The long taper fade haircut is a modern classic, balancing a timeless aesthetic with on-trend style. Featuring a longer, gradual fade and a versatile top, it’s a surprisingly adaptable haircut. The key to rocking the long fade lies in understanding your hair type and choosing a style and technique that plays up its strengths. This guide breaks down the best taper fade variations for every hair texture.

What is a Long Taper Fade?

Before we dive into specific hair types, let’s define the long taper fade:

  • Gradual Fade: The defining feature is a fade that begins lower on the head than a classic or high taper. It transitions smoothly from longer hair to shorter, often blending into the skin towards the bottom.
  • Longer Top: The hair on top stays longer, allowing for numerous styling options, from short and textured to full and voluminous.
  • Versatility: The longer fade and top offers a wide range of possibilities in terms of how dramatic you want your contrast to be, as well as various styling possibilities.

For Thick Hair

Your natural volume is a major styling advantage when rocking a long taper fade. However, thick hair needs specific techniques to prevent it from looking heavy or unruly. Here’s how to get the most out of your thick locks:

  • Keep it Textured: Layering is essential for thick hair. Ask your stylist to strategically remove bulk through your top section, adding texture and movement. This prevents that dense, blocky look and makes styling a breeze.
  • Styling Pomades and Clays: These are your go-to products for hold and definition. Strong-hold pomades offer control for sleeker styles. Clays, waxes, and pastes add dimension with a slightly less polished, textured finish. Experiment to find your favorites!
  • Embrace Volume, Play with Styles: Don’t shy away from styles with height! Try a voluminous pompadour (vintage cool!), a textured quiff (modern and edgy), tousled waves (relaxed vibes), or a slicked-back style (dapper and polished). Thick hair gives you plenty of options.
  • Regular Trims: This applies to all hair types, but thick hair can get unruly fast. The fade needs regular trims to maintain its sharp appearance. Ask your stylist to also manage the length and density on top so your desired style stays in check.

Additional Tips for Thick Hair

  • Blow Drying for Volume: Blow-dry your hair upwards with a touch of pre-styling mousse for maximum lift. This creates the perfect foundation for pompadours and other gravity-defying styles.
  • Don’t Overdo Product: Thick hair can handle strong styling products, but too much leads to a greasy or stiff look. Start with less product than you think you need and apply it gradually.
  • A Beard Can Balance: If you have thick facial hair, growing a beard or stubble can nicely balance out a voluminous hairstyle while adding to an overall rugged aesthetic.

For Fine Hair

Fine hair doesn’t mean you can’t rock a fade! With strategic styling, you can create the illusion of density and embrace an edgy yet stylish look. Here’s your fine-hair game plan:

  • Avoid Excess Length on Top: Shorter styles are key for fine hair. Keeping your top section on the shorter side minimizes contrast with the fade, making your hair appear thicker overall. A textured crop or short messy waves are great options.
  • Texturizing is Key: Your secret weapon toolkit includes texturizing sprays, powders, and pastes. Texturizing spray before blow-drying creates instant volume at the roots. Texturizing powder after styling adds further lift and a slightly ‘gritty’ texture for a fuller look.
  • Tousled Styling: Effortless styles are ideal. Embrace messiness strategically! Tousled waves, textured spikes, or a side-swept fringe with a touch of product all help mask areas where your hair may be thinner.
  • Go for a Subtle Fade: An overly dramatic fade can draw attention to any lack of density on top. Opt for a long fade with a subtle transition. This creates a seamless appearance, adding to the illusion of fullness.

For Wavy Hair

Your natural waves are a major style asset when paired with a taper fade. With the right techniques, you can create looks that range from relaxed beach vibes to defined and polished. Here’s how to maximize your wavy potential:

  • Sea Salt Spray: Unleash Your Inner Surfer: This is your go-to product! Apply generously to damp hair, scrunching as you spray to amplify those waves. Embrace the effortlessly cool, tousled beach look it creates.
  • Styling Cream or Mousse: Definition and Frizz Control: For more refined waves, styling creams or mousse provide definition while keeping frizz at bay. Look for products that offer light to moderate hold to avoid weighing your hair down. Apply to damp hair, distributing evenly.
  • Air Dry or Diffuse: Wave-Enhancing Drying: Scrunching your hair as it air dries helps those natural waves take shape. For faster drying or extra volume, attach a diffuser to your blow dryer. The diffuser distributes the airflow, protecting your wave pattern and minimizing frizz.
  • Layers on Top: Embrace Movement: Light layering throughout your top section encourages your waves and adds carefree movement to your style. However, be careful not to go too short – discuss the perfect length and layers for your wave pattern with your stylist.

Wavy Hair Styling Options:

  • Embrace the Mess: Tousled, slightly messy waves look fantastic with a long taper fade. It’s a low-maintenance style that exudes laid-back cool.
  • Defined Waves: Using styling cream or mousse lets you sculpt more polished, defined waves. This offers a slightly more sophisticated yet still edgy look.
  • Side Part Power: A side part helps create volume and gives wavy hair paired with a taper fade a touch of refined elegance.
  • Accessorize!: Headbands or bandanas add a fun touch to wavy styles and amp up that carefree, beachy vibe.

For Curly Hair

Your curls offer endless styling possibilities when paired with a taper fade. Embrace the natural volume, texture, and unique personality of your hair type with these styling tips:

  • Moisture is Essential: Curly hair craves hydration! Fight frizz and define your curls by combining your styling products with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner or treatment. Apply to damp hair before styling for the best results.
  • Curl-Defining Products: Look for gels, creams, or mousses made specifically for curly hair. These products will enhance your curl pattern, provide hold, and keep frizz under control. Experiment with different products to find what works best for your specific curl type.
  • Less is More: Curly hair can easily become weighed down by excessive product. Start with a small amount and gradually add more only if needed. Distribute your products evenly for the most defined results.
  • Embrace the Fade: A taper fade with a dramatic contrast looks incredible with curly hair! The fade showcases the beautiful texture of your curls on top. For bolder definition, consider a skin fade for maximum contrast.

Styling Your Curly Long Taper

  • Natural and Free: Let your curls air dry, scrunching with styling product for a wild, voluminous look. This perfectly complements the edgy vibe of the taper fade.
  • Diffuse for Definition: Using a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer helps define curls and adds bounce while preventing frizz.
  • Twist-out or Braid-out: For even more defined, elongated curls, consider twisting or braiding your damp hair and allowing it to fully dry before unravelling. This creates a gorgeous, uniform curl pattern.
  • Top Knot or High Ponytail: Gather your curls into a voluminous top knot or sleek ponytail for a style that effortlessly showcases your taper fade.

Additional Tips for Every Hair Type

Choosing the right hairstyle is only the first step. To make your long fade truly shine and stay looking its best, keep these essential tips in mind:

Find the Right Stylist

A skilled stylist is a game-changer, especially for cuts like the long taper fade. Invest time in finding someone who understands the subtleties of this haircut and has experience with your specific hair type. Look for a stylist whose work you admire and who can tailor the long fade to flatter your individual facial features and style preferences.

Bring Inspiration Photos

A picture is truly worth a thousand words when discussing your desired haircut. Gather photos that clearly showcase the kind of taper fade variation you want. Pay attention to fade length, volume and styling on top, and any unique details. This ensures you and your stylist are on the same page, significantly reducing the risk of disappointment.

Maintenance is Key

The taper fade, while incredibly versatile, does require some upkeep to maintain its signature contrast and sharp lines. Regular trims are non-negotiable to keep the fade portion looking fresh. Additionally, the hair on top will need maintenance depending on its length and your desired style. Your stylist can help you find the perfect trim schedule for your hair type and styling goals.

Accessorizing Your Fade

Accessories add personality and elevate your style. Here are some ideas:

  • Hats: Beanies in cold weather, snapbacks, or fedoras can add a stylish touch.
  • Bandanas: A classic way to amp up your fade’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Choose different colours and folding styles for variety.
  • Sunglasses: Pair your taper fade with eye-catching sunglasses for effortless cool.

The Importance of Face Shape

The taper fade is remarkably adaptable, but understanding your face shape can help you find the most flattering variation and styling choices. Let’s break down how specific face shapes work best with certain styles:

Oval Face Shape

If you have an oval face shape, consider yourself lucky! Oval faces have balanced proportions, which means you can rock almost any long taper fade variation. Feel free to experiment with different fade heights, top lengths, and styling techniques – you have the versatility to pull off a wide range.

Round Face Shape

The goal for round face shapes is to add the illusion of length. Keeping a bit more length on top and choosing a longer fade along the sides will help elongate your face. Styling your hair upwards adds further height and creates a subtle slimming effect.

Square Face Shape

Square faces are characterized by a strong jawline and defined features. Opt for a softer, less dramatic fade to avoid emphasizing angularity. Keeping textured volume on top further softens your look. Side-swept styles or a touch of fringe with textured waves can also be incredibly flattering for square face shapes.

A Cut with Endless Possibilities

The long taper fade is a stylish go-to for a reason. Its versatility and timeless appeal make it work for almost anyone. By understanding your hair type, face shape, and style preferences, you can find the perfect variation to express your individual flair.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with styling techniques, products, and accessories to discover what makes your taper fade truly unique. Have fun, own the look, and rock it with confidence!

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Nyla Rose is a hairstylist and beauty blogger dedicated to helping others achieve their style goals. With years of salon experience and a passion for exploring trends, she offers practical hair advice, product reviews, and guides for recreating iconic looks.

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