Back to the Basics: The Difference Between Fades,
Tapers, and Blends

Thinking of trying out a brand-new look, but not exactly sure how to explain it to your stylist? One way to help ensure you get a cut you love is to bring in a pic or two to share with your Supercuts stylist. And another way to help the conversation along is to have a few basic haircut terms down. Here are three you should know:


Fade: "To gradually become faint and disappear."

Fading is when the stylist utilizes a clipper and blades to gradually work the length from long to super-short. If you want to have your longer locks up top gradually disappear into nothing, a fade may be the cut for you. It’s a trendier look that brings an edge and can be taken up a notch with all kinds of variations, like undercuts, custom crops, and line work.


Taper: "To diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end."

It’s easy to confuse tapers with fades, so we’ll make it easy for you. A taper is when hair gradually changes from one length to another. A fade is a shorter taper that blends or fades into the skin—hence the name.

male hair model with a fade
Want your hair cut close? A fade is the style for you. 
fade undercut
Go for a blended hairstyle if you want to leave some length on the top, sides, and back.
Most men’s haircuts involve some sort of taper, and if you want a clean, thick, classic cut, a taper is the way to go. Your stylist will first create a design line where hair is the thickest, then create movement and minimal taper along those lines. For a cleaner look, they may use clippers, but for a more natural, flowing, “lived-in” look, they'll probably utilize fingers and shears. This classic cut can be customized to fit any style—it can even be combined with a fade—so if you’re looking to up your game a bit, talk to your stylist about more custom options.

Blend: "To mix (a substance) with another substance so that they combine, together."

Looking for hair you can run your fingers through without sweating from the extra weight? Blending’s the technique to try. Blending removes weight, and melds longer hair into short hair, keeping locks light and manageable, while still leaving the hair with length to style. The stylist will cut in two lengths, removing excess weight. Then they'll combine the new length with the sides and back. The end result? Clean, workable, versatile style.


Now that you know the difference between fading, blending, and tapering, you’re just about ready to go. Stop into your local Supercuts for a fresh, new style. Want your new style super fast? Find your nearest Supercuts and check in today.

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