All products recommended on have been chosen by our editorial and research team. We may receive a commission on qualifying purchases made through our affiliate links.

How To Cut Your Own Hair With Clippers Fade

Last Updated on November 30, 2021

How To Cut Your Own Hair With Clippers Fade

Are you trying to cut your hair into a fade but can’t quite get the hang of it?

A fade haircut is a modern and popular cut that blends your hair from top to bottom. This tapered style offers a fresh, clean look that will have you turning heads wherever you go.

For those of you who don’t want to go to the barbers and feel you can achieve the look by yourself then follow our step-by-step instructions and you’ll master the style in no time.

Now, if you’re new to using clippers then you may want to check out our article on how to cut hair with clippers for a broader look at how to make the most of your hair clippers.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to buy a new pair of clippers to cut your own hair into a taper fade then we have a guide detailing the best hair clippers for men.

But that aside, let’s begin.

Fade Line

Fade on the sides can be applied to almost any man’s haircut. Fades are when short hair on your sides fades in towards the top of your hair which is longer on top. These faded sides can be subtle or more prominent and can be cut almost anywhere into the sides of your head.

Low, medium, and high fade haircuts are the most common and these can be achieved with short hair or long hair.

Depending on which you choose, this determines where your fade line begins. The hair below the fade line is also going to be tapered to your desired shortness or down to the skin.

If you don’t want to trim your hair down to the skin for a bald fade, begin by blending the different lengths slightly above your ear. Move upward from this position to the hair you’re leaving on top while being mindful of your desired length.

Low Fade

One of the best things about fade haircuts is that they can easily be tailored to suit your tastes meaning there’s room to experiment which is always fin when styling your hair. For example, if you want a look that’s understated yet still utterly stylish, the low fade haircut makes an excellent choice.

Mid Skin Fade

For a standard fade look, we’d say to go for a mid-fade cut. Transitioning from long to short around the temples, this haircut appears stylish and smart.

High Fade

Featuring sides that quickly taper from long to short, the high fade is a striking and stylish look. This is probably the most difficult of the three as doing it wrong will be very noticeable and hard to amend so seek a barber’s help.


Clipper Length And Guard Size

The guard length is also an important part of cutting your fade hair. Clipper guard sizes indicate how short or long the fade cut will be so you should consider this carefully.

As a rule of thumb, always start with a longer clip guard as you can always cut shorter if it’s too long but hair growth can be slow so you can’t afford to make mistakes by starting with a guard shorter than you wanted.

Here are the numbers and guard sizes:

  • Number 1 – one-eighth of an inch
  • Number 2 – one-quarter of an inch
  • Number 3 – three-eighths of an inch
  • Number 4 – one-half of an inch
  • Number 5 – five-eighths of an inch
  • Number 6 – three-quarters of an inch
  • Number 7 – seven-eighths of an inch
  • Number 8 – one inch

The Perfect Fade: Preparation

Before you cut hair and give yourself a fade, you need to do a few things beforehand to ensure that you have precise cuts that look good.

Wash Hair

One of the most important things to do before cutting your hair is to wash it with shampoo and conditioner. This is important because clean hair is often easier to cut than dirty, greasy hair with leftover hair products still in it. Once, your hair is dry, comb it to remove any existing tangles and dry it thoroughly with a towel or blow dryer as damp or wet hair is tricky to cut with hair clippers. Check out our article on how to properly shampoo men’s hair for more tips.

Fade Type

The last step is to know which hairstyle you want. Do you want a short fade, buzz cut, etc? Skin fades are popular but you can always keep your hair longer if you don’t like the bald look on the sides. Consider your face shape and hair type too before you do this as this can impact how good certain men’s hairstyles look.

Test Your Clipper

You need good clippers before you trim any hair. Check that the battery is full, the blades are clean, and lubricated with clipper oil, as well as ensure that the blades are sharp and not dull. If you do have dull blades then you can rectify that by following the steps in our article “how to sharpen hair clippers“.


This doesn’t have to be anywhere too specialist. So long as you have a sink, good lighting, and a worktop to put everything you’ll be fine. Any standard bathroom will work perfectly.

Clipper Kit

You need the right tools so get everything you need, even the things you’re not certain you’ll use, and keep them close by. Here’s some of the stuff you may want to consider keeping handy:

  1. Clippers
  2. Clipper guards
  3. Soft towel or cloak
  4. Fine-toothed comb
  5. Spray bottle (water)
  6. Scissors
  7. Hair clip

How To Cut Your Own Fade: A Step By Step Guide

  1. Height – Firstly, you need to choose the position of your fade line. Deciding where to place your fade line is entirely based on preference so this is down to you and how you want your own hair to look.
  2. Length – Next, before you cut your own hair, decide how long or short your fade is going to be. The length you choose dictates which guard you select for your clippers.
  3. Bottom – You’re going to start at the bottom of your hairline with the shortest guard length you want to use and trim in an upward motion, in short, even strokes. Do this on the sides and back of your head keeping the hair short.
  4. Change Guard – When you’re ready to fade into a different length, switch to your higher guard of choice and use this further up the sides and back of your head. use a handheld mirror to keep an eye on all the hair and ensure it’s even.
  5. Blend (1) – Now start fading. You need to blend the sides and back so the difference in length doesn’t look so stark. the best way to do this is by combing your hair straight up from your head and leaving a short amount exposed over the teeth of the comb for you to trim with the clippers. If you want your hair to remain longer, then you’ll only trim a small portion at this stage.
  6. Blend (2) – Alternatively, you could use a guard length in between the others you used. For example, if you used a 2 and a 4 then blend them together with a 3.
  7. Details – Once you’ve done this, use a set of trimmers to clean your neckline, hairline, ear arches, and sideburns. These finishing touches will complete the fade and make it look professional, neat, and stylish.
  8. Top – Once you’ve finished the blending process and are satisfied with the sides you can move on to the top of your hair. You’ll always want longer hair on top compared to your sides unless you’re going for a buzz cut. Either leave it as it is if you’re already happy with how it looks or give it a slight trim with your hair clippers or a pair of scissors and comb for more minor alterations.
  9. Rinse – Once you’re done it’s always best to hop in the shower and rinse off all the loose hair stuck to the head, neck, face, and body.
  10. Dry – Pat your hair dry with a soft towel or blow dry it.
  11. Style – If there’s a particular style you want then get your chosen hair product and get styling. Check out our article on how to style men’s hair for more tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a fade haircut last?

Tight fade haircuts will usually need to be maintained every 2 or 3 weeks to keep it looking consistent. however, depending on your fade length and hair regrowth rate you may be able to push this back to every 4 or 5 weeks.

What is a normal fade haircut?

A fade essentially means a transition of lengths and color on the back & sides of the hair. This means that the hair is not all buzzed to one length and has some sort of variation of lengths blended in together.

Should I get a fade or taper?

When you’re deciding between a taper and a fade think about your face shape and which haircuts tend to suit someone of your stature. If you’re looking for a safer more conforming look then taper is more likely to be your best choice. Whereas if you want to stand out or show off a little then a fade is the way to go.

How do I know what fade to get?

The higher your fade, the more your head will be on show. Find out your head shape and choose a fade cut that best suits it. If you don’t like the shape of your head then try a traditional fade cut or you can leave your hair a little longer to cover up your head shape.

Latest guides
Best Rodan+ Fields Products
Best Rodan+ Fields Products

[Review] in 2022  written by nail expert Jess RowleyCheck out the results fast - here are our review winners[dica_divi_carousel item_width_tablet="400px" item_width_phone="345px"...

Related Post: Best Hair Brushes For Every Hair Type