If you keep up with men’s fashion, you might be wondering what is the

difference between an undercut and a fade.  Men have taken over the fashion scene in the hair game.  Yes, the ladies are represented but the men seem to be making bolder moves.  Undercuts and fades have run side by side for decades.  People change it up by adding colour and/or designs, or by making it curly or straight.  The last few years, they have been done with dreadlocks, man buns, braids and twists. 

For many men, it was the first time sitting at a shampoo bowl; sitting under a dryer or having their hair

blow dried.  I have had to do weird talks on why body wash shouldn’t replace shampoo etc.  One of the questions we heard a lot was what was the difference between an undercut and a fade.  My simplest explanation is this:

  • An undercut is when the hair is cut very low or completely on the sides.  The top is left long, which gives options to switch hair to the sides or straight back.  It can be done on straight, wavy or super curly hair.
  • The fade is the ultimate test of a good barber. A fade can have a short or a long top.  It is most popular in the curly-haired community, but can be done on all hair types. Unlike the undercut, that normally is one level, the fade usually has about 2-3 levels.  It can be more depending on how high you wish it to go.  A fade can start a “0” or a “#1” if you are familiar with clipper terminology.  When a client asks the barber for a “tight fade”, it usually means he wants it from “0”.  

Whether you choose an undercut or a fade, both looks are trending.  With the cold season approaching, many might choose a low fade, which leaves more hair on the side.  Whichever you choose to do, now you know what is the difference between an undercut and a fade.

By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

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