The scalp micropigmentation process has evolved significantly since the development of basic hair tattoo techniques in 2002.
Back then, the very concept of scalp micropigmentation was groundbreaking enough, and the media attention that ensued was brisk and extensive. Now however, clients have more choices than ever before, and as I predicted recently, this trend is only going to continue.
One of the most significant developments has been the introduction of 3D scalp micropigmentation. Whilst not strictly three dimensional, this advanced technique creates a 3D appearance and can further increase the realism of the treatment.
Where did the idea come from?
There were various discussions on different web forums related to the potential value of a three dimensional process. The idea stirred significant interest. In particular, I remember this discussion on the HIS Hair Clinic forum a couple of years ago where a client believed his procedure looked three dimensional following his request for a variation of the standard process.
Simon Lane and Paul Clark, two highly skilled technicians at Brandwood Clinic, recognized the potential in a 3D solution and began experimenting with the concept. They later turned it into a commercially viable and repeatable process, and are now experiencing great success with their new technique at Brandwood.
The 3D effect demonstrated by Brandwood Clinic. Photo (left) shows a completed standard procedure. Photo (right) after completion of the 3D process. The look softens over a period of 2-3 weeks, creating an even greater level of realism.
How does 3D scalp micropigmentation work?
In essence, the 3D effect is created with the addition of a final ‘layer’ of pigment after the standard procedure would otherwise be deemed complete. This final layer is significantly darker and more sparsely distributed, and is commonly referred to as a ‘scatter-through’. The result is a textured effect with some of the replicated follicles ‘popping out’. As some dots are darker than others, they stand out more.
This creates the three dimensional look that many people feel is lacking from traditional scalp micropigmentation.
3D scalp micropigmentation, demonstrated on an African American client. The 3D effect works great on both dark and light skin tones.
Great idea, right? Well, to a point. 3D scalp micropigmentation sounds straightforward enough, but it takes a significant level of skill to execute effectively. Poor delivery carries a number of risks including an overly dark appearance, too much density and a fake ‘dotty’ look. For this reason, it is important to choose your technician with care. Most technicians are not aware of the 3D process, and many do not know how to execute it effectively.
A subtle 3D effect in progress, by British company ShavenLook.
Which clinics offer a 3D process?
Brandwood Clinic in the UK offer 3D SMP, as pioneered by Simon and Paul. Their process has been used many times now, and the results look very promising.
In addition, I’ve seen a similar effect produced by other clinics, even though they do not actively promote a 3D process. The most skilled technicians understand the concept of a textured effect and how to deliver it, but you need to make sure the technician you choose understands exactly what you’re looking to achieve.
A beneficiary of his own product, Simon Lane showcases the perfect 3D effect on his own head.
What’s the conclusion?
I believe that 3D scalp micropigmentation is a genuine and viable option for those who want an ultra-realistic outcome from their procedure.
I would argue that any highly skilled technician with a significant level of experience could produce a 3D effect, in fact many do as a matter of course in their effort to produce the most realistic illusion of real hair that they can. Some of the world’s best technicians at Scalp Micro USA, Skalp Clinic, HIS Hair Clinic and Vinci Hair Clinic regularly produce results that could be described as three dimensional.
However, if the 3D effect is something that you absolutely must have, and would make or break your satisfaction with your new look, you should consider using a clinic that understands the 3D process. For this, I would suggest Brandwood Clinic or ShavenLook in the UK, or Scalp Micro USA in the US.