How To Maintain A Fade Haircut (Without Messing Up)

Fade haircuts are amongst the most popular styles of men’s haircuts all over the world today. 

Because of the versatility (can be applied to virtually any hairstyle or type of hair) relatively low maintenance and social acceptance, the fade haircut is a common haircut adopted by men today.

fade haircut

While a fade haircut is a relatively low maintenance haircut, a visit to the barber every 1-2 weeks to clean up and maintain close lines is recommended to keep your fade looking fresh. The closer to the skin a fade is, the more often it would require maintenance (up to a certain point).

To maintain a fade haircut without messing it up, the most important areas to trim are the 2 sides of your hair, the back of your neck, and behind the ears. Having an excellent set of clippers with multiple blade lengths and a good mirror setup is the best way to maintain your fade at home.  

This way you can keep your fade fresh at home with no full cut at the barbershop every week or so.

Fade Haircut Definition

A fade haircut is a popular men’s haircut that tapers or fades the length of hair from the bottom to the top mainly on this side hair.  

The fade is very versatile in that it can be paired with many hairstyles and lengths to provide a clean and fresh finish. 

Also, how short the side hair and hair on the lower back of your head is can vary. The shortest fade is the skin fade which is done with hair clippers, without a guard, and most times an electric shaver on top of that.

Finally, there are several types of fades including low, mid, and high fades; burst fades, drop fades and temple fades.

Read Also: Number 1 Fade Haircut Step By Step Guide

Low, mid, or high fades refer to the height on which the fade stops and the blending starts. For example, low fade means fade around and close to your ears and very low on the back of your head, near your neck.

Why Is It Crucial To Keep Your Fade Haircut Fresh?

maintain a fade haircut

Generally, the closer to the skin your fade is, the more maintenance is required to keep your fade looking fresh.

This is because with a skin fade, hair growth is more noticeable and hair grows out faster compared to a longer hair length fade that is less close to the skin, i.e a #3 fade.

Skin fades are very popular today regardless of the length of the hair on the crown of the head. 

Therefore, visiting the barber every 1-2 weeks to clean up the lines to keep them tight and looking fresh is required.

You can also maintain a fade haircut at home with a set of clippers. (but it is difficult to do)

The closer the fade is to the skin then the more care and attention is required, and this can be difficult when maintaining a fade haircut DIY style.

Fade Haircut Duration

As discussed earlier, the closer the fade is to the skin, the more regular maintenance would be required to keep the same fade looking good.

For instance, if you have long but still faded side hair your head skin will not be exposed. Therefore, after 1-2 weeks you will not need a haircut to make it look better.

Read Also: How Long Does A Barber Need To Do A Fade Haircut?

On the other hand, a skin fade lasts about 10 days before a visit to the barber would be required. After about 2 weeks, a typical skin fade loses its shape completely.

For fuller hair and less close to the skin type of fades, you could grow out your hair for up to 4 weeks or a little longer without the extra length is noticeable. 

These longer and more classic types of haircuts are great options if regular visits to the barber are not possible for whatever reason, i.e. lack of time or expenses.

So as a general rule of thumb, the closer your fade is to the skin, the more often you would need to get it cut and the shorter the duration of the fade cut in terms of looking fresh.

However, you can extend the duration of a skin fade by 2-3 days if your barber uses an electric shaver instead of solely hair clippers with no guard.

How To Touch Up And Maintain A Fade Without Messing It Up 

Making a fade look sharper without visiting your barber is an actual struggle (to write it politely). But, we will try to help you if you still wanna diy this thing.

The longer your hair length the less skill and maintenance is required in order to prolong your fade haircut’s lifespan.

But you can definitely maintain your fade DIY style no matter what the length of your hair is – even if it is a skin fade.

Follow these simple steps outlined below in order to touch up and maintain your fade without messing it up.

i) The first step would be to invest in a decent set of clippers for home grooming.

Having a high-quality set of clippers with at least 4 guard lengths for effective fading would be a minimum standard for effective fade haircut maintenance at home.

Another feature that is nice to have but not absolutely necessary is a set of clippers with a reversible finger-ring, which helps with controlling the clipper while in use.

ii) Have a good mirror set up

Using a hand mirror in one hand and holding the clippers in your other hand while cutting or trimming requires quite a bit of skill and practice in order not to mess up your fade.

Having a simple mirror set up with two mirrors preferably (one in front and one behind) is a better option to maintain your fade at home.

iii) Address the areas that grow out first.

Keeping your fade fresh at home, you would need to trim, clean and line up the most obvious areas that grow out first.

-Side hair:

Choose how short you want your fade haircut to be. If you want a skin fade you should go without any guard low and then blend the #0 with the #1 and #2 guards moving up.

Depending on the length of your side hair this could simply be a matter of shaving them off when you do your normal face shave or connecting your fade into your beard smoothly.

-Back of the neck:

For the lower back of your head you should do the same thing. A second small portable mirror is necessary to see what you are doing. (Normally we cannot see the back of our heads!)

Again, the lowest setting blade on your clipper would probably be the best option, depending on the fade type you desire.


This process can get tricky and requires a bit of practice. 

But you could always ask someone at home to help you at least with the back of the head and neck area without having to pay for a visit to the barber.

-Behind the ears 

This is another noticeable area for hair growth and requires regular maintenance to keep your fade clean and fresh.

Simply pull down your ears to reveal the area of the scalp behind your ears and get at it with your lowest setting of clippers. 

All in all, maintaining a fade haircut is NOT an easy thing to do. If you try to do it yourself, be prepared mentally that you may not get it right the first few times.

Read Also: How To Fix A Bad Fade Haircut

The best solution is to teach your girlfriend or a friend to cut your hair. This is free or much cheaper than paying a barber. You can visit a barber once a month and then every week have someone touch it up a little bit.

That’s my recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you maintain a fade haircut at home?

Some men are able to maintain their faded haircuts at home. It is a difficult process but it can be done. However, it needs patience and a lot of practice.

Will My Hair Grow Slower If I Do Not Wash It?

This is a huge myth. Washing your hair will NOT make it grow faster. Obviously, if you don’t wash your hair at all, at some point it will not be healthy and maybe stop growing, however, hair growth is not affected by the number of times you wash your hair.

How Long Does A Skin Fade Last? 

In about 7-10 days, side hair will grow and the haircut will not look as good as it used to. However, it will be decent for 14 days. After this period of time has passed, it will need to be cut again.

To Sum Things Up

Maintaining a fade haircut is a difficult process, but you can do it. It is not easy, but it is also not rocket science especially if you just want a simple fade. You will need 2 mirrors, high-quality hair clippers and practice.

Nowadays, I don’t risk cutting my own hair. I have tried and failed multiple times.

Read Also: How Much Do Fade Haircuts Cost (And Should Cost)

The best thing to do if you don’t have money and time to visit the barber every 10 days is to teach a very close friend or a family member to help you with the maintenance of the haircut.

Visiting the barber once a month will ensure he fixes the possible mistakes you have made.

Pro tip

Don’t let your side hair grow for 10-14 days if you want to touch it up yourself or if a friend helps you. Make it every 7 days. In 7 days, the haircut will still have its own lines and you will just make a few changes.

On the other hand, if you let your hair grow too much, you or your friend will have to do the fade from the very beginning, which is more difficult to do.

I really hope you respect the inside information you are getting. We talk from experience. Our grammar or the structure of our articles may not be the best, (I am not from the US or the UK) but the actual information I think is really helpful for our readers.

And that’s it for today’s article!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them below and I will be more than happy to get back to you!

Until next time,

Stay safe,


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