How To Do a Burst Fade Haircut | A Step-by-Step Guide

The burst fade haircut has become a popular style for men looking for a fresh, edgy look. This fade haircut features a “burst” design shaved along the temples that creates a starburst effect when viewed from the front or top. In this article, we’ll explain what a burst fade is and provide a step-by-step guide on how to cut and style it yourself.

Sharp Mid Fade
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What is a Burst Fade Haircut?

Clear Mid Fade Plus Dyed Highlights
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A burst fade, also known as a South of France fade, is a type of taper fade haircut where the hair transitions very quickly from longer on top to closely trimmed on the back and sides. Unlike a regular fade which gradually tapers hair down, a burst fade dramatically fades out the hair around the temples and sideburns to create a burst design. This starburst effect adds flair and dimension to a fade haircut.

When should you get a burst fade cut?

The burst fade is a versatile style that can complement many hair types and face shapes. It works well for guys who want an edgy, contemporary look. It’s a great option if you have thick, straight hair but can also style wavy or curly hair types. Just keep the hair on top long enough on curly hair to show off texture.

Tools and Supplies Needed

Before learning how to cut a burst fade, gather the proper tools and supplies:

  • Clippers with multiple guard sizes
  • Tapering comb attachment for clippers
  • Sharp scissors
  • Barber cape
  • Fine-tooth comb
  • Clipper oil
  • Styling products (pomade, wax, gel, etc)

Step-by-Step Burst Fade Haircut Instructions

Follow these steps to cut your own burst fade haircut at home:

  1. Prep the Hair Start by thoroughly washing and drying the hair. Make sure there are no tangles or knots before cutting. Use a pre-styler to add texture.
  2. Cut the Top Use sharp scissors to cut the hair on top to your desired length. Leave at least 2-3 inches for short styles. Cut uniformly so the top lays flat.
  3. Attach a Long Guard
    Put a longer clipper guard on your trimmers, such as a #4. Trim the hair at the parietal ridge and upper sides evenly to desired length.
  4. Create the Initial Fade Change to a shorter guard, like a #2, and begin fading down the sides and back. Cut against the grain in short strokes. Stop halfway down the head.
  5. Detail the Burst Design Switch to a #1 guard. Define the burst design by dramatically tapering the hair along the temples and sideburns. Cut in a curved, semi-circular pattern.
  6. Blend the Fade Use a #0 guard to taper the lower sides/back up to the upper fade. Blend with the top using the tapering comb attachment in upward strokes.
  7. Refine with Scissors Make the fade seamless by detail-cutting any uneven spots using sharp scissors. Follow the fade’s contours.
  8. Shape the Hairline Create a clean hairline by edging up the neckline and around the ears with trimmers. Make crisp lines and remove any stray hairs.
  9. Style the Finish Apply styling product like pomade or wax and use your fingers to style the burst design and the hair on top. For added height, use a round brush and blow dryer.

Tips for Maintaining Your Burst Fade

  • Get your burst fade trimmed every 2-4 weeks to keep it looking sharp. Frequent trims maintain the fade.
  • Use a beard trimmer to touch up neck and sideburn lines between cuts.
  • Apply moisturizing products daily to prevent irritation from close trimming on the sides.
  • Use a mild cleanser and shampoo 2-3 times per week to avoid over-drying hair.
  • Style with minimal products to prevent greasy buildup along the fade line.
  • Invest in quality styling products designed for very short sides and longer top.
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase to preserve your style and minimize frizz.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure with leave-in conditioners and styling products.

Common Burst Fade Variations

There are many ways to customize a burst fade cut to suit your style. Here are some popular variations:

  • The Curved Burst – Softer rounded fade with subtle burst effect.
  • The High Burst – Fade starts higher on the head for more contrast with the top.
  • The Sculpted Burst – Precisely carved sharp points and angles in the burst design.
  • The Asymmetrical Burst – Fade is higher/tighter on one side than the other.
  • The Double Burst – Fade pattern mirrors on both sides of the head.
  • The Burst Mohawk – Burst design fades into a strip of longer hair down middle.
  • The Burst Pompadour – High volume pompadour style accented by burst fade.

Experiment with different burst designs, sizes, and angles to find a style that suits you. And don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own! The burst fade offers limitless styling possibilities for creating your signature look.

Frequently Asked Questions

What clipper guard sizes should I use?

Start with a #4 or #5 guard on top, and fade down to a #1 or #0 guard near the temples and nape of the neck. Always use clean, sharp blades.

How short should I cut the hair on top?

For short burst fade styles, cut the top hair to 2-3 inches long. For longer styles like a pompadour, leave 4 inches or more on top.

Can I do a burst fade on curly hair?

Yes, a burst fade can look great on curly hair types. Just leave extra length on top to show off the texture. Fading very short on the sides works well with curls.

How often do I need to get my burst fade touched up?

Get your burst fade trimmed every 2-4 weeks to maintain its clean lines and the contrast with the top. Book appointments with your barber regularly.

Should I use a hot towel before cutting a burst fade?

Applying a warm towel before cutting is recommended. The heat helps soften thicker hair for an easier, smoother cut.

What products work best for styling a burst fade?

Pomades, waxes, and gels with a matte or medium shine finish are ideal for styling burst fades. Avoid oil-based and greasy products.

Can I do a burst fade on straight hair?

Yes, a burst fade works equally well on straight, wavy or curly hair. The key is creating an extreme contrast between the longer top and faded sides.

How do I best maintain my burst fade in between cuts?

Use a beard trimmer to touch up the edges. Apply moisturizer daily, and use mild shampoos to prevent over-drying. Limit sun exposure.