Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Fooling the eye and recreating a natural hairline using the scalp micropigmentation (SMP) treatment is not an easy task.
Many times artists try and end up with a very defined hairline that may not look right on certain people. Not all follicles are created equal.
Edge Scalp Ink is an SMP shop located in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC area that specializes in creating natural hairlines. Get your edge back!
Below are 5 tips that every SMP artist should follow in order to successfully create a natural and realistic hairline.
5 Tips for Creating a Natural Hairline through SMP
Find the sweet spot on the forehead. The rule of thumb is to measure four horizontal fingers from the area between the eyebrows to the forehead and that spot is the lower limit of the hairline, but in fact, a natural hairline should be above this point. Clients over the age of 35 usually want a less defined line, so there will be some feathering involved when creating the hairline. Feathering creates a gradient effect in which the SMP follicles gradually increase in density from the edge of the hairline toward the crown. This effect is key because natural hairlines are structured in this way. The farther back you move from the forehead, the closer the hair follicles are to one another. A defined hairline gives a more youthful look and works well on some people. Here's an example of an Edge Scalp Ink client from Maryland who looks particularly well with a defined hairline.
Using two to three different shades of pigment. This technique requires considerable skill and your trainer should show you the correct way to apply it. A lighter pigment is used towards the front of the hairline and darker ones towards the back of the head. After the treatments as the pigment begins to fade, the benefits of using different shades becomes apparent. Here are some excellent examples of softly feathered hairlines from my trainer, the Godfather of SMP, Zang Miah from Zang SMP.
Feather the Feather! Feathering the hairline is the most difficult part of creating a natural hairline. It not only takes a trained eye to scatter the SMP dots precisely, but varying degrees of pressure must be applied to maximize the effect. The results are not only a feathering of scattered dots, but a feathering of scattered dots that are of varying shades and sizes. Not all follicles are created equal.
It takes multiple sessions. Everyone's skin is different. Some have oily skin. Some have drier skin. Some have thicker skin. Some have thinner skin. Some have lighter skin. Some have darker skin. There is no way to know how a client's skin will react to the pigment. I've had clients that retained 90 percent of the pigment, while some only retain 25 percent. The use of high quality pigments, client's adherence to after-care instructions, and the artist's ability to be patient and know how to compensate for the lightening of the pigment all play crucial roles in the final results. This is why we spread out SMP treatments over the course of two-to-four sessions. It's a proven method that guarantees amazing results. There are many shops who claim to be able to complete your SMP treatment in one-session. A word of advice for those considering a one-treatment shop: run and don't look back!
Work with your client for the best results. After session one of their SMP treatment, the client will have a week or so to live with their new look. Most likely when they return for session two or three, they will request some modifications. As a SMP professional you should know that if you initially go too dark, you cannot go lighter, as well as if you go too low, you cannot raise the hairline after. If the hairline you create is too well defined and low on the forehead, it may be difficult to feather it for a more gradual flow because the technique requires that you go even lower on the forehead. Sometimes a client will want a lower hairline than should be done in the first session. It is your job to educate them about the procedure and make recommendations.