How To Fade Hair The Easy Way
Matty Conrad’s Guide To An Easy Mid-Fade
*Cue Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song* Ahhhh, the fade.
A style so classic we’ve seen it jump decade to decade adding a new twist and trend each time. Lucky for us, our good friend and barber extraordinaire Matty Conrad (@mattyconrad), founder of Victory Barber & Brand, has all the tips and tricks for a seamless, easy to achieve fade!
Consider this your Cliff’s Note version of Matty’s Youtube video, “How To Fade The Easy Way”, that you can watch above.
- Adjustable clipper
- 0.5 guard
- 1 guard
- 1.5 guard
- Soft bristle brush
- ARC Paragon II Scissors
- Texturizing shears
A key component to a service as intricate as a fade is making sure you and your client are expecting the same outcome. Reference as many photos as you can and explain the complexities that may or may not work depending on your clients hair type and texture.
1. The Prep Work
Wet and separate the top of the hair. With your adjustable clipper, establish a weight line using the clipper over comb technique, slightly flaring the comb out to create a clean weight line. Cut the rest of the lower side to a uniform length.
Matty’s Tip: Be conscious of how thick the comb you are using is. This is very important when using a clipper right against the scalp for proper hair length in sections!
With a soft bristle brush, direct the section down to set the skin line just below the parietal point with a trimmer—approximately one finger width and a half up from the ear. Next, “punch in” the rest of the skin line with the trimmer through the back of head and remove hair up to the line you just created.
Matty’s Tip: To keep lines clean and linear, use the corner edge of the trimmer to create an arc shape behind the ear. This prevents corners or rough edges and can also be used to fix indentations in tighter areas.
Now, set the clipper open all the way and push the skin line up by a half inch using a slight rocking motion at the top to soften the line. Close the clipper down by half and go over the same section again, blending about halfway in the middle of the section. Close the clipper all the way and work along the bottom shadow to remove the extra line.
2. Perfecting The Fade
Apply the 1 guard and open all the way up. Take a much larger section over the weight line and blend upwards with rocking motions. To ensure all of the hair is even, turn the clipper on its side and go into the grain of the hair, angling on its side and pushing forward. Then, close the clipper and blend slightly lower than the highest line you have made.
Now, apply the 0.5 guard and open the clipper all the way. Go over the same section you just cut to make sure everything is uniform. Next, close the clipper halfway and blend out the line until it disappears.
Close the clipper all the way and blend out the final line. Repeat all steps on the other side of head (refer to 7:19 in video below to review all steps to this point).
Matty’s Tip: Blending under the occipital bone seamlessly can be difficult. Using the “crossing corners” trick, use just the corner of the clipper to go across the occipital bone in both directions back and forth until you achieve a blend.
Refine the top weight line all around the entire head to make sure it is clean and even. Remember: flare comb away from the head to protect all corners. Place comb vertically to create clean angel from the occipital outwards.
3. Cleaning Up The Back
Thoroughly wet the hair and section across the top of the head, pushing the front section forward and letting the rest drape down over the crown. Create diagonal sections toward the occipital bone, draw the hair out to the weight line, and use that as a guide to cut the section with ARC Paragon II Scissors. Stand on the opposite side of the head and comb remaining hair over to the side you just cut, the repeat these steps.
Matty’s Tip: Each time you take a section towards the center, draw hair completely out to the side. This allows you to build length towards the interior, helping prevent a jumpy crown. Here, always keep fingers pointed towards the occipital bone to control elevation and create clean lines that smooth back together.
4. Shaping The Top
Take the top section and overdirect it to the back. Cut the hair in a descending fashion so the longest hair is about 3.5 inches next to the part line and 2.5 inches towards the outside of the head shape. Continue to cut hair to the same angle as the previous section.
Work forward in about half-inch sections, drawing hair back to repeat cutting technique, matching up to the previous section. As you work forward, you will begin increasing the length of the hair, making the longest hair right at the front hairline.
5. Styling And Texturizing
Apply Victory Barber and Brand PRIMER for added texture to allow for lift, then begin blow-drying the hair in the opposite direction you want it to flow when finished. Use a wrap drying technique to smooth down the back of hair to create a polished look.
Use texturizing shears to blend at the weight line where the top collides with the fade. Elevate the weight line using a cutting comb with a texturizer over comb technique at the very ends of the hair to break up any hard lines. Outline with a trimmer to create clean and strong lines.
Matty’s Tip: Be very careful you are not disturbing the natural hairline or creating a new one. We are simply making clean edges with this line up.
Grab Victory Brand and Barber CLAYMORE and rake through hair to create a separated, structured look and control frizz and flyaways. Clean edges with a foil shaver to remove any last bits of stubble to create a true fade in the sideburn area and in the nape.