The following are terms often heard in reference to clipper cut styles along with what they mean:
Fade (or Temple Fade): A fade is tapering of the hair to the shortest possible
length of stubble. Usually used with Buzz Cuts, Crew Cuts and Flattop styles, the fade generally starts just below the parietal ridge around the temple area.
White Walls: Another taper cut that goes even shorter than a fade. The hair is
tapered to the shortest possible stubble length at a point just below the parietal ridge and the hair below that point is shaved
completely with a lather and razor to smooth skin.
Taper: A term that generally refers to a gradually-decreasing lengths of hair
typically becoming shorter as you go down the head to the lower perimeter of the hairline on the sides and back. When referring to the
finishing technique of a haircut, tapering means that the hair is cut gradually shorter and shorter but the natural hairline is left in place.
Squared: This term refers to the technique of cutting an artificial line in the
perimeter particularly at the back of the head at the neck. The hair may be tapered above the perimeter, but generally is longer
than with a tapered finish to ensure a clean line in the squared off hairline.
The following are the terms for lengths used most commonly by barbers, and refer to the lengths of various clipper settings and guard attachments:
The relevance of these numerical identification terms is simple to understand. By using
standardized terms for the lengths of the guard attachments, a man can walk into almost any barber shop and ask for a #2 Buzz Cut
and know that he will get his hair clipped to a uniform length of ¼-inch all over the head.
Manufacturers of various clippers use almost universal standardization for the lengths of the
guard attachments. There is some variance in length to be found from maker to maker, but the differences in length tend to be around
1/32nd of an inch or less. The variance rarely presents a problem for either barber or patron.