24 Beautiful Tapered Cuts For Natural Hair

From dramatic undercuts to understated pixis.

Updated 10/30/19
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The best part of being in the natural hair community is the freedom you see in the styling. Curls can be long, short, tight, or loose. They can be ultra-defined or sport a little care-free frizz. Regardless of what your personal preference is, there’s a style out there for you. This includes the cropped looks you’ll find on Instagram that prove blunt and uniform haircuts simply won’t do for textures that don’t want to be tamed.

Whether it’s a dramatic undercut or a mohawk-inspired style, natural hair looks amazing in a variety of tapered cuts. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Blonde Frohawk

Blonde Frohawk

Instagram / @iam.tiffany.renee

Don’t want to part with your length, but still want to make a bold statement? Ask your hairdresser for a conservative frohawk that tapers your sides oh-so-slightly. This smooth transition creates a shape that directs a viewer’s eye up to your longer, textured locks and beautiful face. Opting for an icy blonde color is another way to make this hairstyle pop.

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Soft Cut

A deep side part is a great way to highlight your faded sides. You can leave the rest of your hair any length you want, but to see that side part you worked so hard for, you should keep your cut at an inch or two.

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More Up-Top

More Up-Top

Instagram / @_crownedwithcurlss

Lowkey naturals that are at stage two in their hair journey can join the tapered cut team by keeping their hair shorter at the back of their head. This creates a choppy, medium-sized afro that still maintains definition. To really make the cut stand out, make sure to fluff up the front of your hair and pull a few strands to create cute, wispy curls.

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Asymmetrical Curls

Asymmetrical Curls

 Instagram / @fersant.monique

An asymmetrical cut will never go out of style, and you can make the look your own with your natural texture. Keep the sides trimmed while gradually leaving out tufts of hair so your curls won’t get lost.

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Auburn Waves

Auburn Wave

Instagram / @nappyfrancophones

Naturalistas that want to enjoy benefits of short hair without having to chop it all off can elevate their look with a teeny weeny afro. The secret to this look? Keep hair short enough to be out of the way, but also long enough to show off your texture. A handy boar bristle brush can be used to lay down baby hairs or create soft waves, while a monthly (or weekly) auburn rinse adds a touch of color.

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Pretty in Pink

If daring is your middle name, you’ll love the idea of a magenta frohawk. Ask your stylist to buzz off the sides, create a shaved lightning bolt, and hit the bleach bottle. Of course, you can ask for any color you want, but this vibrant shade packs plenty of personality and complements neutral wardrobes.

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Statement Flat-Top

Statement Flat-Top

 Instagram / @polydorochaves

The 90's are back with flat-top fades—but this time, they’re out with a modern twist. No longer will you have to settle for a streamlined cylindrical cut; your natural texture can shine through. You can ask for extra personalization by requesting shaved patterns like zigzags or arrows. 

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Twist Out Galore

Twist Out Galore

  Instagram / @simply.mandiej

Can’t live without your twist out? Opt for small shaved sections and add an optional side part (or two). You can treat the rest of your hair as normal and twist to your heart’s content. Larger and less uniformed twist outs create a chic boho look when paired with this modest cut.

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Curly Coiffure

Curly Coiffure

 Instagram / @theabigailmartina

If you need a tapered cut that’s easy to manage and can go from a night out at a concert to morning meetings at a corporate office, this style is a fit for you. All you really need is a slight trim to your sides and a hydrated wash-and-go routine. Keeping your temples short while the rest of your hair grows will create a chic high-top that stands out from the crowd.

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Ginger Snap

Ginger Snap

 

Instagram / @naturalsintroy_

Replace the spikes you see in standard mohawks for stretched out kinks and coils. Just shave down the sides and pick an optional design. If your hair needs assistance in the texture department, you can opt for a braid out to give you that tousled look. Last but not least, tie in a ginger hue for an alternative vibe.

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Pixie Edge

Pixie Edge

 Instagram / @naturalhaircuts

Pixie cuts aren't just for straight hair. In fact, you can let your curl pattern take center stage with this shorter style. To make this haircut work, keep your length trimmed by your ears and your baby hairs smoothed down.

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Artsy Two Tone

Artsy Two Tone

Instagram / @melasiad

Can’t decide between two hair colors? Don’t worry, you don’t have to with this eye-catching hairstyle. From the faded dark sides and intricate shaved-in design to the defined ombré curls that are awash in fuchsia—anyone that chooses this unique style will be a walking piece of art.

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Peekaboo Cut

Peekaboo Cut

 Instagram / @tulanielisa

Delight onlookers with a hidden undercut design. Opting for a symmetrical pattern like a lotus flower is a visually stunning way to spruce up your style. Simply pull your hair up to reveal your tapered tresses, which also pairs well with braids and twists. 

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Icy Trail

Icy Trail

 Instagram / @jastanae

If you wish to say goodbye to long hair and hello to a vibrant fashion color, this clean fade is right for you. You’ll have to request a close shave so the deep side can steal the show, then add in the icy, gunmetal blue and you’re ready to go.

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Dip-Dye Fro

Dip-Dye Fro

 Instagram / @arispella

You’ve probably seen your fill of frohawks, but this dip-dyed style is anything but repetitive. Simply shave your sides and create a large "Z" pattern for a fun view. When you’re ready to go out, toss your hair upfront and pin or tie it in place to show off your lightened curly ends. Pro tip: Don’t forget to fluff for extra volume.

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Conventionally Cut

Conventionally Cut

 Instagram / @arielvscupcake_

Not looking to get close to your hairdresser’s clippers? No problem. This long, layered pixie hair cut may be right up your alley. It’s a conventional and timeless style that looks great with curly textures and highlights the face beautifully. Moreover, this cut is an excellent choice for naturals who have fine hair and desire more volume.

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Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves

 Instagram / @mounalisathemuse

Move over Ariel, there’s a new mermaid in town. Even better, this mystical mermaid brings a whole lot of personality to the table with bold ultraviolet and turquoise hues. Buzzing off the sides and shaving in an intricate ocean wave pattern is another way you can make this aquatic fantasy come to life.

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Cinnamon Coils

Cinnamon Coils

 Instagram / @timmeshab

Go about daily life with a low-maintenance temple fade that’s adorned with defined coils. Add a dash of spice by dying your frontal, mid-scalp and crown a warm cinnamon shade while keeping hair near your ear dark.

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The Perfect Touch

Opting for a tapered cut doesn’t mean you can’t dress up your hair. In fact, you can play around with hair colors and accessories more often than you’d expect. A patterned headscarf is one stylish way you can complement your tapered style.

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Asymmetrical Buzzcut

Asymmetrical Buzzcut

 Instagram / @killahkilz

Remember when Cassie sported her iconic asymmetrical buzzcut? You can mimic that punky style by shaving off one side of your hair. The look can be enhanced further by implementing box braids as a protective style.

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Finger Curled Frohawk

Finger Curled Frohawk

 Instagram / @kerri3kidslater

Have you ever seen a mohawk with springy finger curls? Just snag your favorite defining gel and get to twisting. If you want the texture to really pop, go for a lighter hair color like strawberry blonde.

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High-Low Fade

High-Low Fade

 Instagram / @nandi_madida

 

A high-low fade lets you get the flat-top look without the height maintenance. All it takes is a little buzz to the sides of your head. The contrast between the different lengths of hair creates a dashing gender-neutral style.

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Simple Silver

Simple Silver

 Instagram / @naturalhaircuts

There’s beauty in simplicity, and this fact holds true in the natural hair world. Elaborate designs, dye jobs, and length aren’t necessary if you don’t want them to be. You can rock a chic silver fade and show off your unique features.

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Grapevine Curls

Grapevine Curls

Instagram / @kat_attack_fitness

Make your way through the grapevine with a midnight purple frohawk. Keep your long curls at the forefront while your tapered sides are highlighted with clean, surgical lines.

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