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Guide To Tapers And Fades For Men’s Curly Hair

Feel limited to the hairstyles you can rock because you have naturally kinky, coily, or curly hair? With the right taper and fade, you can frame your face in an endless range of options. Curls have a mind of their own, so ensure you select a barber who specializes in curly hair. Then, have them personalize your cut to frame your face and match your personal style.

What Is A Taper Fade?

Let’s begin by discussing the difference between tapers and fades, as they are closely related. They are the cousin of a buzz cut, but far more stylized!

Both—both fades and tapers gradually change the length of the hair on the sides, back, and maybe even the front of your hairline.

Traditional fade—the shortest hair is short but fairly even all around your head, with the hair on top being longer. The contrast is stark but consistent.

Traditional taper—a traditional taper has a more gradual (and traditional) decrease in hair length from the bottom of the fade to the top of the fade.

Taper fades—this look is bold and stylized. Your hair gradually fades, but all edges are cut to create a distinct head and face-framing shape.

As far as where on your head the fade begins, you must choose from low, mid, or high.

Low, mid, or high—this refers to where on your head hair length is shorter and longer. The shape of your head and face will determine which look is most flattering.

Low curly fades—ideal for round and square faces. However, it may not look best if you have coarse curls.

Mid fades—if you have an oval or diamond shape, a mid-length fade will likely look best on you.

High fades—this style works for all face shapes but isn’t as flattering if your hair is naturally fine or beginning to thin. It looks especially good if you have long curls, kinky hair, or tight curls.

Why Get A Taper Fade?

You’ll still rock your kink, coils, or curls on top, but your faded and tapered areas will be so short that they look straight and lay flat, leaving you with less hair to manage.

For the curly-haired gents out there, a taper fade:

  • Minimizes frizz
  • Manages texture
  • Simplifies daily grooming
  • Minimizes receding hairline

For straight-haired gents, any combination of a taper and fade personalize your look and minimizes receding hairlines. If your straight (or curly) hair is mid-length or long, tapers and fades allow for a variety of styling options.

How To Choose Your Taper Fade?

Take inspiration from athletes, actors, and men’s magazines and head online to explore options that might work for you. Trust your gut in determining what styles you like and trust your barber to deliver a similar look that flatters and frames your face, while working with your hair texture and length.

Be sure to bring screenshots of photos with you to the barbershop or arrive a bit early to browse hairstyles in the shop books.

Not afraid of taking a risk? If you have a trusted barber, let them choose your taper fade!

How To Personalize?

Personalizing your new look has everything to do with the artistry of your barber. From how they shape your hairline to where your neckline begins and working your look in with your facial hair.

If it won’t be problematic at work, you can even have lines or designs drawn onto the sides and back of your head. Not to worry if you try something new and it’s not quite right for you. It can either be reshaped on the spot, or it will fill back in within 3 weeks or so.

Can You Taper And Fade At Home?

Even if you are skilled with clippers, this style isn’t one that is easy to do on your own head. It may even be a bit risky to attempt on friends and family.

Trimming the top maybe, and the hairline edges if you are comfortable—but not the sides and back. That is unless you want to transition back to all one length on all sides.

Again, barbers are artists, so let them do their thing!

Barber Trimming A Man's Neck

How Often To Clean Up The Edges?

While some hairstyles can grow without looking too unkempt, you can’t skip the barbershop with tapers and fades as they are less of a haircut and more of a stylized design. So, go into your new hairstyle with the understanding that it will be a time commitment.

That being said, maintenance is fast and easy so you should be able to pop in and out of the barbershop fairly quickly. Every time you clean up the edges, you can experiment with different ways to frame your face. Be sure to take photos of your favorites so you can ask for them again.

Time between trips to the barbershop is likely to be:

  • For intricate and stylized designs, you may need to go in every 3 weeks.
  • For less intricate designs or slow hair growth, you won’t be able to go for more than 6 weeks.
  • For longer and less stylized designs, 8 weeks should be the maximum time between cuts.

Should I Apply Product To The Fade?

Yes! Curly hair is fragile hair, so it must be protected with product. First and foremost, use naturally derived curly hair products. Even with short hair, standard products will dry and damage textured hair.


  • Select the product for the longer top portion of hair by your hair texture and styling objectives.
  • Apply product to the top first, then use what is leftover on your hands for the faded areas.
  • If you don’t like the feel of product on the shorter areas, use beard oil on the edges, sides, and back.
  • Follow your barber’s advice as to whether you should regularly apply both beard and oil to your hair.

How Can Uncle Jimmy Help?

The tips above will work for both soft and bouncy curls and tight coils alike! Uncle Jimmy is here with everything you need to keep your curly taper fade looking its best.


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