Yes, the number of fades now in existence seems to be endless. But you know what? There are actually only two fades. Did you know that? There is only the skin fade and the shadow fade. Anything else in between are just variations and combinations of the two. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t look absolutely fabulous. One of the variations we are going to cover in this piece is the drop fade.
It might be a more obscure type, but it has surely been gaining a lot of traction among men all over the world in the past few years. This fade is clever and definitely very pretty, which is why we need to define it, teach you how to style it, how to cut it, and what kind of haircuts you can combine with it.
What Is a Drop Fade?
Of course, as you might have expected, the first thing we need to do is define or, rather, explain what the drop fade really is. Since, as we’ve already mentioned, there are so many fades now, it’s very easy for men to get confused or lose track of all of them. Plus, it’s hugely important for you to know since this is the only way you will be able to tell your barber what you really want once you decide this is the haircut for you.
Simply put, a drop fade is one that forms an arc as it passes above the ear. In other words, it’s extremely similar to a regular fade haircut. Except that it lowers gradually when it comes to the front hairline and at the back of your head, which is what forms the arc we mentioned.
The reason both men and barbers have opted for it in the past few years is that it gives you more depth when it comes to the crown as well as a very sharp outline of your face. Other barbers say they choose it because it puts character into a fade, making it more interesting. It also helps hide any imperfections the client might have, blending the fade itself a lot better.
So let’s just say that the drop fade is a very small change from the classic fade, but one that makes all the difference in the world. It’s a fade 2.0 if you will.
Drop Fade with Nappy Top
This is a drop fade with a nappy top. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a special kind of Afro that will allow you to get a lot of volume on top and still keep your drop fade on the sides.
Is a Drop Fade the Same as a Faded Short Back and Sides?
If you already have some experience with faded haircuts, as a professional or layman, you might have noticed from what we described above that a drop fade seems highly similar to a faded short back and sides. You are, of course, not wrong. Good job! You know your haircuts well enough!
However, we have to point out that there are a few small, but noticeable differences. For example, the fade’s short back and sides tend to be even all around your head. In other words, it’s very symmetrical, and will never dip. On the other hand, a drop fade has a much more profound gradient since it needs to taper close to your hairline. In fact, the name itself tells you that it needs to ‘drop’ and ‘fade.’
Why is this important to you? Because the drop fade then becomes a superb choice for men who are tired of cookie-cutter haircuts. Especially the simple fades ones we’ve been seeing in the past few years. If you want something that still follows the trends but is a little more than the average, the drop fade is the perfect choice.
Apart from that, a drop fade can accommodate a huge number of other trendy hairstyles. They include the pompadour, an undercut, a superb French crop that’s also a little messy, a boyish quiff, a dramatic afro, and even a man bun if you’re a little nostalgic.
Drop Fade with Curls
Is there anything sweeter than curls on a man? They don’t say ‘the curls that get the girls’ for nothing after all! Try it for yourself and you’ll see.
Can I Get a Drop Fade?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to haircuts is that they have to match the shape of your face. Of course, you may fall in love with a certain trend. Or with a haircut worn by a celebrity. But the truth is that you have to check first and see if that particular hairstyle would be tailored for your facial structure.
As far as the drop fade goes, most hairstylists say that it goes best with a square or round face shape. The reason is that it suits a boxier head better seeing as it graduates in length along the temple ridge.
It will also work well for you if you have a flat crown of the head. Why? Because the haircut creates volume in the back starting above the occipital bone. In this way your head will look round or oval, a shape that is much more desirable than flat at the top.
The Drop Fade for Elongated Faces
It’s a simple optical illusion combined with your anatomy that works in your favor. The hair on top of your head comes in contrast with the hair on the sides and the one toward the nape, which is shorter. This contrast makes it seem as if you have lusher locks on top. Therefore, a rounder head.
This all means you’re good to go if you have a square face. However, if you have an elongated facial structure, you might not feel the same way about his hairstyle. The dip that gets created in the back thanks to the drop fade will, in fact, accentuate the length of both your face and head. In turn, this might make you look a little like Bert from Sesame Street.
What to Consider Before Getting a Drop Fade
As with all changes in hairstyle, there are a few things you should think about before getting a drop fade.
This is a fantastic haircut if you’re trying to grow your hair out. And you should. Most stylists say that we are now seeing the trends change toward longer hairstyles. Therefore, a drop fade would be fantastic at accommodating this change. The reason is that it will allow you to keep a lot of length on top while still maintaining your sides as sharp as ever.
It’s also a great choice if you have a beard or are planning to get one. Ask your barber to blend the top of your beard to zero. In this way the fade will be seamless and cut to fit any face shape imaginable. You will get to this result if you assess the length of the beard first. Then go for a smaller graduation starting from the cheekbones and going up toward the sideburns, passing into the hairline.
And, finally, the last thing you need to take into account before you get a drop fade is this. It’s a very high maintenance hairstyle. And when we say ‘very’ we mean ‘very’. In other words, this haircut will only exist as long as you can provide it with that lovely tapered contrast that makes it what it is. Once you fail to do that and allow your hair to grow, this special haircut will be gone as well. All you will be left with is a typical fade.
What does this mean?
That the drop fade is not meant for men who don’t have a lot of time, energy or patience to put into grooming it. This is a haircut designed for a man who knows he will be returning to the barber’s chair possibly every week or even every few days. It all depends on how slow or fast your hair grows.
Professional stylists say that since the trim is so low at the back, you will notice that it grows a lot quicker than a normal haircut. Of course, this won’t be a big deal if you have a lot of time on your hands. And a lot of money, for that matter. But if you’re a guy with a busy schedule or a man on a budget who can’t afford to lavish on visits to the barber so often, you may want to reconsider.
How to Get the Drop Fade
Our advice is for you to see a professional barber or stylist. He or she will be able to give you a great drop fade every single time you go in. However, you can also learn how to do it right at home. Here are the steps.
- Use a spray to dampen your hair so that you can mold and cut it easier. Using a comb, part your hair on the side, making sure one side is always longer than the other.
- Set the guard of the clipper to the size of your choosing. The length of your fade line is entirely up to you, but it should complement the shape of your face as well as the shape of your head. Later on, when you will be working on the fade’s appearance, you can choose shorter guards.
3. Determine where your fade line should be. Choose the spot where the fade will start. With you comb, draw the hair line. It’s up to you if this will be a curved or straight line.
4. Around the skull and on top of your head, create a rectangular area. This is the spot where the hair will be longer as opposed to the sides and the back. If you want, use an elastic band to tie it and make sure it won’t bother you while you work on the bottom.
More on How to Get the Fade
5. Run the clippers in a vertical motion as you move away from the spot where you hair line is growing. Start with the sideburns and then go up, moving toward the back of your head.
6. This process needs to be done in very small portions. This will prevent you from having uneven spots that you will have to clean after you’re done.
7. When you feel you have to move to the shorter areas, you can also adjust the guards. But don’t do this until you have finished covering the base all the way to the back, as well as the sides of your head.
8. Now is the moment to clean up the rest of the fade line. Use your clippers as well as a comb. Put the comb in your hair and move the clippers alongside it. This needs to be an upward motion. Do it for about two or three inches every time. Start with the fade line.
9. Finish by cutting the hair on top of your head. Use a pair of scissors for a more feathery and organic look. You get to choose the length and style you want here. For example, it can be a pompadour, a crew cut or even a quiff. Of course, you will have to know how to cut, shape, and style all those hairstyles as well.
How to Style a Drop Fade
The most important thing to remember when it comes to the drop fade is the following. The flashy, Hollywood type which is also called a stark skin fade is indeed cool. But it grows out incredibly quickly. Therefore, it works well if you have a stylist on hand. Or if you’re ready to spend a lot of money and a lot of time going in and out of your barber’s place.
However, if that option doesn’t sound appealing to you, and you’re looking for something easier to style, we have another solution. The soft fade will give you some space to dance around styling it.
Of course, you also need to understand that a fantastic haircut isn’t just the responsibility of your barber. He or she can only cut your hair and lay the groundwork. But after that, it’s up to you to style your locks as best as possible every single day.
So, let’s talk about hair styling products.
What Styling Products Should I Use for a Fade?
Everything depends on what type of hair you have and how long it is. If you have longer hair and want to give it some texture, go for sea salt spray. It’s natural and will leave your hair crunchy and textured but without feeling clumpy and gluey like old-time hairspray used to do. On the other hand, you should know that sea salt spray tends to dry your hair a bit, so take that into account.
If you’re looking to give your tresses some natural movement, matte hair clay is the way to go. It will be practically invisible, since it is matte. But it will still hold your hair, nourish it, and make it look perfectly imperfect. This is the right choice of product for tousled looks that say – I just woke up and, somehow, I look picture perfect already! #iwokeuplikethis
High Drop Fade
A high top fade is just one more element that makes this already awesome haircut even more badass than it already was. The hair is a lot longer on top and mixes seamlessly with the arches on the bottom.
Pomades for Fades
Let’s move on to pomade. This is the new version of a product as old as hair styling itself. You’ll be happy to find out that your grandfather probably used pomade as well. But, of course, not the same formula we have today. The pomades of old included Brylcreem for example. It was invented back in 1928. Here’s a fun fact. You can still buy it today if you want and it has oil, water, and beeswax in its composition.
Modern pomades are mostly water-based. The reason is that the old ones were very difficult to wash off given their oily or waxy composition. Not the modern ones though. Seeing as they are water-based, they come off after one shampooing. Plus, they have wonderful floral, vanilla or tobacco flower scents that will delight you. When it comes to you hair, you can use a pomade if you want a slick and shiny finish for your hair.
Drop Fade with Waves
If it’s not curls, it has to be waves, right? That’s what we always say! If you don’t have wavy hair, try to create a few using a hair straightener. You will be amazed at the results!
What about you?
Are you eager to try a drop fade after reading this article? And if so, which version will you go for? A shiny one with lots of pomade, a textured drop fade or a super modern one combined with a pompadour or a Mohawk? Let us know in the comment section below!