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Last updated: June 28, 2021

4 Cutting Tips For Seamless Fades & Better Blends

Justin Thomas @fearlesshairdresser Hattori Hanzo Fading Tips Men's Cuts Barbering Fades Sport Clips Student Look winners workshop fade technique
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Men’s Cutting: 4 Blending Tips For Fades & Non-Tapered Cuts

We just got back from hanging in Vegas at Sport Clips’ National Huddle so we’re in a betting mood and we can confidently bet that fades and blends are some of the most requested cuts among your male clientele. That’s why we made sure to pop into the hands-on workshop with Justin Thomas (@fearlesshairdresser) and “The Look: Student Edition” winners so we could grab some of Justin’s top tips for seamlessly blending fades, non-tapered cuts and layers. Keep scrolling to find out what he shared!


“The Look: Student Edition” is an online competition for beauty school students to showcase their cutting and styling skills. The winners are then invited to attend the Huddle AND a hands-on cutting workshop where they learn classic men’s cuts.


1. The Technique For Seamlessly Blended Fades

Want to blend fades much faster? Let us introduce you to the guard skipping, or skip guard, technique. It consists of putting in the major lengths and the in-between lengths and then blending. So instead of starting with your 1 guard and working up to 2, 3 and 4, use each guard intermittently. “Once you figure out the different lengths that work together, you can start eliminating some of the guards in your steps,” Justin shares.


There’s no set pattern when it comes to guard skipping but in his classes, Justin teaches stylists to start with the 1½ guard, then move to the ½ guard, then the zero guard and finish with the 1 guard. Then, either bald out the bottom or leave it as zero.


Watch The Video How-To Below (With The Sound On!)

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2. Where To Start With Layers

Layering is easier to achieve with a traveling guide, so Justin likes to start his just beneath the parietal ridge using a scissor over comb technique with the comb at a 90°angle. From there, he’ll elevate subsequent sections beneath that first cut that are about the width or half-width of his comb, connecting all the way down until he runs out of hair. 


3. Blending & Scissor Over Comb

The secret to blending when using a scissor over comb technique has to do with the angle of the comb. A lot of stylists tend to turn their comb to a 45°angle because they think it’ll result in a cleaner look, but it actually creates gaps and gives a gradient—which is great for fades but not layers and other non-tapered cuts. Because he won’t want to commit to wearing hats until his hair grows out, keep the comb at a 90°angle instead.


Justin Thomas @fearlesshairdresser Hattori Hanzo Fading Tips Men's Cuts Barbering Fades Sport Clips Student Look winners workshop fade technique
Justin sharing his technique for achieving the perfect fade with the student winners—Jesse Frank, Rebecca Price, Nathan Hernandez, Lizbeth Gonzales and Miranda Clark.


4. Body Position Matters

Have you ever really considered how you stand when cutting? If not, you should start because as Justin likes to say, “Haircutting is relative.” Meaning if the body position is sloppy, the cut will turn out sloppy. If the body position is rigid or square, the cut will look rigid and square. So what’s the ideal position? It depends on what’s comfortable for you but Justin says generally the knees and feet should be shoulder-width apart, the knees should be unlocked (so your legs don’t stiffen up!) and then most sections should be lifted between the heart and chin when cutting.

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