15 Sharpest Tape Fade Haircuts for Men in 2018

The taper fade is a classic men’s hairstyle that has been around for decades. It remains trendy and popular due to its crisp and clean appearance that is suitable for both casual and formal settings alike. The versatility of this forever popular style is what keeps it relevant to men of all ages and lifestyles.

A taper is is a type of men’s cut that gradually changes the length of hair from the top of the head down to the nape. The hair starts off longer at the top and gets shorter as it reaches the nape. A fade is typically much shorter than a taper, with the short hair on top gradually changing to as short as to the skin when you reach the nape.

This type of fade marries the popular taper and fade styles together as a mid-length option for men, giving them the best of both worlds. What you need to determine with your barber is if you want a high taper fade, a low taper fade, or keep it in the middle with a mid taper fade. A high fade can start nearly at the crown and stay heavy down to the temple, while a low fade doesn’t start to taper in length until reaching the temple. A mid fade falls somewhere between the two.

Another variation of this fade to note is a bald taper fade. With a skin taper fade, the sides of the haircut aren’t faded any higher than the temple area and the back of the haircut isn’t faded any higher than the occipital bone. Lastly, the shadow taper fade is also a popular option due to shadow effect it can give off when done properly. It starts with the hair lighter on the sides and smoothly fades up into the desired length.

Take a look at this wide variety of taper fade haircuts and find the one that suits you and your lifestyle the best!

Pumped Up Fade

Picture of a pumped up men's taper fadeInstagram @fedoseev.ilya

Tons of Texture

Picture of tons of texture men's taper fadeInstagram @sal.thebarber

The Crown

Clean Fade

Sharp Fade

Picture of a sharp taper fadeInstagram @eazyleo

Low Skin Fade

Picture of a low skin taper fadeInstagram @richie_barber

Spiky Clean

Picture of a spiky clean men's taper fadeInstagram @cutsbycat

Q&A with style creator, Cat Ferrara
Licensed Barber & Cosmetologist @ Noble Wolf Barbers in Las Vegas, NV

How would you describe this look?

This is “Barber/Stylist” look. The sides are tightly faded to the skin with a clean, crisp hard part separating the fade from the multi-directional texture on top.

Any advice for someone considering it?

Only go as low as skin if your scalp is moisturized and clear of bumps or other imperfections. If you have issues with your scalp, keep a shadow fade (a half to a #1 guard) to camouflage any flaws.

Commit to blow drying, and use a pre-blowdrying styling product to give it volume and texture. I cocktailed Aquage Thickening Spray Gel with Aquage Texturizing Sea Salt Spray before I blowdried. When blow drying, focus on getting height in the crown, and round-brushing cowlicks in the front to make them more manageable.

I used Hanz de Fuko Gravity paste to make it look piecey but still light and airy. Focus on keeping most of the height in the back with the volume decreasing toward the fringe.

Own it. This is a very fun haircut with edgy style and clean, sharp edges. It’s a great style when you want to feel casual but low-key trendy.

Airy Textured Fade

Q&A with style creator, Maurice
Barber @ The Barbershop Amsterdam in Amsterdam, Netherlands


How would you describe this look?

This a pompadour with a nice taper fade. It is a look he can change up any time.

I cut the top so he can wear it all to the back like in the picture, or comb it to the left or right.

The taper fade cleans the back and also the sides of his temple.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I would say product depends on the hair type. For him, I used a Matt Clay by Osmo UK.

This is a look he can wear during a business meeting as it is clean.

This is also the next best option for guys who don’t want a clean fade all around.

A taper fade is good for any face shapes. It is clean and neat. This is also for a guy who wants to have a clean cut but wants to rock a sporty look.

I love cutting hair which a customer can wear on different occasions and also in different ways.

I love how clean a taper fade can be if done correctly.

Perfect Blend

Picture of a perfect blend men's taper fadeInstagram @mista.willis

Q&A with style creator, Danny Willis
Hairstylist @ Bravata in Mill Creek, WA


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this cut as modern, clean, low maintenance and textured.

I love the versatility. He can style it multiple ways or just wake up and go because of the undone nature of the textured cut that gives it its movement.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I think someone who is low maintenance but wants to stay current and edgy would love this cut.

It’s tight on the sides but not so tight that they have to come in every 2 weeks. This cut works better with fine hair because of the texture and with fine hair, you wouldn’t need to use as much product, just mess it up and go.

I like to use a matte clay or cream to style. Maybe finish with some hairspray or dry shampoo.

It’s hard to find someone who wouldn’t be able to pull this off. It’s very versatile. You can wear it up, to the side, down in your face, or just wild and it’ll look great.

Masculine Texture

Picture of a masculine texture men's taper fadeInstagram @frazierhair

Q&A with style creator, Frazier Dyson
Stylist @ Craft Hair + Co. in Nashville, TN


How would you describe this look?

I’d call this look the “surfer pomp.” My favorite thing about it is the top is wild and he can run his fingers through it, but the neckline and sideburns have a more traditional taper, so it grows out well.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I used Evo’s Crop Strutters cream. It’s kind of a blend between a clay and styling cream. This haircut works great for someone who is wanting the ability to dress up or down their hair depending on the occasion. He could easily use a hi-gloss pomade and achieve a more classic look. I used a clay for a more mattè, beach look.

Blowout Fade

Q&A with style creator, Jesus Ruiz
Barber @ JEDA Hair Studio in Aurora, CO


How would you describe this look?

I would describe this look as a perfect mix between modern and classic and my favorite thing about it is the detail that made this haircut unique!

Any advice for someone considering it?

I always advise my clients to try new haircuts… life is too short, why not make it fun?

Textured Top

Picture of a textured top taper fadeInstagram @csobansandor

Q&A with style creator, Csobán Sándor
Hairstylist / Barber @ Slikhaar Studio in Veszprém, Hungary


How would you describe this look?

This hairstyle is one of my personal favorites because I like to cut this style for myself too! It’s a textured top with a really smooth skin fade. In the crownline, I left it sharp and heavy, which is key for a straight hair structure to show the style well.

Any advice for someone considering it?

I recommend this hairstyle for cool and sporty guys. I also recommend styling this hair with By Vilain Dynamite Clay Wax or By Vilain Blow Powder for a proper effect.

Also, this hairstyle looks extremely awesome with a faded beard!

Clean Cut Edge

Picture of a clean cut edge taper fadeInstagram @titan_barber

Q&A with style creator, John Carmona
Barber @ Steel and Lather Barber Co in Denver, CO


How would you describe this look?

My favorite thing about a taper fade is that no other hairstyle quite gives you the visual contrast that this haircut provides. When done properly, it definitely turns heads and is a great way of mixing both clean cut and edgy into one look.

Another great thing is that it can be paired with almost any hairstyle on top. It can be blow dried with a round brush to add volume or, if it’s cut short and close to the head, it can create a clean, no-maintenance look.

Any advice for someone considering it?

The first thing I always ask a client is about lifestyle. The most perfectly executed skin fade does no good unless it suits the person wearing it. You can always tell when someone is uncomfortable with the way they look, so it’s my job to ask the right questions and make sure the hair is an expression of who they are as a person.

Since this haircut sits close to and accentuates the head shape at the shortest part, it’s great for anyone with an oval to wide face shape. The reason for this is that by having less length on the sides, it causes your eye to travel vertically instead of side to side, making someone’s face appear longer. If I had a client with a longer face shape, I might suggest something with a little more length on the side to help offset the vertical accentuation their head shape provides.

Skin Fade with Length

Skin Fade with Length hairstyleInstagram @dapperdgent

Q&A with style creator, Dallas Gent
Barber / Stylist @ Chop Barbershop in Tallahassee, FL


How would you describe this look?

This particular look is a skin fade with some length and texture on top. I added a little pick in the fade to break it up to give it a nice contrast with the skin.

My favorite thing about this style and cut is the process of the growout. When this haircut grows out, it still looks nice and consistent with the growth of the top.

Any advice for someone considering it?

My advice to a new client wanting this cut is to own it! I believe a well-executed skin fade looks great on every man.  It’s a very strong and powerful look.

When it comes to styling this look, a matte product like a putty is highly recommended. I personally like to use Fatboy or ADH for that matte, gritty look. Matte products are the ticket for a low shine still playable look. I also like using some texture powder like the Osis Powder Cloud for a finishing touch.

Most of my clients are fashionable men with a little edge in the 20 to 40 age range.

Tapered Afro

Tapered Afro hairstyleInstagram @guttacutz

Q&A with style creator, Derrick Noel
Barber @ GuttaCutz in Joliet, IL


How would you describe this look?

This is a tapered afro with a twist sponge style. To give it some swag, I added the moon shaped part. I also added the taper on the head and beard to show some fade work

This is one of my favorite looks. The crisp lineup on the head and the beard to make the bald taper pop and give you that transition effect. The twist sponge at the top gives the retro afro a modern curly look.

Any advice for someone considering it?

This is a controlled messy look and by controlled, I mean it requires daily maintenance. Shampoo and conditioning is a must, as well as picking or combing the hair out ever so often to remove tangles and knots. Shape-ups as well as brushing the sides are a must.

Picks, twist sponges, shampoo, conditioner, and a moisturizer are all the tools you need to keep that healthy look.