The Tips & Techniques You Need to Create
the Ultimate Clean Fade
Even if you’re the baddest fade barber on the block, you know something that all of us barbers know—the perfect fade is, well, pretty damn elusive.
Sure, we’ve all created our fair share of badass, beautiful fades on the men and women who sit down in our barbering chairs. But the perfect fade? Psh. It doesn’t exist and we’ll always be chasing after it.
At NAOB, we’re totally down to take on that elusive chase with you—that’s why we’ve created this little collaboration of tips and tricks that are destined to help you improve your fade techniques.
Have your own fade tips and tricks? We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but we highly encourage you to leave a comment on the blog to share your ultimate techniques with the rest of your barbering community. We can bet they’ll appreciate it more than you know.
But for now, let’s get to the fades. Take notes, try these out, and get your fabulous fades going ASAP.
First Things First: Know Your Fade Line
Draw that puppy out. Seriously. Use your bare shaver tool to determine your fade line before you even start. Then, get to work. Tackling this visualization first is going to be the key that ensures your fade is consistent and the same height on both sides.
Does your client have a pretty noticeable occipital section? Apply a lower fade to help subdue that bulge.
Know the Shape of Your Client’s Faces
You already know this, but it’s your job to know what type of fade is going to look best on your clients—and it’s your obligation to explain it to them (or at least try). We’re not saying it’s your job to change the mind of a super stubborn client, but you are the expert, and your professional opinion should be known before you begin.
If your client is rocking a longer head and flatter occipital, you better believe a high fade is going to look bomb. If you’re not entirely sure what will look good on your client, a medium fade is a safe, versatile choice for almost anyone.
Blend it Like Beckham
You can hate us for our really stupid pun, but you might want to hold off on that until after we drop this sage advice on you. Sure, you know that blending is important for a quality fade, but do you really know how important?
One of the most frequent mistakes that barbers make is trying to blend a fab fade with the wrong tools. Our advice? Never blend without a clipper with an adjustable lever and always make a fluid C-shape motion when you’re blending a fade. Start your blend with an open lever, then gradually shut that bad boy as you blend up.
Beard Fades For the Win
Don’t ignore the beard when you’re fading. If your client is down for a beard fade, use the shortest length of hair near the tippy-top of your client’s ear to be the starting point. Then, don’t fade past the middle of the ear.
Don’t Ignore the Outline
There are a ton of elements you need to pay attention to when creating the perfect fade, but the outline is one you simply can’t ignore. Seriously—you could totally botch the blend of the fade and it’ll still turn out A-OK, but if the outline is sub-par, it’s going to be super noticeable.
Your outline and lineup need to be the apples of your eye during the entire fade process so you can ensure it’s clean, sleek, and totally in-line. Otherwise, your fade is doomed from the start.
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