We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Please read our disclosure.
The afro taper fade haircut is one of the biggest ways to wear Black and very curly hair. Literally. The Guinness Book World Record for the largest afro is 4’10” in circumference. Any challengers? Of course, an afro doesn’t have to big to be beautiful.
An afro does not always have a fade but the afro fade is a popular combination. The taper fade is the smallest type of fade, tapering hair only at the sideburns and back of the neck. An arc of hair is left behind the ear.
The taper fade can be lower or higher though, removing just the sideburn or continuing up higher at the temple and neckline. The height of the temple fade changes the shape of the afro with a low taper creating a rounder profile and a higher fade creating a more tapered effect.
Check out these cool ways to wear the afro taper fade haircut, mostly for Black men but also guys with very curly hair. Many of these images come from Marquinhos Barbers in Brazil, where the afro is clearly a hot look right now.
1. Taper Fade + Afro
This taper fade plus tapered sides creates a more mushroom-shaped afro that goes up more than out.
2. Low Afro Taper
3. High Taper Afro
The high taper combined with a higher neckline almost looks like a low fade. This look creates the appearance of a diagonal line around the back of the head. It concentrates the volume of hair above the ears, whether the afro is styled with texture or smooth.
4. Mid Taper Fade
For some guys the mid taper is just right. This cool fro is more vertical than horizontal and also has some texture from a twist sponge.
5. Afro Taper Haircut
In addition to the modern shape of a taper, this fresh look adds twisted texture and a blonde streak.
6. Small Afro Taper
The rounded shape of a fro looks great at every size. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? This small fro is balanced out by a full beard.
7. Curly Afro + Taper Fade
Many non-African lineages also have the type of curls that can be styled into an afro and if you can, why not.
8. Afro Taper Fade For Black Boys
This is a fresh look for Black men of all ages, including this cool kid. The sharp line up contrasts the rounded profile.
9. Short Afro Cut
Here’s the same afro as above with a beard. It is a haircut that really does look good at every age.
10. Taper Fade Cut With Tapered Afro
Two types of tapering create a modern afro shape – the taper fade and tapered sides. Notice how the lines of the jaw and cheekbones extend into hair for a silhouette that works with this gentleman’s features and face shape. That is the work of an excellent barber.
11. How To Pick An Afro
You’ve got the right haircut but now what? The afro is not an, “I woke up like this” hairstyle. And speaking of waking up, if you’re not wearing a satin durag at night, try it. If you find that hair is too compressed by a durag, try a satin or silk pillowcase. The fabric won’t snag or dry out hair like cotton does. Plus satin warms up in the winter and stays cool in the summer.
The afro is all about the volume that kinky curly hair builds from plenty of picking. Here’s how to style an afro.
First, hair that is curly enough to form a fro needs to be detangled. All types of curly hair are easier to brush when damp to wet. Always start styling an afro with damp-wet hair, either out of the shower or from a spray bottle. In general, the wetter the better but everyone is different.
This can also be a great time to condition hair. Use a spray hair oil or dip your pick in oil before working it through. Just let it drip a bit so the oil doesn’t go everywhere.
An afro pick is not a comb. Do not use it like one. When the pick gets stuck hair, stop combing. Pulling on tangled hair will only cause damage and even hair loss.
Instead of brushing hair from roots to tips, start closer to the ends and work the pick through. Once that hair is detangled, do it again further back, until you reach the roots. Some guys like to pick hair out section by section while others start detangling the ends all over and continue down to the roots from there.
Fingers are also an excellent detangling tool the can break up tangled hair when the pick can’t go through. Another method is to alternate combing with fingers and the pick until hair is fully detangled and builds some volume.
Afro picks can be plastic, metal, or wood. Is one the best? They are also available in different tooth lengths and widths.
While the long metal afro pick is a classic, it can pull more hair out and scratch the scalp. Some guys find that metal creates the most volume though.
Plastic afro picks go smoothly through hair and are gentle on the scalp. While there are not as many options, wood is also a great choice and can reduce frizz.
It really depends on your hair type and preference. Afro picks are cheap, topping out at $10 for wood. Try a couple and see what works for you.
12. How To Take Care Of Afro Hair
This advice applies to all curly and Black hair types. Curly hair tends to be dry and requires additional conditioning.
Before styling your hair, ensure that you always apply hydrating milk, cream, or oil to it. A mentioned before, wear a satin or silk durag and/or use a satin or silk pillowcase. Long curly hair shouldn’t be washed too often but keep the scalp fresh with a scalp cleanser or try a co-wash that removes scalp buildup and moisturizes hair.