Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) Training Vancouver

Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp MicroPigmentation Industry

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) has become a viable option for men and women seeking a solution for hair loss and thinning. And is fast becoming a highly lucrative and in demand sub section of the permanent makeup industry.

However, with the growing demand and rise in popularity we are unfortunately seeing a glut of Sub par training.

With this in mind, I wanted to put together a guide on getting the best bang for your buck (so to speak) when it comes to Scalp Micropigmention training in Vancouver. In this highly interpersonal, results based and competitive industry it’s imperative that you get your career off to a great start before you begin working on clients.

Choose your teacher wisely 

There is an old saying that those who cannot do, teach. Be very careful with who you get trained by.

Getting your career off on the right foot, means finding the right teacher. Preferably one who’s own methods are grounded in solid fundamentals and who possesses a teaching style that suits you.

I get too many artists contacting me asking for advice on how to do this or how to do that. I see photos on Instagram with artists clearly not following adequate sanitation protocols and using awkward, dangerous procedural methods. And finally I see many completed Scalp Micropigmentation procedures, which are far from desirable. Much of this can only point to sub par teaching.

The issue arises when a poorly skilled and poorly trained SMP technician decides to teach. They simply end up passing on those very same poor skills and bad habits to a new batch of artists.

Ideally you will want to train with someone who specializes in “nothing but” SMP. Avoid “jack of all trades” generic cosmetic makeup training or teachers who do EVERYTHING and specialize in nothing. It is perhaps not ideal to train under a teacher who is not personally in high demand or does not have a spectacular body of work to show for their experience.


Training with an artist who is busy and in demand for their specific skill set and style, is a good indicator that they will have an up to date skillset, protocols and artistic credibility.

Do your homework, ask the right questions, and ask to meet with them. Spend your time and your money wisely.


An up to date, sterile, clean working clinic or studio is where you ideally want to be training. Not a classroom setting or someone’s basement.

You want to be in the actual environment where procedures take place. This way you can get a good understanding and visual representation for when you branch out on your own. Being in the right environment also forces you into a more professional mindset.


SMP equipment

Make sure that your SMP teacher is supplying quality equipment. Again do your research, find out what the best SMP artists are using and seek out a trainer who supplies these tools! I see many expensive SMP courses where the equipment provided is nothing short of cheap garbage.

If you want the best results, you want to be working with the best and most trusted brands.

The Training

SMP Training

Ask to see what the three or four day training protocol consists of. From consultation to final application you want to make sure the training is as comprehensive and as possible. Will you be working with live models? Are you working on all the practical aspects of SMP? And what theoretical topics does the course cover? Will you be covering all the typical procedures and scenarios an SMP artist is likely to encounter? 

Continued Support

Once your training has come to an end what next? Make sure your trainer is approachable and willing to share further information and help if needed. A supportive and conscientious mentor is invaluable in this business. Do not be afraid to ask questions regarding continued support to get a feel for your trainer’s enthusiasm and willingness to help aid in your success.

 About Rob James and Advanced Scalp Clinic

Rob James SMP mentors aspiring SMP artists and cosmetic technicians at his Vancouver based Scalp Micropigmentation clinic, Advanced Scalp.

New artists entering the industry are invited to

Benefit from hands-on training with one of the countries most detail orientated and sought after artists.


Contact 778-917-7772

I love my SMP, how long will it last?

How Long Does Scalp Micro pigmentation Last?

Your scalp micropigmentation is an investment, which you want to enjoy at its best for as long as possible. But how long does it last and what can I do to prolong the awesome results I have received? 

My name is Rob James SMP as one of Vancouver’s busiest Scalp micropigmentation artists I perform hundreds of procedures each year. If you’ve just had your SMP done or at thinking about the treatment, this post is aimed at helping you get the most out of your newly acquired SMP. 

A question I frequently receive is; 

“How long does SMP last?” 

On average a properly administered Scalp Micropigmentation should last an individual anywhere between 5-7 years before a refresh is needed.

The longevity of an SMP depends on several factors.

Your own individual skin chemistry can affect the durability. Excessively oily skin can have issues holding pigment especially around the crown area. Skin at the other end of the spectrum, which is excessively dry, can also have issues with pigment endurance.

However your practitioner should recognize these conditions during the two-month touch up and adjustments should be made.

Sscalp micro pigmentation

SMP lasts between 5-7 years under optimal conditions

SMP Aftercare

It’s imperative to follow the aftercare instructions in order to maintain your Scalp micro pigmentation results. As there are elements, which will affect the longevity of your scalp micro pigmentation in the long run.

Excessive UV light exposure is the biggest destructive factor for your SMP. Sunburn, prolonged and intense UV exposure acts as a laser on the pigment, gradually lightening the overall tone.

To avoid premature SMP fading the following aftercare steps must be maintained.

Cover up the scalp when in intense sunshine, avoid burning the scalp at all costs, as this causes excessive skin turn over and skin peeling.

Aftercare instructions are important to follow

It doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the sun at all times. Don’t forget that sunshine is good for your health as it provides the body with immune boosting vitamin D. And if you live in a more temperate climate such as the one here in Vancouver Canada you must make the most of the few months of nice weather. So get out and enjoy yourself, but take the following precautions.

I tell my clients to use a daily SPF factor 30 for everyday use. I suggest a dry mattifying sunblock as this also aids in reducing shine and doesn’t leave that sticky residue.

For times of prolonged sun exposure during the summer, perhaps playing golf, sailing, jogging or exercising. Or when on a beach vacation, I recommend a high SPF factor cream or baseball cap.

When washing your scalp avoid harsh chemical shampoos, instead opt for gentle, simple skin cleaners or soaps. And avoid anything with an abrasive quality, such as an exfoliate. Use a quality moisturizer that does not contain alcohol, such as coconut oil to maintain a healthy skin Ph. value.

Keep the surrounding hair short and trim to maintain the optimal aesthetic appeal of your SMP.

Always keep surrounding hair short for optimal results

 Rob James is one of Canada’s busiest and in demand Scalp micro pigment specialists, working out of his Vancouver Clinic, Advanced Scalp. Always approachable and happy to answer any of your SMP related questions.

Call 778-917-7772 or email to arrange a free consultation.


Hair loss Vancouver options

Vancouver Hair Replacement

Hair loss Vancouver options

 As a busy and in demand Scalp Micro Pigmentation artist living and working in Vancouver BC, I consult with many men on a weekly basis who are looking for solutions regarding their hair loss.

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to go over the myriad of treatments available. Highlighting the positives and negatives of every option. In hopes of adding some clarity, as to what options are available in Vancouver for hair loss.

Hair fibres:

Many clients who have thinning hair use what is called  thickening hair fibres. These tiny, sticky fibres when applied to the hair, stick causing the hair to appear thicker. The drawback of these hair fibres this that when wet they become sticky and can drip onto clothing.

Hair Fibre thickens existing hair

Hair Fibre thickens existing hair

The hair fibres work great and look good on thinning hair up until a point in time where your hair has simply become too thin to sport the fibres.

The hair fibres have a limited functionality, rain; swimming, profuse sweating can all interfere with the practicality of the product.

Topical treatments 

I see many clients who use Finasteride and or Minoxidil. These can be used either in a topical treatment such as a foam or liquid or in the form of an oral medication.

Hair medications

Hair medications can have positive results as well as side effects

Finasteride (brand name Propecia) prevents hair loss by stopping your body from converting testosterone into DHT. Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) is a vasodilator. When applied to your scalp, it widens the blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood to hair follicles. These products seem to work for many people, preventing any continued hair loss and sometimes promoting new hair growth. They usually require long term, sustained use, and can be costly due to duration. However, both often come with some unpleasant side effects.

Hair systems:

Toupée, hairpiece, wig, or weave. These hair systems can be made from real hair or synthetic hair. Many of these hairpieces can look very convincing indeed.

They are placed onto the scalp with a strong bonding agent and trimmed into shape.

Some hair systems look incredible

Some hair systems look incredible

Other hair systems use an individual hair attachment made up of multiple synthetic hairs, which are essentially tied onto your existing hair follicles, multiplying the volume.

Downside is they have to be replaced frequently, glues can irritate the skin, limited practicality and function, surrounding hair grows out, artificial hair eventually falls out and can begin to look tired. Costly and unpractical over the long run.

Hair transplants: 

Hair transplants are a surgical solution to hair loss, where hair is removed usually from the back of the head and surgically placed into other areas of the scalp.

Successful hair transplant

Successful hair transplant

There are two main methods of follicle extraction. FUT harvesting, where a donor area of hair is extracted, usually in a linear strip. The donor area is then stitched often leaving a linear scar. And FUE harvesting is a relatively newer method of extraction, where individual hairs are extracted from a wider ranging donor area and placed into the desired transplant area.

FUE is more costly and is said to leave less scaring than FUT.

Transplant scar concealed using SMP

Transplant scar concealed using SMP

However in my experience FUE does leave scaring in the form of multiple hairless dimples or patches at the back of the scalp.

Many people are satisfied with their hair transplants; however there are those whose procedure did not produce the desired results. Often the transplanted hair just didn’t grow thick or abundant enough to keep it. Sometimes the hair can grow at an unusual angle if not place correctly and be of an unusual texture.

Another downside of a hair transplant is the cost some transplants will be in excess of $20k. There is also a significant downtime and healing period.

Scalp Micropigmentation: 

Scalp micro pigmentation is essentially a cosmetic tattoo that uses a tiny needle to deposit pigment into the scalp.

If done correctly by an experienced and skilled technician the effect replicates your natural hair follicles perfectly.

The SMP process mimics the appearance of tiny hair follicles, helping the recipient restore the look of a full head of shaved hair.

SMP can be used to add density to thinning hair for both males and females, conceal scar tissue from hair transplants and disguise skin conditions such as alopecia.

It can also be used in conjunction with a hair transplant to add further density to the scalp within the transplanted area.

Although the effects are different from a hair transplant, (SMP is two dimensional as opposed to real transplanted three dimensional hair). SMP is a cost effective and there is very little downtime.

shaved hair

If done correctly SMP can look identical to shaved hair

If SMP is performed incorrectly the results can be less than desirable. SMP will fade over time. There is a minimal set of aftercare instructions to follow in order to maintain the optimal quality of your SMP.

I do hope this has helped highlight the options available to those seeking a solution to thinning or balding hair.

Rob James is one of Western Canada’s most requested SMP artists working out of Advanced Scalp Clinic Vancouver BC.

Rob James SMP is always open for consultation and provides a wealth of experience and advice on the topic of hair loss in Vancouver and Scalp micropigmentation Vancouver.

Does Scalp Micro pigmentation (SMP) Look Real?

As one of Canada’s busiest SMP artists, I receive a lot of Emails on a weekly basis from people curious about SMP. My blog serves to help people interested in scalp micro pigmentation make informed decisions regarding SMP.


A question I frequently receive is:


 “Does scalp micro pigmentation (SMP) look real?”

 realistic SMP

Does SMP look real? Example of  a quality, realistic SMP


The answer to this depends on several variables, so let’s explore this topic further.

Client expectations

The first thing to manage as an SMP artist is your client’s expectations. It’s important to fully explain the entire SMP experience and process to your clients in a very clear manner. Many times unsuspecting people can be misled by advertisements, cunning marketing, doctored photographs and or untruths in order to get business.

It’s important to clearly explain and map out the entire procedure relevant to your clients particular pattern of hair loss.

Photo Misrepresentation

Client has more actual hair than most

Client has more actual hair than most


Many times a photo of someone with a lot more hair than a typical Norwood 5, 6 or 7 can be used as an example of what SMP can do. It’s important to be realistic, make sure you see before after photos of someone who has a very similar hair loss pattern as yourself. As an SMP artist make sure you highlight to your prospective client, that their results will vary depending on their hair loss pattern.

SMP artist Experience and Skill 

In order to get a clear picture of what SMP can and cannot do for you. It’s important that your chosen artist has enough experience and skill to show you examples of what to expect based on their own body of work. Hopefully they will be able to show you examples of former clients who had a very similar scalps and hair loss patterns as yourself, in order to give you a realistic expectation.

Appropriate Hairline design and density 

Once you have decided on getting SMP it’s important to make sure you work with your artist on designing a realistic and appropriate new hairline. Do your homework and decide whether your chosen artist has a style that resonates with your desire and expectations. An appropriate hairline design depends on a variety of things such as age, existing surrounding hair pattern, existing hair density, hair colour and head shape.

SMP equipment:

The ability of an artist being able to create a convincing head of realistic looking impressions heavily relies on the equipment they have and how they use it.

It takes time, patience and an eye for detail to expertly combine pigment shades and needle widths to create that realistic 3D effect over the sessions.

Making sure that your chosen SMP artist is well equipped with the latest in needle technology and pigment quality is essential. Although this is hard to tell for someone who doesn’t know the details of the SMP business.  An operator should be open to sharing their product knowledge in order to make you feel at ease and able to do some research of your own.


Keeping your surrounding hair short and following aftercare

Keeping your surrounding hair short and following aftercare

Following the aftercare instructions in between SMP sessions is essential for quality end results. And following the SMP aftercare for years after your SMP is completed is paramount for prolonging the longevity and quality of your SMP.

Short Surrounding hair

One of the most important things you can do to make sure your SMP is always on point is to keep the surrounding hair short and well kept. Other than having a bad SMP job, there is nothing more that will make an SMP look washed out and unrealistic than long surrounding hair.


Long hair surrounding your SMP will cause a contrast between the 3D real hair and the 2D cosmetic tattoo.

SMP can never compete with longer unshaved hair for darkness.

So for optimal effect, keep that surrounding hair short.

I do hope that this blog post highlights some of the things you can do to ensure your SMP results are realistic and rewarding.

Rob James SMP operates out of Vancouver’s premier Scalp Micro Pigmentation clinic and training facility Advanced Scalp Clinic.

Does SMP damage hair follicles?

As one of the busiest and most experienced SMP artists in Canada, I receive many emails and DM’s from people who are considering Scalp MicroPigmentation. The aim of my blog is to answer as many of the questions that I received in order to help you make an informed decision.


A common question I receive is;


“Will SMP damage my hair follicles”

Will the SMP needle damage a hair follicle?

Will the SMP needle damage a hair follicle?

During consultations I often hear people say they are conflicted, stuck between getting a full on hair transplant or going with SMP.

As you probably know SMP is far less invasive than a hair transplant and certainly a lot cheaper.

However I am always asked if SMP will damage hair follicles and ruining their chances of having a hair transplant at some point in the future, if they so choose.

In my opinion, this is an important question to ask.

But please remember I am not a medical doctor. So, if you’re really concerned about it, please visit a hair transplant doctor or discuss this with your GP.

Over the years I have had Doctor’s as clients and I have personally spoken with hair transplant specialists on this very topic. So I will relay the information to the best of my ability and experience.


Does SMP damage hair follicles?

At Advanced Scalp Clinic here in Vancouver we use an array of tiny needles to suit the individual scalp. However most commonly you’ll find us using a tight 3 needle, which penetrates the dermis at about 2mm depth.

Hair follicles are much deeper and will not be affected even if pigment is placed above them.

The hair follicle is deed in the dermis

The hair follicle is deep in the dermis

Scalp Micropigmentation does not cause hair loss

Along with the concern that SMP will damage hair follicles comes the question “will SMP cause more hair loss in the future?”

Good news! SMP will not cause any more hair loss to take place. In fact many people seek out dry needling in hopes that the stimulation to the scalp will promote new hair growth.

Rob James SMP is one of Canada’s most sought out artists, known for his ultra realistic hairline creations.




Always available for free consultations

How long does SMP last?

Hi I’m Rob James from Advanced Scalp clinic in Vancouver. As one of Canada’s busiest SMP artists I receive a lot of questions via email on a weekly basis regarding SMP.

So through my blog I try to answer as many of the most commonly asked questions in order to educate and inform those who are interested in SMP. Clear up some of the confusion and myths and hopefully paint a clear picture as to what SMP can or cannot do for you.

I recently had a visit from a client of mine who had his SMP done two years ago and the results were still stunning. So it got me thinking about a question I frequently receive.

“How long does SMP last?”

Scalp clinic

2 years old, SMP Still looks great!

When SMP is done correctly, by an experienced artist you can expect it to last (on average) 5 years before a refresh session is needed.

However there are a few factors, which can contribute to less than desirable longevity results for your SMP. The good news is most of these factors are in your control.

For arguments sake we’ll use a full SMP as an example. My full SMP service consists of three sessions, plus a touch up session.

In between your SMP sessions you will experience fading to varying degrees, however do not be alarmed, as this is perfectly normal. Once the sessions are all over you will be required to follow some basic aftercare.

SMP aftercare for longevity

Let me set the record straight, everyone will experience fading. If someone tells you that your SMP will never fade, or can be successfully done in one session, run a mile.

Gradual SMP fading

Gradual SMP fading

The truth is EVERYONE will experience fading to varying degrees and at varying speeds. No two scalps are alike we all have different skin chemistry and different immune systems.

What are the reasons for fading?

As stated above everyone’s skin is different, some people’s skin is more oily, some more dry. Skin cells turn over and renew and with this a cosmetic tattoo will eventually grow lighter. These elements are to a degree out of our control. However if the SMP was done correctly you should see (again on average) your SMP retaining its structure and tone for 5 years.

Is there anything I can do to prolong my SMP longevity?


Maintain your SMP

Yes, there are absolutely things you must be doing to prolong your SMP. Proper maintenance of your scalp micropigmentation is essential and will allow you to enjoy your fresh new look for as long as possible. So lets explore a few easy but vital steps you can take to get the most out of your SMP.

Avoid sun damage

As with any tattoo UV light will fade it, however with that being said, you don’t have to completely avoid all sunlight. I tell my clients to enjoy the sun for twenty minute and then wear a hat or put on an SPF protectant and enjoy the rest of your day.


Make sure you keep your scalp moisturized with a natural alcohol free moisturizer. Coconut oil is a good natural choice, however it might be a little oily for some. I have another blog post on anti-shine matte moisturizers here:

It is recommended that during your SMP and once the SMP is complete, that you avoid using topical chemicals, which contain alcohol, such as Minoxidil or Finasteride.

Healthy lifestyle

As with all things in life a healthy lifestyle determines the outcome and longevity of many things, your SMP is possibly one of them. Healthy life usually results in healthy skin. Healthy skin usually results in a happy, healthy good-looking SMP!

What should I expect to happen over 5 years?

An SMP done by an experienced and skilled practitioner should not vanish over 5. However, it will lighten and to what degree will vary from person to person. You should not need a completely new SMP and a refresh usually will suffice. The refresh usually only takes a few hours and your SMP will be back in top shape.

A healthy looking SMP

A healthy looking SMP

Rob James runs the popular and successful Advanced Scalp Clinic in Vancouver Canada. Approachable, friendly Rob James SMP is always available for free consultation.

Are there any side effects to Scalp Micropigmentation?

Hi this is Rob James, I’m an SMP artist situated in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. As one of the busiest SMP artists in Western Canada I frequently receive emails and DM’s from people interested in Scalp Micropigmentation.

My blog posts expand on the most frequently asked questions that I receive. I do hope that you find them informative and that they help expand your knowledge on the topic of scalp micropigmentation.

“Are there any side effects to Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)”?

Scalp Micropigmentation

A carefully administered SMP by a skilled artist, results in minimal side effects

The number one side effect of SMP (if it is done correctly) is that you will look awesome!

No, seriously, the side effects of a properly administered SMP are minimal. However a poorly administered SMP will end in negative results.

Which I will highlight within this post.

Compared to a hair transplant SMP has very little in the way of side effects. A hair transplant of course being more invasive, more expensive, higher risk, longer recuperation, higher failure rate and of course permanent scaring.

However this isn’t to say that there isn’t any after effects to your SMP.

Immediately after your SMP sessions your scalp will be little red. The impressions might initially appear darker and larger. But as your skin is heals the impressions will slightly shrink and lighten.


If you have any redness after SMP it will subside in a few hours

Some of the impressions will form into a tiny (unseen) scab that over time will heal and fall off, sometimes taking a little pigment with them. This is one (not all) of the reasons for fading in between sessions and one of the needs for multiple sessions.

Unlike a hair transplant with SMP there is no real downtime. Each procedure (usually 3) takes about 3-4 hours, after which you may return to work if you so please.

A good practitioner practises in a sterile, clean environment, with sterile, disposable equipment to minimize any risk of infection. However, how you look after your scalp once the SMP has finished is just as important.

There are some aftercare guidelines to follow which will minimize any chance of negative side effects.

A good clinic will have a thorough and comprehensive aftercare protocol for their clients to take home and follow.

I will discuss the results of a poorly administered SMP and categorize it as a negative side effect of SMP.

Negative results due to a poorly administered SMP procedure.

SMP procedureBadly done SMP results in negative side effects

Some of the negative results from a poorly administered SMP procedure could include. Infection, discoloration from incorrect needle depth, blowouts from needle depth and poor needle timing, poorly mapped out hairline, impressions too close together resulting in a mono-coloured helmet effect. Uneven fading due to needle depth being too superficial.

To avoid negative side effects and undesirable results from a poorly executed SMP procedure, it is vital that you seek out an artist with proven experience, skill and a keen eye for natural detail.

Advanced Scalp Vancouver Call Rob James Advanced Scalp Vancouver Scalp Micropigmentation for detailed SMP information

Rob James’ Vancouver scalp micropigmentation clinic, Advanced scalp, is one of the busiest SMP clinics in Western Canada. Rob will always make time to meet, greet and chat with anyone interested in Scalp Micropigmentation. Call 778 917 7772 or email:

Does scalp micropigmentation Hurt?

As a busy SMP artist based out of Vancouver Canada I receive dozens of emails on a weekly basis from individuals interested in SMP.

My blog posts serve those who might not yet be ready for a consultation or a procedure but do have questions regarding SMP.

So I try to highlight the most common questions I receive in order to help you create a clearer picture of what SMP can or cannot do for you.

One of the questions I commonly receive is

“Is scalp micropigmentation painful?”

Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp Micropigmentation, does it hurt?

Over the past 5 years SMP has been building rapidly in popularity as a solution for hair loss and hair thinking. Firstly because it is a far cheaper alternative to a hair transplant and secondly there is very little if any down time.

However, when you mention the word tattoo, some people panic at the idea of being pricked by a needle, not once but thousands of times.

As most of you already know, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a cosmetic tattoo procedure. One, which requires a tiny needle to deposit a pigment into the scalp thousands of times in order to create the look of thousands of micro hairs. These pigment deposits when administered correctly by a skilled and experienced artist create the illusion of a full head of shaved hair.

OK, but is SMP painful?

Well, the long and the short answer is SMP can be mildly painful for some, slightly irritating for others and virtually painless to the vast majority. As you know pain is subjective, so what feels painful to one might feel like nothing to another.

As a general rule I always ask clients if they’ve ever had a traditional tattooing. If the answer is yes, then I tell them that SMP is far less invasive or deep as their tattoo, so far less painful. And if the answer is no, I tell them that SMP is nowhere near as painful or as deep and invasive as a traditional tattoo. This seems to paint a tangible picture for the average person to understand.

Are some parts of the scalp more painful or irritating than others?


Some areas of the scalp more sensitive than others

Whilst the vast majority of people feel little to no discomfort, most will find some variance in sensation from area to area as the artist works his or her way around the scalp.

In my experience most people will find the front of the scalp particularly the hairline more sensitive than the crown. This is due in part to more nerve ending concentration in that area. Some of my clients might feel like sneezing or perhaps their eyes feel like watering when I’m working on the very front of the scalp. The sides of the head around the ears and temples can also be a little sensitive. The crown and back of the head seem to have (in my experience) very little sensation in comparison.

Does scar tissue from a hair transplant hurt more than regular tissue?

Scar tissue from FUT or FUE hair transplants can be a little more sensitive than regular tissue and is frequently easier to irritate and inflame. That’s why great care and experience must be taken when working on scar tissue.

If I feel pain or am petrified of needles what can be done?

numbing cream

Afraid of needles? Have no fear numbing cream is here!

If you feel discomfort, irritation or pain during your session a 5% topical lidocaine cream can be applied which will numb the skin and greatly diminish the sensation.

As well as a topical cream application, do not hesitate to ask your artist if you can take several mini breaks during the session, in order to relieve the skin.

Will my Skin turn red after SMP?


Once your SMP session is over you might notice that the skin looks red and irritated. This is 100% normal and should subside within a few short hours.

About Rob James

Rob James

Rob James SMP at work in his busy Vancouver studio 

Rob James is one of the most experienced and in demand SMP artists in Canada. Known for his ultra realistic hairline creations Rob James works out of his Advanced Scalp Clinic in Vancouver Canada. He is available for consultation at: 778-917-7772

Scalp Micropigmentation

How to prevent a shiny scalp before and after SMP

As a busy SMP artist working out of Advanced Scalp Clinic in Vancouver Canada I get dozens of emails on a weekly basis regarding Scalp Micropigmentation.

One question that stands out is;

“How do I prevent my scalp from being so shiny?”


“Will SMP stop my scalp from being so shiny?”

Will SMP prevent a shiny scalp?

These are two interesting questions! So let’s dive right in. 

Firstly let me make it clear that for many having a shiny scalp isn’t an issue whatsoever. But for those who are troubled by it and who ask me how to prevent it, this blog post is for you.

Let’s start by answering and potentially clearing up any misconceptions surrounding SMP and scalp shine. Scalp Micropigmentation will not completely get rid of scalp shine. It might mitigate it slightly by being less of a contrasting, reflective colour and this new tone might appear less oily looking. But it’s mainly stubble diffusion, which absorbs the light and makes for less reflective surface, therefore a less shiny scalp.

So, for example someone who has a Norwood 6 has far more of a reflective surface than someone with a Norwood 2. The Norwood 2 will have more stubble to break up and absorb light.

So if you do have slight stubble, try not to shave too close in order to preserve the light absorbing effects of stubble. We suggest shaving close with clippers such as the Andis outliner, rather than shaving super close with a blade or a foil.

scalp shine

SMP can lessen the glare, but not eradicate it

But let’s, for arguments sake assume you have a Norwood 5. How can we make this level of hair loss less shiny?

Could it be the oil?

oily scalp

Is an oily scalp the reason for shine?

All scalps’ produce oil, we all have it and it’s a totally natural and necessary process. It serves a purpose, from protecting the skin from bacteria to keeping it supple and young.

It’s true that some people’s skin is oilier than others. However, you cannot choose where your skin is oily and where it’s not. But there are things you can do to conceal, control or absorb the oil.


Step 1:

Washing. Washing the scalp on a regular basis and using a gentle soap with an exfoliate will wash away dead skin and regulate oil production.

Wipe. Whilst you’re out and about keep a packet of wet wipes available. These can be fantastic for on the go oil absorption.

Make sure they are gentle, alcohol free wipes, which contain a soothing astringent like witch hazel. Refrain from putting anything that contains alcohol on your scalp as this has a drying effect, which is counter productive as it later produces  more oil.


Wipe the scalp to absorb excess oil.

Moisturize. After washing the scalp use a natural, light, quick absorbing moisturizer to keep oil levels in balance.

Step 2:

Sweating. is healthy but can make your scalp look even shinier, here’s what to do. You cannot try to not sweat, it’s a natural process our body undertakes to eliminate and regulate. But you can be prepared, a pack of absorbent, soft towels to discretely wipe the scalp or a clean handkerchief strictly for this purpose is useful for staying on top of the shine.

Shaving. If you’ve done your research on SMP and quality SMP artists they’ll tell you that the optimal way to sport your new SMP is to keep the hair at an optimal, shaved length. But, there is a way to offset the shine by the way you shave and prepare your scalp.

SMP artists

Keeping the hair at an adequate stubble length helps mitigate reflection.


Instead of using a bic razor or a foil you could opt to shave the hair just a tad longer. I find the Andis Outliner to be the optimal length for SMP. It just shaves the scalp enough to leave a tiny, little bit of stubble on top for that added diffusion. Shaving your scalp with the grain of your hair and not against it is also a way of keeping just the right length to offset the shine.

So to summarize, wash daily with a gentle exfoliating, none drying soap. Moisturize with a natural none oily, quick absorbing moisturizer. None alcohol wet wipes for oil control throughout the day. Manage sweat with quick, clean absorbent towel or towelettes (when needed).

Daily shaving to the ideal length with clippers (such as Andis Outliner) and shaving with the grain as opposed to against it, therefore maximizing any stubble.

Mattifying. Finally I’d like to discuss matte products. These are typically moisturizers or sun blocks and come in the form of powder or creams. Their aim is to provide a matte look rather than a glossy look for the skin. There are a few quality ones on the market. I personally always recommend the Banana Boat dry balance sunblock as it provides sun protections as well as a dry mattifying effect.

Some people use milk of magnesium, I have mentioned it to clients, but I am yet to hear any feedback on it, so I will refrain from comment.


 Rob James SMP is a scalp Micropigmention artist who works out of his private clinic in Vancouver Canada. His ultra realistic, natural hairline creations have made him one of the most in demand SMP artists in the country.

He is available for consultation at or 778-917-7772

What can Scalp Micropigmentation be used for?

Scalp Micropigmentation is a diverse and practical application, which can be used for a multitude of cosmetic purposes. Ranging from concealing scars, blending alopecia patches, adding the illusion of density to thinning hair or as in it’s most common use, creating an entire head of freshly shaved hair.

SMP’s most common usage Male: Pattern Hair loss

Our most requested service here at the Advanced Scalp clinic in Vancouver is the creation of a natural looking head of shaved hair, usually this requires a full SMP service. 

We are now well known on the West Coast for our ultra realistic, diffused natural hairlines. And the go to facility for Scalp micro pigmentation which not only good fantastic but also stands the test of time.

Client’s who contact us for consultation or further information on SMP generally fall within a 5, 6 or7 on the Norwood hair loss scale.

It’s during consultation where we can really access the client’s level of hair loss, skin tone, scalp condition, hair colour and of course the client’s desired style.

The true art of SMP lies is in being able to blend in our two dimensional cosmetic impressions with the client’s three-dimensional real hair, seamlessly. As well as being able to create realistic volume and density where it needs to be all whilst feathering down to an ultra realistic hairline.


Female thinning and density

Female pattern hair loss or density SMP using SMP

Creating the appearance of density underneath thinning hair requires a slightly different approach. Many times what would be dense and dark enough for a male scalp re-creation would be insufficient to mask the stark contrast between dark hair and pale scalp. (There are a few common very important misconceptions regarding density which you can read about in the blog post pros and cons of density treatments)

However if the client fulfils the requirements for us to perform a density treatment we will sufficiently reduce the contrast between scalp and hair. By peppering the scalp with an even shade which drastically reduces shine, diffusing the light and creating the illusion of denser, thicker hair.

Scar concealment:

Another popular use of SMP is to conceal scars, mainly FUT and FUE scars caused by hair transplants. When considering scar concealment make you’re your practioner has had plenty of experience and is well versed in the difficulties that can arise when working with scar tissue. Scar tissue does not always behave like normal untouched tissue. And turning a white scar into a black or blue scar is a real possibility. Scar tissue can become easily inflamed causing redness and difficulty visualizing space of impressions, scar tissue can be difficult with pigment retention or easy to penetrate too deeply causing pigment blowout. Crowding, overly darkening and an unblended finish causing your pale scar to turn black or blue is a real possibility. So make sure your chosen artist has had plenty of experience or is prepared to really take his or her time working on the scar and surrounding area.

However when an experienced practitioner who has taken into consideration the scar’s shape treats a scar properly, proximity, topography and surrounding natural hairstyle, length and volume, the results can be life changing. However, as an artist and a client receiving SMP managing realistic expectations is also a very important. Not all scars are equal not all scar will seemingly vanish, some scars are raised and will cast a shadow regardless of SMP, some are deep depressions in the skin and will also play with the light in different ways. So realistic expectations is something that must be discussed.


Autoimmune conditions, which affect hair follicles such as Alopecia, are often seen at our Advanced Scalp clinic in Vancouver. Alopecia concealment can be as straight forward as a small patch, which needs to be blended into the surrounding hair. Or as complex as multiple extensive areas which need to be expertly blended into one another and the surrounding hair. To total hair loss where an entire scalp need to be expertly created. With any stage of alopecia you want to make sure that the area you’re treating is no longer migrating, in other words no longer actively spreading.

Not all Artists are created equal


For all SMP applications regardless your needs the true litmus test for a successful procedure remains firmly in the artistry of the technician.

SMP isn’t a one-size fit all procedure and you cannot have a cookie cutter approach. SMP is an art and just like any art some have the eye, some do not! SMP is not a licensed, there is no pass or fail test therefore the litmus test is in the artist’s body of work.

SMP training provides only the basics of application, skin theory, hairline mock-ups, sanitation, etc. etc. Once these basics have been taught the SMP provider is on their own to ply their trade. Some with increasing experience will manage to create wonderful realistic looking heads of realistic hair. Others alas will fail to develop the needed detail orientated eye, which separates the mediocre from the excellent.

Fortunately, SMP is a visual medium therefore the proof is in the pudding!


To find out if SMP is for you contact Rob James at his Advanced Scalp Clinic in Vancouver BC for a FREE consultation.