How does SMP look after years?
As one of Canada’s busiest SMP artists I consult with many potential clients on a weekly basis. Most of the questions I answer revolve around the SMP procedure and the desired look the client wants to achieve. However, occasionally someone asks me “How will the SMP look years from now?”
This is a very good question and one I think deserves some attention.
So today’s blog post I will try to answer this often overlooked question.
So, how will your SMP look in years to come?
How will my SMP look years later?
First off let’s assume that you have done your homework, you’ve searched for good, experienced artists, who are creating work you like. You’ve had your consultation with your chosen SMP artist and you’ve set a date to begin your SMP.
(In order to answer this question correctly I can only go on my own experience and style as a reference.)
Typically, my own SMP style focuses on realism and a natural aesthetic. Over the years I have learnt to stick to and perfect the one style, and that’s subtle realism. My goal with every SMP is for it to go unnoticed, nothing makes me happier than when a client returns to my clinic and says, “I love it, and no one has said a thing” to me this is a result.
However, one of the downsides to a subtle, realistic SMP (in my experience) is longevity. It might not last as long as a heavy, solid SMP. A good SMP is finding that happy medium between realism and longevity.
As with all tattoos, conventional and cosmetic there will always be fading. On average I tell my clients that my style of SMP will last anywhere between 3-5 years before a touch up is needed. However some will perhaps need a small touch up after 2 years, whilst others won’t need to touch it for 5 years. This all depends on your own individual immune system as well as how you follow the aftercare.
A conventional tattoo will last a lifetime, primarily due to the pigment depth and placement technique. SMP due to its shallow depth and delicate placement technique will not. The reason being is that for an SMP impression to look like a hair follicle, the pigment must be placed at a shallow depth, with a very tiny needle. Bad SMP is often simply due to pigment depth (too deep) and/or needle size (too thick) resulting in patchy, discoloured blobs, throughout the scalp.
So after several years how will the average properly applied SMP look?
SMP on the left, faded & in need of refresh / SMP on right, immediately after refresh
When applied properly and aftercare is followed adequately, the SMP should evenly fade throughout. The pace of fading does vary from client to client. On average after about 3 to 5 years you will need what is called an SMP touch up. The touch up is not a completely brand new SMP, as the base tone from your original SMP is already there. The touch up usually takes about 2-3 hours to complete and usually brings the SMP back to what it was like 3 years prior, essentially a fresh SMP.
If an SMP which is done correctly and is simply left alone, it will eventually completely fade away.
When an SMP becomes heavy and monotone looking,
This is usually the result of an initial SMP being applied too dense, heavy, dark or deep, and the pigment has merged into one. This risk is also possible if a client insists on too many touch ups in too short a period of time.
A heavy, deep SMP faded out after several years
To minimize these risks, it is best to always wear your surrounding hair as short as possible and to apply a subtle, lighter SMP. It is better in my opinion to have a touch up after two years than be stuck with something unrealistic looking that you’re not happy with.
For more information regarding the correct application of SMP or to find out if SMP is for you. Please do not hesitate to contact me at my Vancouver SMP clinic, Advanced Scalp with Rob James. I am always more than willing to answer any SMP related questions.