What to Know Before Getting a Tapered Haircut

We asked the experts.

What to Know Before Getting a Tapered Haircut
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Taper haircuts are big this season, and we're not surprised.

But for those of you who are unfamiliar, a tapered haircut is a unisex style where the hair is longer at the top of the head and gradually gets shorter as it descends down the nape of the neck and the sides of the head, according to Jamila Powell, founder of Naturally Drenched, and owner of Maggie Rose Salon,

The low maintenance cut is easy to style with just a little product and can be worn messy or tweaked up for a more formal look — so with this much versatility, it's no wonder it has so much appeal.

That said, if you don't have a lot of time to spend fussing over your hair in the morning, but want to experiment with something new, a tapered haircut is perfect.

But wait a minute, don't all run to the salon at once. While tapered haircuts are a great option for men and women of all ages, we asked Powell and Nunzio Saviano, stylist and owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon, what you need to know before getting a tapered haircut. Read on to find out what they had to say.

Are Tapered Haircuts Suitable For Any Hair Texture?

Yes. Whether your hair is curly, straight or natural, a tapered cut can work for you. However, Saviano adds that it's very important to know that regardless of your hair texture, if your hair is tapered at the hairline it will become very short.

"Your hair will almost be to the skin," he says. "Sometimes the stylist will leave it natural looking or finish with a trimmer for more definitive lines. Regardless of how it's done, the hair is very short."

How Does a Tapered Haircut Differ From a Fade?

"A tapered haircut typically starts out longer at the top of the head and gets shorter as you go down to the natural hairline on the nape and sides of the head," says Powell. "A fade is a taper that gradually takes the hair down to the skin, so that it looks like the hairline on the sides and back of your head 'fades' away before it reaches the natural hairline. A fade is a very short version of a taper."

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When Should You Avoid Getting a Tapered Haircut?

If you don't like clippers or trips to the barber, then a tapered haircut may not work for you, says Powell. 'Cause to keep your tapered haircut looking on point, you'll have to visit a barber every few weeks.

"What makes a tapered cut sharp-looking is the length," says Saviano. "The longer your hair gets, the less of a fade you'll have. It's best to have a barber touch up your tapered cut every three to four weeks to keep it looking fresh."

What Are Some Different Types of Tapered Haircuts?

tapered haircuts

There are different variations of the tapered haircut, so it's best to consult a stylist and ask what length and style will look best on you. "A graduated bob can be tapered in the back, at the nape of the head that's shaped into the hairline without making sharp definite clean lines," says Saviano. "There's also fro-hawks, asymmetrical tapered cuts — where the curls on top are cut at an angle, and a layered pixie tapered cut, which is good for people who have fine hair and desire more volume," says Powell.

What's the Best Way to Style a Tapered Cut?

The great thing about tapered haircuts is that you won't need to stand in the mirror for hours trying to perfect the style, but it will need a little TLC.

"Whether your tapered hair section is on the side, back or all around your head, it won't require styling, but the rest of the longer hair will require styling, depending on the final desired look or the hair texture," says Siviano.

However, you will need to have a set wash day routine.

"For all hair textures I recommend regularly getting trims and using a clarifying shampoo to make sure your scalp is clean and doesn't get weighed down with oil or buildup," adds Powell. "Add Naturally Drenched's Rebalance to your routine to keep your hair and scalp moisturized while supporting hair follicle strength, which is ideal for eventually growing your hair out. If you have natural hair, use Naturally Drenched Watermelon Dreams to oil your scalp, especially the tapered sides, it gives your hair shine and locks in the moisture, which will help your curls last longer."

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