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Clippers Not Required: A Guide To Men’s Scissor Fade Haircuts

Highly technical faded haircuts are ubiquitous in modern barbering. Every classic hairstyle imaginable has at some point been reimagined with a razor-sharp high fade or a seamlessly smooth taper fade, to the point of it becoming the default setting for short back and sides cuts. But barbers haven’t always relied on clippers to get the job done. In fact, even now it’s still entirely possible to get a perfect fade using nothing but a pair of scissors.

The scissor fade is a technique that has been around for as long as people have been cutting their hair. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a softer alternative to the extreme skin fades that dominate the current men’s hair landscape and can be worn with a variety of hairstyles to suit every face shape and taste.

It uses simple tools, but it requires a skilled hand. For this reason we’d advise you to pay your barber a visit with a clear vision of the type of scissor fade hairstyle you’d like. To help you get to that point, we’ve delved into the ins and outs of this classic cutting technique, including who it suits, the key styles, and just what exactly it is anyway.

What Is A Scissor Fade Haircut?

In a classic case of ‘does what it says on the tin’, a scissor fade is a cutting technique whereby scissors are used to transition between different lengths of hair smoothly. Short at the bottom, up to longer hair further up. It’s done using a method that barbers and stylists refer to as ‘scissor over comb’ and it can create a smooth, blended look without the need for any electronic gadgets.

Where buzzed fades tend to start very short and look extremely precise, a scissor fade creates a more natural look with slightly longer lengths. For this reason, it can be a good match for styles that feature a bit of length on top and are more relaxed and laid-back.

Will A Scissor Fade Haircut Suit Me?

Chances are, yes it will. The great thing about a scissor fade is that it’s not particularly extreme and is therefore highly versatile. Styles like high fades and disconnected undercuts work best on certain face shapes because of their exaggerated looks but the scissor fade is a jack of all trades.

Naturally, a big part of who it suits comes down to the way it’s worn. There are countless ways to style a scissor fade with different types of cut, but there are some fundamental truths that apply across the board.

Firstly, people with very long, thin faces should avoid any sort of style that adds too much height. All this will do is draw the face out more, making it appear even longer than it is. Secondly, if you have a large forehead, you should steer clear of styles that might highlight this or make it appear bigger. Anything dramatically swept up and off the face can be problematic. Generally speaking, though, a scissor fade is a pretty safe bet, irrespective of face shape.

Key Scissor Fade Haircuts

As touched upon, there’s more than one way to wear a scissor fade. This is a cutting technique that can be incorporated into any short to mid-length hairstyle you could care to imagine, but there are some cuts that work better than others.

From classic crew cuts to trendy textured crops, these are the key scissor fade hairstyles you should know.

Crew Cut With Scissor Fade

The crew cut is a true classic. For many decades it has served as the default setting for men’s hair and if you step into any back-alley barbershop this is most likely what you’ll be served.

It’s short at the back and sides, and slightly longer on top; the original short back and sides cut, but also something of a blank canvas. It’s also low maintenance and easy to style, making it an excellent option for those who often find themselves pressed for time.

Textured Crop With Scissor Fade

Undoubtedly one of the most popular haircuts of the last decade, the textured crop is a tousled style that’s playful up top while keeping things clean and crisp at the back and sides.

Styled with a textured wax or clay, the hair is usually pushed forwards with a short fringe to the front. Add in a scissor fade for a slightly more subtle take on a modern classic.

Pompadour With Scissor Fade

One of only a handful of timeless styles that have remained steadfast in their appeal over the decades, the pompadour is a lofty cut that’s sure to make a statement. In recent years, we’ve seen this style increasingly worn with skin fades, undercuts and the like, but incorporating a simple scissor fade is a great way to stay true to the style’s mid-century heyday.

Just be warned that it’s not the easiest hairdo in the world to style, so if you lack the patience for daily blow-dryer sessions and pomade application, you may want to consider something else.

Ivy League With Scissor Fade

This classic cut is a slightly longer take on the crew cut. It features mid-length hair on top with a side part and is sometimes worn styled into a loose quiff at the front.

It’s a style that works extremely well with a scissor fade and will suit those in search of a timeless yet stylish cut that won’t look out of place around the office.

This sums up our list, for sure you will find something suitable to your taste.

For your man's haircut, you can check Bali Barber and make a book here:

article written by Paddy Maddison for

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