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


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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