How to Cut the Perfect Skin Fade

A fade is a classic men’s haircut and one that will be on trend time and time again. So, it's an important haircut for beauty pros to master. Below, award-winning hairdresser Jim Shaw shares his top tips for helping achieve the perfect fade in the salon/barbershop for your clients.

  1. Ensure you have the right tools beforehand, including clippers with a comb guard that you'll use for the majority of the skin fade. I love to use clippers that are cordless to allow for maximum control. You'll also want scissors and a barber comb to allow you to make the cut more precise and clean, getting as close to the head as possible.
  2. Always start around 1 inch above the ears as a guideline. Cut the hair with the 0 setting on your clippers from the bottom of the hairline up to the guideline and work your way around the head.
  3. Repeat the above process directly above the guideline point but change your clipper setting up a notch. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the sides of the head.
  4. Don’t rush—but ensure you have rhythm as you work on your fade.You don’t want to take away chunks of the hair or have any imperfections. Start slowly, build the rhythm and gain confidence.
  5. Ensure the cut has a flawless blend. If you have any imperfections, you can always go back over them or use your scissors to help clean up the look.
  6. Use your hair tools to sharpen up the sides and accentuate the look.
  7. Finish the look with styling products that will enhance the cut. I particularly like to use products like American Crew Boost Powder that give further volume to the hair on top that’s longer in length and give the look a more dramatic statement or pomades and waxes with a matte finish like Label M Matt Paste to help give the hair shape while also having a natural finish.