How to Fade Your Own Hair with Clippers
There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a fresh fade. After it’s cut, your hair feels both healthier and lighter, your scalp is much cooler, and women can’t seem to keep their hands off of those soft, short hairs either. And we don’t have to tell you how it good it feels when your girlfriend’s nails are gliding through those short hairs so close to your skin! In fact, we have chills just thinking about it. Not to mention, the amount of compliments that you get from the fade are great for your ego. No judgments! We love it too.
The only real draw back of a fade is that it’s one of the more difficult looks to maintain; especially if your hair is prone to growing fast. Of course, the style still looks good as it begins to grow out, but for those that want to keep that short, fresh look will need weekly or at the least biweekly trips to maintain the initial length. Of course, this isn’t optimal for guys with a busy schedule or those that simply don’t enjoy going to the barbershop.
So what do you then if you want a fade but don’t want the barbershop maintenance that comes with it? Well, you can just let it grow out or you can maintain the look in the comfort of your own home! Which probably sounds pretty daunting at first, but we can assure you that it’s easy; especially once you’ve gotten enough practice in. We’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to make the process even easier.
By the end of this article, you’ll be a pro when it comes to fading your own hair! Your girlfriend will also be thankful because she’ll get to enjoy your haircut for longer without sacrificing time for you to go to the barber!
Tools of the trade
Before we get started, let’s talk about what all you’ll need. For faded haircuts at home, you really only need a few things:
- Shaving clippers of your choice- Obviously you’ll need shaving clippers in order to fade your hair! As far as brands and styles go, that’s all up to you. Go with the ones that you’re most comfortable with. If you’re looking for brand recommendations to pick up your first pair, we suggest Andis clippers.
- Handheld mirror- You’ll need more than your bathroom mirror for fades; even if you have one of those medicine cabinets that folds out into 3 mirrors you’ll still want a handheld one. Handheld mirrors will allow you to see the back of your head so that you can get a precise cut.
- T-outliner- This one isn’t necessary per say, but it will get you a much more rounded, refined look. In other words, it’ll make your fade look that much better so we highly recommend it, but if you’re short on time you’re fine with it.
- Straight razor- Like the T-outliner, this one isn’t necessary either but it will greatly improve the look and quality of your fade. Edging up the front of your face and the hairlines with a straight razor will give you those sharp, crisp edges that women love so much.
- Shave gel- If you’re going to run a straight razor across your skin, please don’t do so on bare skin. This is a great way to get burns, bumps, and cuts so make sure you use a gel to protect yourself. We highly recommend the EZ Blade shave gel.
Now that you have your tools ready, let’s get our heads ready for the blade.
Before you pick up the clippers…
Before we dive in, we’d like to talk about prepping both your scalp and hair for the clippers. It can be tempting to just grab the clippers and go, but you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you do! Of course you won’t need as much prep time as you would for a facial shave, but following these steps will insure that you get the best and most comfortable fade experience possible.
- Pick a fade- Fading your own hair isn’t as simple as picking up the clippers and going to town on your locks. You’ll need to pick a style that you like and decide on how long or short you want the hairs. Do you want a mid length fade or a short fade? Perhaps you’d prefer a long fade? The choice is yours but plan ahead!
- Start with clean, dry hair- Hair that’s dirty or has product in it is not only going to make it harder for the clips to glide through the hairs, but it can also result in even spots where the blades get hung up. So make sure you wash your hair and dry it thoroughly before starting. Of course, you can work with damp hair if your clippers allow for it, but we’ve found that it’s much easier to fade dry hair.
- Washing your hair- When washing your hair before starting the fading process, make sure you use hot water. Just like when you shave your face, this makes the hairs stand up better and opens your pores, making for a much better experience.
- Check your clippers- A lot of times we’re guilty of putting away our clippers and other shaving equipment right after we’ve used it or we’ll do a quick rinse promising ourselves that we’ll clean it before we start next time. Of course, we often forget again to clean the blades and just grooming. Don’t do this! Check your clippers, clean the guards, and get rid of excess hairs. This will give you a much smoother trim.
- Please don’t overuse your clippers- Okay, so this one probably goes without saying, but we want to remind you anyways: DO NOT overuse your clippers. If you feel the blade starting to heat up (especially if you can feel it through the guard), let it rest. You can spray it with some cooling spray that’s designed to cool down the blade, but please wait a few minutes for the heat to fade before using it. The last thing you want is to burn your scalp.
- Take your time- This isn’t a race! Just like shaving your face, you’ll want to go slowly and carefully, paying attention to the clippers and the length as you go. Don’t rush the process!
Now that you know the rules, let’s get started!
Maintaining your fade at home
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to be a skilled barber in order to keep your fade looking fresh. You can easily do it yourself at home; all it takes is some patience and practice. Once you’ve gotten your hair and scalp prepped as well as decided on a length, it’s time to pick up your clippers and begin. Take a deep breath, you’re a badass man and you can do this!
- Look at the back of your head- There are a variety of ways to begin the process, but we suggest starting with the back of your head. Turn your back to the bathroom mirror and use the handheld one to see the back of your head. As your turn your head from side to side, you should see lines near or around your ears. Use the clippers to connect those lines to one another. Work in an upward motion from the base of your hairline up to the lines. Don’t worry if your line is crooked; it doesn’t have to be perfect right now.
- Guard size matters- Hopefully you’re not still hung up on the crooked line and you’re ready for the next step. You’ll want to start with the biggest clip that you have, even if you plan on going really short. This is because you can always take off more hair; you just can’t add it back. Now work from the line up, using upward motions. You don’t want to touch the top of your head yet. You want to work your way around the sides and back.
- Next size down- Now that you’ve worked the highest clip through your hair, it’s time to grab the next size down. Using upward strokes, you’ll want to start at the line and go up in order to fade into the length. Work around your head, but continue to leave the top of your hair alone. This step definitely takes practice and if you don’t understand quite what we mean, scroll to the bottom of this article and check out the YouTube video we have linked.
- Repeat with the next size down- You’ll want to repeat the same process over with the next size down clip. Remember to work in upward motions and to take your time. You may need to go over some of the areas more than once.
- Time to refine that line- Alright this is the hardest part of the trim and it’s also the part where people mess up the most. Because of this, you’ll definitely want to take your time and go slow! Remove the guard and open up your clippers because it’s time to begin. Use short, shallow upward strokes to even out the line around your head. You don’t want to go up too high with the clippers so focus at cleaning up just the bottom hairs. If you go up too high, “you’ll end up with a State Trooper fade” so be careful! Also, make sure you follow the hair growth.
- Repeat around your head- Using the mirror to see the back of your head, continue the short, shallow strokes until the line is evened out on the back of your head. This is probably the trickiest area, so go slow!
- Optional: trim the top- The fade is pretty much complete at this point, but you can opt to scissor trim the top if it’s longer than you like.
- T-outline time-Using your t-outliner, go straight across the front of your hair. Like you did with the line, you’ll want to use very short, slow strokes. However, you’ll want to pull the clippers down rather than up. This is to add definition to the cut and prevent the hair from hanging over. Once you’ve trimmed the front, you’ll want to turn the t-outliner sideways and work the “corner” of the fade (the area where your hair meets the fade).
- Straight razor clean up- Remember how we said no products? Well, you’ll need a little product for this part. We recommend the EZ Blade clear shaving gel and you only need a small amount; a fingertip amount is perfect. Rub the product around the hairline framing your face. Pull the skin tight, and slowly slide the razor over the skin towards the hairline. This will clean up any stray hairs and give you a longer lasting fade in the front.
- Admire yourself- Now that you’re done, it’s time to admire yourself in the mirror and grab a well-deserved cold beer!
Don’t forget the base of your neck!
When you get your hair cut at the barbershop, they almost always shave the hairs at the base of your neck. You might not realize it because you’re too busy enjoying the hot foam or towel treatment, but it’s important not to neglect these hairs. The last thing you want is to show off your fade with a cluster of hairs peeking up from the base of your neck.
Make sure to wipe your skin off before and after you get rid of these hairs. There’s likely hair all in this area from your fresh fade so it might be difficult to trim the hairs with these strays floating around.
And if you’re unsure as to where they are, ask your girlfriend; she knows.
You’ve faded your hair and you’ve cleaned up those pesky stray hairs on your neck so you probably think it’s time to turn the bathroom light off and hit the streets in order to show off your new fade. Wrong!
Now it’s time to rehydrate and soothe your irritated skin. Whether you use a tonic or lotion is up to you; but you’ll definitely want to use at least one.
- EZ Blade Aftershave lotion- While our lotions are designed for your face, you can certainly use them on the areas of your head that have been with the clippers. Vitamin E and sunflower oil soothes your skin, eases bumps/burn, and will keep your skin smoother for longer. Lotions are also thicker than tonics, so if you want deep moisture reach for the lotion.
- EZ Blade Aftershave tonic- Our tonics are lightweight and pleasantly scented. Like the lotions, they contain a number of hydrating ingredients designed to soothe your skin and ease irritation. Of course the tonics were also designed for your face, but a little back on the areas where the clippers have been will definitely benefit your skin.
While of course you don’t have to apply product to your fresh cut, we highly recommend doing so. Running clippers against your skin that many times is sure to cause irritation and even if you don’t feel it, your skin is definitely dry and overworked from the blade. So pamper it! Now only will you feel better, but your fade will also last longer.
Plus, the ladies love that “fresh from the barber” scent.
For the visual learners
We completely understand how difficult it is to alternate looking back and forth at this article and your hair. And memorizing the steps on the first go can feel a lot like prepping for an exam. To make things easier, our EZ Blade team has put together a high quality YouTube video that shows you step by step how to fade your hair at home. We explain what’s going on and what we’re doing throughout the video so that you can easily prop up your phone and follow along in the bathroom.
Check out the link below for the video and if you enjoyed it, be sure to hit that like button! And if you liked the video and want to see more, hit that subscribe button! We’ve got a lot of helpful content out there for you.