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The hi-top fade is a haircut which developed from a combination of the fade and a hi-top. This haircut was extremely popular in the African American community between 1986 and 1993. The haircut is characterized by hair which is shaved or cut very close to the scalp on the top and sides of the head. The length of hair gradually increases as the hair reaches the crown where the hair is all one length. When styled, the hair cut resembles an individual who is wearing a top hat without the rim.

Trim hair on the sides with scissors, if you have long hair. Leave approximately one inch. This step can be accomplished by combing a section of the hair and pinching the gathered section between your pointer and middle finger. Trim the hair with the scissors at the edge of your pinched fingers.

Cut the hair on the sides with the electric razor. The bottom section of the hair should be shaved close to the scalp and the length should increase, as you reach the crown.

Shave the bottom third of the head, and then begin moving the electric razor or hair clipper in a vertical, rocking motion -- where it is closest to the skin at the bottom and move farther away from the scalp -- as the razor moves to the top

Comb all of the hair on the top of the head so it all sticks straight up. Use hairspray or gel, if the hair will not maintain position.

Use the clippers or scissors to trim the top of the hair, so it is flat -- using the combing and finger pinch method -- or small movements of the electric razor, held parallel to the floor.

Trim the edges of the top to form a rounded edge, if desired. This step can be done using small movements of the electric razor or finger pinch method.


This haircut does require some skill and a steady hand to complete. The best advice is to practice and cut the hair slightly longer than the directions state, until you get comfortable with the steps. You can cut the hair over and over again, until the appropriate length has been achieved. If any errors are made during the cutting process, it is easy to transition the haircut into a normal fade by trimming the top of the hair shorter.

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Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young has worked as a writer, editor and book publisher for professional life coaches and business entrepreneurs since 2007. She has specialized training and experience in project management and procurement, as well as contracting services. Young earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both history and Japanese studies.