Long Hair Fade Haircut: What It Is And The Best Styles For 2023
Introducing a fade to long hair can look cool and contemporary, if you choose the right style. These modern long hair fade haircuts get the contrast right.
After months of painstakingly growing out your hair (finally breaking through that awkward in-between phase), you may think it crazy to then get it cut short again.
But it might not be such a bad idea after all, particularly if you don’t have to sacrifice that hard-earned length on top.
Sound interesting? Read on to find out the best ways of introducing a fade to longer hair, as well as everything you should consider before taking the plunge.
What is a fade?
A fade haircut is when the hair on the back and sides of your head is trimmed in incremental sections that get slightly longer the further up your head you go. The bottom is usually cut using a grade 0 or 1, and, with a barber who knows what they’re doing, the style blends gradually into the longer hair on top.
Fades typically come in three flavours: high, mid and low. Each term determines where the fade contrast begins. For example, a high fade will start somewhere above the temples, whereas a low fade will begin at the temple or even below. As you may have guessed, a mid fade sits somewhere between the two.
Meanwhile, the hair on top is left long or short, depending on your desired look.
Why add a fade to longer hair?
A fade coupled with long hair brings depth and dimension to the hairstyle, creating a dramatic juxtaposition that looks extremely contemporary.
Not only that, by retaining the length on top you have a multitude of styling options at your disposal – you can wear it messy, sleek or tied depending on the occasion and your preference.
What you should know before getting a fade if you have long hair
Fade haircuts require regular touch ups by your barber to stay looking their best. So you’ll need to commit to getting back in the chair every fortnight. It’s a decision you shouldn’t take lightly, particularly if you’re used to simply having the end of your hair trimmed every other month while growing your hair out.
Similarly, the hair on top will likely need styling in order to create the best contrast with the extremely tight back and sides. Whereas before you could wear it loose and carefree, this may not be possible once you introduce a fade. So if you’re an on-the-go type and don’t have 10 spare minutes each morning to preen yourself, you should consider other options.
Finally, there’s no going back: you’ve spent gruelling weeks and months growing your hair out, and if you don’t like the end result of a fade then it’s going to take just as long to grow the back and sides out again.
You need to be 100% certain before taking the clippers to it. Luckily for you, we’ve got a number of excellent examples for you below, so you can decide if it’s the right choice before you sit in the chair.
15 cool long hair fade hairstyles for men
From slick backs and side sweeps to dreadlocks and man buns, here are a number of modern ways you can pull off a long hair fade in 2023.
Swept back long hair fade
Ideal if you don’t want too much of your head shaved, this is an alternative version of an undercut.
Leaving the hair on top around 6-7 inches long so there’s enough to comb back, you can wear the top section swept back and away from the face or you could mix it up by adding a middle parting.
Long wavy hair fade
If you have thick or wavy hair, too much of it can make it unmanageable. But by introducing a fade it helps takes the weight out of the hair and neatens up the style by balancing out the top and bottom sections.
Especially helpful if you sport a fringe and facial hair, the shaved back and sides also prevents it looking too ‘wayward’.
Long hair fade with high quiff
Men who are happy to put the effort in when it comes to their hair should consider this look.
A long textured quiff – with a tapered fade that starts around the temples as well as highlights – means that maintenance trips to the barbers will be a must, but the payoff is worth it.
The only guys who may struggle with the height on top are those with fine hair as it will be harder to create the shape and flicks. Otherwise, apply a root booster to damp hair and blow dry into place, then apply a liberal amount of high hold hairspray to keep the volume locked in all day.
Brushed forward long hair with skin fade
Styling the hair from the crown of the head forward, this cut accentuates the natural wavy texture.
Using a low taper fade around the sides, the shaping around the temples helps to keep the top section in place as it acts like a ledge that prevents the hair from flopping.
The fade is also ‘dropped’ through the back, leaving a little more weight, which complements and blends nicely with the length on top.
Top knot with hard parting and skin fade
A unique style, this long haircut shows off multiple tapering techniques, including a clean low skin fade and hard parting cut around the circumference of the head.
Acting as a line to create a clear disconnect between the sides and top, despite the hair being long, it’s an easy, convenient and hassle-free style.
Long pompadour haircut with mid skin fade
With the top section swept back into a long pompadour, the fade starts midway down the head here, just above the ear. It means there’s minimal skin on show, but the fade still creates a nice break point between the upper and lower sections, as well as the strong facial hair.
Bear in mind that if you have a long face, this style has the potential to make it look even longer. If this applies to you, it would be advisable to thin out the beard and keep it shorter, while reducing the volume slightly on top.
Contemporary long pompadour fade
Oozing cool, this skin fade begins high up on the head where the pompadour finishes, creating a disconnected undercut.
Using a 0 grade to ensure the hair is barely there around the sides and back, there are no side burns or facial hair so all focus falls to the top and the height of the hair.
Use a hairdryer and round bristle brush to create the volume and a matte paste and hairspray to ensure the style holds.
Braided long hair with skin fade
Braiding the hair into three strand plaits keeps long hair in check while the temple fade, curved beard line and razor sharp brow edges gives the entire look a neatly manicured finish.
It also incorporates the fade into the style rather than having it as the focal point.
Grown out shaped afro with low skin fade
The skin fade on this beautifully shaped afro style is super subtle and can mostly be detected around the temples, side burns and the lowest part on the nape of the neck.
Yet even though it’s applied to such a small section, it’s impact is great, thinning out the width of hair around the sides and stopping the shaping from becoming too round.
Long man bun with low skin fade
Keeping the hair long enough on top to pull back into a man bun or ponytail, the fade here starts at brow level.
Although the bottom section has been wiped out with clippers, creating a disconnect with the shaped facial hair, above it is blended nicely using scissors, leaving some some length around the temples.
This approach is also worth considering if you don’t always wear your long hair up as it will prevent the contrast between the top and sides looking so drastic.
Long curly mohawk with temple fade
With a clean cut fringe around the hairline and a thick head of curls, the addition of a taper fade at the temples creates the illusion of a very low-key mohawk/mullet.
To achieve this finish to the hair, rough dry it with your fingers and use a texturising dust or paste to give it some grit at the roots.
Long loose sweep back with high skin fade
A high skin fade where the back and sides are completely shaven, this does veer into faux hawk territory.
Keeping it long and sleeker on top, there is no parting which means the direction of hair naturally sweeps back.
A wet-look gel wouldn’t go amiss here, especially if you’re keen to lean towards the new fall/winter hair trend for slick finishes.
Long length mohawk fade
Whereas mohawks are usually styled up and back, the height and length through this style is pulled forward, so much so that it flops down over the face.
Not the most practical haircut, granted – especially if you’re looking down at a computer screen or do a manual job where you need your hair out of your face – the fade also starts midway down the head, to help balance out the length on top.
Dishevelled top knot fade
Pulling the hair into a messy bun on top elongates the face while the parting either side, along with the classic taper fade and natural graduation, actually makes this style appear well rounded and put together.
Paired with the stubble and sideburns, this would be a great option for those with naturally straight or finer hair.
Long slick back hair with high skin fade
A quiffed front, hard side parting and slick finish gives this hairstyle an edge without being OTT.
The parting cuts through the hair, separating it so that the length stays all on one side and the high skin fade remains on the other.
A wet-look styling product is a must here to maintain the suave, ‘Fonzy’ vibes.