Fades – they’ve been around for quite a while, but the lingo doesn’t seem to get any less confusing. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about 0 to 1 fades, 0 to 2 fades, 0 to 3 fades, and 0 to 4 fades.
Let’s get to it.
0 To 1 Fade
The 0 to 1 fade is an effect where the sides gradually transition from a #0 length (1.5mm) at the bottom into a #1 length (3mm) further up.
The most important feature of the 0 to 1 fade is just how short the sides are.
As the majority of the sides and back are clipped down to a #0 or a #1 length, there’s barely any length there.
It’s so short that it could take you by surprise if you weren’t expecting this, so just be prepared.
Having the sides this short can definitely have its benefits.
It can produce a slimming and narrowing effect on the face, as there’s barely any fullness at the sides.
For men with rounder faces looking to add some definition and reduce fullness, going this short on the sides is often a good way to go.
In addition, it’s pretty easy to maintain once it’s been trimmed. When the hair is this short, you don’t need to worry about flattening stray hairs or flyaways.
It’s too short at the sides to get messy. That’s a bonus.
But are there any downsides to the 0 to 1 fade?
Men with longer face shapes such as oblong or rectangular faces may find that the lack of fullness at the sides makes the face look even longer.
In addition, when you’re going for a 0 to 1 fade you’ll probably find that you’ve got to get the trim more often than you would with longer lengths.
This is because even the growth of a few millimeters can be quite obvious when you’re dealing with such short lengths.
If you want to maintain a 0 to 1 fade style, you’ll find yourself visiting a barber more often than you would with a 2 to 3 fade, for instance.
0 To 1 Fade Heights
Any fade can be labeled in terms of where the shortest length starts to transition into longer lengths up the sides.
In this case, the shortest length of the fade is a #0 length and the longer length it transitions into is the #1 length.
A 0 to 1 low fade is where the transition from the #0 length to the #1 length occurs approximately half an inch above the ear.
The 0 to 1 mid fade is where the transition from the #0 length to the #1 length occurs around an inch above the ear.
Finally, with a 0 to 1 high fade, the transition from the #0 length to the #1 length occurs around the level of the temples.
0 To 2 Fade
The 0 to 2 fade is an effect where the sides gradually transition from a #0 length (1.5mm) at the bottom into a #2 length (6mm) further up.
This one is popular.
It may be because the transition from a #0 at the bottom up to a #2 at the top of the sides gives you a nice contrast in length while still remaining consistently short.
In other words, the contrast is subtle but not that subtle.
The characteristic “faded” effect of a fade is produced by the seamless blending of the different lengths.
So, to get from a #0 at the bottom of the sides to a #2 at the top of the sides, a barber will usually transition through a #1 and a #1.5 before getting to that #2.
Any harsh lines separating the different lengths are carefully removed using clipper techniques to blend them in.
The benefits of the 0 to 2 fade are similar to those of a 0 to 1 fade.
But you can expect just a little more fullness at the sides with a 0 to 2 fade, especially with low fades where most of the sides are at their longest length (a #2).
In addition, because a 0 to 2 fade is going to be longer at the top of the sides than a 0 to 1 fade, it’s less likely to look like an undercut when you’ve got longer hair on top.
You can combine faded sides with practically any style up top – comb overs, pompadours, slick backs, etc.
But the risk with having all of the hair at the sides and back super short (eg. with a 0 to 1 fade) is that it looks more like an undercut and less like a fade style.
With a 0 to 2 fade, the hair at the top of the sides is long enough before it transitions into the style on top to prevent it from ever being confused for an undercut.
0 To 2 Fade Heights
A 0 to 2 low fade is where the gradual transition from the #0 to the #2 length at the sides starts around half an inch above the ear.
The 0 to 2 mid fade is where the gradual and seamless transition from the #0 to the #2 length at the sides occurs around an inch above the ear.
A 0 to 2 high fade is when the transition from the #0 to the #2 length at the sides starts around the level of the temples.
0 To 3 Fade
The 0 to 3 fade is an effect where the sides gradually transition from a #0 length (1.5mm) at the bottom into a #3 length (10mm) further up.
A 0 to 3 fade is a little more work.
To get from a #0 at the bottom of the sides to a #3 at the top, a barber would need to transition through several lengths and carefully blend them in.
For example, they could go from a #0, through a #1, #1.5, and a #2 before getting to that #3 length.
But the effect can be pretty eye-catching.
The contrast between a #0 length and a #3 is pretty substantial. It’s usually a difference of around 8mm, depending on the brand and the height of the clipper blade.
Because of this, the hair at the bottom of the sides will look super short, while the hair further up top (#3 length) will be pretty long in comparison.
This contrast is pretty attention-grabbing.
Plus, the transition from the #3 length at the sides to longer hair on top of the head often looks very natural and aesthetic.
The sides will look a little fuller than they would with a 0 to 1 fade or a 0 to 2 fade. But the ultra-short #0 length at the bottom will still often have a nice slimming effect on the face and jawline with a 0 to 3 fade.
0 To 4 Fade
The 0 to 4 fade is an effect where the sides gradually transition from a #0 length (1.5mm) at the bottom into a #4 length (13mm) further up.
A #0 length is usually achieved using the lone blade of a clipper. In other words, using a clipper with no length guard attached.
Although this usually trims down to a length of around 1.5mm, it can be even shorter – it depends on the height of the blade and this can vary among different brands.
But the point is, it’s short.
A #4 length should still be considered short – just take a look at a number 4 buzz cut all over to really see how short it is.
But compared with a #0 length, a #4 length should be considered pretty long.
A 0 to 4 fade can look great because of how much contrast there is between the #0 length and the #4 length.
To get from the #0 length at the bottom of the sides to the #4 length at the top of the sides, a barber will usually go from a #0, to a #1, #1.5, #2, and a #3, before finally getting to the #4.
It isn’t as time-consuming as it may sound, especially in the hands of an experienced barber.
In addition, the #4 length on top often transitions very naturally into longer hairstyles on top.
The 0 to 4 fade is definitely one to consider if you want to go short at the sides, but not short all over the sides.
There you have it.
Four important and common fade styles described in detail – hopefully, everything you wanted to know.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.