A Men’s Guide for How to Fade a Beard

Creating a beard fade is not something most men think about when they first try to grow a beard – it’s just not really a consideration as most of our thoughts gravitate toward how the beard is going to grow and look. However, once they’ve grown a gorgeous set of facial hair, most men quickly realize the bear-to-hair fading problem.

Put as simply as possible – if you don’t address the fading situation, there tends to be a serious gap on and around your sideburns where the beard and the scalp hair meet. If it’s not addressed with a fade cut, that gap tends to stick out and make your whole look seem a bit unkempt.

So, how to fade a beard? Regardless of whether your beard is longer and you have a really short or bald hair, or your beard is shorter but you’ve let your hair grow out a little, the principles of how to fade your beard are the same. Suffice it to say that in almost all cases, unless you have really long hair, you’ll need to cut some kind of a fade.

The preparations

As with any other hair grooming situation, before you start waving the razors around you must make sure that your beard, your hair, and your face are in the perfect condition for the task at hand. Having an unprepared beard or hair will mean that you won’t be able to be precise with your fade cut which will ruin its whole purpose. So, here’s what you need to do first:

  • Start with a clean slate. Before you do anything else you have to make sure that your beard, hair, and face are well-prepared. Give yourself a nice wash with a moisturizing shampoo and a conditioner, towel-dry your beard and your hair carefully, and then brush them to straighten them out. Having any dirty or entangled hair before you start will ruin the trim and the fade.
  • Set the base length you’ll work with. The point of a good fade is to make your beard flow better into your hair. To do that you must first set both your beard and hair to their ideal length. So, pick up the razor and trim your beard and mustache to what you want them to look like. We’ll be assuming that you’ve already gotten a haircut and your hair is as you want it as well. If not – do that as well.

If you’re wondering if there is a “right” beard length for a fade, there really isn’t – you can create a fade from any beard length into any hair length. The more drastic the length of the is, the more “dramatic” the fade will be and vice versa – the more similar your beard and your hair are in length, the more subtle the fade is going to be. Both can work well, however, if you do them right.

  • Straighten out your neckline. Not really related to the fade, however, since you’re shaving, sharpening your neckline and cheeks is pretty much a mist for achieving a good look. Brush your beard downwards to be aware of its exact length and then trim horizontally just above your Adam’s apple. Work outwards under your jawline on both sides. After that, just clean up with a close shave on your new neckline.
  • Do the same for your cheek line. This is an often skipped step but it’s actually both very important for achieving a good look and it is also related to the fade as your cheek line starts from your sideburns. Simply use your electric razor and create an almost straight, slightly curved, clean line from your sideburns to your mustache. Then, as with your neckline, clean it up with a close shave.
  • While you’re at the mustache, trim it as well. Most bearded men get used to having a longer mustache eventually as they learn to ignore the tingling of the hairs on their upper lip. And unkempt mustache looks bad, however, and can easily overshadow a nice fade and ruin a good look. So, don’t let go of your electric razor just yet – comb your mustache down and carefully trim it to a nice, even length.

Fade your beard

Now, for the most important part. Regardless of whether you want to learn how to fade a beard into a bald head or just how to fade a short beard, the key steps are always the same.

  1. Determine the length of your beard beneath your sideburns and the length of your hair above them. You can simply use the razor safeguard’s lengths as a measurement unit, you don’t need to measure the exact millimeters. The number of different guard lengths will be the number of different steps your fade is going to need to take. If you’re bald, then your hair’s length is essentially zero with an unguarded razor the first “step” after it.
  2. Now that you know how many razor guard lengths of a difference there are between your hair and your beard, and you know how many “steps” your trim is going to need to take, determine how much space you have to work with. The typical “step” for a fade is one inch wide but it can be narrower if you need to do a more dramatic fade – half an inch or even a third of an inch. Your sideburns offer limited space for the fade so make sure you use it well.
  3. After you’ve decided on how wide each step of the fade is going to start with the first step by trimming an inch above your jawline with the blade set to one setting shorter than the rest of your beard. Trim an inch (or less if you’re going to need more steps) toward your sideburn.
  4. After you’re done with that first step, shorten the blades’ guard again and move another step (an inch or less) toward your sideburns.
  5. Repeat this process until you’ve reached your hairline and you’ve created a nice, even fade that flowed perfectly from your beard to your hair.
  6. Repeat the whole thing for the other side as well.
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