Why South Asian Men Love the Skin Fade

The haircut has become the go-to for Brown men from Delhi to London, but for very different reasons.

IMG_1026 Skin Fade
Virat Kohli, NAV, Anik Khan, and Zayn Malik (Zahra Le Breton for The Juggernaut)

Ayesha Le Breton

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May 14, 2024

When Sohum Shah, 34, moved to Austin, Texas, he was in for an unfortunate surprise. “I was trying to find a new barber,” said Shah, who is Indian American. “I checked out one local barber shop, but he started the fade on the high side…it looked like I had a racing stripe.” He had no time to get it fixed before his date that night. 

But the muck-up didn’t dissuade him. The skin fade or fade haircut — which involves cutting the hair shorter toward the bottom, creating a seamless transition from hair at the top to very short or bare skin on the sides and back — has been his usual for over seven years. 

Shah isn’t alone. From Zayn Malik and AP Dhillon to Virat Kohli, South Asian men around the world have developed a particular fondness for the look. What gives?

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