How Bald is your Fade?


Dear valued barber shop patron,

Class is officially in session on the variations of the bald fade, the cut that has been the most consistently popular since 1990. Let me give you a little barber’s insight, we either hate to do this cut, or we love to do this cut. When done properly it requires an elite skill set, so it can be somewhat laborious to fade from bald to different variations of thickness up top, considering that the surface is not a smooth canvas. Imagine cutting grass on an uneven, rocky, slanted yard. Now imagine changing the blade settings on the mower to give the lawn a blend from almost no grass to heavy grass on that same uneven plane, it can be quite a task.

But for those of us few master barbers left, it is a craftsman’s dream because it allows you to showcase your artistry in the most illustrious manner possible. An exquisite bald fade can make your head look like the hair cut was engineered in your genetic coding. A clean bald fade won’t have any impediments or obstructions in the blend, and if the bald area is really bald, it will look like your hair cut is airbrushed on your scalp. But what does really bald mean? It should feel like your shoulder to the touch when you rub it. with the grain. Now most of you are not getting your bald fades truly bald because your barber is using his liners to bald you out. One of these two:
IMG_0174 These clippers are meant for lining the perimeter of your hair cut, and shaving the already balded quadrant to a “liner stubble.” Since these clippers are called liners and used primarily for lining, or edging up the hair, a “liner stubble” is a classification for the degree of baldness they give that is slightly above “shaver bald.” If you have medium corse to coarse hair, or wavy thick hair, the liners will leave just a little bit of stubble on your bald fade, where as the barber’s electric shaver will remove that unnoticeable stubble, making the bald quadrant of your fade smooth to the graze.
If you don’t have sensitive skin on the back of your head where it meets the neck, (this area is called the nape) you should ask your barber to bald your fade with the shaver. This will get your bald fade closer than the level the of the liners. If you have a tendency to bump up on the nape, you can tell your barber to bald your fade with the shaver, and not to go against the grain on the nape. Ask your barber if he can go across the grain on the nape with the shaver, as this will elevate you from bumping up in that area. However, there it is yet another degree of baldness you can achieve that very few African American barbers will offer. You may on occasion notice Hispanic barbers balding out their clients with the razor, effectively shaving the area to a stubbless bald that is baby smooth to the touch. Most of there clients though, are getting the same style of bald fade without any complicated or stylized variations, diminishing the flair of the haircut. On the contrary, African American barbers give the most stylized fades in the world and adding a razor shave to the bald quadrant of the fade will not only make your fade truly bald, it will make it more dynamic because of the starkness of the contrast.
IMG_1200 This type of bald fade can be disadvantageous if you have a sensitive nape, more so than the shaver bald fade. Most African American men can’t take the razor on the nape at all, therefore it would behoove you to advise your barber not to put the razor on the nape, just everywhere else on the fade. I’ll leave you with some barber trickery. If you feel a clipper balding you out and not a liner, it should be this clipper: balder If you don’t see your barber using this clipper and you see him balding you out with clippers used for fading, IMG_0030 he is tricking you into thinking that he is giving you a bald fade, when in actuality it is a very close light fade with no line. A barber can take the lethargic way out and give you a light fade one level closer so that its very light and without the line it will look, to the average person, like a bald fade.

Yours Truly,
Master Barber at The Loft La Brea Elite Men’s Grooming
351 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles CA 90036

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