Today I am here to put a full stop to the ever-persistent low fade vs mid fade vs high fade debate. I’m sure all of you know what a fade hairstyle is. Those who don’t know, I’m going to simplify the concept for you.

A fade is a type of hairstyle where your hairline begins to “fade away” 1-3 inches down the sides and back of the head. The gradual reduction of hair length towards the bottom creates a fine contrast between the longer hair on top and the bald/ near-bald skin at the bottom.

Although there are mainly three categories of fade: high, low and medium, you will hear a hundred other fancy names, depending on who you ask. The worst part is most of the styles will virtually look the same to you. Even the most seasoned stylist experts often fail to clarify the subtle distinctions.

So the onus falls on you. You need to figure out how you want your hair to be. If you don’t, your stylist won’t too.

In the upcoming segments, I am going to focus specifically on the clear distinctions between low vs high vs mid fade.

But before that, let’s have a quick overview of these 3 basic types of fades.

What Is a High Fade?

A standard high fade haircut vanishes completely or partially about 1.5-2 inches below the head. The taper can go even higher depending on how dramatic you want blending to be. High fades go best with a buzz cut on top. It gives a clean and edgy vibe to your overall appearance that never fails to grab attention.

What’s the Deal with Low Fade?

Most low fade taper typically starts 3 inches down from the head and slowly disappear an inch above the ears, right around your natural hairline. Since low fade usually leaves more hair on the sides and back than high fade, it gives you a great scope to fiddle with varied textures, lengths, and bold features i.e shaved lines and patterns.

What’s a Mid Fade, Then?

Mid fade strikes the perfect balance between the flamboyant high fade and a conservative low fade haircut. The tapering in this kind of style usually begins from the thickest part of the hairline, vanishing about two inches above the ears.

Explaining the Differences Between Low Fade vs Mid Fade

This is the part where most people seem confused as hell. And I can’t entirely blame them for it. In both low and mid fade, the tapering finishes around an inch or two above the hairline. That’s why even the most eagle-eyed people fail to pinpoint any distinction between the two by just looking at the pictures.

For your reference, here’s what you can do to help your stylist replicate the exact style you have in your mind:

Ask your barber to start with size 2 blade guard and buzz your hair short to shorter. This will create a mid shadow fade which sets the perfect canvas for low fade style experiments, should you choose to do it. Don’t start with the skin fade right away unless you are completely sure about what you are doing.

Low Fade vs High Fade: Marking the Clear Distinction

I am quite sure that by now, you have already figured out the difference between these two. But still, allow me to give a brief explanation.

A low fade goes maximum an inch above the ear, as opposed to a high fade that can go up to 3 inches higher.

The tapering for a high fade around or an inch above the same level as your eyebrows. The gradient in a high fade is not as pronounced as it is in low fade hairstyles.

Mid Fade vs High Fade: The Subtle Difference

Mid fade taper takes most effect at the midpoint between your crown and ear. A high fade will go an inch or two above the mid fade, very close to the temple. A mid fade is a sleeker and bolder version of low fade. Since it deals with slightly longer than high fade, your stylist can alternate between different textures and lengths to add more definition to your hairstyle.

The Bottom Line: Do We Have a Clear Winner?

So which one is the best fade style among the three? That’s quite subjective. It all depends on your face structure, hair texture and most importantly, how you like to wear your hair. You can always change the position and intensity of your fade if you start off with a low taper fade. So keep that in mind the next time you hit the salon.

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