The Number 1 Fade: A Complete Guide to Mastering This Classic Haircut – Beard Beasts Skip to content


a man in a barber shop getting a number 1 fade haircut

Number 1 Fades: Complete Guide

The Number 1 Fade is a popular and stylish haircut that has become a go-to choice for many due to its clean, sharp look and low maintenance. This versatile haircut can be tailored to suit various face shapes and hair types, making it a favorite among those who want a polished appearance without spending too much time on daily upkeep.

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about the Number 1 Fade, including its different variations, benefits, and tips for achieving and maintaining the perfect fade. Whether you're visiting a barber or trying it at home, we've got you covered with all the essential information and expert advice to keep you looking your best.

What is a Number 1 Fade?

A Number 1 Fade is a stylish and versatile haircut where the hair is trimmed down to a length of 1/8 inch (or a #1 guard on clippers) on the sides and back, blending seamlessly into a longer length on top. This creates a smooth, gradual transition, giving the haircut a clean and sharp appearance. The fade can be high, mid, or low, depending on where the shortest part starts on the head.

A close-up view of a stylish Number 1 Fade haircut with a sharp transition from short, closely cropped sides to longer, well-groomed hair on top. The high fade showcases clean, precise lines, emphasizing the polished look of the fade. Perfect example of a trendy, low-maintenance hairstyle suitable for various face shapes and hair types. Ideal for those seeking a modern, professional appearance.


The fade haircut has its roots in the military, where the need for low-maintenance, regulation-compliant styles led to the popularity of closely-cropped hair. Over time, the fade transitioned from military bases to urban neighborhoods in the 1980s and 1990s, especially within African American communities. It became a canvas for barbers to showcase their skills with intricate designs and precise gradients. The Number 1 Fade is a classic variation that has stood the test of time due to its simplicity and clean look.


The Number 1 Fade remains a trendy choice for several reasons:

  1. Versatility: It suits various face shapes and hair types, making it a go-to for many.
  2. Low Maintenance: The short length requires minimal styling, perfect for those with busy lifestyles.
  3. Professional Look: Its neat and tidy appearance makes it suitable for both casual and formal settings.
  4. Cool Factor: Celebrities and athletes frequently sport this fade, boosting its popularity among fans.

Why Choose a Number 1 Fade?

  • Easy Upkeep: The short sides and back mean fewer trips to the barber.
  • Stylish Options: You can pair it with different top styles like a quiff, pompadour, or even a buzz cut.
  • Adaptable: Whether you prefer a high, mid, or low fade, the Number 1 Fade can be customized to match your style.
Quick Facts:
  • Clipper Guard: #1 (1/8 inch)
  • Ideal For: All face shapes, especially round and square
  • Popular Variations: High Fade, Mid Fade, Low Fade, Skin Fade, Taper Fade

By understanding the Number 1 Fade, its origins, and why it's a popular choice, you can better decide if this haircut is right for you. Whether you're aiming for a professional appearance or a trendy style, the Number 1 Fade offers a clean, low-maintenance look that fits any occasion.

Different Types of Number 1 Fades

The Number 1 Fade is incredibly versatile, offering various styles to suit different preferences and occasions. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types:

High Fade

Description: A High Fade starts at or above the temples, creating a striking contrast between the shaved sides and the longer hair on top. This bold style is ideal for those who want a dramatic look.

Styling Tips:

  • Bold Top Styles: Pair with a pompadour, quiff, or spiky hair for a high-impact look.
  • Regular Maintenance: Due to the sharp contrast, regular touch-ups are essential to maintain the fade’s clean lines.
  • Face Shapes: Best suited for oval and square face shapes.

Mid Fade

Characteristics: The Mid Fade begins halfway up the sides of the head, offering a balanced and versatile look that works well with various hair types and styles.

Who It Suits Best:

  • Versatility: Suitable for both professional and casual settings.
  • Blending: Provides a smoother transition from the fade to the top hair, making it less dramatic than a high fade.
  • Face Shapes: Ideal for round and rectangular face shapes.

Low Fade

How It Differs: A Low Fade starts just above the ears, offering a subtle and classic look. It’s less pronounced than high or mid fades, making it perfect for a more conservative style.

Styling Tips:

  • Subtle Elegance: Works well with traditional styles like a side part or comb-over.
  • Maintenance: Requires less frequent touch-ups compared to high fades.
  • Face Shapes: Complements all face shapes, particularly heart-shaped faces.

Skin Fade

Combining the Number 1 Fade with a Skin Fade for a Sharp Look: A Skin Fade (or bald fade) gradually fades down to the skin, offering a super clean and sharp look. When combined with a Number 1 Fade, it creates a high-contrast, edgy style.

Styling Tips:

  • Edgy and Modern: Pair with a high or mid skin fade for a contemporary look.
  • Bold Statement: Great for those who want a standout haircut.
  • Face Shapes: Works well with all face shapes, adding definition and sharpness.

Taper Fade

Subtle Differences and Style Benefits: A Taper Fade is a gradual fade that blends the hair from the neckline up towards the top, creating a clean and polished look. It’s less drastic than other fades but still offers a neat appearance.

Styling Tips:

  • Professional Look: Ideal for business settings or formal occasions.
  • Low Maintenance: Easier to maintain due to its subtlety.
  • Face Shapes: Complements all face shapes, providing a balanced look.

Quick Comparison Table

Fade Type Starting Point Ideal For Maintenance Frequency
High Fade Above temples Bold, dramatic styles High
Mid Fade Middle of head Versatile, balanced look Medium
Low Fade Above ears Subtle, conservative styles Low
Skin Fade To the skin Sharp, high-contrast appearance High
Taper Fade Neckline Clean, professional look Low

By understanding the different types of Number 1 Fades, you can choose the one that best suits your style and maintenance preferences. Whether you opt for a high fade for a bold look or a taper fade for a professional appearance, each variation offers unique benefits and styling options.

Benefits of a Number 1 Fade

Choosing a Number 1 Fade offers several advantages that make it a popular choice for many. Here’s why this haircut is a standout option:

Low Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of a Number 1 Fade is its low maintenance. Here’s why it’s so easy to manage:

  • Minimal Styling Required: The short length on the sides and back means you spend less time styling your hair each day.
  • Less Frequent Barber Visits: Depending on how fast your hair grows, you might only need a touch-up every 3-4 weeks.
  • Simple Care Routine: A quick wash and a bit of styling product for the top hair are usually all you need.

Quick Tip: For an extra boost in the mornings, use a leave-in conditioner to keep your hair soft and manageable.


The Number 1 Fade is incredibly versatile, making it a great choice for different face shapes and hair types:

  • Fits Various Face Shapes: Whether you have a round, oval, square, or heart-shaped face, there’s a fade variation that will complement your features.
  • Adapts to Different Hair Types: This fade works well with straight, wavy, curly, or coiled hair, making it a flexible option for many.
  • Pairs with Various Styles: From a quiff to a buzz cut, the Number 1 Fade can be paired with numerous top hairstyles to suit your personal style.
Face Shape Suitability Chart
Face Shape Suitable Fade Types
Round High Fade, Mid Fade
Oval All types (High, Mid, Low, Taper)
Square High Fade, Skin Fade
Heart Low Fade, Taper Fade

Professional Appearance

Another significant benefit of the Number 1 Fade is its ability to enhance your overall look, giving you a professional and polished appearance:

  • Neat and Tidy: The clean lines and smooth transition of the fade make it look well-groomed and professional.
  • Sophisticated Style: Suitable for both formal and casual settings, this haircut can be easily styled to match your outfit and occasion.
  • Boosts Confidence: A sharp haircut like the Number 1 Fade can boost your confidence, helping you feel ready for any situation, whether it’s a business meeting or a casual hangout.

Professional Look Tips:

  • Keep the Top Well-Groomed: Regular trims and the right styling products can keep the top of your hair looking sharp.
  • Facial Hair Consideration: Pair your fade with a well-maintained beard or clean-shaven look to enhance your overall appearance.

Summary of Benefits

Benefit Description
Low Maintenance Easy to manage with minimal daily styling needed
Versatility Suitable for various face shapes and hair types
Professional Look Enhances overall appearance with a neat finish

By choosing a Number 1 Fade, you’re opting for a haircut that is not only stylish but also practical and versatile. Whether you’re aiming for a low-maintenance routine, a style that fits various looks, or a haircut that enhances your professional image, the Number 1 Fade delivers on all fronts.

How to Ask for a Number 1 Fade at the Barber

Getting the perfect Number 1 Fade is all about clear communication with your barber. Here’s how to make sure you leave the barbershop with exactly what you want:


Using the right terminology is crucial. Here are key phrases and terms to help you describe your desired haircut:

  • "Number 1 Fade": Clearly state that you want a Number 1 Fade, specifying the clipper guard #1 for the sides and back.
  • Fade Variations: Be specific about the type of fade you want:
    • High Fade: "I’d like a high fade that starts above my temples."
    • Mid Fade: "Can you give me a mid fade that starts at the middle of my head?"
    • Low Fade: "I’m looking for a low fade that starts just above my ears."
    • Skin Fade: "I want a skin fade, fading down to the skin at the bottom."
    • Taper Fade: "Please give me a taper fade, starting from the neckline up."

Visual Aids

Showing pictures can significantly enhance communication. Here’s why visual aids are important:

  • Clear Expectations: Photos help your barber understand the exact look you’re aiming for.
  • Avoid Miscommunication: Visual references reduce the chances of any misunderstandings about the length and style.

Tip: Save a few photos on your phone of the fade style you like and show them to your barber.

Communication Tips

Here are some tips to ensure your barber fully understands your request:

  1. Describe the Top: Specify how you want the hair on top to be styled. For example, "I’d like to keep the top about 2 inches long and styled into a quiff."
  2. Specify Blending: Talk about how you want the transition from the sides to the top. Mention if you prefer a smooth blend or a more pronounced difference.
  3. Mention Preferences: If you have any preferences regarding sideburns or the neckline, make sure to bring them up. For example, "Can you fade the sideburns and keep a clean neckline?"
  4. Ask for Feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask for your barber’s opinion. They can provide valuable insights based on your hair type and face shape.

Sample Dialogue

Here’s a sample dialogue to help you communicate effectively with your barber:

You: "Hi, I’m looking to get a Number 1 Fade today."

Barber: "Sure, how high would you like the fade to start?"

You: "I’d like a mid fade that starts at the middle of my head. Also, I’d like to keep the top about 2 inches long and styled into a quiff. Here are some photos of what I’m aiming for."

Barber: "Got it. Do you want the fade to blend smoothly into the top?"

You: "Yes, a smooth blend would be great. Also, can you fade the sideburns and keep the neckline clean?"

Barber: "Absolutely. Anything else I should know?"

You: "That’s all, thank you!"

Quick Tips Table

Aspect What to Mention
Fade Type High, Mid, Low, Skin, or Taper Fade
Top Hair Length Specific length and style (e.g., quiff, pompadour)
Blending Preferences Smooth blend or pronounced transition
Additional Details Sideburns, neckline preferences

By using the right terminology, providing visual aids, and clearly communicating your preferences, you can ensure that your barber gives you the perfect Number 1 Fade. Don’t hesitate to speak up and share your vision—your barber is there to help you achieve the look you want!

How to Give Yourself a Number 1 Fade

Cutting your own hair might seem daunting, but with the right tools and a little patience, you can achieve a professional-looking Number 1 Fade at home. Here’s a friendly guide to help you get started:

Tools You Need

Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools:

  • Clippers: A quality set of hair clippers with a #1 guard (1/8 inch) is essential.
  • Combs: Use a wide-tooth hair comb for detangling and a fine-tooth comb for precision.
  • Mirrors: Two mirrors (one fixed and one handheld) will help you see the back of your head.
  • Scissors: Sharp hair-cutting scissors for any necessary touch-ups on top.
  • Cape or Towel: To keep hair off your clothes.
  • Spray Bottle: To dampen your hair if needed.

Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to achieving a Number 1 Fade:

  1. Prepare Your Hair:

    • Wash and dry your hair thoroughly. Clean hair is easier to cut.
    • Detangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb.
  2. Set Up Your Workspace:

    • Stand in front of a large mirror with good lighting.
    • Position a handheld mirror to help you see the back of your head.
  3. Start with the Sides and Back:

    • Attach the #1 guard to your clippers.
    • Begin cutting from the bottom of the sides and back, moving the clippers upwards in smooth, even strokes.
    • Tip: Move against the direction of hair growth for a more even cut.
  4. Create the Fade:

    • Decide where you want your fade to start (high, mid, or low).
    • Use a higher guard (e.g., #2 or #3) above the fade line to blend the hair into the longer top.
    • Gradually switch to lower guards as you move down to create a seamless transition.
  5. Blend the Top:

    • Use scissors or a higher clipper guard to trim the top to your desired length.
    • Comb through your hair and check for any uneven spots.
  6. Detailing and Cleanup:

    • Use the clippers without a guard to clean up your neckline and around the ears.
    • Check all angles in your mirrors to ensure a smooth, even fade.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To achieve a professional look, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Rushing the Process: Take your time to ensure an even and precise cut. Patience is key.
  • Using Dull Clippers: Ensure your clippers are sharp and in good condition to avoid pulling hair.
  • Skipping Blending: Proper blending is crucial for a seamless fade. Take extra time to ensure a smooth transition between lengths.
  • Ignoring the Back: Use a handheld mirror to carefully check and cut the back of your head.
  • Cutting Wet Hair: Hair shrinks when it dries, so it’s best to cut hair when it’s dry or only slightly damp.
Step Key Actions
Preparation Wash, dry, and detangle your hair
Workspace Setup Use two mirrors and ensure good lighting
Cutting Sides/Back Start with #1 guard, move upwards
Creating the Fade Blend using higher guards above fade line
Blending the Top Trim top with scissors or higher guard
Detailing Clean neckline and around ears with no guard

By following these steps and avoiding common mistakes, you can confidently give yourself a Number 1 Fade that looks professionally done. It might take a few tries to perfect your technique, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Keeping your Number 1 Fade looking sharp and fresh requires a bit of regular maintenance and care. Here’s how to ensure your fade stays stylish and neat:

Daily Care

Daily care is crucial to maintaining the crispness of your Number 1 Fade. Here are some tips:

  • Wash Regularly: Clean hair looks better and feels healthier. Use a gentle mens hair shampoo to avoid stripping your hair of natural oils.
  • Moisturize: Use a light hair conditioner to keep your hair soft and manageable. This is especially important if you have curly or coily hair.
  • Brush and Comb: Regularly brush or comb your hair to prevent tangles and keep your style in place.

Daily Care Tips Table

Care Step Action
Washing Use gentle shampoo, wash every 2-3 days
Moisturizing Apply light conditioner after washing
Brushing Use a brush or comb to style daily

Products to Use

Choosing the right products can make a big difference in maintaining your fade. Here are some recommended products:

Product Recommendations Chart

Product Type Recommended Brands
Shampoo Shea Moisture, Cantu
Conditioner Paul Mitchell, Aussie
Pomade/Wax Suavecito, American Crew
Matte Clay Baxter of California, Hanz de Fuko
Leave-In Conditioner Cantu, Moroccanoi


To keep your Number 1 Fade looking its best, regular touch-ups are essential. Here’s a guide on how often to visit the barber or trim at home:

  • Barber Visits: For a consistently sharp look, visit your barber every 2-3 weeks. This frequency ensures that the fade remains clean and well-defined.
  • Home Touch-Ups: If you prefer to maintain your fade at home, plan for a touch-up every 1-2 weeks. Use your clippers with the appropriate guard and follow the same steps as when you first cut your hair.

Touch-Up Frequency Table

Maintenance Method Frequency
Barber Visit Every 2-3 weeks
Home Touch-Up Every 1-2 weeks

Quick Tips for Home Touch-Ups:

  • Trim the Sides and Back: Focus on maintaining the fade line and ensuring a smooth transition.
  • Check in Good Lighting: Make sure you have bright, even lighting to spot any uneven areas.
  • Use a Handheld Mirror: This helps you see and reach the back of your head more easily.

By following these maintenance and upkeep tips, your Number 1 Fade will stay looking fresh and stylish, whether you’re keeping it up at home or with the help of your barber. Consistent care and the right products are key to a great-looking fade every day.

Styling Tips for a Number 1 Fade

A Number 1 Fade is versatile and can be paired with various hairstyles and facial hair to suit different occasions. Here’s how to style your fade to maximize its potential:

Complementary Hairstyles

The top of your hair can be styled in numerous ways to complement the fade. Here are some popular options:

  1. Quiff:

    • How to Style: Use a volumizing mousse and blow-dry your hair upwards. Finish with a styling clay or pomade for hold.
    • Look: Adds height and volume, giving a polished yet edgy appearance.
  2. Pompadour:

    • How to Style: Apply a strong-hold pomade and comb your hair back, lifting it at the roots for volume.
    • Look: Classic and stylish, perfect for formal occasions.
  3. Textured Crop:

    • How to Style: Use a matte styling product to add texture and define the layers on top.
    • Look: Casual and modern, suitable for everyday wear.
  4. Buzz Cut:

    • How to Style: Minimal styling needed. Just ensure the hair on top is evenly trimmed.
    • Look: Clean and simple, ideal for low maintenance.

Complementary Hairstyles Chart

Hairstyle Styling Product Ideal Look
Quiff Volumizing mousse, clay Polished, edgy
Pompadour Strong-hold pomade Classic, formal
Textured Crop Matte styling product Casual, modern
Buzz Cut None/minimal Clean, simple

Beard and Facial Hair

Pairing your Number 1 Fade with the right facial hair can create a cohesive and stylish look:

  1. Clean Shaven:

    • Look: Fresh and professional, suitable for all occasions.
  2. Stubble:

    • Look: Adds a rugged charm without being too overwhelming. Great for both casual and semi-formal settings.
  3. Short Beard:

    • Look: Provides a balanced, mature appearance. Perfect for those who want a more defined facial structure.
  4. Full Beard:

    • Look: Bold and commanding. Best paired with a neatly trimmed top to avoid looking too unkempt.

Facial Hair Pairing Table

Facial Hair Style Ideal Look
Clean Shaven Fresh, professional
Stubble Rugged, versatile
Short Beard Balanced, mature
Full Beard Bold, commanding

By following these styling tips, you can ensure your Number 1 Fade looks its best for any occasion. Whether you’re going for a casual look or preparing for a formal event, there’s a style and product that will help you achieve the perfect appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Navigating the world of fades can be tricky, especially if you’re new to it. Here, we address some common concerns and share expert advice from professional barbers to help you get the perfect Number 1 Fade.

Common Concerns

1. What exactly is a Number 1 Fade?

A Number 1 Fade involves using a #1 guard on clippers (1/8 inch or 3mm) for the shortest part of the fade. The hair gradually gets longer as you move up the head, creating a smooth transition.

2. How often should I get a Number 1 Fade?

To keep your fade looking fresh, it’s recommended to get a touch-up every 2-3 weeks. This helps maintain the clean lines and the gradual blending that defines a fade.

3. Can a Number 1 Fade work with any hair type?

Yes, a Number 1 Fade is versatile and suits most hair types, including straight, wavy, and curly hair. The key is in the blending and maintaining the fade properly.

Expert Advice

1. Blending is Key

  • Tip: "Take your time with blending. It's what makes a fade look professional," says James, a barber with 15 years of experience. Use multiple guard lengths to create a seamless transition.

2. Use Quality Tools

  • Tip: "Invest in good clippers. Cheap ones can pull hair and give uneven cuts," advises Sarah, a professional stylist. Brands like Wahl and Andis are recommended for their durability and precision.

3. Maintenance Tips

  • Tip: "Keep your fade looking sharp by washing your hair regularly and using light styling products to manage any flyaways," suggests Michael, a grooming expert. He also recommends regular trims to keep the fade lines clean.

Quick Reference Table

Question Answer
What is a Number 1 Fade? A haircut where the shortest part is cut with a #1 guard (1/8 inch)
How often to get a touch-up? Every 2-3 weeks
Suitable for all hair types? Yes, works well with straight, wavy, and curly hair

Expert Tips for a Great Fade

Expert Tip Advice
Blending Use multiple guard lengths for a smooth transition
Quality Tools Invest in good clippers (Wahl, Andis)
Maintenance Wash regularly, use light styling products, and get regular trims

Addressing Misconceptions

  1. Fades are high maintenance.

    • Reality: While regular touch-ups are necessary, daily maintenance is minimal with the right products.
  2. Only professionals can give a good fade.

    • Reality: With practice and the right tools, you can achieve a great fade at home. Start with basic techniques and gradually improve.
  3. Fades are only for young people.

    • Reality: Fades can be adapted to suit any age and personal style. They are versatile and can be styled to look both professional and trendy.

By addressing these common concerns and following expert advice, you can confidently achieve and maintain a stylish Number 1 Fade. Whether you’re visiting a barber or doing it yourself, understanding the basics and nuances will ensure you always look your best.


The Number 1 Fade is a versatile and stylish haircut that's easy to maintain and suits various hair types and face shapes. Here are the key takeaways:

Key Points

  • Definition: A fade haircut using a #1 guard (1/8 inch or 3mm) for a sharp, clean look.
  • Popularity: Trendy due to its polished appearance and minimal maintenance.

Types of Number 1 Fades

  • High Fade: Bold and dramatic.
  • Mid Fade: Balanced and versatile.
  • Low Fade: Subtle and refined.
  • Skin Fade: Sharp and edgy.
  • Taper Fade: Gradual and smooth.


  • Low Maintenance: Easy to manage with regular touch-ups.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various hair types and face shapes.
  • Professional Appearance: Enhances your overall look.

Getting the Perfect Fade

  • At the Barber:
    • Use specific terminology.
    • Show pictures for reference.
    • Communicate clearly with your barber.
  • DIY Tips:
    • Use quality tools.
    • Follow a step-by-step guide.
    • Avoid common mistakes.


  • Regular washing and light styling products.
  • Touch-ups every 2-3 weeks.


  • Complementary Hairstyles: Quiff, pompadour, textured crop, or buzz cut.
  • Facial Hair: Clean-shaven, stubble, short beard, or full beard.

By understanding these essentials, you can confidently rock a Number 1 Fade and its variations. Whether you're maintaining it yourself or getting it done professionally, this guide equips you with the knowledge to keep your fade looking sharp and stylish. Happy styling!

Older Post
Newer Post
Back to top

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty

Shop now