Whether you want to save money at the barbershop or just experiment with cutting your own hair, you can learn how to do a fade haircut with good clippers and practice. Fading your own hair is definitely a valuable skill, especially if you want to become a barber, but cutting a fade yourself is not easy. While it might be simpler to start by giving a fade to a friend, some beginners have no choice but to fade their own hair in front of a mirror.

To help you cut and blend the best fade haircut, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to doing a taper fade. After picking how to fade your hair and whether you want a high, mid, low, bald, skin, or taper fade, we will show you exactly how to cut a fade with clippers.

How To Do A Fade Haircut

Fade Haircuts

A fade is the blending of men’s hair on the sides and back. Fade haircuts start very short at the bottom, near the neckline and ears, and gradually get longer towards the top of the head. There are many different types of fades to choose from, ranging from where the tapering begins to how short or long the fade will look. Fortunately, almost all most popular men’s hairstyles work nicely with faded hair.

How To Fade Hair

And although an online barber school combined with local training classes might be the best way to learn how to fade hair, guys with excellent hand-eye coordination and dedication can develop this skill as well. However, unless you are very committed to fading your own hair, it’s generally a bad idea to do-it-yourself.

How To Cut A Fade

Professional barbers take years to refine and perfect their hair cutting. And the hardest part of a haircut is the blending of one length to another to create a trendy style. While it may look easy, barbering does require training and messing up your haircut can happen in an instant. With this in mind, never give yourself a cut for the first time right before a special occasion.

Best Fade Haircuts

Now, here’s how to give yourself a taper fade at home.

How To Do A Fade with Clippers

To fade hair, you’ll need to invest in the proper cutting and styling tools. Specifically, you’ll need good hair clippers with a full set of guards, a handheld mirror or full mirror system, a comb, scissors, and a trimmer.

How To Do A Fade with Clippers

If you’re serious about fading your own hair, you may want to get professional barber clippers or fade clippers. These types of clippers come with the sharpest blades, most powerful motors, sturdy designs, corded and cordless use options, long battery run-times, and a complete set of combs and accessories for every cut. The best clippers for barbers is the Wahl Professional Magic Clip.

On the other hand, if you just want affordable home clippers, then the top-rated Wahl Color Pro is a great choice. As one of the most reputable brands, Wahl clippers are reliable and well-built with sharp blades and robust motors. This is the most popular machine on the market, and it comes as a complete hair cutting kit.

Cut A Fade with Clippers

All you have to decide is whether you want the corded or cordless model. We recommend cordless use for convenience and maneuverability, but both will effortlessly cut through hair.

Lastly, if you want a high-performance trimmer that offers professional hair cutting capabilities at a lower price, get the Wahl Clipper Elite Pro. For recommendations on shears, edgers, combs, disinfectant and cleaning supplies, see here for a list of barber tools.

How To Cut A Fade Haircut

How To Cut A Fade Haircut Yourself

Follow these steps to cut a fade:

  • Decide where you want the fade line to start.
  • Decide if you want a short or long fade, and choose the appropriate guard size.
  • Move the clippers up the sides and back to trim the hair. Always start at the bottom and work your way up with short strokes.
  • Gradually fade and blend your hair by changing the guards. The fading should be seamless and look very natural.
  • Work your way up the head. Make sure to stop around the temples.
  • Blend the fade into the hair on top by running your clippers across a comb that exposes the right length of hair.
  • Clean up the hairline and neckline with trimmers.

Always remember the most important rule of barbering – cut conservatively. You can always cut your hair shorter, but you’ll have to wait weeks for it to grow back out.

How To Fade Your Hair

How To Fade Your Own Hair

Decide Your Fade Line

The fade line will indicate where the tapering will begin. In terms of the kinds of fades, you can have a low, medium or high fade. When cutting your own fade, this guide assumes that anything below the fade line is trimmed down to the skin for a bald fade.

If you want to do a taper without exposing the scalp on the sides and back, you’ll want to begin the blending process just above the ears and work towards the top of the head.

Choose A Length and Guard Size For The Fade Line

Start by choosing the right guard size for your fade line. Clipper guard sizes indicate how short or long the fade cut will be. A lower haircut number indicates a shorter cut. Be conservative at first and pick a #3 or #4 guard.

Because most barbers start at the bottom and work up the sides to the top, this comb attachment will determine the shortest part of your fade.

Blend A Fade with Clippers

Start Fading The Sides

Once you’ve shaved the sides and back up to your fade line, attach the right guard and start cutting along the fade line. Use small, short strokes to get an even cut across the head. Always move the clippers in an upward motion.

Transition Between Guards To Gradually Fade Your Hair

The taper fading occurs gradually as you change clipper sizes longer and longer as you move further up the head. When you change comb attachments and are ready to trim again, start at the top of where the last guard finished cutting to continue blending.

However, sections of hair cutting can sometimes overlap for a natural look. This will minimize layers as you move up the sides and change lengths.

Fade Haircut Step By Step

Work Your Way To The Hair on Top

Eventually, you’ll need to blend the hair into your longer hairstyle on top. Once you get close to the top of the sides and back, use a comb to pull the proper length and run the trimmer along the comb. This cutting technique will give you more control over the length you need.

Trim The Neckline and Hairline

The final touches require you to shave the bottom section of hair below the fade line as well as trim the neckline. Shaping the neckline can be achieved with a good hair trimmer, but a beard trimmer that offers a smooth, close cut can also be practical.

If you want a line up, you can use edgers or an outliner to create sharp cuts along the temples and sideburns.

Fading Men's Hair on the Sides and Back

Review Your Hair

Once you’ve finished trimming, you’ll want to carefully inspect your fade and fix any mistakes. If this is your first time cutting your hair by yourself at home, we’d recommend overlooking little uneven areas and not being a perfectionist. The reason is, we’ve often found that beginners will completely screw up a good DIY fade haircut trying to make it perfect.

Give Yourself A Fade

Do A Fade Haircut

If you’re ready to give yourself a fade with clippers, check out the best men’s haircuts and find a style to try. Remember to take your time and be patient.

Guys can even start with a long taper fade haircut to practice the blending technique and then move on to cutting a short fade. Worst-case scenario, you can always give yourself a buzz cut or crew cut, or even visit your local barbershop to fix your fade and get a regular haircut.

If you’re seriously interested in becoming a barber, research barbering schools nearby to find programs that will teach you everything you need to know. The top barber classes will offer hands-on training and real-world experience, allowing students to ultimately be qualified to work as licensed barbers.