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What Is a Temple Fade?

By G. D. Palmer
Updated May 21, 2024
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A temple fade, also known as a Brooklyn fade or low fade, is a type of short men's haircut in which the hair tapers from the skin to about 0.5 inch (1 cm) long, starting at the temples. This extreme taper cut tends to have longer hair at the top and back of the head, and is extremely close-cut along the back and sides. It originated in salons that catered to specific ethnic subcultures. The temple fade does poorly on men with receding hair or a very rectangular face, but can flatter round faces and people with large facial features.

This haircut goes under many different names, and may be mistaken for some other styles. It and several other tapered cuts may be referred to simply as fades. The temple fade is sometimes called a blowout or Philly fade, and should be discussed extensively with the stylist before cutting. While the style itself always features a few basic features, the extent and severity of the fade vary significantly from stylist to stylist.

Any temple fade will taper cleanly from the hairline to the temples in front. In most examples, the style includes longer hair on the top of the head, from a short distance above the eyebrows to the back of the head. The hair on the nape of the neck and above, behind and in front of the ears, is clipped very close to the skin. Some examples extend the longer area slightly in back.

This haircut originated in salons and barber shops that served Americans of Italian, Indian, and Mexican descent, as well as Somali-Americans and many African-Americans. By the mid-2000s, the temple fade had become popular outside of its original ethnic subcultures, and was a mainstream style in the United States. Temple fades enjoy the greatest popularity in the northeastern part of the country.

Not all men can wear a temple fade well. The smooth taper of this haircut emphasizes a receding hairline or other male pattern balding signs, and the close-cut shape can make a square or rectangular head seem even more angular. Men with oval faces do well with a temple fade, as do those with round faces, provided the hair on top is left a little longer or textured slightly. Since fade cuts keep hair away from the face, they can also work to draw attention away from large facial features or a low forehead.

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Discussion Comments
By healthy4life — On Jan 09, 2013

@DylanB – I don't think that the length matters. Any cut that has longer hair on top and in the back than on the sides and the lower back is a temple fade, in my opinion.

Some men choose to have their hair on top three or more inches long, while others have it shaved really close. I think that many men go with hair that is half an inch long at the longest part and shaved super close at the sides.

By DylanB — On Jan 08, 2013

I know that the hair on top is supposed to be longer than at the sides, but how much longer? Are we talking hair that is several inches long, or can it be any length as long as it is longer than that on the sides?

By StarJo — On Jan 07, 2013

@Kristee – It works with all types of hair. My brother has straight hair, and he keeps it cut into a temple fade.

I know a couple of guys who have managed to do this hairstyle on their own heads with the help of clippers and a mirror. However, my brother really botched his when he tried to do it himself.

I think it's always best to find a barber when you want a temple fade. Something that requires different lengths at different parts of the head is tough to accomplish, and you really need someone who can see all parts of your head to do it for you.

By Kristee — On Jan 07, 2013

Would a temple fade work on a Caucasian man with straight hair? I've always thought that the temple fade required short, curly hair.

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