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Buzz Cuts And Skin Fades: The Complete Guide [Photos]

These two styles are titans in the men’s hair game. When the two are combined the results are often fantastic. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about buzz cuts and skin fades. 

Let’s get to it. 

What Is A Buzz Cut With A Skin Fade? 

A buzz cut with a skin fade is a style where the top hair is clipped down to an even length, while the sides and back gradually increase in length upward from the shaved skin at the bottom. 

The reason it works so well is that it’s an easy way to make a simple style a little more eye-catching. 

Buzz cuts are great, but they’re pretty tough to stand out with. They’re straightforward, no-nonsense styles that are hard to go wrong with. 

But ultimately, they aren’t the most attention grabbing style. 

Adding a skin fade to the sides and back is a subtle way of making it a little more interesting. 

Buzz cuts and skin fades can be labeled according to how short the “buzz cut” component is and how high up the “skin fade” component is. 

Buzz cut illustration
Buzz cuts are short, even, and trimmed using clippers

A buzz cut can be as short as a number 0 buzz cut, or a little longer like a number 1, number 2, or number 3 buzz cut. 

You can also get longer buzz cuts like numbers 5, 6, 7, 8

At the end of the day, they’re all clipped or “buzzed” down using a pair of clippers. 

Adding a skin fade to the sides and back will mean they’ll definitely be shorter than the top. 

The shortest length of a skin fade will be literally shaved. It’ll be shaved using either an electric razor or a manual one like a straight razor. 

Compare this will longer fade styles like 1 fades and 2 fades, where the shortest length of the fade is not shaved but clipped down to a #1 length and a #2 length respectively. 

The shaved area at the bottom of the skin fade will then gradually and seamlessly blend into longer lengths as you go up the sides toward the top. 

The skin fade can be low, mid, or high, depending on how high up the shaved area of the skin fade gets before it starts to transition into longer lengths. 

Now that you know what it is, let’s take a look at some examples. 

Buzz Cut With Skin Fade Styles

Use these as a source of inspiration. 

Buzz Cut Skin Fade 4 On Top

The buzz cut with skin fade 4 on top is where the top is clipped down to a #4 length (1/2 of an inch) while the sides and back gradually taper down into shaved skin. 

Buzz cut with skin fade
Buzz Cut With Skin Fade 4 On Top

Image From 123RF

The best thing about this buzz cut length is that it’s short enough to give you most of the benefits of short buzz cuts (eg. ease of maintenance). 

But it’s also long enough to not expose too much of the scalp – this is especially beneficial for men with thinner hair.

In addition, combining a 4 on top buzz cut with a skin fade works especially well. 

Having the hair at a relatively long buzz cut length and combining it with an ultra-short skin fade provides great contrast between the sides and the top. 

This definitely catches the eye. 

Buzz Cut Skin Fade 3 On Top

The buzz cut with skin fade 3 on top is where the top is clipped down to a #3 length (3/8 of an inch) while the sides and back gradually blend and taper down to shaved skin. 

buzz cut with fade
Buzz Cut With Skin Fade 3 On Top

Image From Unsplash

Going down even shorter can be a pretty liberating experience. It’s so easy to maintain because you really don’t need to worry about doing anything to it once it’s done. 

It’s so short that it’s essentially a “set it and forget it” haircut length where you don’t need to worry about strays, flyaways, styling, or anything like that. 

Again, the skin fade works well with a 3 on top buzz cut because it adds a nice contrast between the top and the sides. 

With skin fades you’re bringing the sides down extremely short – this can have a slimming effect on the face. It’s especially useful for men with rounder face shapes. 

Buzz Cut Skin Fade 2 On Top

The buzz cut with skin fade 2 on top is where the top is clipped down to a #2 length (1/4 of an inch) while the sides and back gradually taper down to shaved skin. 

buzz cut with skin fade
Buzz Cut With Skin Fade 2 On Top

Image From Deposit Photos

When you’re going down this short, there’s really no mistaking it for anything other than a buzz cut. 

It’s pretty effortless to maintain. 

The only thing to note about going as short as a 2 on top with a buzz cut is that it can reveal quite a lot of the scalp, particularly under strong lighting. 

In addition, while a skin fade often still looks great, it isn’t quite as striking with a 2 on top as it would be with longer buzz cut lengths. 

The reason for this is that there’s simply less of a contrast in length between the shaved sides and the #2 length on top. 

Go down even shorter (eg. a #1 or a #0) and this contrast would be even less. In a way, this makes the skin fade more subtle. Some people may prefer this, however. 

Buzz Cut Skin Fade With Beard

The buzz cut with a skin fade and a beard is a look that often works well. The facial hair can add some fullness and definition to the face, preventing the buzz cut from making it look too round. 

long buzz cut with skin fade
A long buzz cut with a skin fade and beard

Image From Pexels

Face shape is important to consider when it comes to hairstyles. 

Unfortunately, it’s pretty common for buzz cuts to make faces look rounder or shorter than they ever have. 

People with naturally round or short face shapes (eg. square) will notice this more than anyone else. 

The reason for this is that there’s simply very little hair on top to actually add any sort of height or length with. 

Solution: 

Grow a beard. The beard can add length from the bottom half of the face to compensate for you not being able to do it from the top end. 

In addition, the skin fade will be helpful here because it removes fullness from the sides of the face – again, this is beneficial for men with rounder face shapes. 

The buzz cut and skin fade without a beard can work well but does run the risk of making the face look rounder than you might like due to a lack of definition. 

Buzz Cut And Skin Fade: Low Vs High

When choosing between a buzz cut with a low skin fade and a buzz cut with a high skin fade, consider your face shape as well as how subtle you want the skin fade to be. 

Buzz cuts with low skin fades have the shaved sides starting to blend upward into longer lengths around an inch above the ear. 

Buzz cuts with high skin fades have the shaved sides starting to blend and transition upward into longer lengths around the level of the temples. 

The two are incredibly different. 

With low skin fades, only a small portion of the sides and back is shaved. With high skin fades, most of the sides and back are shaved. 

High skin fades will have barely any hair at the sides – while this can be a pretty in-your-face look, it does have a pretty slimming effect on the face. After all, you’re removing a lot of fullness at the sides. 

If you’re looking for a more subtle effect, the buzz cut with a low skin fade is a better option. 

While the skin fade is going to be short enough to be noticeable, it isn’t going to be the key feature of your overall style and take too much attention from the buzz cut itself. 

Are Buzz Cuts With Skin Fades Good For Balding Men? 

Buzz cuts with skin fades work well for balding men. Clipping the hair down this short is a great way to make thinning hair less noticeable. In addition, high skin fades can make receding hairlines less obvious. 

It may sound odd – trimming everything down super short in order to make baldness less obvious. 

But the reason it works is that it reduces the contrast between thin patches and thick areas. 

When you’ve got long and wispy hairs sitting right next to thinning and bald areas, those thin areas are going to look even thinner and more obvious in comparison. 

Clipping everything down short as you would with a buzz cut is a great way to reduce this contrast and make the thin areas less noticeable as a result. 

Don’t get me wrong – it won’t completely hide balding. 

But it’s a great way to make it look less noticeable. It’s also a great way of embracing baldness instead of trying to hide it. It’s liberating. 

The skin fade can also benefit balding men, especially when it’s high. 

The reason for this is that a high skin fade can almost absorb the receding temples, making them less obvious. 

It’s almost like what used to look like a receding hairline simply looks like a part of the skin fade afterward. 

Conclusion 

Overall, buzz cuts with skin fades are simple, subtle, and easy to maintain. 

Now that you know what it is and what it looks like, strongly consider trying one out for yourself. 

Enjoy.