before you cement it in stone. 

Making That Initial Line

This is where things get tricky. This is where you are going to remove the guard and make a line around your entire head.

You will start at one sideburn and work your way over to the opposite one. Now, the number of inches that you choose to put between your ears and the line just depends on your taste.

Some people like to go up high, while others will keep the line lower. Once again, this is where your research will come in handy. 

Choose Your Length

Once you have that initial line around the head, you pretty much have your outline or diagram. This is the diagram that you are going to follow cutting until you are satisfied.

You will work from the bottom of the head upward to the line that you made. You can either start with the biggest guard and work your way down until you find the right length or you can just pick a length and test it on a small portion of the head. The only problem with testing is that if you go too short there is no going back.

Inspecting And Cleaning

Once you have gone around the entire head in this manner, you will be nearly done. Take a brush and wipe off the work area so that you can get a good clean visual inspection.

Take your handheld mirror and inspect it around the entirety of the head. If there are spots that you are unhappy with or need more trimming, go ahead and make the necessary alteration right now.

Just keep in mind that the lowest portion of the head should be clean-shaven, so you may have to utilize the clippers just to ensure that you get all those left behind stragglers.


You can see that a fade hairstyle takes a lot of work. Not only does cutting the hair take a lot of work, but planning and prepping takes a lot of time.

However, it is the planning and prepping that will give you the results that you are seeking.

Take the time to put in your research, watch some online videos, and follow this guide to the letter, and you’ll have a professional-looking fade that will turn heads wherever you go.