How to Do a Fade Haircut by Yourself

Fade haircuts have been back in fashion recently, so more and more people are trying them out. However, as cool as these haircuts are, they do need to be maintained fairly regularly if you want to get the most out of them – approximately once every couple of weeks. And since going to a barber or a hairdresser so often can be costly, it’s smart to look into how to do a fade haircut by yourself.

If you haven’t done your own haircut before, however, a fade haircut can seem complicated and tricky to do. And sure, there’s a certain amount of finesse that goes into it, but don’t worry – it’s perfectly doable even if you’re a novice, and it doesn’t require any special equipment other than what you likely have at home anyway.

So, let’s go over how to fade your own hair at home.

What items are you going to need?

Before we start with the fade haircut step by step guide, let’s go over what you’re going to need first. There are just several basic items that you’re going to need and that you probably already have at home, however, it’s important that they are all of the high quality and in good condition.

  • Sharp hair clippers with evened and oiled blades, plus multiple and flexible guards. This is the main tool you’re going to need for a good fade haircut so it’s important that they are in a perfect condition. You don’t need any specialized hair clippers for fades – it’s enough if they have one or more guards that can easily and precisely switch in length.
  • A comb and hair scissors. If you’re going for a really short fade haircut, you’ll probably not need any of these two items. However, if you want a slightly longer or average-length haircut on the top, having sharp hair scissors and a good comb can be very valuable.
  • Hair products – a nice shampoo, a good hair conditioner, as well as a nice Aloe Vera gel or another soothing product. These are all things you should have available anyway in order to keep your hair in good condition. A moisturizing and soothing gel such as one with Aloe Vera or anything similar can be great in case your skin gets irritated by the short parts of the fade haircut.
  • A bathroom wall mirror and a handheld mirror. Some haircuts can be done with just one mirror but for a fade haircut, you do need at least two. Ideally, you’d have a multi-angled wall mirror but even just having a handheld one to help you see your back can be enough. You can also get a friend or family member to hold the mirror for you but at that point, you might as well ask them to cut the back of your hair themselves.

How to give yourself a fade?

So, let’s go over the whole process step by step. A fade haircut is really simple in principle – it’s just any haircut that’s shorter – either nearly bald or completely bald – at the bottom, and then grows longer as it goes toward the top of your head. So, what’s tricky about it is that you have to use a different cutting length on your clippers’ guards at pretty much every centimeter, half an inch, or even less.

And that’s pretty much the one basic rule of any standard fade haircut. From there, fade haircuts can be shorter or longer, they can be almost completely bald all the way through with just a barely distinguishable fade or have a very sharp and drastic fade that ends with a full set of hair at the top – however, you prefer.

Still, while the details are going to depend on the exact type of fade you’re going for, the main steps will always be the same:

  1. Wash and carefully comb your hair. That’s a rule for any haircut – you should always have a perfectly washed and combed hair if you want to make sure that the haircut will look good in the end.
  2. Prepare your mirrors and clippers. Make sure you have the right clippers lengths. Plan ahead of time how long you’ll want your hair to be, how steep the fade, and which lengths you’ll want for each section of your hair.
  3. Balance the top of your hair with hair scissors and a comb. The key to any good looking fade haircut is how well it flows from the bottom to the top. So, while the fade starts from the bottom, if your top is too long, start by cutting it with scissors to the length you want it to have in the end. This will help you figure out exactly how to balance the fade itself.
  4. Shorten the sides before you start with the fade as well, if necessary. If the sides of your hair are much longer than you want them to end up being, shorten them ahead of time as well. Don’t shorten them too much as you don’t want to ruin the fade, but bring them down to a workable length.
  5. Start cutting the fade from the bottom. Use the lowest number guard you want – 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) is usually the preferred starting length for most people but shorter fades can start from as low as 1/16 of an inch (1.5 mm).
  6. After you’ve cut about half an inch, a centimeter, or as much as you want, switch to the next length level on your clippers and cut the next portion of your hair with it. Use your handheld mirror to make sure that the sides and the back are at an even horizontal line or if you want the fade to drop at the back – to make sure that it does so evenly.
  7. Repeat this process until you reach the top of your hair. By now you should have a nice step-like set of hair, with visible lines at every step.
  8. Now it’s time to blur those lines. Use the clippers, either without a guard (if you’re confident in your hands) or with the guard set up at the middle points between the fades’ steps, to even them out. Be very careful not to ruin the fade in the process – just even out the steps between the different lengths. Again, use the handheld mirror to make sure that the sides and the back match the way you want them to.
  9. Lastly, use a razor to clean up your neck, the hair behind your ears, and all the other edges of your fade haircut.
  10. As a bonus tenth step, you can also consider styling up the top of your hair with some gel – for extra points.

And voila! With more or less 10 quick and easy steps you can create your own fade haircut and maintain it in a perfect condition once every 2 or 3 weeks for a consistently excellent look.

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