Way back in 2002, Ian Watson lost his brother to cancer. The stress of his loss brought about the onset of alopecia, and Ian and sister-in-law Ranbir Rai-Watson started to look for a solution. They experimented with a series of existing tattoo and permanent makeup techniques, and were able to create a primative replication of real hair. The hair tattoo, albeit basic, was born.
If you get scalp micropigmentation now, the technique used is nothing like the very first hair tattoos that were created back then. Like all things, SMP was developed by constantly improving and perfecting the process. Scalp micropigmentation wasn’t offered by HIS Hair Clinic on a commercial scale until several years later in 2008. It took six years to create what we now recognise as scalp micropigmentation.
So what’s the issue?
The issue is that new ‘clinics’ entering the market either have to start from scratch developing their technique as HIS did, or they attempt to copy what someone else is doing. Both scenarios mean the customer (that’s you) is the subject of what is ultimately an experimental procedure. You’re a test case, until the company you chose learns what they need to know.
Until your practitioner has perfected the correct scalp micropigmentation technique, you have no guarantee of a decent result. Remember what I said about Ian and Ranbir taking 6 years to develop SMP? If your practitioner has very little experience, you’re basically going to end up with a more primative treatment. How can you realistically expect a new provider in the market to offer the same standard as those who have completed hundreds (or even thousands) of treatments? You can’t.
In a nutshell instead of a high quality replication of real hair, you’re basically going to end up with a hair tattoo. A more basic, primative, less realistic version of what you were actually hoping for. That’s what a hair tattoo is – a real basic attempt at a proper SMP treatment.
What about practitioners who have received training?
Good question. A handful of companies now offer training to individuals who want to enter the market. Some are infinitely better than others, in fact many of these training programs are hosted by providers that deliver terrible results in their own clinics. Something to be aware of.
Ask your practitioner who trained them, then check out their trainers results. The chances are they’re likely to be indicative of the service you’ll experience yourself.
Surely everyone deserves a chance?
Absolutely, yes they do. Unfortunately we’re not talking about giving a young lad a chance to fix your car, or cook a meal for you. This is your head, and there is little margin for error.
All reputable providers have ways of training their technicians that do not involve working on a real head. This gives them the basic foundation of knowledge they need before working on actual clients. Of course someone has to go first, but by that point they should at least have a reasonably competent understanding of the fundamentals.
What to do?
Look, there is nothing wrong with entrusting your head to a relative newcomer to the business, as long as you know for sure that they have reached an acceptable level of competence. Ask to see examples of their work. Ask detailed questions and make sure you get conclusive, authoritative answers. Make sure they understand what you want. If in doubt, ask them to pause until they do understand.
Remember, you want a fully professional scalp micropigmentation treatment. You do NOT want a hair tattoo. Hopefully this brief article has helped you to understand the difference, and why it is important.