A scalp micropigmentation treatment differs from a hair tattoo in so many ways. They might not even be considered the same anymore even if SMP did in fact have its beginnings as a hair tattoo. The reason for this is the highly technical process of SMP. Each should be discussed separately to appreciate their similarities and differences.

A hair tattoo is an artistic process created by a tattoo artist in a tattoo parlor. The equipment and materials used are the same as any regular tattoo. It may be undertaken immediately without need of further delay as soon as the pattern is agreed upon between the artist and the prospective bearer of the work of art. This is essentially what a hair tattoo is, a work commissioned through a tattoo artist.


Scalp micropigmentation is more meticulous and specialised in its requirements and technique. It begins with the patient visiting an SMP clinic to consult with an SMP specialist about his condition. They will discuss the method, procedure, expectations, recovery and maintenance of the SMP treatment. The specialist will then lay down the pigments in a pre-selected hair pattern as agreed upon during the discussion. This will be performed using a special three-headed tool with fine needles. It will create shallow perforations upon the scalp to deposit specialised and bespoke pigmentation. These pigments will vary in circumference, colour and shape depending on the skin tone of the patient. The session will last for about two to three hours and the patient will be asked to return after about seven days. This will give the pigments the opportunity to fade so that the specialist will be able to determine how to approach the succeeding session. The entire treatment itself can be completed in about two to three sessions.

Patients are informed to avoid wetting their scalp for a couple of days while they recover. Sun exposure should also be minimised to reduce fading. The daily maintenance of an SMP treatment usually entails keeping the scalp clean and moisturised. Regular shaving of the scalp is done to maximise its effects.

An SMP treatment is meant to create a semblance of hair. It is an illusion that makes everyone believe the patient is not in fact, losing their hair. There is a zero margin of error for this purpose because even the slightest detection of its existence would render the procedure to be sub-standard. A hair tattoo on the other is a work of art. It is intended to project the image of hair though is not entirely devoted to achieve the same stringent standards of SMP.

There are clinics out there that hold themselves out to be SMP practitioners. A further examination into their process will reveal if they truly are qualified to provide such services. They should adhere to the strict standards and methods as discussed above. Any lack or deviation from the prescribed SMP procedure might result in a bad hair tattoo. It will essentially defeat the purpose of an SMP. An SMP should never be detectible, even to the patient’s regular barber. That is how exacting the standards of an SMP treatment are supposed to be. The patient should always exert due diligence in finding out how his practitioner has been trained, and how much experience they possess.