Before we bust out the scissors, let’s talk terminology. A “fade” haircut is one in which the hair at the sides and back of the head is cut very short—usually short enough to see the skin underneath—with the hair gradually decreasing (i.e., fading) in length, starting out long at the top of the head and ending up short near the ears and nape of the neck. The fade can be traced back to the bons vivants of the Roaring Twenties, who made it the defining do of the decade. The style has been around ever since, cycling in popularity about every 30 years, most recently with barbers across the country reporting an increased demand for the Darmody—a version worn by the eponymous character on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It’s obvious why the fade has never faded away: It’s easy to ask for and easy to take care of, and its endless variations fit almost every hair type and face shape. Although any barber worth his pole can make the fade fit what mother nature gave you, here’s what you need to know to look your dapper best.