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What’s the difference between an undercut and a fade?

Knowing the difference between an undercut vs a fade can help you communicate with your barber to get the results you want.

Words matter. You want to be sure you’re asking for the right thing. So, do yourself a favor, and learn how to describe your vision.

Here’s the difference between the two cuts at its most basic.

An undercut is a real close cut on the sides and back of the head. On the sides, it stops just around the middle of the ear. It leaves all the hair on top long as-is or may come styled up in a pompadour or fro. Celebrities get this cut, so that means anyone who wants to get attention. It’s not bad. It’s just true.

A fade is any cut that’s clipped close on the side with long hair up top. A fade blends the sides with the top instead of just stopping. It’s just a clean look that frames a man’s face right, and it tells people you’re put together in how you look and everything else.

The undercut is bold but doesn’t work for everyone.

Like I said, an undercut has long hair on top with the sides and back shaved or cut very short. There’s no transition.

You have to work to keep that straight cut where people can see. It’s high maintenance and doesn’t look good on everyone. But, when the undercut is cut nicely on the right face and solid head of hair—well, it’s the kind of cut that turns heads.

The disconnected undercut separates the bottom and top completely.

Typically with a disconnected undercut, you shave with a clipper guard length of 1-3, and there’s zero taper. That means an even more noticeable difference in lengths. Like a castle moat between the back and sides and the top.

The disconnected undercut is on its way out, as far as what guys are wearing in the magazines. That doesn’t mean it won’t look good on you.

A fade is clean and classic.

Various haircuts fall under the umbrella of “the fade,” but one thing is consistent: your hair gradually decreases in length, with longer hair on top becoming shorter hair at the bottom.

The fade has a ton of variations.

  • High fade: starts above the temples
  • Mid fade: begins around the middle of the head
  • Low fade: starts just above the ears
  • Skin fade or bald fade: tapers down to the skin

There’s a fade for every man.

Simply put, it works with pretty much every face shape and hair type. The fade is also fairly low maintenance, as long as you’re not going for a skin fade or similar.

Visit George the Classic Barber for an undercut or fade.

Still undecided in the undercut vs fade debate? Forget trends. The point is to look good, and we do both cuts better than anybody in Fort Worth.

Book an appointment.

– George, The Classic Barber

Meet the Author

George Burrola, aka “George The Classic Barber,” is widely considered to be among the finest barbers in Fort Worth, earning a reputation over his 20-year career as a master of fades, straight razor shaves, and innovative skin care techniques.

George holds a barber’s license from the state of Texas and continues to deliver exceptional cuts and good company for generations of Fort Worth men and their sons.

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