Home » Can you Fade Without a Lever? [Explained] 

Can you Fade Without a Lever? [Explained] 

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Yes, you can fade without a lever, and as a professional barber, you should know how to deliver a crisp fade without it.

Learning that will not only help you become better at fade haircuts but also improve skills like movement smoothness, preciseness, and attention to detail.

So, if you want to learn about all the different techniques for fading without a taper lever, keep reading.

What Is a Fade Lever? 

fade lever on wahl cordless magic clip
The fade lever on Wahl cordless magic clip

A fade lever is a small lever on the clipper’s side that adjusts the closeness of the cut by moving the back blade up and down. When the back blade’s teeth get close to the front blade’s teeth (lever up position), then the cut will be very close, and as they get away (lever down position), the cut will get longer. This gradual move of the blades allows barbers to achieve very detailed and smooth fades, and this is why the best clippers for fades have a lever on them!

Fading with a Lever 

barber using hair clipper

Now that you know the basics of how a taper lever works let’s see how you can take advantage of it to deliver a great fade.

  • First, move the lever to its closed position (the two blades’ cutting teeth are placed as close as possible to each other).
  • Start by trimming the side and back hair’s bottom (close to the neck). 
  • As you move towards the top of the head, steadily and gradually move the lever to its open position

PRO TIP: If you want a longer fade, you can add a clipper guard after reaching the longest setting of the taper lever.

Fading Without a Lever 

Now it is time to get to the meat and potatoes of this article and teach you four different ways of doing a fade haircut without a lever. Of course, you won’t become a master just by reading this article, as you need some practice under your belt to perfect your skill, but you will learn the basics and get a general understanding of how it works.

1. The Freehand Method 

The freehand method is a high-difficulty technique used for skin fades. Essentially you have to do a fade haircut with a hair clipper without a taper lever. 

As you can understand, it all has to do with the hand movement and how close you move the clipper to the hair.

We can’t give you exact directions on how to do it by writing instructions in a blog post so check the video below to learn more about this technique.

2. The Tapered Fade 

In this technique, you will use two different length clipper guards, like the number one and two guard, or number 2 and three guard.

Start with the smaller size clipper guard; slowly taper towards the top of the head and add the bigger size clipper guard as you move up. The key here is to ensure that each layer blends naturally into the next for an even look. Again, due to its complexity, this technique takes some practice before achieving salon-quality results at home. 

3. Scissor Over Comb 

barber working
Source: @louishannouch via Instagram

This method involves using scissors rather than hair clippers to achieve an even fade haircut and is the most difficult one. 

1. Gather Your Tools 

The essential tool for cutting a fade with just scissors is, obviously, the scissors. You will also need a comb to create straight lines and blend the hair smoothly. 

2. Create A Gradual Blend 

The key to creating a fade with scissors is gradually blending the hair by adjusting your angle as you cut. Start at the bottom of your head near your neckline and move up towards the top of your head while changing angles slightly as you work your way up. This will allow you to blend the different hair lengths into one seamless line that gradually fades away as it gets lower. 

4. The Point-Cutting Method


The point-cutting method relies on one essential tool—a pair of thinning shears. These are different from regular scissors as they have one regular blade and one blade with teeth. This allows you to cut points, or small sections of hair, which blend in nicely with the rest of your hair for an even look. 

To begin, section off the area you want to work on and create some guidelines for yourself – these will be helpful when the time for blending comes. Once you’ve done this, grab your thinning shears and start snipping away! Make sure that with each cut, you’re pulling up and outward from the scalp so that all of your points go in the same direction. You should also focus on making each cut as clean as possible; take your time here! Doing so will ensure that all of your points are uniform in size and shape, making them blend seamlessly together. 

When it comes time for blending, remember to use more pressure as you near the top layers of hair since those sections will be much thicker than those at the bottom. Also, remember that if any areas look too choppy or uneven after blending, go back over them with your thinning shears until they look just right!


Cutting a fade without a lever takes practice and cannot be taught through a blog post, but once mastered can give you a new look for a meager cost. Like any other skill worth honing, haircutting requires patience and practice before you can master it. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t have any barbering experience, it’s best to start practicing on a wig before attempting it on someone else’s hair! 

Remember that patience is vital – don’t rush through any part of this process, as unevenness can be hard (or impossible) to fix afterward. With this tutorial in hand, any man should have all he needs to create his perfect fade – happy styling!

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