Getting a fade can be a pretty zen-like experience, especially when it’s done by a barber you get on with and trust. But how long does a fade last?
A fade will last between 2 to 4 weeks. The exact amount of time it will last will generally depend on the length and height of the fade itself, the growth rate of the individual, as well as the quality of the cut.
Let’s dig deeper.
5 Things That Influence How Long A Fade Lasts
Knowing how long a fade lasts can be helpful. It’ll allow you to budget and schedule your haircuts more effectively, to keep that fade looking consistently fresh.
The 2 to 4 week rule is a pretty safe bet, but these five things will determine whether your fade will be on the shorter or longer end of that spectrum.
This one isn’t as obvious as it may seem at first.
Yes, it’s true that skin fades are the shortest fade you could get. As a result, it would be reasonable to assume that it would last the longest.
The problem is that skin fades require more maintenance due to how short they really are.
While the growth of a few millimeters of stubble isn’t that big of a deal when you’ve got a 1 fade or a 2 fade. You won’t really be able to notice it because the hair was long(ish) to begin with.
But when you’ve got a skin fade, a few millimeters can look pretty obvious and can make it look pretty messy.
You’ll find yourself needing to touch up more often and so it’s safe to say that skin fades don’t last as long as 1 fades.
In turn, 1 fades don’t last as long as 2 fades because, in much the same way, you’ll probably need to touch up a 1 fade more often. It just gets messier, quicker.
So, the shorter the fade, the more maintenance it’ll require. In other words, the shorter it lasts.
2. Growth Rate
Growth rate is very important when it comes to figuring out how long a fade will last. Every person is different.
Some men will grow out their fades quicker than others, simply due to their individual growth rates.
There isn’t a huge amount more to say about this one. If you happen to grow out that hair pretty quick, you can expect for a fade to not last as long, unfortunately.
This one is so important.
No two barbers are the same. They vary in terms of skill and experience.
There are some absolute wizards with a pair of clippers that’ll trim you a fade built to last the long haul.
The transitions are seamless and the line up is fantastic. You can bet on that fade lasting longer than one done by a less experienced and technically skilled barber.
Although an expensive cut doesn’t necessarily mean a better cut, in general, more experienced barbers will charge you a little more for their time and service.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” does often apply when it comes to fades, unfortunately.
4. Fade Height
The “fade height” refers to how high up the sides and back the fade actually is.
A “low fade” transitions around half an inch above the ear.
A “mid fade” transitions around an inch above the ear.
Finally, a “high fade” transitions around the level of the temples.
In terms of how long a fade lasts, the fade height isn’t quite as important as the length of the fade.
But in general, the higher up the fade, the more often you’ll need to get it touched up. In other words, the higher up the fade, the shorter it’ll last.
The main reason for this is that when the fade is higher up, it’s simply a more prominent feature of your overall style. A high fade is more in-your-face and obvious than a low fade is.
Because of this, you’ll need to work just a little harder to keep it looking fresh and prevent it from looking messy.
A bit of stubble growth over a low skin fade won’t be as obvious as a layer of stubble underneath the transition point of a high fade.
Again, this isn’t as important of a factor as the actual length of the fade itself, but it’s still worth bearing in mind.
This one is an interesting one. How long a fade lasts could actually be different depending on who you ask.
Some men need a consistently perfect fade. Anything that falls short of this perfection would lead to that fade essentially being ruined and no longer existing.
These men may think their fade is done after 2 weeks, while those who don’t need that level of perfection may think the exact same fade is fine after 3 to 4 weeks.
The point here is to decide just how perfect you really want that fade to be. In some ways, the fade will “last” until you no longer find it acceptable.
How Long Does A Skin Fade Last?
A skin fade will last approximately 2 weeks, although for men with quicker growth rates it may not even last this long. The reason skin fades don’t last very long is that the growth of even short stubble can make them look messy.
In fact, some men actually look to get their skin fades touched up weekly. The cost of having to do this shouldn’t be underestimated and is understandably out of reach for most people.
But it just shows how short-lived a barber’s work is when it comes to skin fades – people feel the need to get it done weekly.
Skin fades are so dependent on a clean shave and so frequent touch-ups are necessary as even a small amount of stubble can make a skin fade look less like an actual skin fade.
But given the cost of getting such frequent cuts, most men will settle for getting a skin fade touched up every 2 to 3 weeks. However, they’ll readily admit that at the 3-week mark that skin fade isn’t looking great.
It’s just a compromise.
How Long Do Specific Fade Heights Last?
This is commonly asked but isn’t as easy to answer. That’s because the height of a fade doesn’t have that big of an impact on how long it’ll last, as we talked about earlier.
How short the fade is, the growth rate of the individual, and the quality of the cut matter a lot more.
But here are a few general principles to guide you.
A taper will last approximately 3 to 4 weeks. Getting a taper fade touched up or even redone every 3 weeks would be ideal, although most people would be able to wait until the 4-week mark without much trouble.
Tapers are the lowest height you could get a fade, usually sitting around the top of the sideburns.
As a result, they’re about as subtle as you can get with a fade.
Because of this, they’re really not very noticeable or obvious. As they won’t be a very prominent part of your overall style, they’re lower maintenance.
Compared to other fades, you could go longer periods without having to get tapers redone, simply because some growth over the area won’t be as noticeable.
A low fade will last approximately 3 weeks. After this point, most people aiming for a consistent look would want to get their fade touched up. Those with a low skin fade would most likely need to get it redone every 2 weeks.
Low fades sit higher up the sides than tapers do. More specifically, they’re usually around half an inch above the ear.
They’re less subtle than tapers, but still pretty subtle.
However, because they’re more obvious and because they have more prominence within your overall hairstyle, they’re a little higher maintenance than tapers are.
You’ll probably find yourself wanting a touch up around the 3-week mark. But men with a higher budget or a skin fade would probably find themselves revisiting the barber at the 2-week mark.
A mid fade will last approximately 2 to 3 weeks. Mid skin fades will need touching up closer to the 2-week mark, while longer fades could usually wait a week longer before needing to be redone.
Mid fades are incredibly common because they’re very noticeable. The fade sits approximately halfway up the sides.
As a result, they’ve got quite a lot of prominence within the overall hairstyle, no matter what you’ve got going on up top.
Because of this, you’ll probably find yourself wanting a touch up more often than you’d have to with a low fade or taper.
Of course, the shorter the fade and the quicker your growth rate, the more often you’d need to get that mid fade redone.
But a 2 to 3 week principle is a good rule-of-thumb.
You can expect a drop fade to last 2 to 3 weeks as well.
A high fade will last approximately 2 weeks. Most people would benefit from getting it redone at this point, although budget restraints would usually lead them to settle on 3-weekly cuts as a compromise.
High skin fades would definitely start to look less sharp after the 2-week mark.
How Often Should You Get A Fade
On average, most men should get a fade redone every 2 to 3 weeks. However, people with a higher budget or a skin fade would benefit from getting it done more often than this.
The unfortunate thing about fades is how short-lived they can be.
It feels great for a couple of days right after the cut.
But once the effect starts to wear away with time, you find yourself wanting a touchup. Great for the barber, but not so great for people on a budget.
In a perfect world, most of them would want to get a fade redone every two weeks.
People with a high budget or simply want a perfect fade at all times will probably find that this is a reasonable sweet spot for them to aim for.
Most people on a budget or simply don’t set the standards quite as high for their fade would usually settle on getting their fade redone every 3 weeks or so.
3 Ways To Make A Fade Last Longer
Here are a few additional tips for keeping a fade haircut fresh, for longer.
1. Ask For A Longer One
This one’s the most straightforward.
As we’ve already discussed, shorter fades like skin fades and zero fades won’t last as long and will need more regular touch-ups to keep them looking fresh.
If you find that your fade simply doesn’t last as long as you’d like it, it may be because it’s too short for you to maintain it.
Going for a 1 fade or a 2 fade instead of a skin fade could mean the difference between stretching that fade out to 3 or 4 weeks instead of 2 weeks (or less).
2. Do Touch-Ups Yourself
This one is the least straightforward and shouldn’t be done by everyone.
But touching up a fade isn’t quite as complicated as you may think it is. Don’t get me wrong – the proper fade should be done by a barber.
However, you could reasonably touch it up yourself if you had a decent pair of clippers and a shaver. There are online videos that’ll show you how to do it.
Strictly speaking, I guess this isn’t actually making the fade itself “last longer”. However, it’ll increase the time interval in between barber cuts, simply because you’re able to do some of the work yourself.
3. Choose The Right Barber
Going back to what I said earlier, your choice of barber matters. They aren’t all the same.
A fade done by an experienced barber is more likely to last longer.
After you’ve found a great one, stick with them – this may mean paying a little bit more for the service.
In addition, see if you can find a barber that actually offers free touch ups now and again.
They know how tough it can be to maintain a skin fade, for instance, and may offer to touch it up every so often as part of their service.
There you have it.
Hopefully, you now know how long you can expect your specific fade to last.
There are a variety of different fade styles and types out there and they don’t all last the exact same length of time.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.