Learning the Lingo of Men’s Haircuts

Layers. Taper. Fade. Skin fade. Understanding these few simple haircut terms will make it easier for you—and your Supercuts stylist—to achieve the style you want at your next haircut. Let's take a look.



By creating layers, your stylist will probably use shears to remove bulk and create movement. Whether your hair is just long on top or it’s a length that reaches your shirt collar, adding in layers can give dimension and texture to your look. It’s a great low-fuss style that’s easy to care for—just wash and wear—or it can be combed and coifed, too. Trims are recommended every 4 or 5 weeks.



Tapering means the hairstyle will be longer at the top of the head and gets progressively shorter toward the back and sides of the head. Sometimes this is accomplished with shears, but can also be created using clippers. Tapered cuts need to be touched up about every 4 weeks to keep their crisp, fresh look.

Man with a fade haircut
From layers to a sharp fade (like this one), knowing what to call your cut can help your stylist know the look you're after.


When the term fade is used, it’s referring to a much shorter version of tapering that leaves very little length at the back and sides—in other words, the length fades away. When the length is so short that skin is visible through the hair, it’s often referred to as a skin fade. To keep this look sharp and clean, plan to be back at the salon about every 2 weeks.


Next time your stylist asks what kind of cut you want, you can use these words to describe it. But never underestimate the power of an image—bringing a photo or two of the look you have in mind is an effective way to illustrate your vision.

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