Does Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) look fake?

A question and concern  I receive frequently during consultation is “Does Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) look fake?” 

It’s a very good question and a genuine concern. In my opinion many scalp micropigmentation procedures do indeed look fake. There is a reason for this, but the good news is, it is easily avoided. 


Fake looking SMP vs Natural looking SMP

SMP, when performed by a skilled and experienced scalp micropigmentation (SMP) artist, should not look fake (as long as you’re willing to listen to an experienced artist).  The goal of SMP is to create a natural-looking appearance of closely shaved or cropped hair follicles, simulating the look of a fuller head of hair or adding density to thinning areas. However the newly implanted pigment should blend in seamlessly to the surrounding short hair. 

The key to achieving a realistic result lies in the technique and artistry of the SMP artist. A skilled artist will carefully consider factors such as hairline design, pigment selection, needle placement, and seamless blending to create a natural effect that blends into your existing hair or skin tone.

Additionally, the quality of the pigments used is crucial in ensuring a realistic outcome. High-quality pigments are formulated to mimic the color and texture of natural hair follicles, resulting in a more authentic appearance.

It’s important to choose an SMP artist who has a proven track record, a diverse portfolio of successful treatments, and positive client testimonials. Before committing to the procedure, ask to see before-and-after photos of their previous clients to assess the realism of their work (and please make sure it is their own work and not heavily edited).

I cannot stress enough that often fake looking SMP’s or bad looking SMP’s are the result of poor communication between artist and client. If you have been doing SMP long enough, you will have run into client’s who want the impossible or insist on going dark and super straight. This (in my experienced opinion) is the recipe for a fake looking SMP down the road. As over time the SMP will become washed out and there will be no tonal graduation to soften the appearance, it will just resemble a solid tattoo. 

By selecting a reputable SMP artist and following proper aftercare, scalp micropigmentation can provide a realistic solution for hair loss and create the appearance of a fuller head of hair without looking fake.

Remember that the final appearance of SMP can also be influenced by factors such as proper aftercare, skin type, and individual healing characteristics. It’s essential to follow the post-treatment instructions provided by your SMP artist to ensure optimal healing and long-lasting, natural-looking results.

SMP Artist

Natural appearing SMP is a result of density and tonal graduation as well as needle depth

Rob James is Canada’s go-to artist for natural hairlines. Rob operates out of his Vancouver BC based clinic Advanced Scalp. 

Rob is always open and available to help, guide and assist anyone with questions regarding Scalp micropigmentation. 

Is Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) Permanent?

Contrary to popular belief, Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) when done correctly is actually a semi-permanent solution for hair loss. 

While the results of SMP can last for several years, it is important to note that the pigments when used correctly in the procedure will gradually fade over time.SMP artist

The longevity of your SMP depends on several factors, including needle depth, individual skin characteristics, immune system activity, sun exposure, skin care routine, and the quality of pigments used. Generally, SMP can last between 2 to 5 years before a touch-up session is needed/recommended to maintain the desired appearance.

It’s important to choose an experienced SMP artist who uses high-quality pigments and follows proper application techniques. Experience will allow them to provide you with more accurate information about the expected longevity of SMP based on your specific circumstances.

If desired, SMP can be adjusted or modified in the future to accommodate changes in hairline style, density preferences, and/or your natural aging processes. It’s recommended to consult with your SMP artist to discuss the process, the expected longevity and any potential maintenance or touch-up requirements for your individual case.

Rob James SMP is one of Canada’s most popular and experienced scalp micropigmentation  artists. He operates out of his busy Vancouver clinic, Advanced Scalp.

Rob is always available to answer any questions you have about Scalp micropigmentation.

SMP artist


You may contact him on:

Are you experiencing Hair Loss In Vancouver?

Are you experiencing hair loss in Vancouver? Well you’re not alone.

Currently, 1 in 5 people experience some form of hair loss within their lives. As an experienced and in demand Scalp Micro Pigmentation artist in Vancouver BC, I consult with hundreds of young men every year, who are at various stages of hairloss. I have come to realize that hairloss is not an unusual thing, rather the normal thing.

However many who are looking for solutions regarding their hair loss, come to me to discuss and explore the miriad of treatments out there. The criteria usually surrounds solutions which are minimally invasive, effective, safe and has consistent results.

SMP when done correctly can look seamless

SMP when done correctly can look seamless

Scalp micro pigmentation is a treatment plan that always checks off all the boxes of what they’re looking for. But of course, knowing all of your options before commiting is crucial. Just as I recommend clients to conduct their own research about SMP and the SMP styles that speak to them, I also encourage clients to have an understanding of all hair loss solutions before making a final decision.

What Solutions are there for men experiencing hair loss?

 To make things a bit easier in your research, I have compiled a plethora of treatments available. I will be highlighting the positives and negatives of every option in the hope of adding some clarity to what options are available in Vancouver for those experiencing hair loss.

In case you’re new to my blog, let me reintroduce myself. My name is Rob James. I am a skilled micropigmentation artist and owner of the Vancouver based clinic, Advanced Scalp. I complete hundreds of SMP procedures on a yearly basis with a proud list of satisfied clients. My SMP artistic style is ultra natural and subtle. I take pride in my work which starts with building an open conversation with my clients to ensure satisfaction. This is one of many blog posts in a series aiming to ease newcomers within the world of SMP.

Now that we’re acquainted, let’s jump into the different hair loss solutions available in Vancouver.

Topix and Hair Fibres

Many clients experiencing hair loss often opt for thickening topix and hair fibres. These are tiny, sticky fibres that you can apply to your scalp for the appearance of thicker hair.


Benefits of this hair loss solution include an easy application process and an aesthetically pleasing look. If your hair is thinning but you don’t want to go through an extensive treatment process, then hair fibres can be a solution that works for you.

With this being said, topix and hair fibres have some serious drawbacks that you should be aware of. One major drawback is that hair fibres are not a permanent solution. The hair fibres work great and look good on thinning hair up until your hair has simply become too thin to sport the fibres.

Another major inconvenience of hair fibres occurs when they get wet. When your fibres make contact with water, they become sticky and can drip onto your clothing. Not only does this compromise the aesthetics of your hair, but your clothing as well. This also means you need to be continuously conscious of weather and your overall environment. Rain, swimming and profuse sweating can all interfere with the practicality of the product.

Topical Treatments

Many of the clients I interact with often use hair topicals and drugs such as Finastride and Monoxidile. These can be used either in a topical treatment such as a foam, liquid or in the form of an oral medication. The benefits of topical treatments are supposed to include the promotion of new hair growth and prevention of continued hair loss.

How do these treatments work? Well, 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 are often the most common among topical treatments as they produce the best results.

This being said, this hair solution can come with afair share of side effects.

Topical treatments are often expensive, and are not a one time use solution. You will need to continue to purchase topical treatments once you start in order to maintain any potential hair growth that may occur. If you do decide to pause your treatment for any reason, the results gained may quickly disappear.

Hair Systems

Modern day hair systems, such as wigs have a very realistic look and are highly customizable. And can be a great alternative to not only have luscious hair once more, but to express yourself like never before with your appearance.

However, there are a few downsides that come along with using hair systems as your long term hair loss solution. Hair systems need to be replaced frequently. This makes the process time consuming, inconvenient and increasingly costly in the long run. To add to this, the glues used for the hair systems may also irritate the skin, making the process as a whole an uncomfortable experience.

The look of wigs also entails frequent maintenance and limited practicality.  Your surrounding hair may grow out and your artificial hair will eventually fall out and begin to look tired.

Hair Transplant

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

There are two main methods of follicle extraction. There is FUT harvesting, where a donor area of hair is extracted. This  usually occurs  in a linear strip. The donor area is then stitched often leaving a linear scar.

FUE harvesting on the other hand 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. Generally, this method is more costly and is said to leave less scaring than FUT harvesting.

Transplant scarring 

However, from my professional experience as an SMP artist, FUE does leave scarring in the form of multiple hairless dimples or patches at the back of the scalp. I find that many people do end up satisfied with their hair transplants; but there is still a large number of individuals whose procedure did not produce the desired results.

Oftentimes, 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 placed correctly, resulting in an unusual texture.

Other downsides to keep in mind of a hair transplant is the cost some transplants will be in excess of $20k. After the transplant itself, there is also a significantly long healing period.

Scalp Micropigmentation

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.

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.

Yes that’s right, SMP actually helps to conceal the scars I mention often appear from 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.

Compared to other mentioned hair loss solutions, SMP is 100% safe and effective, low maintenance and cost effective. Unlike solutions such as hair transplants, there is no downtime between your SMP appointment and recovery. SMP is highly customizable, making you feel more a part of the process towards a better solution.

There are few downsides to SMP treatment, but you should be aware of what is out there. 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.

No matter which solution you feed works best for you, I do hope this has helped highlight the options available to those seeking a solution to thinning or balding hair. If you have any further questions, donèt be shy to reach out! 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.

Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation artist Rob James @ Advanced Scalp

Call 778-917-7772 or email:

SMP for hair transplant scars

I get a lot of inquires regarding scar concealment for hair transplant scars.

Whether from FUT (harvest strip scars) or from the more modern technique FUE (circular plug scars) I have had great success with both. SMP if done correctly can be a fantastic option to help improve the visual aspect of scaring.

difficult FUT concealment

A difficult FUT concealment


However, not all scars and not all skin are created equal and there are some important aspects of the process you should be aware of before rushing to an SMP clinic and expecting great results.

Scar tissue comes in many shapes and colours

SMP can fully or partially conceal unsightly scars. However, the varying degrees of success do depend on the following factors: The skill level and experience of the artist, the surrounding hair colour and density and lastly the shape, colour and condition of the scar itself.

Scar tissue behaves differently from regular healthy tissue so it must be approached in a very conservative manner or the results can be less than ideal (or in some cases worse than before.)

For example, and easier FUT concealment might consist of a scar, which is flat, thin and lighter than the surrounding tissue. This scar is also surrounded by dense dark hair. This would be a relatively easy concealment for an experienced artist.

However on the other hand as scar which is cratered or protruding, wide and surrounded by sparse hair can be very tricky indeed. As is a scar which is darker in colour to the surrounding skin.

FUE scars can also be problematic if they are large, plentiful and surrounded by sparse hair.

Before embarking on SMP for your scar concealment it’s imperative to seek out the advice of an experienced SMP artist who has an extensive and successful history working with scar tissue. Ask to see their scar concealment portfolio.

Scar tissue, in some cases does not act like regular healthy tissue

Scar tissue can often be thin and hollow or thick and tough, either way it doe’s not take pigment as well as surrounding healthy tissue. So the SMP artist must approach scar tissue very conservatively and cautiously, adding to the concealment process in increments.

When SMP for scar concealment when applied correctly can be life changing

Before SMP

Before SMP

After SMP

After carefully applied SMP

When applied correctly SMP can work wonders for scar concealment. However, with a boom in SMP practitioners, make sure you do your homework!

Visit a handful of artists in your city and ask the right questions. Take a look at their scar concealment portfolio, and make sure it’s the artist’s actual work. It is advised that you do not look just for the cheapest option as often this means inexperience. And you could end up spending more money with painful laser removal and an SMP re-do. 

Rob James is a busy SMP artists working out of his Vancouver based Scalp micropigmentation clinic, Advanced Scalp.

He is always available to advise and help.


SMP For Women

Is SMP for women?

Is SMP for women?

As you may know SMP is effective in treating a variety of hair loss issues in men. But what about women? Can they also use the benefits of SMP for their hair loss issues?

Like men, women can also suffer from hair loss issues. Events such as hormonal changes, surgery, stress, medication, hairstyles and procedures can cause thinning hair and hair loss in women. SMP for women is a rapidly growing area of SMP.

Although the techniques remain same, male and female SMP needs will differ when it comes to application.

While the majority of men receive SMP treatments to replicate the shaven hair look, the primary goal of SMP treatment for women is to decrease the stark contrast between bare scalp and thinning hair, thus creating the illusion of more density.

Female SMP is on growing demand

Female SMP is on growing demand

As an important side note it’s also not necessary for women to shave or altar their hair before SMP sessions. Instead, the SMP technician deposits pigment by parting the hair section by section. The result of which provides denser looking follicles, reducing the contrast between the hair and the scalp, and creating the appearance of thicker hair.

Most applications for female SMP will take place over 2 or 3 sessions separated by a minimum of ten days. A touch up session will follow 2 months later.

There are some aftercare instructions to follow in between sessions and after the entire procedure, which we go over thoroughly before, and after your sessions.


Feel free to call 778-917-7772 or email: to book your Free consultation with Advanced Scalp.

Rob James SMP Advanced Scalp

Rob James SMP Advanced Scalp

Rob James is the owner/artist at Advanced Scalp Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation clinic. Vancouver’s premier Scalpmicropigmentation clinic and training facility.


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.


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

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.


What is SMP?

Hi my name is Rob James I am a Vancouver scalp

micropigmentation artist currently working out of my clinic Advanced Scalp.

As one of western Canada’s busiest SMP artists, each week I receive dozens of emails and DM’s from people considering or curious about Scalp micropigmentation in Vancouver.

Many of these messages are from people who have just heard  about SMP for the first time and they are perhaps not ready to sit down for a consultation just yet.

Other inquiries might be from people who know more about the process but just need a little more in depth information about the process or the artist before taking that next step.

Either way I thought I’d write a series of posts over the next few weeks to help answer the most common questions I receive. In order to help create a clear picture of what scalp micropigmentation is and what it can potentially do for you. 

So I guess the best place to start is; what is SMP?

SMP is the abbreviated form for Scalp micro-pigmentation, which is essentially a cosmetic tattoo.

cosmetic tattoo

SMP is performed using a small, lightweight, relatively silent machine with a tiny, sterile, disposable needle attached to the tip. This needle is then dipped into an SMP specific pigment. Small micro deposits of pigment are then implanted at a superficial depth into the scalp.

If done correctly, by a skilled technician

The process should perfectly mimic the appearance of hair follicles, thus helping the recipient to restore the look of a full head of shaved hair.

shaved hair

These replicated follicles perfectly, create the illusion of shaved hair or can add density to areas of the scalp where hair is thinning, reducing the contrast between hair and scalp.

Another fantastic use for scalp micropigmentation is scar concealment. Mainly scar tissue from FUE or FUT hair transplants.

SMP when applied properly by an experienced and skilled artist can help to mask strip scarring and plug scarring by blending the scar tissue with the surrounding healthy hair.

SMP is also perfect for disguising conditions such as alopecia.


SMP is a multifaceted, practical, relatively low cost (compared to surgical options) and has zero downtime.

For all of the above applications it’s important to seek out an experienced and skilled artist. As with any trade or skill competence and ability will vary greatly.

A good first step is to view a scalp micropigmentation artist’s body of work and see if their style resonates with you. What you want to be looking for is realism, an artistic eye and a subtle attention to natural detail.

An experienced artist will know needle depth and duration, in order to perfectly replicate the surrounding natural follicle density. The artist should also have an experienced knowledge of pigment and tone in order to blend all hair patterns and colours seamlessly into the existing hair.

If you would like to learn more about SMP why not request a thorough consultation with Rob James SMP at Advanced Scalp in Vancouver BC.

As one of Canada’s most experienced and requested SMP artists I love to share my knowledge and help you make the right decision.

Thank you for reading.

Vancouver Scalp micropigmentation artist Rob James @ Advanced Scalp

Call 778-917-7772 or email: