Ranbir Rai-Watson

Meet Ranbir Rai-Watson, the creator of scalp micropigmentation

HIS Hair Clinic co-Founder Ranbir Rai-Watson holds a significant accolade – she was the first person in the world to perform a documented scalp micropigmentation treatment as a camouflage for hair loss.

Many people are already familar with the story behind HIS Hair Clinic, but for those who are not, we need to backtrack more than a decade.

Ranbir’s husband sadly passed away in 2002, an event that of course placed a huge emotional strain on the entire family. Her brother-in-law Ian Watson developed stress-related alopecia as a result, and as a way of drawing something positive from a difficult situation, Ian and Ranbir looked for a solution to this problem. Anyone who has suffered with alopecia in the past will know that options, although numerous, offer only a limited chance of success. After reviewing the various avenues available to Ian, they decided to look elsewhere for a solution.

Ranbir Rai-Watson
Ranbir Rai-Watson, the worlds first scalp micropigmentation practitioner and innovator of the technique

Following extensive micropigmentation training in Melbourne, Australia, Ranbir combined permanent makeup techniques with medical tattooing procedures, and developed a customised set of equipment to deliver pigment to the scalp in the way that was needed for a realistic replication of hair. Following practice and further development, Ian and Ranbir were confident that they had created a process capable of delivering not only a believable replication of shaven hair, but also one that could offer repeatable results across the entire surface area of the scalp. In 2002, the worlds first SMP treatment for male hair loss was performed by Ranbir, on the scalp of Ian Watson.

A new hair loss solution is born

Both Ranbir and Ian considered the treatment to be a huge success, exceeding even their own expectations. Of course they were still on a learning curve, as they closely monitored Ian’s progress over the following days, weeks and months. They soon found that multiple sessions were necessary for optimal results, and they also started to consider how many other men around the world could benefit from this new solution.

Ranbir wanted to ensure that the desired outcome could be made consistently repeatable, and that men of all ages and ethnicities could be treated. What followed was an experimental period where they treated men with hair loss on a free of charge (or very low cost) basis while they perfected their technique. Ian himself was also applying treatments now, and as time progressed, the pair realised that they were really on to something. They set up shop in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, UK in late 2002, and offered the worlds first commercially available scalp micropigmentation treatments for male hair loss. The intense media interest that followed their launch, and the subsequent enquiries from prospective clients was nothing short of breathtaking, and reaffirmed to both Ranbir and Ian that SMP was a truly viable solution for balding men.

Ian Watson and Ranbir Rai-Watson
Ian Watson and Ranbir Rai-Watson, co-Founders of HIS Hair Clinic

How much has changed

Fast forward to 2014, and the landscape of SMP has changed beyond all recognition. Scalp micropigmentation providers now exist on every continent, in every major economy in the world.

HIS Hair Clinic itself relocated from the Jewellery Quarter to the leafy Birmingham suburb of Harborne, and later to their current international headquarters on Hagley Road in Birmingham city centre. The company now operates 19 locations around the world including 4 in the United Kingdom, 7 in the United States, 5 in Europe with further locations in Canada, China and Dubai. Some of their locations are particularly impressive including 5th Avenue in New York, Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles and Harley Street in London. This success is symptomatic of how far the company, and the process they created, has come.

The company now employs more than 25 practitioners, each of whom has been trained in-house at HIS Hair Clinic. As a rule, HIS does not employ technicians who previously worked at other providers, preferring to train their own from the ground up.

Although Ranbir focuses the majority of her time developing the HIS Hair Clinic business and personally completes fewer treatments now, her passion for the company and its customers remains as strong as ever. Ranbir plays a pivotal role in the HIS training programme (in fact she developed much of its content) and continues to work closely with their teams around the world to ensure that consistent standards are maintained. Ranbir also works closely with needle and pigment manufacturers to ensure the materials used in all HIS clinics consistently remain the very best in the business.

Comfortable with the team they have built over the last few years, Ranbir and Ian now focus on ensuring that HIS Hair Clinic retains its ethos and excellent reputation, and continues to be recognised as the market leader for this type of hair loss solution.

Laurie Downing