SMP under longer hair

Can scalp micropigmentation work with longer hair?

Most people who have scalp micropigmentation to cover up their baldness shave their heads regularly after their procedure. It’s part and parcel of the SMP solution, and it is almost a given that this is required. There are a lot of people though who would like the benefits offered by SMP but are not comfortable shaving their heads. Lets explore the options.

First and foremost it is important to say that for most balding men, shaving the hair regularly is the only way to go. Ink deposits are two dimensional. Hair is three dimensional. This means that the two don’t blend very well, so to make it work the hair must become 2D, in other words, shaved. There are some exceptions though, as follows:

  • Men with an intact hairline with very little recession, and only minor thinning on top of the scalp. Significant thinning around the crown area means keeping your hair longer is not an option
  • Men with minor recession of their hairline but good remaining density throughout the rest of their hair, who are prepared to work up to their existing hairline only without bringing it forward
  • Women with all-over diffuse thinning (no bald patches)
  • Those with irregular alopecia

Let me take these in turn and explain in a little more detail.

Men with intact hairline and minor thinning

These guys are typically a Norwood 2-4 and therefore have a fair amount of real hair remaining. The hair can be kept long as the SMP process is used primarily to shade the scalp, reducing the contrast between hair and scalp skin. This creates the illusion of a thicker head of hair and shows how scalp micropigmentation can work with longer hair.

Please note that just because your dots are less visible doesn’t mean you can scrimp on your choice of provider. One day soon your hair will thin out even more, and you may have to start shaving. For this reason your procedure needs to look totally realistic for you to carry it off.

Men with minor recession of the hairline and good remaining density

If you have only minor thinning (same as the example above) but your hairline has started to recede, you can still keep your hair longer. The only caveat is that you must remain behind your existing hairline to achieve the best effect.

Women with all-over diffuse thinning

The purpose of scalp micropigmentation in this particular scenario is to shade the scalp to reduce the contrast between your hair and scalp colour. This reduces the appearance of thinning and makes your hair look thicker. This works best for those with medium to dark hair.

HAIR Ink before and after
This photo shows a recent treatment completed by London-based HAIR Ink. The reduction in visible hair loss is easy to see, and perhaps shows why scalp micropigmentation is becoming so popular amongst women as well as men

Those with irregular alopecia

If you have alopecia areata, you’ll probably be familiar with the fact that your bald patches will move around your scalp and possibly change in size. For this reason it is not recommended that your patches are treated, but rather the whole head. This allows for any change in your symptoms. Although you cannot keep your hair longer when symptoms are in evidence, if and when they go away you are able to allow your hair to grow through your treatment so you look completely natural. If your areata comes back, your SMP pigments are ready and waiting. You’ll just need to start shaving again.

Which providers are best for this approach?

It depends on your circumstances, as different providers offer different areas of expertise. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all the same as they each have their own set of experiences and their own approach, resulting in different outcomes.

A Vinci SMP treatment under longer hair
These photos show an excellent result where the hair is kept longer. This treatment is the work of Vinci Hair Clinic

On the other hand if your requirements are pretty standard, most providers will be familiar with your needs as the desire to keep the hair longer is a common request. If you are based in the UK or Europe you should definitely consider Vinci Hair Clinic as due to their experience with SMP and FUE combinations, they are well versed in making SMP work for clients who keep their hair a little longer. For clients in the United States I suggest Artistry Concepts, in fact they actually advise against blade shaving.

For women who are considering scalp micropigmentation, you should check out HAIR Ink in London as your requirements are their specialist area. Women in the United States should contact Good Look Ink first as they have treated a large number of female clients.

Still not sure?

I offer a free recommendation service where I pair up your requirements and location with providers that best suit your needs. This service is free and unbiased, and I receive no referral fee or incentive for recommending any particular provider.

Laurie Downing