Fades – they’re everywhere and for good reason. A simple feature to add to practically any hairstyle and make it just a little more interesting. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about 1 to 2 fades.
Let’s get to it.
What Does A 1 To 2 Fade Look Like?
A 1 to 2 fade looks like this:
As far as fades go, the 1 to 2 fade is pretty subtle. The reason for this is that the shortest length of the fade at the bottom of the sides and back is a #1 length.
While this is still “short”, it isn’t that short on the sides.
In addition, you’re transitioning into a #2 length further up the sides. The difference between the #1 and a #2 length isn’t much (around 3mm difference to be exact).
Because there isn’t as much of a contrast between these two lengths, it isn’t quite as attention-grabbing as a 0 into 2 fade or 0 to 3 fade, for instance.
As a result, a 1 to 2 fade leaves you with a subtle transition with relatively long lengths and without much of a contrast between the shortest and the longest length.
If you’re looking for a subtle fade, a 1 to 2 fade may be a good way to go.
With each of these styles, the simple addition of a 1 to 2 fade at the sides could be a great way to make them just a little more eye-catching.
What Is The Definition Of A 1 To 2 Fade?
A 1 to 2 fade is where the hair at the sides and back gradually transitions from a number 1 length (1/8 of an inch) at the bottom into a number 2 length (1/4 of an inch) further up. The lengths blend into each other seamlessly.
A 1 to 2 fade can be a simple and subtle way to fade the sides with practically any hairstyle you can think of.
The shortest length of the fade is a #1 length (3mm) before it transitions into a #2 length further up.
In order to transition from the #1 into the #2 length, a barber will usually go through #1.5 or a #2 with the lever closed in order to remove any harsh lines in between the two.
What you’re left with is a very gradual and seamless blending of lengths, leading to that typical “faded” appearance people love.
1 To 2 Fade Styles
Here are some examples of 1 to 2 fades in different forms. Use them as a source of inspiration.
1 To 2 Fade Long On Top
The 1 to 2 fade long on top refers to any style where the sides gradually transition from a #1 into #2, while the hair on top is left long in comparison. The top hair is usually scissor cut.
Here’s an example:
As you can see, the fade is combined with long hair on top. More specifically, this is a modern pompadour style with a 1 to 2 fade at the sides.
The long, voluminous, and swept-up hair on the pompadour is a great way to contrast the ultra-short hair at the sides.
1 To 2 Fade Buzz Cut
The 1 to 2 fade buzz cut is where the sides transition from a #1 into a #2 length, while the hair on top is clipped down to the same, short, even length. The hair on top will still be kept longer than the hair at the sides, however.
The style can work very well, but ultimately, the buzzed hair on top will need to be at least a #2 length for it to work.
Because it’ll need to be at least the same as the longest length of the fade for it to not look strange.
Having a 1 to 2 fade at the sides with a #1 buzz cut on top will look pretty odd, for example.
But combining a buzz cut with a fade the proper way can actually look great. It’s a subtle way to make a style as simple as a buzz cut a little more unique.
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1 To 2 Fade Comb Over
A 1 to 2 fade comb over is where the sides transition up from a #1 length into a #2 length, while the top is swept up and over to one side. The faded sides gradually blend into the “combed over” hair on top.
A good comb over style will always look pretty sophisticated. It shouldn’t be confused with the other use of the term “comb-over”, referring to a poor attempt at hiding baldness.
A comb over is actually a formal hairstyle where the hair is swept over to one side.
Combining it with a fade is pretty common, as the short sides and back can be a great way to contrast the longer hair on top.
1 To 2 Fades: Low Vs Mid Vs High
1 to 2 fades can be tapers, low fades, mid fades, or high fades.
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What these terms refer to is simply how high up the sides the #1 length gets before it starts to transition into the #2 length.
With a low 1 to 2 fade, the #1 length transitions into the #2 length approximately half an inch above the ear.
With a mid 1 to 2 fade, the #1 length transitions up into the #2 length around an inch above the ear.
With a high 1 to 2 fade, the #1 length will start to transition up into the #2 length around the level of the temples.
A 1 to 2 fade taper is the most subtle, as the #1 length will transition up into the #2 length around the top of the sideburn.
Which one you choose really depends on how subtle you want it to be.
A high fade will always be more attention-grabbing than a low fade or a taper because more of the sides and back will be clipped down to the shortest length.
In this case, that’s the #1 length.
A taper is a better option for people who don’t want the fade to be a key feature of the style or draw too much attention away from the hair on top.
How To Ask For A 1 To 2 Fade
To ask for a 1 to 2 fade, let the barber know that you want a “1 into a 2” at the sides and back. In addition, specify how high you want the fade to be – low, mid, high, or a subtle taper.
Being able to provide this amount of information to a barber is actually quite uncommon. A lot of people don’t really know what they’re asking for.
But knowing the correct terminology can make it so much easier for a barber to give you the style you’re aiming for.
To be even more specific, you could use your hands to specifically indicate how high up you want the transition point to be.
For instance, in addition to saying “mid 1 to 2 fade”, use your fingers to point to around halfway up the sides.
This way, there’s even less chance of a misunderstanding.
A great way of letting a barber know what you actually want is to show them a photograph. This could be a random photograph of someone else, or an old photograph of yourself back when you had a fade you really liked.
Using visuals like this also makes it much more likely that you get the look you’re hoping for.
1 to 2 Fade: Is It For You?
While the 1 to 2 fade hairstyle is versatile, it’s important to consider whether it’s the right style for you and your preferences.
Ultimately, it’s a subtle fade.
Transitioning a #1 into a #2 at the sides and back gives you a faded appearance without coming across as too attention-grabbing.
That’s the beauty of not going too short.
The faded lengths are still short enough to produce a nicely tapered appearance at the sides, adding definition to the jawline.
As mentioned earlier, the 1 to 2 fade is incredibly versatile and can be added to any style you can think of.
However, if you’d prefer a more obvious fade, do consider a shorter length (eg. a skin fade or a #0.5).
There you have it.
Hopefully, everything you could ever want to know about the 1 to 2 fade. You should now have a much better idea of what to expect when you ask for it.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.