Undercut vs Fade, both hairstyles are popular, but the question is: What’s the difference between these two?
An undercut has a clear, abrupt contrast between the top and shaved sides and back, while a fade features a gradual, blended transition.
To make it easier to understand, let’s move on to pictures, where we’ll dive deeper into it.
Undercut vs Fade: Main Difference With Pictures
As you can see in the picture, an undercut (left) is a much more aggressive-looking haircut than a fade.
An undercut is a haircut where the top part of your hair is much longer than the sides and back, and there’s a noticeable, sharp difference between the longer top hair and the very short sides and back. While fade is just a style (you can even call it “sauce”) that can be added to your haircut.
Now take a look at this picture. Both hairstyles are the same on top, while one on the left is clean shaven on the sides and back, and the second one has a fade on the sides and back.
The main difference between undercut and fade is connection. The Undercut doesn’t have the sides and the back of the hair climbing slightly to the top; it’s just clean shaven or trimmed to the minimum. Because of this disconnection, Undercut is known as one of the most aggressive hairstyles that men can have.
Fade on the other hand, is just boosting the appearance of your hairstyle by giving a gradual transition from longer hair on the top of the head to shorter hair on the sides and back. This transition is achieved by blending the hair at various lengths, creating a smooth and seamless change in hair length. You can combine a fade with literally any hairstyle that is shorter on the sides and back. Now let’s move on to how to choose the right style between these two.
Undercut vs Fade: Which One Should I Choose?
Face shape is the most important factor when choosing any hairstyle. The biggest mistake someone can make is to go for a hairstyle that doesn’t complement their natural facial features. Now let’s move on to what face shapes will work great on undercut, so you don’t make a mistake and need to cut your hair again, or even worse, completely shave it off.
Face Shapes For Undercut
Best face shapes for Undercut are:
Face Shape For Fade Haircut
For Fade haircut, there is no specialized rule on which face shapes you can’t have a fade on.
What matters is how long your hair is on top of the head, as well as your personal style preferences and the guidance of a skilled barber who can adapt the fade to for your face shape. If you’re really curious about which haircut will look best on you, then check out our Haircut To Face Shape Guide. Remember, fade is only a style that can be added on an existing haircut!
If you have straight hair, you’ll go well with both undercuts and fades. Men with straight hair will not have any problems achieving the sharp contrast between the top and the sides, which is perfect for undercuts. Fades also look great on straight hair because you can style them however you want. You can also create different hairstyles from time to time. For example, you can have messy hair on top for one week, then next week change the style to slick back.
For guys with wavy hair, an undercut will be a lot harder to achieve if you want your hair to land on your forehead. But if you want your hair to be slicked back on top, then the only thing you should worry about is choosing the right hair product. For slicked undercuts, pomade or hair gel works great. Now for fades, you shouldn’t have any problems if the hair on the sides is not getting too wavy when it’s short. If it is, then zero fade or skin fade should be a style to consider.
If your hair is naturally curly, fades tend to be a more practical choice. Undercuts can be a bit tricky to execute on curly hair because the contrast between the longer top and the shorter sides and back may not be as noticeable due to the curls.
For guys with thick hair, both hairstyles will work well. If your hair is highly long on top, you might require a bit more maintenance. Overall, fades and undercuts are a great choice for thicker hair.
Thin hair can also work with both hairstyles, but if you want your hair to be longer on top, like for thick hair, you will need a few hair products to style it and keep it in place.
If you’re losing hair, an undercut can be better than a fade. Undercuts have very short and high sides that can make receding hairlines look less noticeable. The short sides blend with the hair loss, making it seem like part of your style. This works even better when the sides are shaved instead of just trimmed.
Best Undercut Hairstyles
Slicked Back Undercut
Slicked Back Undercut is great for guys who’re looking for an aggressive texture on top. Your hair length needs to be at least 6 inches on top. The only con of this hairstyle is that your hair would probably be frizzy in the morning, but it’s actually pretty easy to style it with strong hair gel.
Side Swept Undercut
A Side-Swept Undercut is a specific style that is very difficult to maintain. Most can’t go with this hairstyle because it takes too much time, but if you actually want this cut, here’s the guide:
Start with clean, slightly damp hair after washing and towel-drying.
Use a hair product like pomade or styling cream that fits your hair type and style.
Comb your hair back from your forehead.
Blow-dry it to add volume while keeping it swept back.
Guide your hair to one side with your fingers (left or right) while keeping the sides and back neat.
If you like, make a part with your comb and add some texture by gently ruffling your hair with your fingers.
If needed, use a light spritz of hairspray to keep the style in place.
Bun Undercut Hairstyle
Bun Undercut is one of the easiest long hairstyles to maintain. Your hair needs to be at least 7 inches long, so there is enough length for the upper hair on top to be tied in a bun. From what I see, most of the older guys who rock this hairstyle have full beard, which creates a serious biker look.
Best Fade Hairstyles
Slicked Back With Skin Fade
Slicked back hairstyle with any type of fade, particularly a skin fade, is a fantastic combination. The sleek and polished look achieved by slicking the hair back pairs seamlessly with the clean and sharp contrast of a skin fade. You will need only one product, pomade or hair cream, to keep your upper hair slicked and that’s it.
Mid Fade Buzz Cut
Buzz Cut with Mid Fade is a classic low maintenance style. This is a great hairstyle for guys who love simplicity and don’t want to bother with any hair products.
Side Part With High Fade
For the Side Part, your hair length on top needs to be at least 4 inches, while the upper hair on the sides is cut with scissors. High Fade adds a great contrast to this style, with the hair gradually getting shorter as you move down towards the bottom. The combination of a side part and a high fade creates a polished and stylish appearance that’s both classic and contemporary.
What is the difference between an undercut and a fade?
An undercut is a hairstyle where the sides and back of the head are shaved, while a fade is a haircut technique that gradually tapers the length of the hair from the top down to the sides and back, creating a smooth and blended transition.
How to know if an undercut will look good on me?
If you have Triangle, Oblong, Diamond, or Oval face shape undercut will look good on you. But if your hair type is wavy or curly, it might be better to stay away from it because it would be hard to achieve hair to lay on your forehead.
What are the cons of having an Undercut?
Sides of the head are shaven, and the hair on neck grows too quickly, so you will always need to visit the barber every 2 weeks
When did Undercut become popular?
The undercut became widely popular when the TV show “Peaky Blinders” was first released in 2013. Characters in the show have disconnected undercuts that became iconic and synonymous with the show’s gritty and stylish aesthetic. As a result, the undercut quickly gained popularity, not just as a fashion statement but as a cultural phenomenon.