How to… grow in a short fade

Can clients ever avoid that ‘awkward phase’ when growing in a short fade? It can be done… kind of! We asked the pros to show us how they help clients get over this hurdle…

While growing in fades gracefully can be a challenge due to the extreme difference in hair lengths, here are some top tips to help barbers and stylists convince clients to stick it out for the long run now that longer, looser styles are emerging.

“Transitioning to a longer, brushed-back style takes time and patience, but there are ways to make the client journey more pleasant as their hair grows,” says Jesse Linares, a member of the Sam Villa ArTeam.

Top tips to growing in a fade:

1. Keep the edges clean “Longer hair tends to misbehave throughout the day, so make sure clients come in regularly for minor clean-ups, especially at the neck and around the ears. Make sure you keep the perimeter of the haircut tidy as this will allow the interior to grow in nicely, without the shape looking unkempt.” Jesse Linares, Sam Villa ArTeam member

2. Leave the back and sides to grow some length “Regrowing the hair more towards the masculine squarer frame involves balancing the hair back out from a very top heavy crop back to being able to get a fuller head of hair with consistent texture and weight throughout that will be capable of real shape, so just shorten the top for the first couple of trims (a bit like a short Ryan Gosling).” Matt Robinson, owner of Mister Robinson Barbershop and member of the American Crew Elite

3. The fade has to go as low as possible “As the hair around the ear has a different texture and usually protrudes more than the finer hair just above, invite the client back for an ‘inter-trim’ which would be a five to 10-minute appointment, to clean up the hair around the ears.” Kate Wingrove, men’s hair specialist at Trevor Sorbie 

Hair: Toni&Guy

4. Work with alternate fading techniques each appointment “For example, every other haircut work interchangeably with a taper fade, then a fade a to finesse the hair line where needed, and always work with some sort of therapeutic tonic when fading hair as the scalp is exposed and fading techniques are quite abrasive on the head.” Dexter Johnson, Toni&Guy artistic director 

5. Preparation is everything “Disciplining hair to stay in position is essential and that starts with the right styling products and a good hair dryer. Focus more on foundation volume or smoothing products (depending on needs) that can be blown dry into wet hair. Redken Heat Design 09 is good for controlling frizz on all hair types and is perfect for foundational blow-drying before applying paste or pomade. This sort of styling creates behaviour in hair and going from wet to dry with the right product will provide longer-lasting control than just finishing products such as pastes and pomades.” Jesse Linares, Sam Villa ArTeam member

6. Styling creme will be there best friend: “For growing in, I recommend using R+Co JACKPOT Styling Creme and working in a flexible style on top to blend into sleek sides. Remember to also work with the long, front bit of hair to give the illusion of a more graduated look,” Beth Middlecoate, senior artistic director, Q Hair and Beauty


Hair: Sam Villa ArTeam
Photo: Katie Parker
Wardrobe: Brittany Hart
Make-up: Nicole Schimel
Model: Kegan Watkins


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