Want to try out a zero fade cut? Curious what a zero fade even is? This guide will explain everything you need to know.
If you’ve ever seen a male model or influencer with a sharp, edgy haircut, then you’ve probably seen the zero fade in action.
It’s no secret that many fashionable guys’ hairstyles are based around the idea of the fade, but the zero fade takes the concept to its extreme.
The zero fade is a far cry from a polished side part, so if you’re looking for something daring and youthful, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is a Zero Fade Haircut?
A zero fade is made by buzzing the hair on the sides with exposed clipper blades. This is the shortest possible setting and only leaves a layer of faint stubble behind.
The zero fade is simply the sum of its parts. Zero refers to the setting on the clippers, known as #0 (which means no guard is used), and the fade refers to the fact that the hair suddenly gets shorter.
You’ll often come across the terms “skin fade” and “bald fade” when reading about zero fades, but these are not the same thing.
A skin or bald fade (the terms are interchangeable) is made by fading the sides all the way down to the skin, often using a straight razor. In contrast, a zero fade still leaves a tiny bit of hair above or around the ear.
Many barbers and stylists are familiar with the term zero fade, but you can ask for one simply by saying you want the sides faded down to a zero. Of course, it helps to know how to talk to your barber first.
The Best Zero Fade Haircuts for Men
Interested in getting a zero fade style? Here are 13 great options in order from shortest to longest:
After years of sky-high quiffs and brushed-back undercuts dominating the men’s hair scene, short haircuts are experiencing a comeback, this short crop is a great example of why.
It’s a simple yet stylish look that gets its visual interest from its lines and textures. The top is short but styled forward for movement, and the squared-off temples transition smoothly into the zero faded sides.
The zero fade is particularly effective at creating a crisp, sharp look that can upgrade even the most basic of hairstyles, as proven by this zero faded buzz cut.
This is simply a burr cut with faded sides, but that simplicity results in a fresh yet familiar style. The low-mid zero fade creates a smooth transition from the skin into the hair and helps everything look extra clean.
Short Afro Texture
Since zero fades excel at highlighting texture by way of contrast, they also pair well with many black men’s hairstyles.
This short textured look really allows the kinky hair on top to shine. The high disconnected zero fade creates maximum contrast while keeping things neat for a polished, eye-catching result.
Shorter, texture-heavy hairstyles and zero fades go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just look at this quiff, which features a high zero fade that complements the casual texture on top.
Even though the quiff is so short, the style still has lots of contrast thanks to the high fade. This is a good trick to employ if you want a clean yet low-key look.
Zero fades can be extreme, but they can also help tidy up a more relaxed style. This windswept look uses a low zero fade to add some intentionality that helps balance the scruffiness on top.
The result is a more realistic version of the “just rolled out of bed” style that still looks put together. And because it relies on short, textured hair, this style is also a fantastic choice for men with thin hair.
This weighted style is a laid-back look with a mid-high zero fade. It borrows elements from the crop, but it’s a bit more understated, which is nice for guys who don’t want a hairstyle that’s on the dramatic side.
This style is particularly versatile and will work with just about any hair type. You can leave it untouched for a natural look or style it for a more formal appearance.
Faded Side Part
It’s always been trendy to take classic hairstyles and update them, and that’s exactly why this faded side part works so well. This is a great option if you normally go for a side part but want to change things up a bit.
On the top, it’s a fairly traditional side part, but the mid zero fade on the sides brings this hairstyle into the present day. It’s a small change that makes a big impact, and it adds an extra layer of tidiness to the overall look.
Thanks to its bowl-cut-inspired hairline and top-heavy texture, the contemporary crop already has a high amount of contrast, but you can push that contrast even further with a zero fade.
This zero fade is a curved mid fade, meaning that the line where the sides blend into the top is rounded and placed roughly halfway between the ear and the temple. This creates a subtle yet eye-catching difference between the stubble-thin sides and the thick, wavy top.
One of the best ways to style curly hair is to let it do its thing but rein it in a bit. This curly fade is an excellent example of that concept in action.
The hair is relaxed and textured in the front, but the sides are crisp for balance. The mid fade also creates a nice 90-degree angle that serves as an extra touch of neatness.
High Faded Undercut
The undercut has long been one of the trendiest hairstyles for men, and it’s often paired with fades for that easily recognizable fresh vibe.
This one is a crop-style undercut with a high zero fade, and it’s a great choice if you want a look that’s more textured than it is voluminous. The top is fairly casual and messy, but the neatly faded sides keep things looking intentional.
This slick afro-textured style uses a zero fade that curves into the sideburn area to highlight the coiled hair up top.
This is a low zero fade, but if you want your hair to really pop, you can go for a mid or high fade. A nice touch is that the fade line extends behind the ear and blends into the tapered neckline.
Wonder how a hairstyle can be high-contrast yet subdued? This textured look holds the answer with its messy locks up top and a mid zero fade on the sides.
Even though the top and the sides are such different lengths, the hairstyle as a whole doesn’t feel that bold due to the drop fade that goes lower behind the ear. That fade also helps balance the heavy, forward-sweeping texture on the fringe.
The top knot is one of the most popular long men’s hairstyles, but if the sides are too long, it can look messy and unkempt. That’s why a zero fade works so well with this style.
The mid zero fade shown here not only emphasizes the contrast in lengths but also mirrors the tidiness of the hair on top. If you want more or less contrast, you can opt for a higher or lower fade.
Zero Fade FAQ
Still got some questions about the zero fade? Here are some answers that might help:
How short is a zero fade?
The length of a zero fade can vary depending on the exact type of clippers used, but generally, a zero fade leaves about 0.5mm of hair.
What is the most attractive fade haircut?
The most attractive fade haircut is totally subjective, so it’s best to pick a fade haircut that suits your hair type and overall personal style.
Overall, a zero fade is ideal for creating a clean, high-contrast look.
If you’re planning on asking for a zero fade, remember that you can adjust the height of the fade. Generally speaking, higher fades are more dramatic while lower fades are more reserved.
While the zero fade isn’t for everyone, it’s a lot more versatile than it seems at first. If you want that ultra-fresh look, then a zero fade might be right for you.
Would you ever get a zero fade haircut? Let me know in the comment section below!