What can I expect after each scalp micropigmentation (SMP) session?

Yesterday a new client told me that he couldn’t find any information regarding what to expect after each SMP session.

He explained that he could find plenty of before and after photos of completed SMP procedures, but nothing regarding what results to expect after each session.

This got me thinking, and doing a little online research for myself. He was right, there is a lot of information and photos of before SMP and after SMP, but very little regarding what to expect after each SMP session. Understandably some clients are anxious about what the scalp micropigmentation will look like in between each session.

So I decided to write a blog post, which highlights, what to expect during and after each of the 3 SMP sessions from a typical full procedure.  And the subsequent touch up session two months later.

Highlighting what an individual might typically expect after each Session. And answering such questions like “Is there a difference between session one and session two? And how long will session three be in comparison to session one?

Please remember that this is based on the average. Some individual’s results do differ based on immune response, pigment retention and skin chemistry/condition.

Typically before we begin your SMP procedure, we will have already met, for a consultation either in person or via a video conference call.

SMP session one

We always begin with some formal paperwork (waiver)

Followed by a brief discussion regarding the procedure, this allows you to ask any lingering questions you may have forgotten to ask during the initial consultation.

When you feel comfortable to proceed we will typically go to the hair trimming station. This is where I like to trim the hair to what I feel is the optimal length for SMP (this is presuming you’re having a full SMP and not density work).

We then begin work on your hairline design. This is a very important aspect of the process and can often take some time. Careful attention is placed on appropriate placement and design. I personally like to emphasize, a less is more mindset, as we can always add more as the session’s progress, but we cannot take it away.

SMP

Hairline design Vancouver SMP with Rob James

The scalp is thoroughly cleaned with alcohol before we begin the session.

Once we begin my clients are usually pleasantly surprised as to how painless the procedure is. However, if you do find any discomfort or sensitivity we can stop and apply numbing cream.

For a full SMP (usually two or three sessions plus touch up) you can expect to be at the studio for 3-4 hours.

All areas where we are adding microdots will be covered during each and every session. The typical dot ratio is about one dot every 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch.

Sometimes clients are a little disappointed after session one as there isn’t a significant amount to see just yet. Patience must be applied, as the best results come to those who allow the process to unfold gradually.

There maybe some redness of the scalp and this will subside within a few hours. A clean baseball cap may be worn after the session.

SMP

Typical first SMP Vancouver session results with Rob James

Once the session is completed, we will go over the aftercare and provide you with your aftercare instructions.

SMP Session two 

Session number two is typically 10-14 days after session one. Once you arrive we will take a look at the healed results and take note of any fading. We will then give the hair a trim and clean the scalp with alcohol. We can now discuss any changes that you would like to make with hairline symmetry. As mentioned more can be added, that is why I always encourage a conservative approach during the initial hairline design.

Session two will continue much like session one; all areas of the scalp receiving microdots will again be covered. We will be essentially doubling up on the density during session two. And beginning our layering process.

Same rules apply, if there is any sensitivity, numbing cream can be applied.

Once the session is over there will again be some redness that should subside within a few hours.

We will recap aftercare instructions just the same as after session one.

Clients begin to get excited after session two as the results are now becoming evident. After session two your scalp will look fuller and more of a shadow is now seen.

Vancouver SMP

Typical second session results with Rob James Vancouver SMP

SMP Session three 

Session three is commonly our last session in the process. It is here that we add further layers and added dimension. We also feather out the hairline for that natural finish. The session can be the same duration as session one and two or it can be shorter depending on a client’s retention.

After session three, the same rules apply; there will be a slight redness, which will subside within hours. Aftercare rules also apply and again must be followed.

Once the ten days of aftercare is completed it’s life as normal with your new SMP.

There are some long-term aftercare rules, which we will also go over before you leave the clinic.

Typical third session results Vancouver SMP with Rob James

Touch up 

A touch up session is included and recommended two or three months after your SMP. As you get back to life as normal, there might be some slight fading in areas. The touch up fortifies any areas, which might need some added attention.

A touch up session typically lasts one to two hours.

Hope this blog post helps to outline what to typically expect on your SMP journey.

Rob James is based in Vancouver BC and is one of Canada’s most requested scalp micropigmentation artists, known primarily for his ultra natural hairline creations.

For further information please contact info@robjamessmp.com or info@advancedscalp.com

 

10 Tips for Achieving a Natural Looking SMP in Vancouver

SMP  in Vancouver

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a safe, reliable and detailed cosmetic tattoo for your scalp. The goal of SMP is to perfectly mimic the appearance of hair follicles, helping you restore the look of a full head of shaved hair.

When done correctly, SMP assists in creating a number of realistic aesthetics. These include the illusion of shaved hair, reducing the contrast between hair and scalp in thinning hair, and scar concealment.  What makes SMP unique and powerful is its level of versatility. Each client has the power to customize their SMP to the exact look they desire.

If you’re new to my blog series, my name is Rob James. I am a skilled scalp micropigmentation artist and owner of the Vancouver based clinic, Advanced Scalp. I complete hundreds of SMP procedures on a yearly basis with an extensive list of satisfied clients. My SMP artistic style is ultra natural and subtle. Consulting with hundreds of clients a year, I tend get to asked the same question – “will my SMP look natural?”. My specific style is natural and subtle; and I do not do any other style.

Ensuring your SMP turns out realistic and natural may feel like it’s down to luck, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 10 tips to attain natural results from your Scalp Micropigmentation sessions.

  1. Find your artist

Look for an artist with experience and a style that appeals to your tastes. Make sure their portfolio matches the end results that you’re looking for. If their portfolio is full of natural looking SMPs, then this is a good indication that their work will suit your desires. If their style of work seems too dark, too straight too sharp or box like and monotone, then there is a high chance your end result will not be what you’re looking for. Of course, there is nothing wrong with these styles, but they may not suit your needs of natural SMP styles.

It’s also best to avoid someone whose style is all over the place. For example, I only do one style, natural, diffused, subtle and graduated.  Clients who are looking for this end result instantly know that I will be able to achieve this without any doubts.

  1. Less is always more

Choose to build your SMP slowly, you can always add more as the sessions progress, you cannot take it away. Try to be patient; I know it’s easier said than done, as you really want to see the results fast. But the best SMPs are built using a layering method and final finishing process for that 3D effect. Taking things at a slower pace means you have full control at every step of the process. This way, you can make sure that the work does not deviate from your desired look.

  1. Placement

Where you place the SMP makes a big difference when trying to achieve a natural final result, especially the hairline. Once the SMP is blended into the short, existing, surrounding hair one must try not to exceed where you think your natural hairline would sit.

This ties into the less is more rule. You can always add to a hairline over time, but you cannot take it away. Try to envision where you think your natural hairline would sit and start just a fraction behind this point. This ensures your results are accurate. The same tactic goes for building out the temple areas – do not box in the forehead with an unnatural hairline and sides.

  1. Age Appropriate

You want to consider your SMP a permanent fixture, so try to get something that is age appropriate. A style that suits your current age and stage as well as something that will still suit you in five or six years down the road. To avoid this, look for something timeless and natural.

  1. Good Communication

Make sure you have good communication with an experienced SMP artist. Bring photos of their previous work that speaks to you; this can serve as a helpful guide for your chosen artist. It’s important to remember that SMP is a building process. So, it’s good to discuss the various stages of the build so as to get realistic expectations of what to expect throughout the process.

I always suggest working with an artist who is patient and has a great track record. It’s also important as a client to be patient and enjoy the journey.

  1. Colour

Make sure your artist is well-versed and experienced in colour theory. It’s important that the pigment matches your surrounding, existing hair in order to seamlessly blend. Ideally, the pigment on top should be slightly darker than the surrounding hair in order to take into consideration a fade over the weeks into the perfect tone.

  1. Density

As mentioned earlier, patience is required in order to build a great, natural looking SMP. An artist must know how to build layers of density using a variety of tones and a variety of needle sizes. This is why a good SMP cannot be built in one session. Correct density throughout session one and two then on to the final session where we add a darker, less dense pigment for that hyper realistic 3D effect.

  1. Length

In order to create that ultra natural look, make sure your selected artist cuts your hair to the optimal length. SMP do not look good when the surrounding natural hair is too long,  as it creates too much of a contrast between the three dimensional real hair and the flat two-dimensional cosmetic tattoo. Hair that is too long also does not allow for smooth blending. Longer hair is also often too dark on the back and sides to create that realism. Therefore, starting off your SMP correctly with short natural hair helps the overall end result of your natural looking style.

  1. Maintenance 

When your SMP is complete, it is important to follow a few general maintenance rules in order to preserve and highlight the natural look of your SMP. It is crucial to maintain a short hair length at all times so that there isn’t drastic contrast between the SMP and your natural hair. I always suggest cutting it to a .5 every two days.

Additionally, keep your scalp chemistry well balanced with an alcohol free moisturizer. Try to limit prolonged sun exposure, as UV will prematurely fade your SMP. Following these basic guidelines will help maintain the natural look of your SMP for as long as possible.

  1. Own it

Hopefully you did your homework, you found a great artist, and your SMP is complete and looking great. But that’s not all it takes to have good SMP.

Part of a great looking, natural SMP is your attitude and how you wear it, feel the confidence boost and own it.

Still feeling a bit lost? I’ve got your back. As one of Canada’s most experienced and requested SMP artists, I would love to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Booking a consultation means that we can evaluate your needs with my experience to devise the perfect treatment plan for you.

Are you ready to take the next step?

Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation artist Rob James @ Advanced Scalp

Call 778-917-7772 or email: info@robjamessmp.com

 

Is Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) a realistic solution for hair loss?

Advanced Scalp

In Vancouver SMP is gaining in popularity

Hi, I’m Rob James. I am a skilled micropigmentation artist and owner of the Vancouver SMP based clinic, Advanced Scalp. If you’ve wandered onto this post, you’re probably curious about what exactly scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is, and how it works.

Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

As one of western Canada’s busiest SMP artists, I receive at least a dozen inquiries a week from individuals wanting to learn more. These questions often follow a few patterns.

First, there are those who have just heard about scalp micropigmentation for the first time and are curious to learn more. Most times, they are not ready to sit down for a consultation just yet, but are itching to explore the possibilities SMP has to offer.

Then are the individuals who have done extensive research on the topic itself and want to hear more from an industry professional before taking the next crucial step.

Whether you are someone with similar types of questions or not, I thought simplifying the process of scalp micropigmentation through a series of blog posts would be a helpful first step towards easing newcomers to the world of SMP. Get ready to become an expert on SMP within the next few weeks!

Tell me more about SMP

“I’m hearing all about the thing called SMP, but I have no idea what it is?”

No problem, let’s start with the basics.

Scalp micropigmentation is a safe, reliable and detailed cosmetic tattoo for your scalp. The goal of SMP is to perfectly mimic the appearance of hair follicles, helping you restore the look of a full head of shaved hair.

SMP uses industry specific technology to ensure quality and detailed results. It is performed using a small, and relatively silent machine. Attached to the machine is a tiny, sterile and disposable needle. To ensure quality results, the needle is dipped into an SMP specific pigment matched to your stubble tone, so as to mimic your surrounding hair follicles. Then, small micro deposits of this pigment are implanted at a superficial depth into the scalp.

SMP assists

When done correctly SMP is seamless and looks realistic

When done correctly, SMP assists in creating a number of realistic aesthetics, these include:

  • The illusion of shaved hair
  • Reducing contrast between longer hair and scalp for those with thinning hair.
  • Scar concealment primarily for those with FUT or FUE transplant scars.
  • Concealing alopecia patches

Other less known applications of SMP

Primarily known for creating the effect of a shaved head for balding men. SMP has some lesser-known applications.

Let’s explore the aspect of scar concealment in scalp micropigmentation a bit further. SMP helps conceal scar tissue that is often present after a FUE or FUT hair transplant. A highly skilled and experienced SMP artist can help to mask strip and plug scarring by blending the scar tissue with the surrounding healthy hair. Concealing scars left from hair transplants using SMP can help you further enhance the overall look you desire.

In addition to hair transplant scar concealment SMP also helps disguise medical conditions such as alopecia.

SMP is also gaining a lot of traction and attention in the female population, as a viable and practical solution for female pattern hair loss and hair loss due to repetitive styling techniques.

scalp micropigmentation

SMP for females is gaining popularity in Vancouver

So we can see how ground breaking scalp micropigmentation is due to its multifaceted uses, none invasive application and relatively low cost.

 

I like the sound of SMP what is my next step?

Now that we’ve gone into a little more detail, you may have already decided that SMP is right for you. So, let’s talk about your next steps.

As with any trade or service you may be seeking out, the level of experience, skill and competence within the field may vary greatly. That’s why it’s important to seek out an experienced artist who understands your needs.

Before even asking about a consultation, it is a good idea to explore the artist’s body of work to ensure it is what you’re looking for. Does their style match your vision? Does their work look realistic and detailed? Or does their work look too heavy and look more like a tattoo? How much experience do they have?

These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself while looking for an SMP artist.

Next step would be booking an in person consultation with a few artists, so that you can get a feel for their personality, communication skills and discuss their work and experience in more detail. At the same time giving you an opportunity to discuss your SMP style, desires and schedule with the chosen artist.

Still feeling a bit lost? I’ve got your back. As one of Canada’s most experienced and requested SMP artists, I would love to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. I complete hundreds of SMP procedures on a yearly basis with an extensive list of satisfied clients. My SMP artistic style is ultra natural and subtle.

Booking a consultation at my Vancouver SMP clinic means that we can evaluate your needs and devise the perfect treatment plan for you.

Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation

Consultations are always free and highly informative

Are you ready to take the next step?

Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation artist Rob James @ Advanced Scalp

Call 778-917-7772 or email: info@robjamessmp.com

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.

Alopecia

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.

info@robjamessmp.com

778-917-7772