The NYC Fade

This is another classic barber haircut. If you look at photographs of men throughout the modern history of New York City this is one of the most common and popular haircuts you will see. This haircut is a high fade with a light shadow on the sides blended into a darker top that shows some of the natural wave or curl. This is a great haircut for any age and all walks of life.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  • Understand the classic skin length fade that blends into short length hair without a line of demarcation.
  • Understand the benefits of starting the haircut on the top with the longer blades and working down through the shorter blades.
  • Understand the benefits of cutting a fade without putting a line of demarcation in the haircut first.
  • Demonstrate a skin/bald fade.
  • Demonstrate an even outline around the perimeter of the haircut.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  1. Brush or comb out the hair with either the fade brush or the appropriate comb for the particular hair density.
  2. Cut the top down with the 2 (¼”) blade on the detachable blade clipper. Start in the front and cut against the grain (into the curl/wave) toward the crown.
  3. Cut the round of the head section. Use the 1 ½ (1/8”) blade on the detachable blade clipper and cut around the round of the head and crown areas against the grain.
  4. Blend the sides and back section into the round of the head. Use the 1 ½ (1/8”) blade on the detachable blade clipper and cut up towards the round of the head. As the head starts to round keep the clipper moving straight up in the air until you run out of hair. This is the fading motion that creates a smooth blend. Follow this step all the way from around the head.
  5. Continue the fade with the 1/16” attachment on the adjustable clipper in the open position. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 4.
  6. Repeat step 5 with the 1/16” attachment on the adjustable clipper in the half way closed position. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 5.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the 1/16” attachment on the adjustable clipper in the closed position. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 6.
  8. Repeat step 7 with the adjustable clipper in the open position with no attachment. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 8.
  9. Repeat step 8 with the adjustable clipper in the half way closed position with no attachment. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 8.
  10. Repeat step 9 with the adjustable clipper in the closed position with no attachment. Start to pull the clipper away from the head slightly below where you left off in step 10. This will complete the fade and the haircut is ready for the outline.
  11. Complete the outline of the haircut. Face the client toward you and make the center cut on the fore head. Do not go too far off the hairline. Gently press the clipper into the hairline creating the center guide (pressing too hard with this sharp clipper could break the skin). Make a straight line to each temple area off of the center guide.
  12. Line off the temple area. Make sure to leave a distinct corner connecting the front to the temple area. Slightly push the clipper into the hairline to create a sharper line.
  13. Create an arc from the corner of the temple area down to the side burn area into the desired width of the side burn.
  14. Pull the ear down and draw the outline around the ear with the corner of the blade.
  15. Cut the diagonal line behind the ear. Do not go off of the natural hairline. Leave the line as far out as possible.
  16. Trim the beard or fuzz off the back of the neck. Cut in an upward motion toward the taper and stop about an inch below so you do not cut into the taper.
  17. Repeat steps 12-16 on the opposite side of the haircut.
  18. Shave the outline with the straight razor. Make sure to ask the client first if it irritates the skin before beginning. Apply the pre-shave oil to the outline of the haircut and then the hot lather. Stand behind the client and wipe off the shaving cream from the front hairline. Lightly shave into the hairline to create a sharp line. Next, shave toward the temple area lightly touching the line. Follow the arc from the temple to the side burn area. Shave the side of the neck getting as close to the line as you can without cutting into it. Shave the bottom of the neck without getting anywhere near the hairline in order to preserve the taper. Repeat on the opposite side.
  19. Style the hair with pomade by rubbing the product into the hair and scalp. Use the appropriate comb or brush depending on the density of the hair and comb/brush it forward.
REVIEW QUESTIONS
  1. What section does the haircut start in?
  2. What clipper blade length is best for this style of haircut?
  3. What section is cut after the top section?
  4. What section blends into the round of the head section?
  5. What do you think the advantage of using the adjustable clipper for the majority of the shorter lengths is?
  6. Where should the outline of the haircut start?
  7. What amount of pressure should be used with the trimmer when cutting the outline?
  8. What can happen if too much pressure is used with the trimmer when cutting the outline?

AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY
When cutting a fade like this one, make sure to cut slowly with the clipper especially when pulling it away from the head. It is this motion that will create a smooth blended fade.
When cutting the outline with the t-trimmer do not press too hard. This clipper is very sharp and the lightest of pressure will leave a sharp line. Also do not drag down with the clipper. This will cause irritation.
Before shaving the outline with the straight razor, be sure to as your client first. This step can irritate some skin types. Also, you just shave it with a sharp clipper. Going over the same spot on the skin can cause irritation so be gentle and careful.

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