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Fades And Receding Hairlines: Low, Mid, High, Skin

August 2, 2023
Fades And Receding Hairlines: Low, Mid, High, Skin

It’s no secret that certain styles suit a receding hairline more than others. While this shouldn’t be the only thing you base your style decisions on, it’s definitely not something to completely ignore either. So, what’s the best fade for a receding hairline? 

High skin fades are the best fades for receding hairlines. The higher and shorter the fade, the better. High skin fades are so short and so high that the receding temples get camouflaged by the shaved sides. This makes them look less noticeable. 

Let’s dig a little deeper. 

Here’s what you need to know about fades and receding hairlines. I’m going to go through different types of fades and how they relate to receding hairlines. 

Some are definitely better than others.

Skin Fades And Receding Hairlines

Skin fades (a.k.a bald fades) work well for receding hairlines, with high skin fades being more effective than mid or low skin fades. High skin fades have most of the sides shaved up to the level of the temples, merging with the receding hairline and making it look less obvious. 

high skin fade
Image From Shutterstock

Even a mid skin fade would usually have some of this effect, although not to the same extent. 

The reason this effect works so well is that the sides are shaved down to the skin with skin fades. 

When the receding hairline is mild or moderate, it makes it hard to distinguish the receding hairline from the shaved sides if the skin fade is brought up high enough to reach it. 

Skin fades are also great for men with rounder face shapes as they remove a lot of fullness from the sides – this has a narrowing/slimming effect on the face. 

It can also define the jawline. 

It may not be as appealing to men with longer face shapes (eg. oblong, rectangular, oval) as they may find that the removal of fullness from the sides makes the face look longer as a result. 

But it can still work, especially when the hair on top is left relatively long (if it isn’t thinning too much). 

Another benefit of skin fades for balding men is how they can make the hair on top look thicker and fuller in comparison. 

When the sides are as short as with a skin fade, thinning hair can look less thin relative to the ultra-short sides. 

So, should everyone with a receding hairline try out a skin fade? 

Not necessarily. Men with receding hairlines may find that a high skin fade seems like a bit of a drastic change from their usual look. It’s a very bold and striking look no matter what you’ve got going on up top. 

You’re literally shaving most of the sides and back down – this can be daunting, especially the first time. 

If this is the case, going for a low or mid skin fade first and seeing how you like it may be a better option. I’ve written an article comparing low fades and mid fades if you’re interested. 

If you’re a fan of either of them, consider going even higher next time to really get the benefits of the skin fade for the receding hairline. 

Low Fades And Receding Hairlines

A low fade can work for men with receding hairlines because trimming the sides down short can make thinning hair on top look fuller in comparison. The tapering can also distract from the receding hairline. However, it won’t be as effective at this as a mid or high fade would be. 

low fade haircut
Image From Deposit Photos

As far as fades go, low fades would be the most subtle. 

These fades only reach around half an inch above the ear before starting to gradually blend and transition into longer lengths. 

The result of this is that only a small section of the sides (and back) is trimmed down to the shortest length. 

While this can be a good option for people with receding hairlines who want to try out a subtle type of fade that isn’t that noticeable, it won’t do much to make the receding hairline less noticeable. 

The reason for this is that the fade isn’t high enough to reach the receding temples, as it would be with a high fade, for example. 

The higher and shorter the fade, the more likely it is that the receding temples will get camouflaged by the fade itself and look less obvious. 

Low fades wouldn’t be able to do that. 

But that doesn’t mean they have no benefits at all for balding men. 

For one, baldness and thinning hair can make a face look more round. That’s simply because you’re losing hair and losing the ability to spike it up, quiff it, or whatever you may have been able to do before. 

Tapering the sides in any way – even if it’s just a low fade – can remove fullness from the sides and have a defining effect on the jawline. 

In addition, any fade – even a low fade – will make the sides shorter than they would have been otherwise. This will often make thinning hair on top look fuller in comparison. 

Plus, the mere presence of any type of fade is quite a striking and attention-grabbing feature that can distract from the presence of a receding hairline. 

To sum this all up – low fades may not be quite as good as mid fades or high fades for receding hairlines, but they do still have their benefits for balding men with thinning hair. 

What About Drop Fades And Receding Hairlines? 

Drop fades are similar to low fades in that they aren’t high enough to reach the receding hairline and make it look less noticeable. However, they can still have a slimming effect on the face and also make the jawline look more defined – both beneficial for balding men with thinning hair. 

Drop fades are a little different from low fades, despite reaching around the same height at the sides. 

Instead of following a near-horizontal line around the back of the head like a simple low fade would, a drop fade will follow an arc shape around the ear before dropping sharply downward toward the bottom of the neck. 

Mid Fades And Receding Hairlines

Mid fades can make a receding hairline appear less noticeable because they’re just about high enough to reach the receding temples and make them look less noticeable. The shorter the mid fade, the more effective this will be. 

mid fade example
Image From Deposit Photos

Mid fades usually reach around an inch above the ear. 

This means that the shortest part of the fade – whether that’s a number 0, number 1, number 2, or a skin fade – will reach around an inch above the ear before it starts to transition into longer lengths further up. 

While this isn’t quite high enough to reach all of the receding temples, it’s often high enough to reach the first part. 

Unlike with high fades, mid fades will leave a strip of hair at the sides in between this point (i.e an inch above the ear) and the top of the sides. This can outline the receding temples and make them look more obvious than a high fade would. 

With high fades, that strip of hair would go too. 

But the fact that a mid fade reaches the first part of a receding temple (and therefore the receding hairline itself) is helpful. The shorter the shortest length of the mid fade, the more helpful it’ll be. 

As I mentioned earlier, this is because the shortness and height of the fade will merge with the receding temples and make them look less obvious. 

High Fades And Receding Hairlines

High fades (a.k.a temple fades) are an excellent choice for people with receding hairlines. They’re high enough to camouflage most of the receding temples, especially when the recession isn’t that advanced. The shorter the high fade is, the better it will be at masking the receding temples. 

Image From DepositPhotos

I’d talked about high skin fades earlier on and how they’re so great for receding hairlines. This section is specifically to do with high fades that aren’t necessarily shaved all the way down to the skin. 

It includes high zero fades, high 1 fades, and high 2 fades. 

They work best on mild to moderate receding hairlines. Ultimately, it won’t do much for a very advanced receding hairline but there’s little that will in terms of styling. 

At that point, the best option is to buzz everything down very short. 

But when the receding temples aren’t that obvious to begin with, a high fade can work very well. 

It becomes tough to know where the receding hairline begins and where the high fade ends. The two merge into one and the receding hairline almost looks like it’s a part of the style itself. 

Having the fade this high will remove a lot of fullness from the sides, slimming and narrowing the face even more than a mid fade would. 

The shorter the fade, the more effective this will be. 

When you’ve got a high fade, it can be tough to know what to do with the hair on top. While it should sit well with the high fade itself, you really do have a lot of options. 

You can choose to leave the hair on top long relative to the short sides. If you were to do this, you’d have more options when it came to styling. 

Choosing a taller and more voluminous style up top can prevent the face from looking too round as a result of the high fade removing so much fullness from the sides. 

However, when the hair on top is very thin, growing it out long usually isn’t the best option as it can often make the hair look thinner. 

Instead, you could try buzzing the top down very short (although still longer than the faded sides, of course). 

I’ve written quite a lot about why buzz cuts are great for thinning hair and for receding hairlines

Trimming the hair on top so short and even like this can really make thin hair look fuller, simply by making everything look more uniform overall. 

There’s just less of a difference in length between the thin areas and the thick areas, making the thin areas look less thin as a result. 

Buzz cuts are a good option for people with high fades that are worried about their face looking too long as a result of the lack of hair at the sides. This relates mainly to men with longer face shapes – eg. oblong, rectangle, diamond. 

Overall, the buzz cut with a high fade is often a fantastic option for men with more advanced receding hairlines and thinning hair. 

It won’t be for everyone, as it may be quite a significant difference from their usual style. But it’s definitely one to consider for those looking for a change and also looking for a way to embrace balding instead of trying to hide it. 

Whether you go long on top or short on top, however, a high fade will often work very well for a receding hairline. 


There you have it. Hopefully, everything you could want to know about fades and how they relate to receding hairlines. 

As you can see, there are plenty of different types of fades, each with its own pros and cons for men with receding hairlines and thinning hair. 

It should help you guide your style decisions going forward.